Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 22 00:34:52 UTC 2011

On Nov 21, 2011, at 2:38 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:

> You're correct, sir! My spell-checking technique proved insufficient in
> the face of such a complicated name.
> As for "ticky-tack", note that InfoPlease gives it as a variant--for the
> noun. And the quick search gave a bunch of sports-related commentary,
> specifically with "ticky-tacky". Searching for "ticky-tack" also picks
> up a lot of news hits (not quite as many) but a vast majority of these
> refer to "ticky-tack fouls" (particularly by coaches, such as Pat Riley
> and Butch van Breda Kolff). One that particularly stands out is from
> 1978 Spokane Review: "But even that would have been /ticky-tack/." [
> http://goo.gl/S2Zir ] A nitpicking call?
> Either way, I wonder if the origin is in any way different if
> "ticky-tack" is dominant. It has to be something that covers both
> injuries and fouls--and, by extension, all referee's decisions. I can
> see some alternative theories covering one or the other, but not both.
> Hence the post.
Agreed, in particular as to the prevalence of "ticky-tack foul" or "ticky-tack call" (with the same reference).  I've heard "ticky-tack injury", but it's much less frequent.  I think "That was (really/awfully) ticky-tack" in predicative position, as in your 1978 cite, is not uncommon either.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list