victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 5 02:36:07 UTC 2011

Just to be absolutely clear--I was not expressing any surprise or discovery
of something new. I expressed my only concern--this meaning of
cupcake--noun, verb or adjective--is not in OED. That's all. I was actually
surprised that such a common expression would have found no place in the
dictionary yet.


On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 10:27 PM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at>wrote:

> Ben Zimmer wrote:
> >>  5. "cupcake" not in OED:
> >>
> >> "We were wrong for thinking coming in that they might be a cupcake team
> and
> >> > they really ran it down our throat the first half," he said.>
> >>
> >> Well, "cup-cake" in the literal sense is in the OED, but no figurative
> >> assignment is given.
> >
> > Me on Language Log (mostly about the verb form):
> >
> >
> >
> > (Both of the above posts reference ADS-L discussions.)
> The phrase "cupcake schedule" has been used since the 1970s to
> describe a schedule containing weak opponents. Below is a cite in
> 1975. I think this use might have facilitated the transition to the
> verb form. The examples given by Ben at Language Log and the 1991 cite
> by Grant Barrett (given below) are mostly related to strength of
> schedule.
> Mu-fordham
> Milwaukee Sentinel - Feb 20, 1975
> McGuire bristled at any suggestion his Warriors play a cupcake schedule.
> "We'll play anybody in the country on a home and home basis," said
> McGuire. "If our schedule is so weak, why is Fordham dropping us?"
> 1991 Phil Jackman Baltimore Evening Sun (Md.) (July 24)
> "But I only used them two days" p. D2: In its last season before
> joining Big Ten hoops, Penn State is cup-caking it with UMBC, Morgan,
> Drexel, Miami (O), Buffalo, Lafayette, Cleveland State, Columbia,
> Toledo, etc. How would you like to be in charge of selling season
> tickets?

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