Baseball or Base Ball

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sat Aug 18 18:24:39 UTC 2012

Also:  Notwithstanding the solidity of the usual spelling, "ball" alone nearly always designates 'baseball'; it's the defalult.  The terms "ball player," "playing ball," "ball field," "ball park," and the like are improbable in connection with football, basketball, volleyball, handball (either one), tetherball, or dodgeball.  In America, at least--where baseball is the great pastime.


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Herb Stahlke [hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2012 12:05 AM

I wonder if, like TV, base ball started out with nuclear stress and
the loss of the space corresponded to a shift to compound stress.  I
still say ['ti'vi] but I hear ['tivi] pretty commonly.


On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg
<nunberg at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Subject:      Baseball or Base Ball
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> From the Trenton Evening Times,  November 13, 1915 quoted in John Thorne's excellent "Our Game" blog at
>> In the early days of the game “base ball” was universal. After a time, as the game increased in popularity, many publications adopted the hyphenated form, and it became “base-ball.” At a still later period along in the ’80s, as nearly as can be discovered—the newspapers began to drop the hyphen, and “base ball” came into use.
>> With all regard for those publications which adhere to the old form, the writer can see no valid reason for its continuation, common useage [sic] has set the stamp of approval upon the simple  form of ”baseball” unhyphenated, one and indivisible.
> But shouldn't there have been an intermediate stage of hyphenation, as well?
> Also nice on 19th c baseball lg is this post:
> Geoff

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