Baseball or Base Ball

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sun Aug 19 04:22:39 UTC 2012

Not to mention "Play ball!"

Not sure if this is connected, but Is football the only one of these in which the full name of the ball (e.g., "the football)" is routinely used, as in "He's going to have to start throwing the football," or "They don't have a lot of time to move the football"? You don't often hear "He can really hit the baseball" or "She's puts a lot of spin on the tennis ball," etc. Maybe a shape thing (or more likely, a pretension thing). 


> From: Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Date: August 18, 2012 11:24:39 AM PDT
> Subject: Re: Baseball or Base Ball
> 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.
> --Charlie

The American Dialect Society -

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