Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 12 14:31:00 UTC 2012

I'd flagged this two years ago and noticed, again, over the past week,
that this usage has become pervasive in football/soccer coverage (ESPN's
Soccernet is UK-based).

> Alas, the issue appears to be that Ibrahimovic is a cut above his
> team-mates, who failed to match their talisman's quality.


Recall talisman Tim

But the same talisman/talismanic usage has now made it across the Pond.

Euro 2012: Ukraine's Andrei Shevchenko is a talisman for fans ahead of
Monday's Euro opener
> His best days as one of Europe's top marksmen may now be behind him
> but even at the age of 35 former European player of the year Andrei
> Shevchenko remains a talismanic figure for Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine.
> ...
> Yet national team coach Oleg Blokhin was eager to include him in the
> squad for his talismanic status and indeed his experience of the
> biggest stages while the player benefited from a specially-concocted
> light training programme to help to get him ready.

Spain readies Euro defense without talisman Puyol
> Coping with the absence of talismanic defender Carles Puyol looks set
> to be one of Spain's toughest tasks if it is to avoid starting the
> European Championship like the World Cup.

> Czech Republic lost 4-1 to group rival Russia in its opener, but the
> midfield talisman believes the team must focus on the match in hand
> rather than look to avenge the 2004 loss.

This may be due to the fact that much of the US soccer news writing is
done by UK expats (or just done in the UK and copied, under contract).
But it is still interesting that there is very little similar usage
outside of soccer coverage. There had been some isolated guesses that
the reference only applied to "magic" goal-scoring forwards (or
attacking midfielders--that line has been blurred for decades), but the
inclusion of Puyol, a defender, clearly indicates that there is no such
limitation (the rest are all goal-scoring forwards).

I don't really want to say that all other usage has abated. That would
be inaccurate. Discussions of witchcraft and magic still bring forth
talismans with some regularity. And there is this:

> POLITICIANS, business leaders, and local authorities got together in
> the Palace of Westminster yesterday to explain how the region is
> becoming a green talisman for the rest of the country.

This is not a "good-luck charm"--it seems to have the same
"attention-grabbing" quality as soccer usage.


On 1/3/2010 7:28 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> Perhaps the original meaning of _talisman_ has been lost, so that the
> word has ceased to mean (very loosely), "good-luck charm," and has
> been re-analysed as "good-luck charm" + "a baller who's as good as a
> good-luck charm in his ability to lead his team to wins." Just a WAG.
> -Wilson
> On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 6:18 PM, Victor Steinbok<aardvark66 at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> I would not have believed it if I did not see it in print
>>> Benitez's team selection reflected the Cup's importance, as he fielded
>>> a full-strength side featuring *twin talismen* Gerrard and Fernando
>>> Torres.
>> http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/02012010/58/fa-cup-liverpool-struggle-draw-reading.html
>> AFAICT the expression "talisman forward" (or goalkeeper, or just
>> "keeper") is quite common in the British sports press in reference to
>> top football/soccer players. For all I know, it may well translate to
>> other sports as well, but I have never seen the reference in US sports
>> press. Yet, I find the reference to "twin talismen" absolutely shocking.
>> It reminds me of the sarcastic "innovations" aimed at anti-sexist
>> language claims in changing the face of "mandate", "demand", etc. to
>> de-emphasize the "man" in these words.
>>      VS-)
>> --
>> -Wilson
>> –––
>> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
>> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>> –Mark Twain
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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