Tiger Woods: oscilated

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 16 18:21:21 UTC 2013

Seems to be based on some combination of golfers' naive science and
urban legend. Either the ball moves or it doesn't. If it's moved by the
wind, it's not caused by the player, so there is no need to replace the
ball in its original position and there's no penalty. If it's caused by
a player or some outside force (with wind specifically excluded by the
rules), then the ball is replaced, with or without penalty. It seems
"oscillation" is an attempt to pretend to that the ball did not move,
but also encompassing the ball's wavering in the wind without changing
position. I suppose, this "wavering in the wind" may qualify under
ordinary definitions of "oscillat--" but even this is a stretch as the
ball does not actually vibrate. And any other applications of
"oscillat--" in this context do not qualify, as there is no repeated
motion in some instances and no fluctuation between multiple fixed
alternative positions. Golfers, like baseball players, are notorious for
making up naive physics of the ball, so the use of "oscillat--" does not
surprise me. Still, the meaning is not listed in dictionaries, which was
the point of the original post. As Wilson says, YMMV


On 9/15/2013 11:42 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> Oscillation is the phenomenon of a dimpled golf ball on the soft ground
> seeming to shift weight,  often in response to wind, as if to begin a roll,
> but not beginning to actually roll. In theory, there is a bottom dimple; if
> the bottom dimple changes, the ball is considered to have moved. If the
> ball returns to rest in the same location on the original bottom dimple, it
> merely oscillated, but did not move.
> DanG

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

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