"Go _balls-out_"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 11 13:32:47 UTC 2014

It certainly is possible, but I've never seen any evidence to suggest it
was true.

Or that any alternative explanation was, for that matter. I mean, why would
anybody going fast have his testicles out? And if so, why just his

This phrase seems to antedate "balls-to-the-wall."


On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 2:00 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "Go _balls-out_"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> According to the History Channel, this is the source of that term:
> W:pedia -
> "A governor, or speed-limiter, is a
> device<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine>used to measure and
> regulate the
> speed <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed> of a
> machine<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine>,
> such as an engine <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine>. A classic example
> is the centrifugal governor<
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrifugal_governor>,
> also known as the Watt <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watt> or
> fly-ball governor, which uses weights mounted on spring-loaded arms to
> determine how fast a shaft is spinning, and then uses proportional
> control<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_control>to regulate
> the shaft speed.
> "
> When a fly-ball-governed machine is operating "balls-out," then it's
> producing all of the power that it (safely) can. Whence the expression.
> You buy that, Jon? I spent fifteen years working in a power plant with five
> steam turbines, each with a fly-ball governor, and didn't once hear the
> expression, "balls-out." But that could easily have been sheer
> happenstance, since the turbines were never run balls-out, there being no
> need for that.
> Youneverknow.
> --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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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