[Ads-l] Antedating of face-off

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 14 18:21:35 UTC 2015

face-off, n.

OED: 1889

I found several antedatings in 1886, the earliest from August 1886.

First, **Harper's Young People** (24 August 1886, vol. 7, no. 856, p.684):

> When the ball is started, all the players, with the exception of the goal-keepers, should be paired off all over the field, each man close to one of his opponents. If the possession of the ball is disputed by the two players who “face off,” let the others approach near them, but not near enough to interfere with their movements. They will each seek to “ tip" the ball with his stick or foot to some friend who has thus approached, and he will have a much better chance of securing it than if he had blindly rushed in and entangled himself in a “scrimmage.” Of course a brilliant dash in between the two players will sometimes secure the ball, but wait until you see the chance. Don’t fight for the ball blindly as if with your eyes shut. Use both eye to see and brain to calculate, and just at the right moment act with all the courage and strength that you have.


Interestingly, the second talks of a proposed rule change to replace
the face-off.

**Outing : Sport, Adventure, Travel, Fiction** (August 1886, vol .8,
no. 5, p.581):

> A new rule has been proposed in the United States Convention, which was received with some favor, and is worthy of consideration. At present, the opening play of a game, from the "face off" often results in an undesirable scrim- mage. This is true even when the game is being played by the best Canadian teams. It is a bad impression to give, as a first one, to an audience. By abolishing it, the " face off" and all its finesse (for it has something of skill in it), can be retained to be used in case of fowls, etc., during the game.



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