[Ads-l] "unforced error"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 2 00:14:12 EDT 2016


Merriam-Webster and Wiktionary have entries for "unforced error". No
early dates are given. The OED does not have an entry although
"unforced error" does appear in one of the example excerpts for
another word: sidle, n.

The 2013 article in "The New York Times" suggested a provenance via
"introduction in tennis three decades ago", i.e., circa 1983.

A sportswriter named George Currie in "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle" used
"unforced error" in the tennis domain in 1927 and 1929.

Newspaper: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Newspaper Location: Brooklyn, New York
Date: September 16, 1927
Article: Tennis Singles Become Anti-Climax As French Stars Drop Out:
Lacoste Is Sole Survivor As Frenchmen Gracefully Take Exit From
Tourney
Author: George Currie
Quote Page A3

[Begin excerpt]
Tilden, in disposing of Borotra, got all the breaks on decisions,
showed his temper once or twice and finally pulled that fatal third
set out of the fire more on Borotra's unforced errors than anything
else. The truth may as well be told. "Bill" has not played brilliant
tennis this week, with the exception of last Tuesday, against Berkeley
Bell.
[End excerpt]


Newspaper: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Newspaper Location: Brooklyn, New York
Date: August 22, 1929
Article: Mary Greef Finds Sarah Palfrey's Weakness in Neglected
Backhand: Two Real Sportswomen 'Glorious Molla' and 'Baby Betty,' Meet
Today
Author: George Currie
Quote Page 28

[Begin excerpt]
Every one of the 23 points scored by the extra grave Alice were
Helen's own and unforced errors.
[End excerpt]

It also looks like "unforced error" was used in the chess domain by
1963 in the BBC magazine "The Listener".

Year: 1963 (According to GB)
Periodical: The Listener
Volume 70
Quote Page 254
Database: Google Books Snippet; data may be inaccurate

[Begin excerpt]
The modern method is rather to fence and tack about, waiting for a
defensive mistake or an unforced error.
[End excerpt]

Garson


On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 9:02 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 3:10 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Likely originated in tennis.
>
>
> Good eye, Bиктор!
>
> Unforced Error - The New York Times - MARCH 9, 2013
> www.nytimes.com/.../tennis-statistics-like-unforced-errors-get-n...
> The term, "unforced error," has become a staple of the popular vernacular
> since its introduction in tennis three decades ago.
> --
> -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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