[Ads-l] Phrase: In The Zone (Arthur Ashe, February 22, 1974)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 16 06:08:47 EDT 2016

Back in May 2016 there was a discussion thread about the phrase "in the zone".

Wilson Gray mentioned a fascinating connection to "The Twilight Zone"
television series. Jesse Sheidlower pointed to the pertinent OED entry
under the headword "zone":

[Begin excerpt]
colloq. (orig. U.S. Sport). A state of perfect concentration leading
to optimum mental or physical performance. Chiefly with the, esp. in
in the zone.
[End excerpt]

The first OED citation was dated Oct. 27, 1976. Bill Mullins found a
great citation dated May 11, 1975. Now, I've located a germane diary
entry dated February 22, 1974 in the book "Arthur Ashe: Portrait in
Motion". Here is a link to the Quote Investigator article together
with the acknowledgement to list members.

In The Zone

[Begin excerpt]
Great thanks to Wilson Gray whose inquiry led QI to formulate this
question and perform this exploration. Gray pointed out the connection
to “The Twilight Zone”. Great thanks to the kind librarian at the John
C. Hitt Library of the University of Central Florida who accessed the
1982 citation. Additional thanks to the mailing-list discussants Jesse
Sheidlower, George Thompson, Joel Berson, and Bill Mullins who found
the May 1975 citation.
[End excerpt]

Feedback welcome,

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

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