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The hockey meaning of "cheap shot" (and "take a cheap shot" and
"cheap hit"--both used in other sports, often associated with "dirty
play[er]" or "playing dirty") is not in the OED. And it is now being
<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="http://goo.gl/2GHwa">http://goo.gl/2GHwa</a><br>
[Toronto Maple Leaves GM Brian Burke on lack of room on roster for
<blockquote type="cite">"If you want a game where guys can cheap
shot people and not face retribution, I'm not sure that's a
healthy evolution," he said Thursday at an impromptu media
OED does have "cheap shot", but it's essentially an aside and only
refers to verbal barbs.<br>
<blockquote type="cite">9. b. <em>fig.</em> A remark aimed at some
one, esp. in order to wound. Sometimes with mixture of sense <span
class="crossReferencePopup"><span class="xref"> 14b</span></span>.
Also <span class="lemmaInDef" id="eid23023236">cheap shot</span>
(<em>N. Amer.</em> <em>colloq.</em>).
<div class="quotationsBlock" id="eid23023239">
<div class="quotation" id="eid23023240"><span class="noIndent"
id="eid169080774">1841 <span class="smallCaps">Thackeray</span>
<em><span class="sourcePopup">Great Hoggarty Diamond</span></em>
ix,</span> The shot told. Your aunt bounced up at once,
and in ten minutes more was in my carriage, on our way back
<div class="quotation" id="eid23023248"><span class="noIndent"
id="eid169080781">1878 <span class="smallCaps">B.
Harte</span> <em><span class="sourcePopup">Man on Beach</span></em>
27</span> This last shot was from the gentle Maria, who
bit her lips as it glanced from the immovable man.</div>
<div class="quotation" id="eid23023256"><span class="noIndent"
id="eid169080789">1973 <span class="smallCaps">W. Just</span>
<em><span class="sourcePopup">Congressman who loved
Flaubert</span></em> 97</span> He tells me it's
going to be a sympathetic show. ... No cheap shots.</div>
<div class="quotation" id="eid23023264"><span class="noIndent"
id="eid169080797">1979 <span class="smallCaps">R.
Jaffe</span> <em><span class="sourcePopup">Class
Reunion</span></em> (1980) <span class="smallCaps">ii.</span>
xi. 288</span> 'Every time you come back from those
faggots you hang around with in New York you act like a
bitch.' ... A cheap shot.</div>
Dirty play[er] are not in OED either, nor the sports meaning of
"dirty", even though it is related to dirty adj. 2.:<br>
<blockquote type="cite">a. Morally unclean or impure; ‘smutty’.
Spec. dirty book, a pornographic book; so dirty bookshop; dirty
joke, dirty story, a ‘smutty’ joke or story; dirty weekend, a
sexually illicit weekend.<br>
b. That stains the honour of the persons engaged; dishonourably
sordid, base, mean, or corrupt; despicable. Colloq. phr. dirty
work at the crossroads.<br>
c. Earned by base or despicable means. [Includes "dirty bread" and
"dirty money" quotes.]<br>
d. Also absol. in phrase to do the dirty : to play a dirty trick.<br>
e. fig. N. Amer. colloq. dirty pool: unfair tactics, dishonesty.</blockquote>
Another possible association is with dirty 3.:<br>
<blockquote type="cite">3. An epithet of disgust or aversion:
repulsive, hateful, abominable, despicable.</blockquote>
Dirty-minded/mindedness, dirty look, dirty money, dirty old man,
dirty tricks/trickery/trickster, dirty word, dirty dancing all also
have separate entries, but not dirty mind, dirty mouth (skillfully
mocked in Orbis commercials), dirty pictures (smut, porn--both photo
and video), dirty joke (some examples under 2.a.).<br>
I am also wondering about "dirty work" under 2.b.--would it be fair
to say that there is a difference in meaning between doing base work
(possibly while someone else reaps the rewards) and doing something
illegal or despicable, both expressed as "doing the dirty work".<br>
"Doing the dirty deed" as a euphemism for sex may also be closer to
2.a., although the line between 2.a. and 2.b. is blurred on this
point. I am also curious where "X made Y feel dirty" would fall.<br>
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org