basketball slang

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Dec 15 10:22:51 UTC 2004

On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 23:09:11 -0500, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>

>On Tue, Dec 14, 2004 at 09:28:32PM -0600, Mullins, Bill wrote:
>> I notice that "cager" isn't in the OED.  Has anyone done a list of
basketball slang?
>Yes, there are books and lists of basketball slang. And we're
>well aware of OED's deficiencies in this area, and have been
>taking steps to improve it. Cites welcome!

* basketeer (not yet in OED in basketball sense)

Iowa State Press, Oct 21, 1903, p. 3
The basketeer named is the victim of a sprained ankle, but will be in the
game by November, at any rate, it is believed.

* backboard (OED2 has 1929)

Fitchburg (Massachusetts) Sentinel, Feb 6, 1905, p. 3
The ball, in each Instance, went straight and swiftly into the netting
without touching the rim or the backboard.

* double-dribbling, vbl. n. (not yet in OED)

New York Times, Jan 15, 1908, p. 7
He permitted shoots from double dribbling, and overlooked a number of
rough plays.

* double-dribble, n. (not yet in OED, MWCD11 has 1949)

Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Daily Northwestern, Feb 9, 1914, p. 8
Referee Schroeder would have given better satisfaction if he had called
more fouls, notably some of Milwaukee's violations of the double dribble
rule and others of the technical variety.

* double-dribble, v. (not yet in OED)

Appleton (Wisconsin) Post Crescent, Mar 8, 1920, p. 2
Jacobson double dribbled and Pugh scored a free throw.

* fast break (OED2 has 1938)

Iowa City (Iowa) Press Citizen, Dec 14, 1926, p. 13
They merely stood back, waited for an opportunity to push through the Old
Gold defense, and hurled a forward through on a fast break followed by a
short under the basket.

* give-and-go (not yet in OED, MWCD11 has 1965)

New York Times, Dec 20, 1939, p. 35
Cooney's teams are drilled in the cutting and passing style of play and he
has few set plays, believing in the "give-and-go theory," as he puts it.

Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Northwestern, Dec 27, 1939, p. 11
The team which does not have a skyscraper member of necessity must embloy
the fast-breaking offense or, if it happens to be a team of great
experience, the give-and-go.

* pick-and-roll (not yet in OED, MWCD11 has 1961)

Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Daily Northwestern, Mar 10, 1960, p. 19
The Zephyrs will counter with a man-for-man defense with a pick and roll

(Chicago) Herald, Mar 17, 1960, p. 4-3
The Bards put the pressure on the We-Go guards and didn't let them weave
for their pick-and-roll shots.

* slam-dunking, vbl. n. (not yet in OED)

(Van Nuys, California) Valley News, Dec 28, 1969  p. 17 [?]
There appeared to be a discernible discrepancy in the box score
accompanying his article on a slam-dunking tournament somewhere out in the
boondocks of Pasadena.

* slam-dunk, n. (OED2 has 1976, MWCD11 has 1972)

(Augusta, Maine) Daily Kennebec Journal, Jan 14, 1971, p. 12
West's 20-foot jumper, only his second field goal of the game, and
Alcindor's slam dunk over Baltimore's West Unseld gave the West a 102-101
lead with 3 1/2 minutes to go.

* slam-dunk, v. (not yet in OED)

(Oak Park, Illinois) World, Jan 19, 1975, p. II-4
The biggest thrill for East Leyden fans after the 38 straight points
exhibition was Grunwald slam dunking the ball in the second half, gaining
both a standing ovation and a technical foul.

-- Ben Zimmer

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