indefensible (basketball)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu May 4 17:41:52 UTC 2006

On 5/3/06, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at> wrote:
> The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing the Washington Wizards in an NBA
> playoff game broadcast on TNT. One of the commentators just had this
> to say about LeBron James:
> "If he's making his jump shot, he is completely indefensible."

Now that I check the Usenet archive, I see that "indefensible" as a
positive term meaning "unable to be defended against" has been around
for more than a decade -- mostly in basketball and football contexts,
but also relating to (virtual) fighting maneuvers, military weapons,
and so forth..., Jan 1 1993
Shoulder throws also work in mid-air, where they are almost indefensible., Mar 21 1994
He [sc. Glenn Robinson] can hit from inside or outside and is
virtually indefensible., Oct 18 1994
Mitch Richmond can not only take over an entire game, he is
indefensible in the clutch against most small forwards let alone
2-men., Mar 2 1995
Nobody else in the league has the indefensible offensive talent and
veteran leadership of the Suns., Nov 2 1995
Anyway, as you can guess, I for one think that Marino should have been
passing later in the game, and I don't mean 20 yard patterns, I mean
the short, ball controlled passes that are virtually indefensible., Mar 8 1996
The Cowboys as a team may or may not be the best team ever, but one
thing is certain ... with Emmit Smith, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman,
Johnston and Novacek, and the best offensive line ever - they are
clealy the most balanced and indefensible offensive team ever!
sci.military.naval, Jun 13 1996
I remember reading somewhere that the Russians had successfully tested
a *very* fast antishipping missile which went partially into the
stratosphere, then straight down to its target. Due to its speed, it
was deemed as almost indefensible.
alt.paranet.ufo, Apr 22 1997
On top of that, WHY is this craft taken out of service even when it is
still the fastest, highest flying and virtually indefensible recon
aircraft in the world?

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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