no l'oeuf lost

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 9 01:38:18 UTC 2009

When you get right down to it, isn't the ultimate explanation that except
for a handful of pointyheads like us, nobody really gives a good $%2^@#
about this stuff?

Remember when the _Times_ ran its story about Barry Popik and his "hobby"?
Does anybody beyond this list really care that "Big Apple" doesn't come from
Alleged Source X or Y?

Maybe I'll reorient myself to reality and burn my books.

Then I can fill up the shelves with...what?


On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 9:29 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      no l'oeuf lost
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The Times falls for an etymythology.  In an otherwise fun Sunday
> puzzle ("Six Degrees of Trivia"), one clue refers to "a French
> dynasty whose fall involve a famous oath sworn in the setting of
> another [sc. other than NFL football] sport..."--the Serment du Jeu
> de Paume or tennis-court oath, nothing wrong with that (as far as I
> know)--but then it continues "...Its [sc., that of tennis] term for
> "zero" comes from what French word?"  To which the "correct" answer
> is, yup, "l'oeuf", which no reputable source the author Bob Harris
> could have checked would have confirmed as the source for "love" as a
> tennis score.  Makes for a nice story, though, given the shape of the
> egg and the zero, goose eggs, and all.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed

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