"Connecring the dots": origin?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 3 22:46:09 UTC 2010

When I was a child, there was a popular game called "dots." You put
parallel lines of equal numbers of dots onto a sheet of paper. The
number of lines was a function of the patience of the person drawing
up the "board." The game was played by connecting the dots, drawing
only one line at a time. Neither player "owned" the lines, so that A
could draw a line to connect a dot to which B had already drawn a line
to make a connection. The point of the game was to be the one who was
able to make the most squares by connecting the dots. A put "A" into
his squares and B put "B" into his, to keep track.

There were also puzzle-drawing for kids that involved connecting
seemingly randomly-placed, numbered dots in such a way as to draw some
figure by connecting the dots in mumerical order.

I'm not suggesting that *either* of these games is the source of the
phrase, "connecting the dots." They're just two games that I know of
that involve connecting the dots and which come to mind whenever I
hear talk of "connecting the dots."

Does anyone know the actual source of the phrase? BTW, I don't really
care. I'm just randomly wondering.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

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

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