"Connecring the dots": origin?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 3 23:55:44 UTC 2010

I think it's more likely to allude to the "drawing" kind of
"connect-the-dots" game.

As you connect those dots, a recognizable picture emerges.

Hence the metaphor. IMO.

On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 7:42 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "Connecring the dots": origin?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 6:46 PM -0400 5/3/10, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >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.
> >
> We played that first game in NYC; I'd totally forgotten it.  It was a
> variant of another game called "Territories". I remember both fondly.
> The second, puzzle-drawing exercise was a lot less exciting, but I
> always associated the "connect the dots" metaphor (as in the
> blamecasting post 9-11) with that one.  But it's nice to be reminded
> me of that first one!
> LH
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