Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Mon May 10 14:31:59 UTC 2010

On 5/10/10 10:20 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
> In the sports section of yesterday's newspaper, an Atlanta Braves outfielder was said to be suffering from an injury to his "left groin." The phrasing immediately moved me to wonder, "How many does his have?" I certainly would have said the "left side of his groin."
> Evidently, however (judging from the OED attestations of the noun), in the 16th century and earlier one could have multiple groins . . . .

In sports-injury-speak, a groin injury is an injury to a lower-abdominal
muscle or tendon, so the left or right business would refer to which
side of the pelvis the injured muscle attaches to. (/anatomical handwaving)

What lay observers like us would normally think of as a groin injury is,
instead, referred to more descriptively as "a (nearly-)ruptured
testicle". See
for current examples.
Alice Faber                                    faber at
Haskins Laboratories                           tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                        fax (203) 865-8963

The American Dialect Society -

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