British bias in the OED :-)

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Dec 17 18:47:44 UTC 2012

On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 11:23:16AM -0500, George Thompson wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 2:20 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at>wrote:
> > In that case, the school colors of all universities should be in the OED.
> >  And the mascots and symbols of all big-league sports teams.
> >
> To the extent that readers may encounter sentences like "He is [a color]",
> meaning "he is a graduate of [a school]".
> I don't know how common this would be, in the U. S.  I attended Boston U.,
> but do not expect to be referred to as a Red (except in the political
> sense).  I do see the sports teams from Syracuse &c. referred to as The
> Orangemen, &c; and the teams of other schools referred to as "The Badgers",
> &c.  The overall context of whatever writing contains such designations
> will probably make clear what they signify, but the sentence out of context
> will puzzle.

My sense is that these are not generally very common in the US.

The entries in the _blue_ range are currently being revised, and I
regret to inform our relevant Ivy friends here that we will not be
including references to their schools therein. I think that outside of a
gathering of alumni, no one (even graduates of these schools) would
likely think of "blue" as referring to their school, unless the context
was incredibly specific. The use in the UK is very different.

The question of whether to include team names in general in dictionaries
is different. This extends beyond college teams: Ron Butters has
presented various papers arguing that entries like _Giant_ 'a member of
the New York Giants football team' should be entered into general
dictionaries. But few dictionaries do.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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