British bias in the OED :-)

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Mon Dec 17 19:05:26 UTC 2012

Of course, we Wolverines routinely say, "Go Blue" and in Michigan, anyway (can't vouch for other blue schools like say, Kentucky or Kansas), that's automatically associated with U of M.  We'd never refer to a U of M player or student or alumnus/a as a "Blue" though.

Paul Johnston
On Dec 17, 2012, at 1:47 PM, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
> Subject:      Re: British bias in the OED :-)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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 -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list