Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Feb 6 17:58:36 UTC 2013

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

The OED entries for choke don't seem to included the figurative sense
"to fail when the stakes are high", as is often used in sports.

_London [UK] Daily Mail 12/9/1905 p. 8 col 3
"Moifaa was pulling double alongside Killerby entering the straight, but
he choked under pressure up the long, severe hill, and stopped to
nothing at last."
[This article is about horse racing, and the cite may literally mean
choking, as in not having enough breath.]

_NY Post_ 5/18/1932 p 16 col 8
"The colorful language of the clubhouse describes a player's inability
to come through in the tight spots as "choking in the clutch." Lloyd and
Paul seldom have "choked"-and they've been in lots of "clutches." "

_NY Post_ 7/20/1936 p 17 col 8
"It might have been about 10--4 in favor of the other side-if Watty
Clark or his support had choked in the clutch at any time."

_Seattle Daily Times_ 3/26/1937 p 13 col 1
"CHOKES IN THE CLUTCH - Not so good in a pinch."

_Springfield [MA] Republican_ 7/2/1938 p 10 col 8
"Jacobs had choked in the clutch."

_Syracuse Herald Journal_ 7/14/1941 p 15 col 3
"Jim Newton has taken the title of "choke artist" away from Jimmy

_Abilene [TX] Reporter News_ 3/25/1946 p 6 col 7
"When I was a sports reporter I guess I must have written a thousand
stories describing how a certain hitter choked up under pressure, or how
a golfer froze upon a short putt, or how a tennis player couldn't take
it when the pressure was on."

_Boston Herald_ 7/25/1956 p16 col 4
"As we know, Ted's defiance was a specific one, aimed at a few
journalists most of whom have specialized in the past 15 years in
calling him everything from a primadonna to a "choke artist." "

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

The American Dialect Society -

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