Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Feb 6 18:58:50 UTC 2013

Interesting that "choke artist" is as old as 1941 (or older), which I wouldn't have guessed.  The most famous fictional choking act was that of Casey at the bat in the eponymous Thayer poem (1888), but the word "choke" doesn't appear in the poem.


On Feb 6, 2013, at 12:58 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC wrote:

> 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
> Scott."
> _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 -

The American Dialect Society -

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