[Ads-l] Olympics-related WOTY? (UNCLASSIFIED)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 15 22:49:13 UTC 2016

Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> What is this from? The goat of Azazel?

There was a short discussion of the early use of "goat" in the sports
domain in the article that Ben Yagoda linked. Gerald Cohen was
skeptical of the connection to scapegoat.


[Begin excerpt]
Dickson notes that most explanations for the origin of the baseball
usage describe it as a clipped form of "scapegoat" that refers "to a
player whose error is being blamed for a team's defeat."

However, he points out that one language researcher, Gerald L. Cohen,
challenged this theory in the Dec. 1, 1985, issue of Comments on

"A scapegoat is innocent, whereas the goat is not; he has blundered,
usually at a crucial moment," Cohen writes. "And the standard
etymology of 'goat' as a shortening of 'scapegoat' is therefore almost
certainly in error."

He suggests instead that the usage might have been influenced by a
goat used to haul a peanut wagon in the late 19th century. Perhaps,
but we think the erroneous-shortening hypothesis seems more likely.
[End excerpt]


> On Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 5:26 PM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
> RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
>> Slightly earlier:
>> _The Sporting Life_ 10 Aug 1907 p 5 col 4
>> "Nick Altrock continues to be the goat. He is the unlucky pitcher of the
>> team this year, and to date has won four games, lost eleven and tied one."
>> > The Grammarphobia notes that goat has been used negatively in sports "as
>> a derisive term for a player responsible for a team’s loss".
>> > Grammarphobia provides an excellent citation via The Dickson Baseball
>> Dictionary (3rd ed.), by Paul Dickson. The citation is dated October
>> > 10, 1909. Here is an instance from a few months earlier:
>> >
>> > Date: April 24, 1909
>> > Newspaper: Denver Post
>> > Newspaper Location: Denver, Colorado
>> > Quote Page 7, Column 4
>> > Database:GenealogyBank
>> >
>> > [Begin excerpt]
>> > It was all a question of luck, which broke the wrong way, as it
>> sometimes will. The Sox inserted their bad breaks in the wrong places, and
>> it
>> > is with grief we announce the blowing up of Pilot Bill. He was the goat
>> all right and is in position to cuss himself good and plenty.
>> > If Bill had not included that cloud-rasping throw in the eighth the
>> champions would not have been able to tie on Doc's wild pitch in the
>> > eleventh.
>> > [End excerpt]
>> >
>> >
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list