[Ads-l] Astros clinch World Series

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 2 11:51:52 EDT 2017

Thank you for your support. I took a quick look at Oxford and was

OTOH, according to this here in the Telegraph:


but that just looks like a broadening, possibly driven by a desire of
writers and editors to not always use 'win'.


On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> > On Nov 2, 2017, at 8:36 AM, Dan Goncharoff <TheGonch at MEDIAKAT.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > I would never write that about a game 7 win. For me, clinching requires
> > uncertainty. The Astros could have clinched in game 6, but didn't.
> >
> > I won't use 'clinch' in a simple win-or-lose situation. I can see it in
> > complex scenarios, eg, clinching a spot in the playoffs by winning the
> last
> > regular season game.
> >
> > ——————————————————————————————
> Agreed.  That does strike me as an odd use of “clinch”.   It’s a bit
> complicated, though.  I agree that it seems like a baseball, basketball, or
> hockey team can be said to clinch a 7-game series in Game 4, 5, or 6, but
> not 7; thus, Joe Carter’s Game 6 walk-off home run clinched the 1993 World
> Series for the Blue Jays, but Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off Game 7 home run
> didn’t “clinch” the 1960 World Series for the Pirates, it only won it.
> (And yes, I’m using “walk-off” anachronistically here.).
> On the other hand, if Federer wins three of the first four of five
> scheduled sets against Nadal, he isn’t said to have clinched the match,
> only to have won it.  The most natural uses involve cases where additional
> (“meaningless”) games must be played, but then why isn’t it odd to say that
> a team clinches a World Series victory when they win in 5 games?  It’s not
> like they go ahead and play the last two games, any more than Federer and
> Nadal would play the last meaningless set.  “Clinch” is used in Davis Cup
> play, though, since even if one country’s team is up 3-0, they go ahead and
> play the last (“meaningless”) matches, so after a team builds that
> insurmountable lead, they are indeed said to clinch.  Similarly, in a
> national election, you clinch victory when you get enough electoral votes
> to “put you over the top” (since the other electoral votes will still be
> counted).
> But the use Dan mentions about last night’s game is all over the web, so
> it’s not an error but a broadening.
> I tried the OED, which was no help, since they don’t include the relevant
> lemma in their (admittedly not-fully-updated) entry for clinch, v.1.  The
> closest is
> 5.  To make firm and sure (a matter, assertion, argument, bargain, etc.);
> to drive home; to make conclusive, confirm, establish.
> with no cites involving securing ultimate victory in a contest.  AHD5’s
> entry predicts the pennant-clinching or division-clinching uses or, by
> extension, the playoff-spot-clinching and electoral contexts (the latter
> requires a bit of tweaking to the definition) but not the
> World-Series-clinching occurrences:
> 3. Sports To secure (a divisional championship, for instance) before the
> end of regular season play by having an insurmountable lead.
> So the key is the notion of insurmountability, along with the
> end-of-season (or end-of-electoral-vote-counting) context, but that
> doesn’t distinguish between the cases we (at least some of us) do
> distinguish between, including that weird distinction between scheduled
> 7-game World Series and scheduled 5-set tennis matches.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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