[Ads-l] "high five" (was Re: Pswaydo-BE)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 5 15:04:57 UTC 2017

On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 10:34 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Baseball's origin story places the first high five at a Dodgers-Astros
> game on Oct. 2, 1977, exchanged between two Dodgers, Glenn Burke and Dusty
> Baker, after Burke hit a home run.
> "History of the High Five" (ESPN The Magazine, Apr. 12, 2013)
> http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/page/Mag15historyofthehighf
> ive/who-invented-high-five
> "30 for 30 Shorts: The High Five" (ESPN, July 23, 2014)
> http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=11253247
> "High five" doesn't start appearing in print until 1980, though. OED3's
> first cite (previously posted here by Bill Mullins) is from the Mar. 25,
> 1980 Boston Globe, referring to Univ. of Louisville basketball players.
> (The ESPN article above also mentions high-fiving at Louisville, beginning
> in the 1978-79 season.) Here's a slight antedating:
> Cincinnati Enquirer, Mar. 23, 1980, p. C1 (photo caption)
> Keeping wary eyes on last-second court action, Louisville's Darrell
> Griffith (right) and Wiley Brown exchange the "high five" along the bench.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/14198813/

Even earlier, the "high five" was discussed near the end of the Mar. 16,
1980 NCAA Tournament game (Midwest Regional Final) between Louisville and
Louisiana State, on the national broadcast on NBC Sports. Color commentator
Al McGuire explained the gesture (and also provided the verbal form
"high-fiving"). On YouTube:


My transcription:

Al McGuire: You see the handshaking above the head? You know what the guys
call that? A high five!
Billy Packer: High five?
Dick Enberg: There's another freshman going...
McGuire: Yeah. High five. They're high-fiving out there right now. [Or
possibly: "There's high-fiving out there right now."]
Enberg: Louisville with some high fives.


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

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