[Ads-l] nutmeg (was: Re: rude: noisy? frolicksome?)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 26 00:43:54 UTC 2017

> On Sep 25, 2017, at 6:08 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
>> On Sep 25, 2017, at 2:38 PM, Andy Bach <afbach at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> Interest[ing], possibly, is that the soccer maneuver, where you trick your
>> defender in to sticking out a foot and then slip the ball between their
>> legs and go around them, is called a "nutmeg."
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWEQs3XMMOo
> from my blog:
> 6/25/15: nutmeg, the verb:
> https://arnoldzwicky.org/2015/06/25/nutmeg-the-verb/
> arnold

Very interesting—overdetermination, as Dr. Freud would say.  Nutmeg = testicle (fitting enough, given the derivation < "musk nut”) so knocking the ball between one’s opponents legs is nutmegging him (masculine non-generic, given the circumstances), but traders are bamboozled by nutmeg the spice being replaced (or if you prefer substituted) by the ersatz cheaper wooden versions, so pulling a fast one on your opponent is nutmegging them in a similar way.  Presumably if a female soccer player could be described as nutmegging another, the don’t-take-wooden-nutmegs theory would win out over the testicular account, but in the absence of such diagnostics it’s hard to be sure...  


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list