[Ads-l] Fwd: Hail Mary pass/play/shot

Bill Mullins amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 17 08:24:38 UTC 2018

From NPR yesterday:

" You've heard of the Hail Mary pass, right? Well, you can think the Vikings for that. The phrase Hail Mary pass was first used in 1975 after the Dallas Cowboys' last-second miracle touchdown pass beat the Vikings."

OED has 1972 for "Hail Mary play", 1982 for "Hail Mary touchdown pass", but nothing for specifically "Hail Mary pass".  In the ADS-L archives, Sam Clements found "Hail Mary pass plays" 8/29/1974; Ben Zimmer found "Hail Mary shot" 12/20/1965 (and clipped on Newspapers.com 12/17/1971 for "Hail Mary play").  Barry Popik has found "Hail Mary play" (with a literal Hail Mary) in 1939.

Hail Mary play

Monroe LA _Monroe News-Star_ 11/5/1934 p 5 col 5

"Presbyterian Finds 'Hail Mary' Play Notre Dame's Best" [headline -- this is the same literal usage as Barry's 1939 cite.]

_Philadelphia Daily News_ 11/8/1971 p 64 col 5

"Another sideline discussion led to what the sandlotters call the 'Hail, Mary' play -- a long pass and a prayer."

Hail Mary pass

St. Petersburg FL _Tampa Bay Times_ 12/31/1940 p 11 col 6

"A "Hail Mary" pass, in the talk of the Washington eleven, is one that is thrown with a prayer because the odds against completion are big."

_Hartford Courant_ 10/13/1959 p 19 col 1

""They call it their Martin Luther play," the Yale scout said. "The same thing at Notre Dame would be called the Hail Mary pass.""

Hail Mary shot

New Brunswick NJ _Central New Jersey Home News_ 3/4/1931 p 13 col 4

"Sister Helen Rose, at St. Peter's High, calls Miss Virginia Bahash's shots, "Hail Mary shots."  You know the kind -- given 'em a fling and breathe a prayer."  [basketball]

[https://ipmcdn.avast.com/images/icons/icon-envelope-tick-round-orange-animated-no-repeat-v1.gif]<https://www.avast.com/sig-email?utm_medium=email&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=emailclient&utm_term=icon>        Virus-free. www.avast.com<https://www.avast.com/sig-email?utm_medium=email&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=emailclient&utm_term=link>

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list