[Ads-l] Word: gamesmanship 1939

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 29 20:41:06 UTC 2018

There was a discussion thread about "gamesmanship" back in 2010.


The first citation for gamesmanship (noun) in the OED is dated 1947.

Daniel Gruber in Germany saw the mailing list thread and sent me a
message about a Google Books snippet match that I had identified.
Gruber obtained the book and verified the match. He also sent me two
scans. Below are the details. The excerpt helps to illustrate the
meaning of gamesmanship in 1939.

Year: 1939
Title: Friends in Aspic
Author: Ian Coster
Publisher: John Miles, Amen Corner, London
Quote Page 49
Database: Google Books Snippet verified with scans from Daniel Gruber

[Begin excerpt - please double check data and text]
For seasons he captained the eleven of his Essex village, and he
fitted them out with club caps. This sartorial extravagance was not
just vanity. It was an example of what he calls "gamesmanship," as
distinct from sportsmanship. Gamesmanship is the art of winning games
by cunning against opponents with superior skill.

Explaining the idea of the caps, Meynell said, "In every village
cricket team there are always one or two excellent fielders, fellows
who can throw the ball in accurately. Opposing batsmen get to know
these men, and they can tell when they can take a chance on a
throw-in. But by putting all of our team in big-peaked caps we stopped
the sneaking of runs; the batsmen could not distinguish the good
fielders from the bad, and so they were afraid to take risks."
[End excerpt]

The word "gamesmanship" also occurs on page 63 with an asterisk
footnote (according to GB). I will try to learn more about this.

Garson O'Toole

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

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