[Ads-l] monkey in the middle (1952)

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 28 03:55:24 UTC 2020

And let's not overlook the alliteration that even without any other
considerations would make "monkey in the middle" more attractive and
memorable as a name than "piggy in the middle".

MAM (with "A" in the middle, thankyouverymuch)

On Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 9:01 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> Great work BZ and everyone. It is natural to wonder why  "piggy in the
> middle" became "monkey in the middle". Perhaps the change was
> influenced by the name of another scenario called a "monkey chase"
> from the domain of baseball.
> [Begin Wikipedia excerpt]
> A rundown, informally known as a pickle or the hotbox, is a situation
> in the game of baseball that occurs when the baserunner is stranded
> between two bases, also known as no-man's land, and is in jeopardy of
> being tagged out.
> [End Wikipedia excerpt]
> I have found some newspaper citations from 1905 to the 1940s which use
> the phrase "monkey chase" to describe a rundown. Unfortunately, I've
> only found it in Wisconsin newspapers.
> There are some similarities between "monkey in the middle" and "monkey
> chase" scenarios, but there are also some important differences. The
> "monkey" is typically between two other players who toss an item back
> and forth.
> While engaging in "monkey in the middle" the "monkey" wants to
> intercept the ball; while engaging in a "monkey chase" the "monkey"
> wants to avoid being near the ball.
> Date: August 18, 1905
> Newspaper: The Menasha Record
> Newspaper Location: Menasha, Wisconsin
> Article: Menasha 5 Nenah 2
> Quote Page 1, Column 4
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> Bendt doubled into left field and Tuehscherer scored. Larsen was sent
> out to run for Bendt who had Injured his leg at practice and after
> stealing third he was caught in a monkey chase in an attempt to steal
> home.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> ....thnidu

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

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