[Ads-l] Problematic Definition of "M.V.P."

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun May 1 21:33:33 UTC 2022

Besides the confusion about a team's MVP vs. a league's MVP, the OED's
definition certainly does go wrong in mentioning "best" as a criterion.
There are even leagues with a separate "M.O.P." (Most Outstanding Player)
which really is intended to signal the *best* performance, precisely to
distinguish it from the *most valuable*. Then of course there are all the
complaints about whether it makes sense to choose an MVP from a losing
team. I recall a particularly robust dispute over whether Andre Dawson
really deserved to be elected as MVP of the National League when his Cubs
finished last in their division. As some maintained at the team, they could
have finished last without him.


On Sun, May 1, 2022 at 8:44 AM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> The OED's definition of "M.V.P." is somewhat off-base. The definition is:
> "MVP n. U.S. Sport (originally Baseball) most valuable player, (an award
> given to) the best player in a team (also in extended use)."
> If this definition was correct, there would be 30 M.V.P. awards given in
> baseball every year.  A better definition would be something like "an award
> given to the player in a league who was most valuable to his or her team's
> success."  (I realize that that definition is not entirely satisfactory
> either, since it ignores the complexities stemming from different criteria
> used by different sportswriters.)
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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