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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 1 23:20:19 UTC 2022

Note also that the OED has the fully expanded "most valuable player" (s.v.
"most"), similarly misdefined as "the best or most successful player of a
team during a season, series, or single match."

On Sun, May 1, 2022 at 5:33 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

> 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.
> LH
> 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.)

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