[Ads-l] to "pull a fast one"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 7 18:37:10 UTC 2023

OED's primary example (1912) is pretty clearly about a fastball, not an
underhanded trick. "Fast one" was and is a usual term for a fastball (or,
formerly, a sharply hit ball):

1898 St. Louis Republic (Sept. 26) 5: Not once during the game did he put
over a fast one. [I.e., put one over home plate.]

1900 Chicago Tribune (July 27) 9: The Captain, however, pulled a fast one
close to the third bag which Sullivan could only partially stop.

1901 Rockford [Ill.] Republic (May 1) 2: Isbell pulled a fast one to right,
and Dillon reached for it as it shot past him.

1909 Montgomery [Ala.] Advertiser (Jan. 25) 8: Why, if [pitchers] Ed Walsh
or "Bill" Donovan ever slip a fast one at him, it will scare him to death.

1912 Evening Star {Washington, D.C.) 11: Get in there and hustle. Put over
a fast one and show that batter up.

OED has fig. (and obs.?) "put over a fast one" from 1913, making it the
earliest "fast one" (shrewd or deceptive maneuver)

OED's first "pull a fast one," which is now usual, is from 1930.

1919 Buffalo [N.Y.] Evening Times (Sept. 29) 12: Trickiest Play of Recent
Years on the Diamond - Charles Dooin Pulls a Fast One and a Great Argument


On Wed, Jun 7, 2023 at 8:26 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> Sleight of hand?
> It may be that someone commented (hear tell, unapproved by moderator)
> on a NY Times article about
> President Biden's age something to the effect that Biden may not have
> pulled a fast one on House Speaker McCarthy in the debt limit talks
> but maybe he pulled a slow one.
> sg. maybe for a friend
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list