Tuesday, February 26, 2008

American English hits a homerun

A gmail status that I posted today reminded me of something I've thought about this before, especially when I used to hang out with a lot of Finnish people. The number of baseball idioms that we use in our casual conversation is staggering.

Not surprisingly, Wikipedia has a list, though it feels like it's probably incomplete.

It's sort of fun to think of them, since many have become so ingrained in the way we speak that we give no thought to the baseball connection. Things like:

-a ballpark figure
-to cover one's bases
-out of left field
-off base
-rain check
-right off the bat
-second-guess (I didn't even know this one was baseball)
-touch base

Next time you're speaking with someone from outside the US, try to catch yourself using one of the innumerable baseball colloquialisms. The person might have no idea what you're talking about.

My status message, by the way, was "in the home stretch" which is actually a horse racing term...


Kimberly Pye said...

And then there's "first base" and "second base" and "third base" and "home base." Hee hee. ;-)

Danielle A. said...

Wow... that's definitely one of those things that you don't think about. I was looking over that list and didn't realize some of those were baseball lingo.