In cricket, what is a batsman up to when he farms the strike, plays an agricultural shot, or does a bit of gardening? What is a double bagel in tennis? Or the yips in golf? What is the B of the Bang? And Row Z? And where on earth do the words deuce, dormie, and doosra come from? TALKING BALLS explains the meaning and origin of hundreds of terms and phrases currently used by those who practice sport as well as those who write about it. The core of the book will be the language used by commentators, journalists, players, managers/coaches, etc. to talk about a sport - often using terms that lie outside the 'official' lexicon of the sport (where some of the most fanciful, creative and amusing usages can be found). TALKING BALLS not only shows how sport shapes our language, but also allows sports buffs to look at the games that they love from a humorous and intriguing angle. As Simon Barnes recently wrote in THE TIMES: 'Sport is an inexhaustible quarry for the word-hungry: it constantly produces new words and new expressions. Sport's vividness means that these expressions can at once be lifted and used for general purposes.Sport is itself a metaphor, so naturally, sporting expressions become useful metaphors for the way we live.
That has been the case ever since someone was first caught on a sticky wicket.'
Andrew Delahunty is a lexicographer and writer on language who has written and contributed to a wide variety of dictionaries and reference books. As well as writing general language dictionaries, he has compiled specialist dictionaries on such subjects as nicknames and allusions. He is the author of the OXFORD DICTIONARY OF NICKNAMES and GOLDEN BALLS AND THE IRON LADY, and co-author of the OXFORD DICTIONARY OF ALLUSIONS.