Friday, October 21, 2011

Bye and By

John from Bass Lake brought up the subject of bye weeks in American football. Each NFL team plays 16 games out of 17 weeks in the NFL schedule. The game that they don't play is called their bye week, or open date.

John’s first issue was the proper spelling: should it be bye or by? It turns out that bye is what’s currently used, though it came from the preposition by, the one expressing passing without stopping or contact, thus signifying a state of avoidance.

Bye seems to have started as a cricket term, and it had a meaning quite specific to that game. As it was adopted by other sports as a descriptive term, it signified the team left out in a league with an uneven number of participants after every other team had been paired.

SIDEBAR: Walk on By (Dionne Warwick)

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Check out Mike's program-based books here:

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now.

There is a collection of podcasts. Go to and click on Podcasts. Scroll down The Ron Jolly Show to find the Words to the Wise audio button.

Visit The Senior Corner at



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints