Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bat


Gary from Cross Village, Michigan, called Words to the Wise to ask why the implement used to strike the ball in baseball is called a BAT. The basic reason is that the word was already long in use in a somewhat similar stick-and-ball game, cricket. It was ripe for borrowing.

Ultimately, it came from a Latin verb that meant to strike. As I mentioned on an earlier program, bat is one of those words that has wildly unconnected meanings, principally because an identical spelling evolved from completely different sources.

·      Flying mammals  [Scandinavian]
    A sports stick or club   [French]
·      A pack-saddle   [French]
·      A spree or binge   [unknown]
·      The colloquial speech of a foreign country  [Hindi]

Other implements used in stick-and-ball games include the following:

·      STICK:  [Latin, to spur on]
·      CLUB:  [Germanic/Scandinavian, a mass of wood]
·      PADDLE: [ Latin, a spade-like implement]
·      RACQUET:  [French, palm-like implement]
·      MALLET:  [French, hammer]


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

Nook edition


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





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