Friday, May 22, 2015

Underdog or Underduck?

Loveda in Traverse City called because she and her daughter-in-law call the same action by different names, and she wanted to know which one was correct. The action takes place on a swing set. The pusher runs under the swing and then lets go. Loveda calls it underdog. The relative from Ohio calls it underduck.

We’re definitely in the realm of regionalisms here. Which one is correct? It depends where you live. When I used a search engine to see what I could find on the internet, I was startled to find about 1,150 results. People get very opinionated about this and hurl insults at each other. Even people living in the same state or Canadian province disagree on which is “correct.”

The underduck contingent maintains that you duck under the swing. The underdog folks say that you don’t duck, you stand straight up and perform a feat worthy of the cartoon character Underdog. They also point to the strong possibility that underduck is a childish mishearing of underdog, especially in certain regional pockets.

I’m not going to commit to either without definitive evidence. On the southside of Chicago many decades ago, we called it “trying to strand your buddy on the swing crossbar, pinned by chains.” It was a tough neighborhood.

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