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Oxford English Dictionary announces latest update
27 June 2017
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has announced its latest update, which includes more than 50 tennis-related words, as well as lifestyle, current affairs, and educational additions.
Tennis slang ‘bagel’, coined by player Eddie Dibbs in the 1970s, refers to the similarity of the numeral 0 (in tennis scoring) to the shape of a bagel, while additions ‘tennis mom’ and ‘tennis dad’ describe parents who actively support their child’s participation in the sport. Interestingly, the spelling variation ‘tennis mum’ started life in the 1970s with an alternative sense, referring to a woman who has returned to playing tennis after becoming a mother.
Tennis scores themselves also have an interesting history; ‘forty’ refers to the third point, but was originally called ‘forty-five’ or ‘five and forty’ in the 16th Century. It is thought the ‘five’ was dropped for the convenience of calling out ‘forty’.
Other tennis related additions include:
career slam (noun)
A complete set of major championship titles won over the course of a player’s career, rather than in a single calendar year);
A pause in a match during which the players swap sides of the court or pitch.
continental grip (noun)
A manner of gripping the racket in which (for a right-handed player) the bottom knuckle of the index finger is in contact with the top of the handle and the heel of the hand with the bevel immediately clockwise from it, used for a variety of shots but now the standard grip for serving and volleying.
eastern grip (noun)
A manner of gripping the racket in which the first knuckle of the index finger and the heel of the hand are in contact with the top of the handle, typically used for flat forehand shots.
semi-western grip (noun)
A manner of gripping the racket in which the bottom knuckle of the index finger is in contact with the right vertical panel of the racket handle and the heel of the hand with the bevel immediately clockwise from it, now used to generate topspin on shots.