Marco from San Diego, California, is curious about why sportscasters speak of a player who put English on a ball. The expression appears to have begun with British players of billiards and snooker, who first figured out how to give a ball some extra spin. Body English refers to the way a player or observer twists and turn once a ball is already in motion, as if they could somehow add a little extra spin after the fact. Sports announcers also refer to a ball that’s passed too hard as having a lot of mustard on it. That’s simply a way of comparing that added force to extra “spice.” This is part of a complete episode.
- At First Blush (episode #1529) 07/15/2019: Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel,... [more]
- Gift Horse (episode #1528) 07/01/2019: The edge of the Grand Canyon. A remote mountaintop. A medieval cathedral. Some places are so mystical you feel like you're close to another dimension... [more]
- Had the Radish (episode #1527) 06/21/2019: Your first name is very personal, but what if you don't like it? For some people, changing their name works out great but for others... [more]
- Abso-Bloomin-Lutely (episode #1526) 06/03/2019: The autocomplete function on your phone comes in handy, of course. But is it changing the way we write and how linguists study language? Also,... [more]
- Niblings and Nieflings (episode #1525) 05/14/2019: How do actors bring Shakespeare's lines to life so that modern audiences immediately understand the text? One way is to emphasize the names of people... [more]