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Pinball Slang

Drain, gobble hole, and live catch are all terms used by pinball enthusiasts. Drain refers to “the space between flippers,” a gobble hole swallows up the ball, and live catch refers to “catching the ball on a flipper and balancing...

1930s Baseball Slang

Baseball slang collected during the 1930s includes fishing trip for “taking a swing at a bad ball,” pour the pine for “to hit a good ball solidly,” and the derisive term collisions for “college players,”, that is...

A Can of Corn in Baseball

A longtime baseball umpire wonders why the slang phrase can of corn refers to “an easily caught pop fly ball.” Another term for “a high fly ball” is rainmaker, suggesting that the ball goes up so far that it’s capable...

English on a Ball

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...

The Origin of “Mall” in Shopping Mall

The word mall, as in shopping mall, has traveled a long and winding path, beginning with the Italian game of pallamaglio, which was played with a ball and a mallet. The name of the game found its way into French as pallemaille, which in turn became...