Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Of Many Things English

Dictionary.com provides the following, as one of the meanings of the word sandbagging:
To downplay or misrepresent one's ability in a game or activity in order to deceive (someone), especially in gambling: sandbagged the pool player by playing poorly in the first game when stakes were low.

First came across this at a team race, where some accused others of sandbagging and fooling everyone by running a lot faster than they said in their initial estimates.
The Bangalore marathon was fun, in spite of the fact that it started at a hottish 9:30 a.m., and the unbelievable crowd of banner holding, slogan chanting, corporate runners rooting for their own companies. Finished a lot faster (41 min. for 7 k.m.) than expected, thanks to Flo "Sandbagger" Jo [now the connections emerge] who was in a tearing hurry to reach someplace just around the next corner. "Knackered" at the end, but that made the steak at "The Only Place" (Museum Road, Bangalore) that much more sllurrp.
While on the general topic of English usages, and since we're into putative lists nowadays, here is the list of top 5 annoying English bloopers (IMO) that have insidiously crept their way into common use:
  • momentarily: Some centuries ago, "momentarily" used to mean, "for a moment". Then the United States came into existence. Fast forward to the 1990s/2000s and now the darn word means, "in a moment" to most people. We will pause momentarily to reflect on what this means. . . . . .Having reflected, we move on. The disease seems to have crossed the Atlantic. One distinctly remembers hearing a, "Wait here children, Professor Dumbledore will be with you momentarily." in a motion picture. Or is this just Hollywood scriptwriters putting words in mouths of the doyens of British cinema?
  • presently: Mostly Indian. "Presently I am doing my MBA in Neo-Fascism from IIM-X." And presently, I am going to going to bonk you on the head with a tomato (large, putrid). Whatever happened to "currently"?
  • disinterested/uninterested: The distinctions have blurred. The centre cannot hold. The falcon spirals. A great beast slouches through the dunes towards Bethlehem. [disinterested = impartial, uninterested = not interested]
  • TBD UPDATE: You're all set. You are therefore a pudding. One pays heed to cannibals.
  • TBD UPDATE: According to me. You might suffer from a serious case of split personality, but you can't accord to yourself, IMO. Which brings us [rather cleverly, smirk, smirk] to what the correct phrase would be: "In my opinion..." Stop according to yourselves peoples!
  • UPDATE:This door is alarmed. Oh really? How do you know? Did it scream in a high pitched voice? Or do you communicate with it via ESP? By way of the friendly neighbourhood [someone came with an eraser and scrub-a-dub-ed this bit] cannibal.

Age doth wither and custom doth stale the memory, the list will have to be completed anon.

4 comments:

Orcaella brevirostris said...

"you're all set" - etymology unknown. primary area of distribution- NE US, but also heard in the first harry potter movie.

originally used to indicate state of readiness. but now it means that you are a happy camper/ you have been served/ or- and this is the confusing part- you are asked if you are all set if your order for a carrot-beet soy smoothie has been placed, but you haven't received it.

saying one is all set makes one feel like one is a jelly that has been placed in the fridge for the requisite number of hours.

-flo sandbagger jo

Anonymous said...

Interesting. As per my knowledge, presently meant shortly or before long. When and how did it come to refer to currently, however, is another question. You are right - whatever happened to the actual distinction between the two? :)

Orcaella brevirostris said...

ay, 'ooer you calling a camel?

another one for the list: the use of process as an intransitive verb.
frinstance- there was a parade and they processed down the street.

proceed! say they proceeded down the street!

are the bands and the kids processing data? or are they lil food processors marching down main street, to the tune of "when the saints go marching in"?

Ludwig said...

Damn. I never thought you would ever get around to reading this! This process as intransitive verb sounds very shaky. Don't think I've come across it myself. So I will cease and desist. Blogger's discretionary powers. So there!