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Posted: 28 December 2009 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi, I’m new here, but i just had to find out the origin of a word. I was up on a roof building a cricket to make the water flow off the roof as it should, and my 20 year old niece asked why its called a “cricket”. I spent several hrs trying to research it on the web, with no luck. Does anybody know the origon of this term?

Thanks

Reed

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Posted: 29 December 2009 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s not in any of my dictionaries, including the OED and the Dictionary of American Regional English, but a few minutes noodling around on Google establishes that it is indeed a term of art, if not a very common one, in the building trade. (You have to discard a lot a results from sporting supply sites that provide rain protection and drainage equipment for cricket pitches.)

But I did find in the OED the noun crock, n.5. The crocks of a house are the arched timbers that support the roof. The dictionary has one citation from 1570, the others are from the 19th century. The word is related to crook, as in a bent piece of wood, but the exact origin is fuzzy. I suspect that this sense of cricket may be an alteration of crock.

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Posted: 29 December 2009 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Not that it matters a lot, but when I replaced a roof a few years back the roofing-man said he had to “fix a couple crickets”, and that left me agog.  He obviously knew his stuff.

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Posted: 29 December 2009 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I hadn’t come across this sense of cricket before. A bit of googling yielded a picture. From the results I got, I suspect that cricket is a leftpondian term only. I have these things on my house (East Lothian, Scotland), termed saddles here. However, rather than just being a flashing, the saddles on my house are finished as baby roofs, complete with slates. I think their purpose is exactly the same, to prevent snow build-up upslope of the chimney stack which could lead to water penetration.

Dave Wilton - 29 December 2009 06:23 AM

But I did find in the OED the noun crock, n.5. The crocks of a house are the arched timbers that support the roof.

The usual form of the word that Dave found is cruck. Crucks were part of timber roof structures, in use before trusses were developed, and (as the OED says) were arched timbers. The distinguishing feature of a cruck frame is that the crucks carry the load from the ridge pole of the roof all the way down to the foundations (picture here). (There are other variants on the same page.)

I have to say that I don’t see much connection between crucks as described above and a piece of false roof behind a chimney stack, particularly as a cricket (or saddle) doesn’t contain any bent timbers in its construction. (The words may of course nevertheless have a common origin, the current meaning of a word not always being directly connected to its starting point.)

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Posted: 29 December 2009 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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This sense is has its own entry at dictionary.com (identified as “based on the Random House Dictionary” and so presumably listed therein). The etymology says “origin uncertain”. FWIW, crickets (the insects) are traditionally associated with fireplaces; that could have something to do with the origin of the name.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I realize I’m sticking my neck out here, but I do seem to remember having read somewhere* (a million years ago) that a few centuries ago, in the game of cricket, a “wicket” (i.e. today’s three stumps and two bails) was often a small stool, and was also called a “cricket”. “wicket” means a small door or gate --- some may see a distant relationship there to other joinery-related meanings of “cricket”. 

*Possibly in the “Chums” annual for 1938, which was packed with fascinating trivia --- the kind of stuff one never quite forgets, even after 71 years ("the greatest height from which anyone has fallen from an aeroplane, and lived, is about 14,000 feet"). Jokes, too:

First landlady: “My new lodger is a vegetarian”.
Second landlady: “Ah - a herbaceous boarder!”

A Happy (and verbose) 2010 to all at this Forum!

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Posted: 30 December 2009 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And a happy and healthy New Year to you, lionello, and to everyone else on the board.

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Posted: 02 January 2010 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dave Wilton - 29 December 2009 06:23 AM

It’s not in any of my dictionaries, including the OED and the Dictionary of American Regional English, but a few minutes noodling around on Google establishes that it is indeed a term of art, if not a very common one, in the building trade. (You have to discard a lot a results from sporting supply sites that provide rain protection and drainage equipment for cricket pitches.)

But I did find in the OED the noun crock, n.5. The crocks of a house are the arched timbers that support the roof. The dictionary has one citation from 1570, the others are from the 19th century. The word is related to crook, as in a bent piece of wood, but the exact origin is fuzzy. I suspect that this sense of cricket may be an alteration of crock.

I would have thought that the derivation was more likely to be straight from “crook”.  The normal back-gutter behind a chimney is straight, but theis is a bent (crooked) version, the better to throw off rain and snow.

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Posted: 04 January 2010 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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lionello is right about the two being related.
It is used symbolically in The Pilgrim’s Progress and parodied or alluded to in one of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker novels.

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Posted: 04 January 2010 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The idea that the name of the sport comes from cricket meaning stool is a common one, but the OED doesn’t think it holds water. The name of the sport is first attested to in English in 1598 in a reference to games played prior to 1548. There is also a 1478 citation in French describing the game that says “pres d’une atache [vine-stake] ou criquet.”

Cricket as stool isn’t attested until sometime before 1643.

Wicket in reference to the game of cricket doesn’t appear until 1733, although wicket as gate dates to the 13th century in English.

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Posted: 04 January 2010 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dave Wilton - 04 January 2010 07:14 AM

Wicket in reference to the game of cricket doesn’t appear until 1733, although wicket as gate dates to the 13th century in English.

The protoball chronology (http://retrosheet.org/Protoball/chron.htm) has an unconfirmed cite of a diary entry from c. 1725 of the game of “wicket” being played on Boston common.  “Wicket” was an American survival of pre-standard cricket.  Modern cricket descends from the Marylebone club rules from 1788, with clear antecedents from several decades earlier.  Somewhere along the line, perhaps even in the 17th century, an earlier version was transported to America.  It was popular in parts of New England, particularly the Connecticut River valley, into the second half of the 19th century. 

There is also a 20th century cite of an issue from “The Postman” of July 15, 1720 using “wicket” in the expected cricket sense.

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Posted: 07 March 2011 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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If any stool gave its name to cricket, it’s more likely to have been something like the krickstoel than a three-legged milking stool, given that the early wicket had only two stumps, set fairly wide apart, with a single long bail balanced on top. I can see how that could look like a gate – and it could let things through like a gate, too:  the third stump was only introduced after a celebrated incident in May 1775 on the Artillery Ground in London, when Edward “Lumpy” Stevens bowled the ball clean through the last Hambledon batsman’s stumps not once but three times without dislodging the bail (and thus failing to bowl him out).

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Posted: 03 March 2013 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Just a thought, being in the business ... a picture being worth the usual 1000 words, although not adjusted for inflation:

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Cricket - Cricket.jpg
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Posted: 04 March 2013 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Good thinking, space toast. But for you, I would still be puzzled as to what a cricket on a roof actually is.

Welcome to this forum, and keep on coming.

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Posted: 04 March 2013 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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It’s Chim-er-ney Cricket!

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Posted: 04 March 2013 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Nice one, Aldi.

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