root for the home team
Posted: 10 March 2014 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  710
Joined  2007-02-07

Etymologyonline.com says:

“cheer, support,” 1889, American English, originally in a baseball context, probably from root (v.1) via intermediate sense of “study, work hard” (1856). Related: Rooted; rooting.

For root (v.1) they have:

“Associated with the verb sense of root (n.). Extended sense of “poke about, pry” first recorded 1831.”

I can see how you could get to studying from the idea of rooting about in books, but I don’t see the connection from studying to cheering and I’ve never heard the study sense of root. Did this “intermediate” sense have a short lifespan? Any ideas how we get from studying to cheering and why baseball?

They show the “modern sense” of the word “baseball” from 1845, so it would seem that rooting and baseball got together pretty quickly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 March 2014 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

I was wondering about the study sense too, until I found it in Green’s Dictionary of Slang. Green has citations running from 1856–1926; it’s US university slang.

Gerald Cohen guesses (and he stresses that it is only speculation) that the baseball sense of root is directly from digging, from fans stamping their feet as if they were digging a hole in the grandstand.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 March 2014 05:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  335
Joined  2007-02-13

How old is “pulling for” the home team?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 March 2014 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  236
Joined  2007-02-23

And why the cheer “Go team!”?

Where does the word “fan” for an admirer enter the language?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 March 2014 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3506
Joined  2007-01-29

Where does the word “fan” for an admirer enter the language?

Earlier than the general sense “admirer” was “follower of a sports team,” and the first citation for that is:

1889 Kansas Times & Star 26 Mar., Kansas City base~ball fans are glad they’re through with Dave Rowe as a ball club manager.

It’s usually said to be short for “fanatic,” but Paul Dickson (compiler of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary) isn’t sure about that.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ baleful / baneful      What's with ››