flipflap
Posted: 11 February 2018 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A description of the baseball player Arlie Latham, originally in the Boston Herald and reprinted in The Sporting Life of July 26, 1890:

He has an inexhaustible fund of wit, and is known among the fraternity as a ‘big card.’ how well he sustains this reputation can be seen by the large number of spectators who crowd the bleachers near third base and shout themselves horse when he is in particularly high spirits.  He is rarely guilty of repetition, which is most remarkable when his volubility is considered.  Every phase of the play suggests a new idea.  His legs are no less active than his brain, and, when covering his position, he personifies what the boys call a ‘dancing jack.” He frequently gives expression to his feelings when an exceptionally fine play is made by his side, in throwing as clean a flipflap as was ever seen in a circus tent.  He turns the most trivial incidents into mirth-provoking characterizations.  He at all times preserves a remarkable equipoise, and was never known to insult a player or spectator, no matter what the provocation might be.  His remarks to the umpire, from anyone else, would bring down upon him the stern reprimand of the autocrat of the diamond, but the cleverness with which he serves out his comments is never followed by a reprimand.  If there is any of life in his club he will bring it out and make it show for all it is worth.  He is an excellent third baseman, and a ball, coming into his territory invariably means that the batsman must retire to the benches.

The phrase often associated with Latham is “The Freshest Man on Earth.” By 1890 he had graduated to the status of being a character.  This was not clear a couple of years earlier, when he was sometimes presented as being an ass.  It is a fine line.

In any case, I mention this here for the peculiar use of “flipflap.” It clearly is related to “flip-flop” but I infer from broader context of other descriptions of Latham that here it means a back flip.

[ Edited: 12 February 2018 03:12 AM by Richard Hershberger ]
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Posted: 11 February 2018 09:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This was not clear a couple of years earlier, when he was sometimes presented as being an ass.

Understandable against the background of spectators in the bleachers having previously shouted themselves horse!

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Posted: 11 February 2018 11:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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In sport gymnastics the back handspring is known as a flic-flac (I don’t know if this is the official term but BBC sports commentators routinely use it), and in German it’s a Flick-Flack. It sounds as though the journalist might have misheard that word (possibly a German import?) assuming it was a variant or relation of the more familiar flip-flop.

Edited to contradict self!
I’ve finally got to a device from which I can access the OED, and it cites this definition:

‘A kind of somersault in which the performer throws himself over on his hands and feet alternately’; also, ‘a peculiar rollicking dance indulged in by costers’ ( Slang Dict. 1864).

And citations over nearly two centuries:

1676 Char. Quack-doctor 5 He danc’d a Saraband with Flip flaps, and Sommersets.
1727 J. Gay Fables I. xl. 136 The tumbler whirles the flip-flap round, With sommersets he shakes the ground.
1764 Garrick in G. Colman Posthumous Lett. (1820) 256 Flip flaps, and great changes without meaning.
1851 D. Jerrold St. Giles & St. James (new ed.) xxxi, in Writings I. 324 This..iniquitous world—a world of flip-flaps and sumersets.

[ Edited: 12 February 2018 01:58 AM by Syntinen Laulu ]
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Posted: 12 February 2018 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Are there other instances of flipflap?

If not, my first instinct would be to declare it a typo.

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Posted: 12 February 2018 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dave: Look up there!

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Posted: 12 February 2018 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dave Wilton - 12 February 2018 05:36 AM

Are there other instances of flipflap?

If not, my first instinct would be to declare it a typo.

Here

image.jpg

[ Edited: 12 February 2018 07:53 AM by cuchuflete ]
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Posted: 12 February 2018 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Doh!

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Posted: 12 February 2018 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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A check of genealogybank, which I should have done before posting, shows quite a substantial number of hits, typically in a hyphenated form.

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