Spot = loan
Posted: 25 May 2008 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  152
Joined  2007-06-14

Does anyone know how spot came to mean ‘loan’, as in “Spot me a ten”?

Posted: 25 May 2008 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  1432
Joined  2007-03-21

I agree with this person:

My opinion is that SPOT, to lend, derives from its sporting meaning, which surprisingly Cassell’s (as well as Chapman’s, Partridge, etc.) ignores. In sports ‘spot’ means to give or grant a certain margin or advantage to an opponent – to allow as a handicap. “She spotted her opponent five points and still won easily.” “He spotted his friend, who was a weaker player, two strokes a hole.” “He won the bout, although spotting his challenger twenty pounds.”

So ‘to spot’ in the sporting sense is to grant a favor – to give something. Seems to me that this easily transfers over to doing someone a favor and giving them a loan.

Posted: 25 May 2008 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  2453
Joined  2007-01-30

Yes, here’s the entry in OED for the sporting sense.


spot, v.

Add:  [III.] 11. Sport. Const. with dative of person. To give or concede (an advantage or lead) to an opponent. U.S. colloq.
1934 J. T. FARRELL Young Manhood x. 163 We’ll play fifty straight pool, and I’ll spot you ten. 1939 Sun (Baltimore) 21 June 14/2 No fighter can spot Mr. Joe Louis his entire offensive program and hope to wrest the world’s championship from him. 1972 Newsweek 31 July 42/3 After arrogantly spotting Spassky a two-game lead, Fischer had proceeded to catch up to his opponent. 1985 Los Angeles Times 14 July III. 6/2 The Dodgers,..could have spotted the Cubs an extra out for nine innings, and it wouldn’t have mattered.

One can easily see, as Oeco says, how spotting a loan could come naturally from this.

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