"English"

You are insufficiently up to date. The original Oxford English Dictionary does not cover “English” in the billiards sense, but that is not surprising, since it is an American use first recorded in 1869. But the second Supplement has it, and I would suppose the second Edition does, too. The Supplement cites a story from the London Sunday Times of 5 April, 1959, in which it is said that an Englishman, coincidentally named English, so impressed the Yanks with his skillful applicaion of “side” that the practice became known by his name.

I cannot find “body English” in the Supplement, but I fancy it is derived from “English”, and not the other way around.


John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams


Link to Mailbag Article: What’s the origin of “english,” the kind you put on a ball? --CKDext

[Note: This message has been edited by CKDextHavn]
[Note: This message has been edited by CKDextHavn]

I was told a long time ago that the word “English” , as applied to putting a spin or force on a ball in sports, originated from the alledged penchant for Englishmen to engage in sado-masochism. Think of the Rolling Stones song Brown Sugar where the slave trader whose English blood is running hot whips the women around midnight. Hey, this theory is as good as any other I’ve seen so far. Let me know what you think.
H.

It’s very important to get good English on your balls.

The term “body English” needs updating.
As anyone who has ever played “MarioKarts” or any other car-racing type video game knows, an involuntary fit of body English invariably precedes a long, slow slide into a lake or a horrifying crash into a guardrail. No balls involved.