"diamond-shaped pattern of two or more colors in fabric," said to be so called from similarity to tartans worn by Campbell clan of Argyll, Scotland. The place name is literally "land of the Gaels," with first element from Old Irish airer "country." Argyle socks is from 1935.
hollow, perforated plastic ball, registered trademark name (The Wiffle Ball Inc., Shelton, Connecticut, U.S.), claiming use from 1954. According to the company, designed in 1953 by David N. Mullany "in response to a lack of field space and numerous broken windows by his baseball-playing son," the name based on whiff (q.v.), baseball slang for a missed swing.
familiar or colloquial shortening of Philadelphia, attested by 1890, but from 1858 as the popular name of a ferry boat of that name that crossed the Delaware River from the city to Camden, and a city baseball team has been called the Phillies since 1883.
city in Maryland, U.S., founded 1729, named for Cecilius Calvert (1605-1675), 2nd baron Baltimore, who held the charter for Maryland colony; the name is from a small port town in southern Ireland where the family had its seat, from Irish Baile na Tighe Mor, literally "townland of the big house." In old baseball slang, a Baltimore chop was a hit right in front of the plate that bounced high.
1937, in reference to the many humorous malaprop remarks credited to U.S. film producer Samuel G. Goldwyn (1882-1974); the best-known, arguably, being "include me out." Goldwyn is perhaps less popular as the originator of such phrases in American English than baseball player Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (1925-2015), but there doesn't seem to be a noun form based on Berra's name in popular use. Also see bull (n.3). The surname typically is Old English goldwyn, literally "gold-friend."
Mexican province, briefly an independent nation and now a U.S. state, from Spanish Texas, Tejas, earlier pronounced "ta-shas," originally an ethnic name, from Caddo (eastern Texas Indian tribe) taysha "friends, allies," written by the Spanish as a plural. Related: Texan. The alternative form Texian is attested from 1835 and was the prevailing form in U.S. newspapers before 1844.
The baseball Texas-leaguer "ball popped up just over the head of the infielders and falling too close for outfielders to catch" is recorded from 1905, named for the minor league that operated in Texas from 1902 (one theory is that outfielders played unusually deep in Texas because hit balls bounced hard off the hard, sun-baked ground).
1879 as colloquial shortening of Metropolitan (n.) "member of the New York Metropolitan Base-Ball Club."
THE baseball season has opened, and along with the twittering of the birds, the budding of the trees, and the clattering of the truck, comes the news that the "Mets were beaten yesterday 17 to 5." It is an infallible sign of spring when the Mets are beaten 17 to 5, and we invariably put on our thinner clothing when we read that refreshing, though perennial news in the papers. [Life magazine, May 12, 1887]
Used variously to abbreviate other proper names beginning with Metropolitan, such as "Metropolitan Museum of Art" (N.Y.), by 1919; "Metropolitan Railway" (stock), by 1890; "Metropolitan Opera Company (N.Y.), by 1922. Related: Mets.
small city in Illinois, U.S., originally the name of a subdivision of the Miami/Illinois people (1673), from native /peewaareewa/. Their own name is said to mean "carriers." The place name also is found in Oklahoma and Iowa, but it is the Illinois city that has been proverbially regarded as the typical measure of U.S. cultural and intellectual standards at least since Ambrose Bierce (c. 1890). Also the butt of baseball player jokes (c. 1920-40, when a team there was part of the St. Louis Cardinals farm system) and popularized in the catchphrase It'll play in Peoria (often negative), meaning "the average American will approve," which was popular in the Nixon White House (1969-74) but seems to have had a vaudeville origin. Personification in little old lady in Peoria is said to be from Harold Ross of the New Yorker. Peoria's rivals as embodiment of U.S. small city values and standards include Dubuque, Iowa; Hoboken and Hackensack, N.J.; Oakland (Gertrude Stein: "When you get there, there isn't any there there") and Burbank, Calif., and the entire state of North Dakota.
eleventh Roman letter, from Greek kappa, from Phoenician kaph or a similar Semitic source, said to mean literally "hollow of the hand" and to be so called for its shape.
Little used in classical Latin, which at an early age conformed most of its words (the exceptions had ritual importance) to a spelling using -c- (a character derived from Greek gamma). In Late Latin, pronunciation of -c- shifted (in the direction of "s"). Greek names brought into Latin also were regularized with a -c- spelling, and then underwent the Late Latin sound-shift; hence the modern pronunciation of Cyrus, Circe. To keep their pronunciation clear, the many Greek words (often Church words) that entered Latin after this shift tended to take Latin -k- for Greek kappa.
K- thus became a supplementary letter to -c- in Medieval Latin, used with Greek and foreign words. But most of the languages descended from Latin had little need of it, having evolved other solutions to the sound shifts.
K- also was scarce in Old English. After the Norman conquest, new scribal habits restricted -c- and expanded the use of -k-, which began to be common in English spelling from 13c. This probably was done because the sound value of -c- was evolving in French and the other letter was available to clearly mark the "k" sound for scribes working in English. For more, see C.
In words transliterated from Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Japanese, Hawaiian, etc., it represents several different sounds lumped. In modern use some of them are now with kh-; in older borrowings they often followed traditional English spelling and were written with a C- (Corea, Caaba, etc.).
As a symbol for potassium, it represents Latin kalium "potash." In CMYK as a color system for commercial printing it means "black" but seems to stand for key in a specialized printing sense. Slang meaning "one thousand dollars" is 1970s, from kilo-. K as a measure of capacity (especially in computer memory) meaning "one thousand" also is an abbreviation of kilo-.
As an indication of "strikeout" in baseball score-keeping it dates from 1874 and is said to represent the last letter of struck. The invention of the scorecard symbols is attributed to English-born U.S. newspaperman Henry Chadwick (1824-1908) principally of the old New York "Clipper," who had been writing baseball since 1858, and who explained it thus:
Smith was the first striker, and went out on three strikes, which is recorded by the figure "1" for the first out, and the letter K to indicate how put out, K being the last letter of the word "struck." The letter K is used in this instance as being easier to remember in connection with the word struck than S, the first letter, would be. [Henry Chadwick, "Chadwick's Base Ball Manual," London, 1874]