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Campus Union

Trickeration: We regret the error

Tweaking sports media professionals when we perceive they're in error is a great national pastime, on par with fishing and baseball. And we are not immune, ourselves, to sizable faceplants in judgment. (Our favorite occurred at the outset of the 2010 season, when we boldly selected Washington as a darkhorse national title contender under the banner, "Live Every Week Like It's Sark Week." We regret that error, too.) But what makes us most sheepish is being wrong about other people being wrong, and so it is with a sense of heaviness in the charred pit where our heart should be that we add "trickeration" to "gutty" and "aggressiveness" in the ever-expanding column of words we were sure, for years, that sportscasters were making up.

We put "trickeration" in scare quotes in a post published during the run-up to the national title game with the quip, "Has that made it into the OED yet?", only to have alert reader Ben point out that the word already is in the OED, with roots in the 1940s. Not long after, we learned "trickeration" made the 2012 list of banned words, and wonder what the fine folks of Lake Superior State University would say if they beheld its broad history, as recently publicized by SF Weekly. The earliest use of "trickeration" we can find is in the above song, recorded by legendary bandleader Cab Calloway in the fall of 1931. Calloway is the next featured documentary subject in PBS' "American Masters" series, airing at the end of next month. We're firmly with any further expansion of words for "skullduggery," and applaud this resurgence.

We're sorry, glib sportscasters. And for the rest of you, we sincerely hope your Friday is enriched for knowing these things. Have a great weekend, gentle readers.

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