Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Headline exacta

Sometimes you wonder if anyone is home on the copy desk.

From two stories, one over the other in the same column of my morning paper's sports section:

USC safety and Memphis native relishes return to old stomping grounds (make it stamping grounds based on the verb to stamp, which is the more accepted usage meaning to bring one's foot down forcefully; yes, you will find stomping grounds in the dictionary, but it's a nonstandard use).

Clemson's nine commitments at the Shine Bowl are living it up
(make that Shrine Bowl)

Making such errors in display type is inexcusable.

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At 12/13/06, 7:09 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

I've always heard it as "stomping ground." A look in the OED shows the usage "stomping ground" in 1854. Any ideas about when and how this one changed?

At 12/14/06, 9:12 AM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Look closely at the OED online entry, and you see Comb., as stomping ground = stamping ground s.v. STAMPING.

That's an indication that stomping ground is a nonstandard usage.

Under stamping in the OED you will find a much more extensive list of citations dating to 1821 using "stamping ground." It's an Americanism. Use of the hyphen has gradually been dropped and, indeed, the main entry in the OED now shows it hyphenless. Here's the guts of the OED history.

1821 D. DUNKLIN Let. 25 Dec. in E. C. Barker Austin Papers (1924) I. 456 It is unnecessary to undertake to give you any details of affairs in your old *Stamping~ground. 1839 [H. R. HOWARD] Hist. Virgil A. Stewart 70 (R. H. Thornton Amer. Gloss.) I made my way from Milledgeville to Williamson County, the old stamping-ground. 1862 Harper's Mag. June 34/1, I found myself near one of these ‘stamping grounds’, and a simultaneous roar from five hundred infuriated animals gave notice of my danger. 1883 W. M. BAKER New Timothy 176 (Cent.) It's with them fellows as it is with wild animals. You can just keep clear of them if you want, stay far out of their stamping-ground. 1915 E. R. BURROUGHS Return of Tarzan xxiii. 326 The woman he loved was within a short journey of the stamping-ground of his tribe. 1955 Times 19 Aug. 2/5 Henry Wood used the Proms as a stamping ground for new music because there was little opportunity otherwise for making it known. 1977 J. I. M. STEWART Madonna of Astrolabe iv. 74 Tell Charles Atlas I'd have a go if asked -- I suppose as Tutor for Admissions it's his stamping-ground.

At 12/27/06, 2:33 PM, Anonymous Gary Karr said...

For what it's worth, I think I am a non-standard use.


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