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Have you ever wondered why we talk about a handicap in sport, why boxing is so named, or whether a dumbbell ever rang? It was during the nineteenth century that hitherto local games with relaxed and varying rules were formalized. During this process terminologies developed to refer to these new standardized sports, borrowing, modifying and redefining words from all walks of life in sometimes strange and unexpected ways. Considering such subjects as why sport shares so many words with the fields of hunting and conflict, and how English sports terms have been both adopted from and given to other languages, this book looks at how words have come into the field of sport and how they have developed and changed.

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