The latest entries in the Oxford Dictionary include two tennis terms in ‘forced error’ and ‘bagel’ it was revealed by the prominent resource for English language. The term forced error is different to the more commonly used and statistically available term of unforced error. An error caused by an opponent’s good play is considered a forced error but the differentiation between the two terms can be extremely subjective. Bagel, on the other hand, refers to a score in a set of six games to love, due to the similarity of the numeral zero to the shape of a bagel.
A glossary of over 80 new words and phrases have been added to Oxford English Dictionary (OED) which find their origins and references from the tennis courts or vocabulary. The terms that are making their debut to the reference work, include ‘superbrat’ (players prone to on-court outbursts), and ‘changeover’ (a pause in a match when players swap ends of the court). Somewhat bizarrely, another term that has found a place is ‘tennis mom/dad’, which is defined in the latest update as parents who actively support their child’s playing ambitions – however, the term can have positive or negative connotations.
The terms were added with the help of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – which conducts the upcoming Wimbledon. Robert McNicol, its librarian, said: “Tennis is renowned for its many long-held traditions, and part of that is the unique language used to describe particular playing shots and racket techniques.”
The term ‘superbrat’, for example, was believed to have been framed during the 1970s with John McEnroe’s on-court antics drawing criticism and bewilderment alike for the press. However, it has been used during the 1950s too when in America it was used to denote bad behaviour by children and young adults.
Other ancient tennis terms that have been included only now are – love, deuce, advantage – even though their origins go back to the 16th century.