Posted by Shae on November 03, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Runner-up posted by ESC on November 02, 2004
: : Please can someone tell me where the term 'Runner-Up' comes from - I can't find it anywhere and it's driving me mad!!
: I haven't found anything that explains why "up."
I found the following in the online Etymological dictionary:
O.E. fæst "firmly fixed, steadfast," probably from P.Gmc. *fastuz (cf. O.N. fastr, Du. vast, Ger. fest), from PIE base *past- "firm" (cf. Skt. pastyam "dwelling place"). The adv. meaning "quickly, swiftly" was perhaps in O.E., or from O.N. fast, either way developing from the sense of "firmly, strongly, vigorously" (cf. to run hard means to run fast; also compare fast asleep), or perhaps from the notion of a runner who "sticks" close to whatever he is chasing.
c.1300, from run (v.). Meaning "smuggler" first recorded 1721; sense of "embroidered cloth for a table" is from 1889. Runner-up is from 1842, originally in dog racing.