phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Eton rifled

Posted by Lewis on December 19, 2005

In Reply to: Again, thanks posted by Word Camel on December 19, 2005

: : : : : : Level playing field - who coined it? To have a "level playing field" was coined in the 1980's according to the list of phrase meanings and origins. I'm just curious to know if anyone knows more about where it came from. I'm interested because the Thomas Friedman book, The World is Flat goes on about it obsessively.

: : : : : Well, if the world is flat, isn't that all we need to know? Ss

: : : : Some football grounds ('soccer' to you ex-colonials) have pitches that slope - the most famous in the English lower-leagues were Barnet and Yeovil. the problem is that when players are tired, running uphill puts them at a disadvantage, so whoever gets to choose ends, gets to play kicking downhill 2nd half.

: : : : Football is not supposed to have any territorial advantages like that and the big clubs usually strive for flat pitches with a slight camber near the goal-mouths, so that they don't pool or become a mud-bath in the 6 yard box.

: : : : the metaphor has gone into business, trade and politics to be short-hand for a lack of structural advantage to one side in competition.

: : : : L

: : : Thanks so much Lewis. This is very useful.

: : : Camel

: : : PS And a Happy Christmas to you all

: : There is a big entry on this phrase in "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993). An early use was in "The American Banker" in a 1979 article about the Oregon Bankers Association. The article said the phrase was one used by the association "frequently in arguments for 'competitive equality.'"

: : Mr. Safire says that "Ronald Reagan picked up the term in a 1986 speech against tariffs..."

: : "The origin of the phrase is uncertain, perhaps from the playing fields of Eton, and the variations include 'level benches.' The image of a flat surface for equality in battle, however, has roots as old as the Bible..." I Kings 20:23.

:
: T=I'm only just seeing this... (such is the life of a mother with two small boys).

: Thanks for the additional information, and well researched as always.

Discount Eton from that - Eton may have the wall game and cricket, but cricket in modern times is usually referred to being played on a "pitch" (or "wicket") rather than a playing field. whilst in Wellington's day it would have been apt to say that many officers had learned their leadership skills on the playing fields of Eton, subsequently such a description would have been less apt.

A man may be born in a stable, but that does not make him an horse.

L