phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Ivy League colleges

Posted by ESC on September 22, 1999

In Reply to: Ivy League colleges posted by Bob on September 21, 1999

: : I would like to know why certain schools are considered ivy league.

: The smart-aleck answer is, of course, that they appointed themselves. (Or anointed themselves.) But, even though that's true, there is a legal entity that is the Ivy League, whose members play each other in sports. That the term has broadened beyond the literal football league to the larger (metaphorical) aren't-we-lofty connotation, many schools of equal prestige (Stanford comes to mind right away) are often referred to in the same category.

The term "ivy league" was "...coined by the New York Herald Tribune's Caswell Adams in the 1930s to refer to the old, ivy-covered eastern colleges, with football's official Ivy League not formed until 1956." From Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past by Stuart Berg Flexner.

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