Round robin

Posted by ESC on November 24, 2001 at

In Reply to: Round-Robin posted by R. Dixon on November 24, 2001

: Anyone know the origin of "Round-Robin"?

ROUND ROBIN - "The round robin was originally a petition, its signatures arranged in a circular form to disguise the order of signing. Most probably it takes its name from the 'ruban rond,' 'round ribbon,' in 17th-century France, where government officials devised a method of signing their petitions of grievances on ribbons that were attached to the documents in a circular form. In that way no signer could be accused of signing the document first and risk having his head chopped off for instigating trouble. 'Ruban rond' later became 'round robin' in English and the custom continued in the British navy, where petitions of grievances were signed as if the signatures were spokes of a wheel radiating from its hub. Today 'round robin' usually means a sports tournament where all of the contestants play each other at least once and losing a match doesn't result in immediate elimination." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).