Chin music

Posted by ESC on February 15, 2003

In Reply to: Chin music? posted by JB on February 15, 2003

: I've heard this said by announcers in American baseball when a pitch is thrown very close to the batter to 'brush' him back from crowding homeplate. Does anyone know the origin of this phrase? I understand the idea of throwing the ball in the vicinity of the chin, but why 'music'?

I looked in a dictionary of sports expressions and didn't find "chin music." I am guessing that the sports announcers adapted an old phrase:

CHIN MUSIC - "Incessant, idle talk; foolish, boastful talk; angry words. 1836 Hildreth "Dragoon Campaigns" 1:26, He was.a thorough-bred Kentuckian, full of 'chin music,' as the species of loquacity which he possessed is termed.'" From the "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume 1 by Frederic G. Cassidy (1985, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England).

My husband the sports nut tells me that there is another expression, "string music," used when a basketball player is making a lot of baskets.