Posted by Lewis on November 15, 2004

In Reply to: The verb "to nutmeg" posted by James Briggs on November 13, 2004

: : : Commonly understood in the UK (and maybe starting to take hold in the US too, given the fast rise of soccer within collegiate sports), the verb "to nutmeg" someone means to knock the ball between a defender's legs, either to get past him or indeed to score. My simple question... however did this come about?

: : The Dictionary of American Regional English mentions the practice of replacing "stolen" chicken eggs with nutmegs. But I think the origin of "to nutmeg" lies in this:

: : NUTMEG -- the testicles. Probably from the size and shape of nutmegs. British. 1600s. From "Slang and Euphemism: A Dictionary of Oaths, Curses, Insults, Ethnic Slurs, Sexual Slang and Metaphor, Drug Talk, College Lingo and Related Matters" by Richard A. Spears (New American Library, Penguin Putnam, New York, Third Edition, 2001)

: The 'testicles' version has always been my understanding.

it has long been a habit of cheeky players to shout "nuts" when they knock a ball through the legs of the opposing player - which is a 'nutmeg' in football terms. whether it was intended as an after-the-event warning of the risk of having another ball between their legs or whether it was to say they had too many 'nuts' I don't know - but it has long been a tradition. many players do not say it, as emphasising that the player has been nutmegged is deemed insulting and liable to get the megging player a 'mistimed' tackle later on.