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Rack up

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 13, 2008 at 15:26

In Reply to: Rack up posted by Dolores Fetcko on July 12, 2008 at 19:38:

: I would like to know about using rack or rack up in regards to adding up something....= adding or racking up volunteer hours, good scores, etc.

My first thought, in connection with racking up a score, was the pool hall, or billiards parlor. While it is true that the players begin their games by placing the balls in a rack, thus racking them up, they also keep score by means of a rack on the wall which contains counters, moved from left to right as you score. I always thought that was the source of "rack up" a score, but I would like confirmation (or denial) from an experienced pool player.

I went to the Oxford English Dictionary for help, and what they say, s.v. rack up, is: "4. trans. orig. N. Amer. To accumulate; to 'chalk up'; to achieve, score". The first example they cite is from 1921: "Atlanta Constit. (Electronic text) 23 Jan., All told, the Tech floor leader racked up 8 field goals."