Flew v. Flied

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RK sent in a link to a recent NYT sports story containing the sentence "Three batters later, the bases were loaded for Derek Jeter, but he flew out harmlessly to right field", and commented:

I watched the game on tv and I can tell you that Derek's feet stayed firmly rooted on the ground.  I thought Steve Pinker said this didn't happen.

Indeed, Steve has asserted in several refereed publications, and at least one book, that "verbs intuitively perceived as derived from nouns or adjectives are always regular, even if similar or identical to, an irregular verb. Thus one says […] flied out in baseball [from a fly (ball)], not flew out […]". And he famously co-authored a 1991 paper in Cognitive Science with the audacious title  "Why no mere mortal has ever flown out to center field".

That paper described an experiment in which the generalization about regularization of zero-derived denominal verbs in English was checked by asking 32 MIT undergraduates to rate alternative past-tense forms of 37 verbs in appropriate contexts, scoring each possibility from 1 ("very unnatural sounding") to 7 ("very natural sounding"). Curiously, the judgments in the case of flew/flied out were far from being a strong confirmation of the paper's strongly-worded title. The sentences used were

Wade Boggs has a bad habit of hitting fly balls into center field.

(a) In yesterday's game he got one hit, and then flied out twice to center field.

(b) In yesterday's game he got one hit, and then flew out twice to center field.

Alternative (a) got an average score of 4.2500, while the average score of alternative (b) was 3.9375. We aren't given any indications of confidence intervals. But a difference of 0.3125 on a scale of 1 to 7 (about 5%), whether or not it's statistically significant, hardly rises to the level of universal  statements like "are always regular" and "no mere mortal has ever".

While searchable digital newspaper archives existed back in 1991, consulting them generally required a trip to the library. If such a trip had been made, it probably would have turned up a few dozen examples like these:

White Sox shortstop Bill Almon flew out to center field allowing Fisk to score and giving Chicago a 4-3 lead. [UPI 6/7/1982]
The Aggies had runners on first and second in the seventh when Scott Livingstone flew out to center field. [AP 3/31/1985]

Today, no physical displacement of our center of mass is required to perform searches of this kind. So without leaving the breakfast table, I can determine that over the past month, Google News has registered the following counts:

"flied out to center" 161
"flew out to center" 23

And Google Books over the period 9/1/2000-9/1/2012 gives us

"flied out to center" 51
"flew out to center" 39

These numbers are consistent with a modest bias in favor of the outcome RK understood Pinker to claim to be universal.

Could it be that there's a recent shift in the direction of de-regularization? I don't think so — a search of Proquest Historical Newspapers turns up some examples of "flew out" so old that baseball was still written "base-ball":

The total overall counts in Proquest searches for "flied/flew out to center" strongly favor "flied out", 1412 to 68. But the distributions over time suggest that regularization has increased rather than decreased:

"flew out to center" "flied out to center"

[For a discussion of the interesting theoretical issues in phonology and psychology that this small point bears on, see John Kim, Steven Pinker, Alan Prince, and Sandeep Prasada, "Why no mere mortal has ever flown out to center field", Cognitive Science 1991, and the 131 articles citing it.

Or see my outsider's summary of all this (known familiarly as The Great Past Tense War) in "Systematic Regularization", 2/6/2007…]


  1. Rachel said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 7:02 am

    My favourite is, of a woman that she "out-Sally-Rided" Sally Ride. Well, you can't say "out-Sally-rode" now, can you?

  2. Andrew Shields said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    Could you look into that use of "Chicagos" and "Bostons" in the 1885 article?

  3. James said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 7:49 am

    That data is really surprising to me. My prediction would have been almost as drastic as Pinker's — I think I would have guessed that "flew out to center" would be rare, 2% or less.

    I'm going to guess this is what happened to me (and maybe Pinker).
    When I consciously, explicitly think about it, "flew out" strikes me as almost humorously wrong; therefore, I assume that I would notice it whenever it is used in baseball contexts; but, I do not remember hearing or reading it much at all. So probably in actual use it is not nearly as striking to my ear or eye as I would have thought.

  4. Nicholas Waller said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    Of passing relevance, but in the 1960s my father flied airliners for Kuwait Airways and an advertising tagline as it appeared on luggage labels was:


    It could also, I suppose, now be a description of some baseball batter's action. I think I linked to it here before, but here is a scan of the label.

  5. Steve. Anderson said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Taking Steve & co. literally, and admitting that ”Ortiz flew out to center" is pretty common (though jarring to me), I think "Ortiz has flown out too many times this season" is vanishingly rare. Though I have no counts to support that, and perhaps you'll show I'm wrong.

    [(myl) My intuition agrees with yours on this point, and so does Lane Greene's, as discussed the last time this came up on LL, back in 2007. But the facts demonstrate that, here as often, individual intuitions are not a reliable guide to group norms.

    Perfect aspect for baseball "flying out" is pretty rare in any form. There are no hits for "has|had flied out" on Google News in the past month; and there are just 47 in the past decade. A pattern like "has|had flown out" catches more than a thousand examples in the same period, but nearly all of them are things like "Flying Fijians Scrum Half Nikola Matawalu has flown out of the country today to take up his contract with the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland".

    If we try the trick of restricting the usage by searching for "has|had flied|flown out to center", there are four instances of "…flied…" in the past decade, and one instance of "…flown…" ("It then appeared that Caylen Clardy had flown out to center but a balk was called, nullifying the out.")

    For "…right" there are four instances of "…flied…" and two of "…flown…" ("There had been some streaky moments for Willingham during a six-game home stand that will wrap-up Wednesday afternoon and the veteran had flown out to right and struck out twice before walking in the eighth inning." ; "Randolph appealed after Ross had flown out to right field, but before the first pitch was thrown to Patterson.")

    Testing "…left" we get three for "…flied…" and three for "…flown…".

    Putting it all together, that's 11 instances of "has|had flied out to right|center|left", and 6 of "has|had flown out to right|center|left". 11 to 6 (~ 35% "flown") is in the same ballpark as the percentages we saw earlier for the much commoner preterite case (~12.5% "flew", 43% "flew").

    So yeah, I think it turns out that you're wrong. (And Lane and I were wrong as well.)]

  6. Peter S. said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    There's also "he wound the horn", which has been used occasionally instead of "winded the horn", most notably by some famous poets. Here, I suppose the situation is complicated by the fact the pronunciation of "wind the horn" has diverged from the pronunciation of "North wind" and is now pronounced in the same way as "wind the clock". (All these winds were pronounced the same in Shakespeare's time.)

  7. Richard badger said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    Is this different in British English? As a speaker of British English "flied" sounds odd.

    [(myl) In British English I don't expect that you talk about baseball much. Do people "fly out" in cricket?"]

  8. Louise said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    Could the sudden spike in 'flied' be due to prescriptivism? I'm not from a baseball-playing country and my natural formation would definitely be 'flew out', but I've heard Americans saying that only 'flied out' is correct because of the noun derivation.

    Interestingly, there's an analogous yet opposite case in cricket: one of the modes of dismissal is the 'run out', which always becomes 'ran out' and never, ever *'runned out'. I'm not 100% sure on the etymology, but I think it's so named because it (usually) happens when the batsman is attempting to score a 'run', and so it's derived from a noun, and so the other way around would be expected.

  9. Joe Green said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    @Nicholas Waller: "in the 1960s my father flied airliners for Kuwait Airways"

    Are you merely being ironically humorous or making a relevant point here? No offence meant, as I really can't tell; still, as far as I'm concerned your father indisputably *flew* airliners. There's another distribution to analyse, I suppose.

  10. Bob Krauss said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Apparently someone at the Times found the idea of an airborne Derek Jeter weird. In a later edition the sentence was changed to: "In the 12th, the fans rose for Derek Jeter with the bases loaded, but Evan Scribner got him to fly out harmlessly to right field."

  11. Mal in China said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    I'm British and some of us don't discuss baseball at all. We do have a similar game called rounders. And we talk about football rather than soccer.

    "Flied" just sounds wrong to me. Is this just another example of American English?

    [(myl) "Just"?]

  12. Michael Briggs said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    @Mal: And I bet that when you went swimming you never dove into the water. There, just another example of AmE for you.

  13. F said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    >> [(myl) In British English I don't expect that you talk about baseball much. Do people "fly out" in cricket?"]


  14. douglass said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    MIT students are a pretty terrible subject pool for a question that's essentially sports trivia. "Flied out" looks immediately wrong to me because I don't think of "fly" as a noun for "fly ball," and I suspect that a lot of the students in the actual study wouldn't have thought of this either.

    [(myl) It's hardly "sports trivia" that fly can be used as a noun in baseball contexts like "pop fly", "fly ball", "retired so-and-so on a fly to left", "hit a towering fly over the center-field wall", etc. And anyhow, as a former MIT student, I can tell you that sports trivia are exactly the kind of thing that MIT students are likely to know more about than your average American. But it would be interesting to see whether priming subjects with nominal uses of baseball fly changed their propensity to used "flied out" or "flew out".]

  15. E W Gilman said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    I listen to quite a lot of baseball telecasts these days (in my retirement) and my impression is that I hear "flew out" much more often than "flied out". As a former dictionary editor I notice it, but evidently nobody explained the difference to the announcers.

    [(myl) Interesting. I don't think that radio broadcasts of baseball games are archived on line (are they?), but it would be easy enough to collect a few from the live streams; and it might be a nice term project in a linguistics course to collect a few and check them for this feature.]

  16. mollymooly said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    @Richard badger, Mal in China
    Obviously, baseball is not an appropriate source of analogies in popularisations aimed at a global audience. It's too late for Stephen Jay Gould, but Steven Pinker might in future use Starbucks analogies.

  17. Gene Callahan said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    @louise: "Interestingly, there's an analogous yet opposite case in cricket: one of the modes of dismissal is the 'run out', which always becomes 'ran out' and never, ever *'runned out'."

    While not common, Google turns up hundreds of hits for "runned out" and "cricket."

  18. Nicholas Waller said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    @Joe Green – "Are you merely being ironically humorous […] as far as I'm concerned your father indisputably *flew* airliners."

    It was an attempt to be humorous.

  19. L said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    People are "caught out" in cricket.

    The use of "Bostons" and "Chicagos" is now archaic, but can be found non-archaically up to perhaps WWII – after that, it's usually a conscious anachronism for effect.

    The jargon of baseball has evolved strongly since [fill in meaningless and unsupportable origin date in 19th C]. Or better, the 1700s http://www.npr.org/2011/03/16/134570236/the-secret-history-of-baseballs-earliest-days

    To imagine that the terminology of anything discussed in the English of 1750 (say) would show an unchanged jargon in 2012 is a little bit silly.

    In the argot of 1888 (although maybe not, this is poetry: Thayer's "Casey At The Bat") "Cooney died at first" – today we understand it readily but would rarely say it that way. This is three years after the article above.

    Similarly, but more strongly so: "But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake, / And the former was a pudding [some ed "lulu", "puddin'"] and the latter was a fake [some ed "cake"];"

    On the other hand this is entirely natural to 2012: "But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all, / And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;"

    There are also rules changes apparent since 1888; "He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;" – in 1888 the batter called the location of the pitch, no longer.

    On the other hand, some things never change: ""Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;"

    All that being said, apparently I am no mere mortal. I've flown out to many more places than only center.

    "Center" (as also left, right, short, second, etc) is an adjective employed as a noun; it's short for the noun phrase or compound noun variously spelled center-field (1800s), center field (early 1900s) or centerfield.

    I'm so immortal that I've even flown out to left-center!

  20. Andy Averill said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    @myl, I was just reading recently that scientists are becoming increasingly skeptical of studies that use college students as guinea pigs. There are obvious practical reasons for using them, but in most respects they're a highly unrepresentative segment of American society.

    [(myl) Indeed — I've been complaining about this myself for a long time, e.g. "Pop platonism and unrepresentative samples", 7/26/2008:

    [This] article also demonstrates the peculiar and equally-characteristic willingness to generalize from small numbers of student subjects to the human species at large, in a way that would be viewed as pathetically naive if we were talking about voters' reactions to politicians or consumers' reactions to brands of toothpaste. This is especially common in brain-imaging studies, where we often find marginal results on a handful of subjects interpreted as telling us something about males and females in general. Listing some examples from earlier Language Log posts, here's a study of 9 boys and 10 girls used to argue that "Girls and boys behave differently because their brains are wired differently"; here's a study of 10 female and 10 male medical students at UCLA used to argue that "Women really do enjoy a good laugh as much as you do; they are just wired to focus on different aspects of humor." And here's a case where brain scans of 20 UCLA students were interpreted to tell us about the reactions of male and female voters to various presidential candidates.

    But in the case under discussion in this post, the reactions of the MIT students and the proportions found in Google News are quite congruent.]

  21. Theo said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    Echoing a few other commenters, I do wonder how much the flew/flied distribution depends on familiarity with standard baseball terminology. As another N=1 sample I take myself: when faced with sentences (a) and (b) without the "Wade Boggs …" lead in, I think both look very strange, and in both cases my mind goes "well, I vaguely remember language about fly-somethingorother in baseball, but hell if I know what the standard term is", whereas including the "Wade Boggs …" intro just confirms that the term is "fly ball"; since "flew" is at least in my non-sports vocabulary, I would grudgingly pick that one, assuming that this was some sort of metaphor, but maybe if you explained all the rules of baseball to me I would choose "flied".

    I assume the Pinker study also looked at a number of other verbified nouns?

    [(myl) Yes, lots.]

  22. DC said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    I am very curious how a batter lofting a harmless fly ball to center field was described in the 1960s. The charts suggest that both "flew out" and "flied out" were relatively uncommon. Perhaps that decade represents a heretofore unrecognized Groundball Era.

    [(myl) I suspect (but do not know) that this tells us more about the archive's sample density than about the evolution of the language.]

  23. Charles A said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    A larger family of terms, used in radio and print, describes how the out was made: strike out, ground out, line out, foul out, pop out (or up), and fly out. Because they are used to recount game action, these terms are most often heard in the past tense: struck out, grounded out, lined out, fouled out, and flied out. "Popped out to short" is probably strange to non-American ears, but perfectly clear if you know baseball. Until this post, I would have regarded "flew out" as a solecism, proving that the speaker/writer wasn't too familiar with the topic.

  24. battlekow said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

    Mark, radio (and TV) broadcasts of baseball games are indeed archived online if you have an MLB.TV subscription; you can (just) listen to the games live with a Gameday Audio subscription, but I don't know if you get the archives with that package.

    I actually made a joke about flied/flew on this site a few years ago. Should have figured there was a paper on it.

  25. Nicholas Waller said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    @ L Said People are "caught out" in cricket.

    Not exactly; they're more likely said to be "caught" or "out caught" (or "out, caught"). You can be bowled, run out, stumped, lbw (ie given leg before wicket), or caught (and five other much rarer methods).

    An individual is bowled, not "bowled out", but a team can be bowled out even if no-one was bowled. A couple of weeks ago a headline read "England bowled out for 182" even though, as you can see from the scorecard, in fact only one person was bowled (eight were caught, one out lbw, and one not out).

    On Casey At The Bat, I remember a MAD magazine spoof from the 1950s, which was the original poem but with exaggerated or literal illustrations (Blake is shown literally tearing the cover off the ball). And here it is: http://jeffoverturf.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/casey-at-bat-jack-davis-mad-monday.html

  26. PeterW said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    I don't follow baseball at all anymore, but 20 years ago I recall noticing "flied out" and though to made perfect sense. Not just on its own, but as a complement to "grounded out." I.e., if you hit a ground ball and are out, you have "grounded out"; if you hit a fly ball and are our, you have "flied out."

    This reminds me of the discussion about the proper plural of a computer mouse; at the time there seemed to be a substantial minority opinion in favor of "mouses" as the plural (which seemed right to me, for reasons I can't quite articulate). But I think that "mice" is now standard. Even though I think of furry creatures whenever I see the term "computer mice."

  27. Lazar said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    @L: The poem "Tinker to Evers to Chance" notably uses "double" to mean a double play, as opposed to its modern meaning of a two-base hit.

  28. Ed C. said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    It's complicated by the fact that there is some common thread of meaning between "to fly" (like a bird) and "to fly out" (baseball), i.e., approximately 'travel through the air.' This complicates matters, since the two meanings of "to fly" can be experienced as polysemous senses of one word. Where there is no common thread, I bet the confusion is rarer; e.g., the plural of "life" is "lives", but the plural of "Life (magazine)" is "Lifes," and I bet no one ever says e.g. "I have a collection of Lives from the '60s."

    Apropos of this topic (and college students), I was trying to convince students of mine in a class on semantics that "to Like" (Facebook style) is not an instance of polysemy of "to like" (common sense). Their argument was that you wouldn't Like something unless you also liked it; whereas I argued that you could unintentionally Like something (by inadvertently clicking the button), but you couldn't unintentionally like something. I failed to convince them. I imagine that the "fly out > flew out" impulse is traceable to the same perception, that something does "fly [primary sense] out" even if the batter does not.

  29. Brett said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    @Peter S.: In what variety of English is "wind the horn" pronounced like "wind the clock"?

  30. Nicholas Waller said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    @ Brett In what variety of English is "wind the horn" pronounced like "wind the clock"?

    In the 1981 BBC Radio 4 26-epsiode (13-hour) radio play adaptation of Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings exactly that clock pronunciation is used when Boromir sounds off his horn and Elrond says: "Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir, until you stand once more on the borders of your land, and dire need is on you." (It's at around 7:50 on the 4th disc of the 13-CD version I have).

    There's also God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, where wind is presumably supposed to rhyme with mind and find:

    The shepherds at those tidings
    Rejoiced much in mind,
    And left their flocks a-feeding
    In tempest, storm and wind
    And went to Bethlehem straightway
    The Son of God to find.

  31. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

    Hmm… I guess we should just leave the baseball expression "the batter 'popped out' to center (or left, or right) field"…. well enough alone. (Or maybe not?)

    Taken literally in this context, "popped out" sounds like said- batter may have inexplicably taken a little break from his at-bat, vacated the batter's box, and just 'popped out' to the grassy outfield to have a casual little chat w/ one of his rival team's outfielders.

    I submit, just about as odd a notion as a batter bodily 'flying out', clear over the center field wall. (Well, hardly as dramatic.)

    If we took the term "stolen bases" quite literally, good old stolen base champ, Dodgers' great Maury Wiils could have opened up a grand emporium right here in L.A., marketing major league stolen base-pads (He would have had quite a lifetime inventory, for sure.)

    'Where There's a Wills,There's A Way' has an nice corporate ring to it.

    @Mai in China, I know that many of you sports-crazed Brits (perchance you aren't one of them?) are totally enamored of the game of cricket. Even 'as we speak', there's apparently a hugely prestigious international cricket tourney being played w/ a media estimated over 1 billion avid fans from around the globe tuning in, at some point in the play-downs, closely following the action.

    I understand these particular matches are 'rounds of 20'*, which considerably shortens the length of each match. Prior to this time saving format being officially introduced a while back, I know that many of these heated international matches could drag on for days, and in some cases, no decisive winning team would emerge victorious in the end.

    What was that old saw about "mad dogs and Englishmen"? HA!

    Okay. I'll grant you that maybe not many cricket matches are contested in the scorching heat of the "noon-day sun", considering sunshine, 'noon-day', or otherwise, is a rare occurrence in England. Although w/ this global warming phenomenon (I believe it's a fact), perhaps the U.K. is experiencing more sunny days, over the past few years…..no?)

    @Nicholas. Thanks much for the early "Casey at the Bat" Jack Davis "Mad" magazine piece. As usual, just brilliantly draw, hilarious cartooning by one of the true American masters of the comics genre**. I believe the native Georgian, Davis, is well into his 80s now, but is undoubtedly still rooting for his beloved Georgia Bull Dogs.

    As a pro cartoonist myself (semi-retired), I've always held Davis' work in such high regard. Superb caricaturist, as well. He and the amazingly gifted Mort Drucker were my absolute 'favs' toiling at "Mad" during those halcyon days of my misspend youth.

    Grand mustachioed Sergio Arigones, w/ his signature cast of scores of little bizarre characters running along the margins of the magazine pages wasn't exactly chopped liver, either.

    * Mai, I'm not exactly sure what they term this new shorter round cricket match format, but I seem to recall a "20" somewhere in the mix.

    **If imitation is, indeed, the greatest form of flattery, then Jack Davis must be one of the most flattered cartoonist, ever. His engaging, action-packed, detailed style is so tempting to attempt to mimic, that many a young cartoonist has tried, yet most have fallen woefully short of the mark.

  32. John said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    Having come back to baseball after coming back to the US, I've noticed the use of 'flied' and 'flew' in different reporting. Announcers on NESN — the TV network owned by the Boston Red Sox — is consistent in using 'flied'. Those on FOX Florida Sports Network and Sun (just different arms of the local sports franchises, sharing coverage) are mix-and-match, but I hear 'flew' more often than 'flied'.

  33. Adrian said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    Speaking even as a Brit, "flied out" is clearly the idiomatic and logical option in this situation. What seems to be at work here is that both the people and their computers are uncertain about using "flied out" so change it to "flew out".

  34. stan from tacoma said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    There are some remarkable baseball broadcasts available on the internet. Do a google search of OTRNetwork.com, click on the link to the website, go to the vintage sportscasts, click on that and then take your pick of some really remarkable broadcasts and broadcasters. My favorite is the 1957 Brooklyn-Chicago game. The 1949 World Series was broadcast by Red Barber and Mel Allen and those games are for sure worth a listen. Bob Feller, Warren Spahn and Satchel Paige all pitched in game 5 of the 1948 World Series, so that broadcast is really important for anyone who appreciates baseball history.

  35. M (was L) said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    > Speaking even as a Brit, "flied out" is clearly the idiomatic and
    > logical option in this situation.

    While much of baseball is clear enough to the cognoscenti of the game, very little of it is remotely logical – above all, the terminology.

    A ball that touches the foul line is fair, a swing and a miss is a strike, and a man with four balls can still walk.

  36. M (was L) said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    Appreciate the correction re crick-speak.

    The Mad Magazine text is about standard – and there's no absolute standard, as the version made famous in Vaudeville doesn't exactly the original published version, and there were other variants as well. However most of these are single-word substitutions – eg puddin' (or here, pudd'n) vs lulu.

    Note the 1953-style (American) football uniform, with no facemask, and the now-rare dirt path between the pitcher's mound and home plate (which deliciously is a shallow bowl).

    Also note that the figure of Casey suggests Casey Stengel, a real player – by then more famous as a manager. A prescriptivist, listening to Casey Stengel, might just go hang himself.

    I suspect that the reader of 1953 might have recognized the football player too.

  37. Benet said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    @Gene Callahan
    [While not common, Google turns up hundreds of hits for "runned out" and "cricket."]
    True, but "ran out" and "cricket" turns up nearly 2 million hits, which might explain why 'runned out' sounds so unacceptable to me, at least.

  38. GeorgeW said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

    Of course, we also have "struck out," but I don't recall "striked out."

    (The consequence of having three strikes while at bat)

  39. M (was L) said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    Yup, I've struck out more than my share. In a brief stint pitching, I didn't strike anybody out. I only pitched once, usually I caught. Pitchers pitch and catchers catch but first basemen don't first base and short stops don't short stop and they rarely stop short.

    I've also walked, but never based on balls. I've drawn a walk, I've worked out a walk, but I've never made one. In a brief stint pitching I walked two, but in another game batting I walked twice.

    I've even walked in a run, both batting and pitching, and earned a Run Batted In without having an At Bat. I don't recall if either was an Earned Run.

    I've left ducks on the pond, and I've touched 'em all, and I've doubled and had batters double off of me, and I've been doubled off, which was embarrassing.

    Oddly if you make out, you don't even get to first base.

    I could do this all day.

  40. Joe Green said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

    @PeterW: talking of zoological plurals, and getting totally off-topic, what is the plural of "goose" in the sense of "(mild) sexual assault"? Surely gooses, not geese. (Apologies to anyone who thinks that "mild sexual assault" is an oxymoron, but I think the modifier is justified here.)

  41. Steve. Anderson said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

    @John: The NESN announcers do indeed say ”flied out," but the commentators at the Boston Globe seem always to wrie "flew out." I wonder if there are any statistics on spoken vs. written commentary?

  42. snego said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

    The real problem is that "fly out" is an abomination, quite literally a thing that ought not exist. The "fly" in "fly out" is a noun–the fly ball–and not a verb, which is why any attempt to put it into the past tense as a verb, whether "flied" or "flew," sounds odd to large numbers of people.

    [(myl) What a beautiful example of uninformed prejudice against conversion, a process that has been common in English since before it was called "English"!

    Do you also see the verbs mail, talk, switch, sleep, ship, load, board, dress, puncture, fool, end, post, slice (and hundreds more) as abominations, on the grounds that they were originally nouns? Or do you amnesty conversions that took place before 1800?

    Your own phrase "any attempt" uses what was originally a verb as a noun — is that also an abomination, or are you upset only about noun-to-verb conversion and not verb-to-noun conversion?]

  43. M (was L) said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    Well if Red Sox fans accept both, then both it is. There are very few fans more committed to taking sides than Red Sox fans!

    (And if there are any… they are probably Bruins fans… or Celtics fans….)

  44. Charles A said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

    The differentiation among types of outs is to provide additional information about the game action, i.e., the flight of the ball. The "roots" here are thus different physical flight paths, each of which can result in a hit or an out. If the latter, a ground ball results in a ground out, a line drive a line out, a popup a popout, and a fly ball a fly out. "Flied out" thus derives from this noun phrase rather than from the verb to fly.

    My overall speculation is that the increasing prevalence of "flew out" says more about who is doing sports journalism rather than evolution of the language. Perhaps there's been an influx of less-seasoned journalists who are unfamiliar with this unique and admittedly-odd bit of baseball jargon.

  45. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 12:19 am

    @M (was L),

    You had me in stitches w/ your slightly ribald rundown of those various common baseball terms, and how, to the uninitiated ball fan, these pertinent catch-phrases, and descriptions of regular play could seem somewhat befuddling.

    I have to say your "man with four balls can still walk" had me almost falling off my chair. (You can see what kind of base (not base-ball) humor appeals to yours truly. I'm sure Chaucer would have appreciated THAT one. HA! I could see him as a fine catcher, w/ a wicked pick-off throw to first.)

    Your bit—-"if you make out, you don't even get to first base"— was a beauty, as well.

    Reminded me of the old "Seinfeld" episodes(s) w/ a cameo role for pro ball player, multiple golden-glove winner, Keith Hernandez, and his thinking he could get all the way to home plate w/ Elaine— a sexual metaphor for 'going all the way'.

    I loved Elaine's clever reply to Hernandez's coming on a little too strong in the romance department, boasting that he'd already rounded third (in their budding relationship), and he was pretty confident that he'd be sliding into home plate (read Elaine's boudoir) that very evening.

    Smiling Elaine says something to the effect that 'You may THINK you're heading for home plate tonight (read getting some nookie), but I got news for you Mr. First Baseman….. I don't see the third base coach waving you home, anytime soon.' (Mercy! That Elaine could be a real ball-buster, at times.)

    M (was L), with all your capital letter moniker switcheroos, of late, you're starting to encroach on author Sue Grafton territory—- 'The Queen of the Caps' in popular fiction today. ( Just pulling your chain, there.)

    Why don't you use L&M as your online handle—the best of both worlds? Just a thought.

    Or, The Blogger Formerly Known as "L"… taking a leaf from performer Prince's playbook. (Maybe a bit too long and cumbersome, eh?)


    The online ump's tossing me outta here for unnecessary roughness, and is adding a silliness penalty on top of that infraction, to boot. Oops!….. sorry….. that's football lingo.

  46. Eric Vinyl said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 4:55 am

    I don't think that radio broadcasts of baseball games are archived online (are they?)

    Gameday Audio subscribers indeed get access going back a few years, at least.

    This is a great post; the first time I remember hearing "flew out" was only a few months ago, and my immediate thought was, "Pinker said that shouldn't happen!"

    @Richard Badger: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22flew+out%22+OR+%22flown+out%22+site:britishbaseball.org

    @Louise: I always thought of a run out being so called because the batsman typically is running between the wickets when dismissed in this way.

    the now-rare dirt path between the pitcher's mound

    Sports fans from the Commonwealth will immediately recognize that as a vestige of baseball's shared origins with cricket.

    And Twenty20 isn't really cricket.

  47. Eric Vinyl said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 4:58 am


  48. snego said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 6:34 am

    myl: It's really not helpful to denounce people who actually read and are moved to leave comments on your blog as uninformed bigots. I was not expressing a personal animosity toward the natural growth of the English language, but suggesting a reason that both "flied out" and "flew out" sound unnatural to many people; it's because, as Charles A correctly points out, "fly out" is a noun phrase and not a verb. All the examples you give of conversion are one-word nouns; there's a difference here. Still, in a hundred years, "flied out" may sound odd to nobody, just as "boarded" doesn't sound odd today. But we'll all be dead then.

    [(myl) Your earlier comment was uninformed in two ways.

    First, the whole point of the cited research (by Pinker and others) was to claim that denominal verbs are regularized; this was clearly stated in the third paragraph of the post; so when you pointed out that "fly out" is a denominal verb, as if this were a new observation settling the issue everyone has been discussing, this strongly suggests that you didn't in fact read the post.

    Second, English has been converting nouns into verbs since before the language was called "English". So to call an instance of this conversion "an abomination, quite literally a thing that ought not exist" is clearly uninformed, unless you believe that pretty much the whole development of Indo-European was a satanic plot.

    This view also clearly counts as a "preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience", that is, a prejudice.

    Finally, I didn't denounce you — rather, I applauded you for providing such a crisp and clear example of this particular uninformed prejudice, namely the view that conversion (otherwise known as "zero derivation") is "an abomination". Thanks for the comment: I plan to quote you frequently in the future!]

  49. Ralph Hickok said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    Isn't there an analogy with "hung" and "hanged"? As in "The curtains were hung" but "The murderer was hanged"?

  50. SeaDrive said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    Next up: "fair caught" in football.

  51. Eric R-S said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    > I applauded you for providing such a crisp and clear example of this
    > particular uninformed prejudice … Thanks for the comment: I plan to
    > quote you frequently in the future!

    LanguageLog: where the comments stay classy strictly out of raw fear of myl's wrath. :-)

    [(myl) Really, the emotion in this instance is "delight" rather than "wrath".]

  52. SCF said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Here's a related case in which a simple Google search refutes an intuition-based claim (Pinker's again) about unacceptability of regulars vs irregulars: Ramscar & Dye (2010), Cog Psych, 62,1-40, at http://goo.gl/cpC1L. Paper is concerned with level ordering and alternate explanations for the absence of compounds containing regular plurals. Investigating Pinker's claim that "[A]n apartment infested with mice is mice-infested, but an apartment infested with rats is not rats-infested; it is rat-infested, even though by definition, a single rat is not an infestation," a Google search shows that while 'rats-infested' is nearly nonexistent, 'mouse-infested' is nearly 3x as frequent as 'mice-infested' (a COCA search shows 5 occurrences of 'mouse-infested' but zero of 'mice-infested') — the opposite of what is claimed, and far from a binary distinction. It's doubtful that Google was publicly available when Words & Rules was being written, but presumably Lexis/Nexis or even Yahoo! or AltaVista could have been searched.
    [Of course, in limited cases regular plurals show up in AmEng compounds too, e.g., 'parks commissioner', 'assists king [in soccer]'; see http://goo.gl/9Vkm2 for a paper that uses Lexis/Nexis to find AmEng examples.]

    [(myl) See also "Postcard from Vegas, 3: Regularly-inflected plurals exclusion? I don't think so", 12/1/2003; "Activities centers in Paradise and Santa Cruz", 12/1/2003; "The rigors of fieldwork trips", 12/1/2003.]

  53. Mary Kuhner said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

    About half of the top 20 Google hits for "computer mouses" are discussions of whether or not that is the correct plural! "Mouses" sounds unobjectionable to me, but I believe that I say "mice," and so do other members of my lab (a computer lab–we are infested with them).

    For me "mouse" is actually one of those terms, like "spam", where the novel metaphorical use has become primary for me and I sometimes have to reorient when faced with the animal.

    I discovered this effect when a botanist and I talked for some time about "trees" and "branches" without realizing that he had botanical meanings for these terms and I had phylogenetic ones. Finally he said "The main problem in my research is that only a very sloppy gardener even lets the branches get that long"–and I was enlightened.

  54. M (was L) said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 4:23 pm


    >pretty much the whole development Indo-European was a satanic plot.

    You might be onto something.

    (Or I might be on something.)

    Never trust a preposition.


    Glad you enjoyed – but not all mine. "Good artists borrow, great artists steal."

    Baseball jargon was invented by the kinds of guys who play baseball for a living, a very small fraction of whom have been linguists.

    In the Elysian Fields rules, batters are called "hands" and runs are called "aces" which ought to tell you plenty.

  55. M (was L) said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    @Eric Vinyl

    > the now-rare dirt path between the pitcher's mound
    > Sports fans from the Commonwealth will immediately recognize
    > that as a vestige of baseball's shared origins with cricket.

    Probably just so – in the comic it's cleverly used as a visual pun for a basketball "key" (this was '53, so the reference is to the old-style narrow lane, giving the key its name, now less applicable). So we have a visual pun, both parts of which are now archaic and likely to be missed.

    > And Twenty20 isn't really cricket.

    I hear ya. The Designated Hitter isn't really baseball.

  56. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    M (was L),

    Well you had me fooled there. HA!

    There is a lot of truth to that old adage you cited, i.e., "Good artists borrow, great artists steal."

    Growing up admiring, (and later attempting to stylistically emulate), one of Canada's truly great editorial cartooning legends, Duncan Macpherson, who labored for decades at The Toronto Star, I will always remember his almost echoing the aforementioned adage, but adding a little sage twist. He said, in effect, a great artist is one who steals from the greats, but knows how to cover up his (or her) tracks in the finished artwork; in other words, deftly disguising the 'stolen' elements, so only the most discerning critics could see thru the deception.

    It's common knowledge that in the heyday of Borscht Belt comedy in the Castskills of up-State New York, mostly Jewish comedians (many former Vaudvillians) would shamelessly steal entire stand-up routines, or chunks of clever schtick from fellow comics. It was the rule, rather than the exception. (So sue me!)

    Let's face it, no art is created in a total vacuum. We all have our influences. But in the process of assimilating those influences the maturing visual artist hopefully finds a personal style, or clear, consistent direction that says to the world, this guy speaks w/ a singular voice. Granted, a voice, or style that has incorporated several key influences along the way.

    The same creative journey holds true, I would say for a successful singer. When we hear a Tony Bennett, a Willy Nelson, a Luciano Pavaroti, or a Frank Sinatra— their individual voices are all unique and unmistakable. They all have THAT signature sound that sets them apart from any other performer on the planet.

    Yet all the above would likely admit their debt to other great vocalists that had come before them, as well as those contemporary artists who had inspired, or stylistically influenced them.

    M, your point about baseball jargon coming largely from the grass-roots player level, where the value of education wasn't perhaps high on the agenda, is well taken.

    In this vein, one can't help but allude to the great glossary of Yogi Berra-isms that have been coined over the years….. some from the horses mouth, so to speak, and others surely of pure invention by Yogi admirers.

    One of my favs—-"When you come to that fork in the road…. take it." Priceless.

    Interestingly, your point about batters being called "hands" in Elysian Fields rules, brought to mind the term "wrist", a common slang word for just another run-of-the-mill draughtsman in my former animation biz. In my view, there's definitely a kind of 'dime-a-dozen' , deprecating inference implied there. Like just another warm body that can fill a position, who happens to draw passably well, will suffice.

    "Hey, hire that wrist!"

  57. Rubrick said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    While Pinker appears to have overstated his case, I hope no one is left with the impression that his observation about regularization of verbs-from-nouns is disconfirmed by the apparently (and to me unsurprisingly) common use of "flew out to center field". The prevalence of "flied out" in the context of baseball may not be absolute, but it surely exceeds by orders of magnitude the occurrence of "I flied out to L.A. for the weekend" and the like.

  58. M (was L) said,

    September 24, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

    The subtitle of The Yogi Book says it all: "I really didn't say everything I said."

    I think my real point is, baseball talk is a jargon and to apply general-usage English rules to it is miss the point. A jargon is defined precisely by its unique features; without them, it's not distinctive.

    Pinker may be right or wrong about general-usage English, without necessarily saying anything about baseball talk at all.

    Why is "out caught" correct cricket jargon, but "caught out" is not? Precisely because cricket people say it that way.

  59. the other Mark P said,

    September 25, 2012 @ 12:41 am

    While not common, Google turns up hundreds of hits for "runned out" and "cricket."

    Nothing would make you sound like a n00b in cricket like saying a batsman was "runned out". The thing to bear in mind is that there are many n00bs in this world, so on a popular subject you will get lots of mistakes. Especially since for many cricket watchers English is very much a second language.

    I have to mark Maths tests every year where "the angels add up to 180°". It's just a mistake, and hardly proof people think that triangles are full of blessed beings.

  60. Ned Ludd said,

    September 25, 2012 @ 3:37 am

    Steve, Anderson gave the example: "the veteran had flown out to right and struck out twice before walking in the eighth inning." Whom or what did he strike out at? Following the example of "flied", shouldn't we say "striked out"?

    It doesn't sound odd to me to say, "The pitcher striked out the side." I am sure I have heard sportscasters say "striked".

    [(myl) "striked/struck out" seems for whatever reason to be quite different from "flied/flew out". During the past month, Google News has 197 instances of "struck out the side", versus 0 (zero) for "striked out the side". In fact, there are no examples of "striked out the side" in all of the history known to Google News.

    Sportscasters may well say it, but sportswriters apparently don't write it very often.

    Casting the net a bit more widely, we can find a discussion at Yahoo! Answers of the question

    I know the past tense of strike is stuck. My question deals with baseball only. Shouldn't we say that a batter striked out as he was out on strikes?

    And then there's this letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/19/1980, with its response:


  61. M (was L) said,

    September 25, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    "Slud into third" is usually attributed to Dizzy Dean. But it could be so many!

    Of course as a radio commentator, he frequently wung it.

  62. M (was L) said,

    September 25, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    > Whom or what did he strike out at?

    Quite possibly nothing at all. You can strike out without ever moving the bat.

    We have here a word that has morphed in meaning. You qualified linguists probably have a name for this, but at least until I learn it, I'll just stick with "morph." Here's what happened.

    Originally, near as anyone can reconstruct, you got to swing at, or not swing at, as many pitches as you felt like. This is an adaptation of cricket, only since there was no wicket to knock over, there was no penalty for just waiting as long as you liked, tiring out the pitcher, and boring everybody to death. Since you only got to put one ball in play, it paid to wait for a really good opportunity. This was obviously unsustainable.

    So they came up with a limit, you were allowed some number of "strikes" at the ball and if you failed to connect within that limit you were out. The limit varied over time and place, but eventually settled on three. Also, if you successfully struck the ball – meaning hit it into fair territory, or fouled out, or well never mind the details – then your turn at bat also ended; you might be out, or you might be safe, depending on what happened next ("safe" is not the same as cricket's "not out" but they're related).

    Still there was little reason to even try, until a very favorable delivery appeared. And so was born the "called strike" – when a hittable pitch (variously defined over time and place, eventually based on a fixed geometry with respect to home plate and the batter's stance) was ignored, a "strike" was charged anyhow. Thus there was incentive to try and strike at any pitch that looked like it might be ruled hittable; this speeded the game along nicely.

    Note that with this development (and so to this day) you are charged a strike for swinging but striking nothing, or for failing to even swing when you "should have." If you actually strike the ball, it might not be a strike at all. The meaning has effectively inverted… almost.

    However that rule incentivized pitchers to avoid the "strike zone" and still the thing was unsatisfactory. And so, when some number of non-strike balls went by (a number that varied over time and place, but eventually settled on four) the batter was awarded first base, officially known as a "base on balls" but more commonly called a "walk." (It is courteous to at least trot, a few loonies run for effect.) That innovation incentivized the pitcher to aim into the strike zone, but not too much, and it created baseball's signature "game within a game."

    A bunch of side-rules developed over time – foul balls, no-foul-on-last, foul-bunt-third-strikes, dropped tips, etc etc etc; and of course intentional walks, and of course unintentional intentional walks, the details of which are obvious to baseball people and of no interest to anybody else. Just consider them all "special cases" and move along.

    So the bottom line is that the verb "to strike" became the noun "strike" which was generalized to "unsuccessful strike, or unused opportunity to strike, or any of a list of special cases involving special kinds of striking" and if you collect three of whatever-strike-the-noun-means-now, then you're out.

    What are they? In the lingo of baseball they're strikes.

    Get over it.

    The balls that a pitcher throws that are not strikes are balls, unless they are hit, in which case some of them are hits.

  63. M (was L) said,

    September 25, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    I obviously care too much about this one. I thought, well, what's the "Official" answer? It must be in the Official Baseball Rules 2012 Edition at http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2012/Official_Baseball_Rules.pdf

    Search for "flew" and you get no hits at all. Search for "flown" and again, you get no hits at all. Search for "flied" and you get just one. So what is this one-hit wonder?

    It is found, aptly enough, in 10.03 OFFICIAL SCORE REPORT (ADDITIONAL RULES) Rule 10.03(b) Comment, which reads (emphasis added) as follows:

    Lower case letters are recommended as symbols for substitute batters and numerals are recommended as symbols for substitute runners. For example, an official score report may note as follows: “a-Singled for Abel in third inning; b-Flied out for Baker in sixth inning; c-Hit into force for Charles in seventh inning; d-Grounded out for Daniel in ninth inning; 1-Ran for Edward in ninth inning.” If a substitute’s name is announced but the substitute is removed for another substitute before he actually gets into the game, the official scorer report shall record the substitute, for example, as follows: “e-Announced as substitute for Frank in seventh inning.”

    So is this decisive? HARDLY!!! The Official Rules also speak of "home base" and the "pitcher's plate" and the "next batter's boxes."

    The rules also contain the more expected "home plate," "pitcher's rubber," "rubber," "on-deck batter," and "on deck" but not "on-deck circle."

    In the words of Casey Stengel, "In baseball, ya don't know nothin'"

  64. Richard Hershberger said,

    September 25, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    As a point of information, I ran "flied out to" and "flew out to" through the genealogybank database. "Flied out to" goes back to 1875, always in the context of baseball. "Flew out to" is, unremarkably, much older in a non-baseball context. The earliest I found in a baseball context was from 1869.

    A question was asked about the construction of the "Bostons" and the "Chicagos". If you go back to the amateur era of the 1850s and 1860s, most clubs had names in the form of, e.g., "Atlantic Base Ball Club of Brooklyn" and were typically familiarly referred to as "the Atlantics" or "the Atlantic Club" (or sometimes "the Atlantic", presumably as an ellipsis for "the Atlantic Club"). With the professional era there was a transitional stage, but the trend was for each city to have a "representative club" which took the city's name, e.g. "Chicago Base Ball Club". The familiar form for this would be the "Chicagos". With the coming of the American League in the 20th century, several cities had clubs in both the National and the American Leagues. A common construction would be "the Boston Nationals" and "the Boston Americans". This was sometimes extended even to cities with just one club, e.g. the startling "Washington Americans". There was also a concurrent trend for journalists to bestow colorful nicknames on clubs, and in a complicated and widely misunderstood process these nicknames came to be standardized and quasi-officially recognized forms, which eventually ended up as fully official trade names. The process was not complete until the second half of the 20th century.

    Regarding "strikes", this too is complicated. In early baseball usage "strike" was a common verb, used in its normal sense. The prepositional construction "strike at" was also common, and the batter was often called the "striker".

    In the earliest known extensive description of baseball, from the late 18th century, the pitcher stands next to the batter and tosses the ball straight up, for the batter to hit on its way down. Clearly the pitcher's job is not to make the batter miss the ball. If, however, the batter is so inept that he swings at and misses three pitches, then the ball is in play just as if he had hit it, and he runs toward first base. It is more of a delay of game issue than anything else. Of course the pitcher is well positioned to pick up the ball and throw it into the small of the batter-runner's back, that being how you put out base runners back then. The pitcher was soon moved to approximately his modern position within the bases, and one or more catchers were placed behind the batter. The principle of three attempts to hit the ball remained in place, but with the twist that if the catcher caught the ball (on the fly or, in many versions, on the first bounce) then the batter was out, just as if he had hit the ball and a fielder caught it. In the Knickerbocker rules of 1845 this was codified as "Three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand out; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run." So we see here both the genesis of the strike out and of the dropped third strike rule.

    The act of striking at the ball was known as a "strike" by at least 1858, when the first called strike rule was enacted: " Should a striker stand at the bat without striking at good balls repeatedly pitched to him, for the purpose of delaying the game, or of giving advantage to a player, the umpire, after warning him, shall call one strike, and if he persists in such action, two, and three strikes. When three strikes called, he shall be subject to the same rules as if he had struck at the three balls." The point of this rule was to counter the "waiting game": once a runner was on base, the next batter could refuse to swing at any pitch, figuring that eventually one would get past the catcher (who had no protective equipment whatsoever), allowing the runner to advance. This was much criticized as being unmanly and, worse, tedious, and was legislated against.

    Called balls were put in the rules in 1864: "Should the pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver to the striker fair balls, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any other cause, the umpire, after warning him, shall call one ball, and if the pitcher persists in such action, two and three balls; when three balls shall have been called, the striker shall be entitled to the first base; and should any base be occupied at that time, each player occupying them shall be entitled to one base without being put out. " Based on newspaper usage, it appears that calling it a "ball" was understood as ellipsis for "unfair ball".

  65. Ned Ludd said,

    September 26, 2012 @ 3:38 am

    Richard Hershberger gave the information, "when three balls shall have been called, the striker shall be entitled to the first base; and should any base be occupied at that time, each player occupying them shall be entitled to one base without being put out. "

    I guess it is much wiser to say, ""without being put out" than to say, "without being outed".:-)

  66. M (was L) said,

    September 27, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    @Ned Ludd – yes, probably. ("put out" is still in use, but slightly differently – mainly as a noun these days)

    @Ralph Hickock – it's possible that the murderer was both. I expect that some are.

  67. The Foreigner Fallacy | The DMZ Linguist said,

    March 21, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    […] demonstrated by cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker when he wrote an article and titled it, "Why no mere mortal has ever flown out to center field".  The claim being that in baseball, the verb 'to fly' was reanalyzed as […]

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