14 November 2005


Came across a rarity of a lexical item today, in a summary of Edmonton beating Colorado in NHL action:

"Yeah, absolutely," Pronger said when asked if it felt good to finally get off the schneid.

The context is that Chris Pronger socred his first goal of the hockey season in his team's 20th game. Schneid?

I ran a Google search just on that item and found an archive of "word-detective.com". There's no anchors on the page, so I'll summarize that people write to the Detective to ask about obscure words, and it turns out somebody wanted to know about schneid. The word detective's answer:

To be "on the schneid" means to be on a losing streak, racking up a series of losing, and especially scoreless, games.

This suggests a property of teams rather than of players, but it makes sense to apply to an individual's scoring slump. What's neater, if true, is the source of the expression: the detective says it's from the card came Gin:

Apparently the original sense was that if you were "schneidered" in gin you were "cut" (as if by a tailor) from contention in the game. "Schneider" first appeared in the literature of card-playing about 1886, but the shortened form "schneid" used in other sports is probably of fairly recent vintage.

This amounts to another example of a card-playing lexical item passing into sports.

Meanwhile, for the sake of curiosity, the detective adds "shut out" as another crossover item. This one (s)he attributes to horse racing, as a term applicable to a potential bettor arriving too late to bet, but it's also used in baseball and hockey to refer to a game in which one team is scoreless.

I'll check on schneid and shut-out in the office in the morning.


At Tue Nov 15, 05:57:00 AM 2005, Blogger language said...

Discussion of "schneid" here, with links to earlier discussions.

At Tue Nov 15, 08:20:00 AM 2005, Blogger Bob Kennedy said...

Thanks for the link. That forum didn't come up on my first search (just {schneid}), but it does with a search of {schneid baseball}. Looks to be some debate about gin vs. pinochle as a source.

At Fri Apr 01, 05:29:00 AM 2011, Blogger Joel Hitt said...

At 69 currently, I've been a wordsmith since college, and a friend just used "on the schneid" in a post to me. Yikes! How have I gone so far into midlife without an introduction to this term? I'm going to thank my friend in a moment, but I wanted first to thank Bob Kennedy for his research here!

At Fri Apr 01, 05:32:00 AM 2011, Blogger Joel Hitt said...

Oh. And thanks to "language" for beginning this thread.

At Sun Apr 10, 03:22:00 PM 2011, Blogger tjkrbrown said...

Vin Scully, baseball announcer for the Dodgers since 1950, uses the phrase "off the schneid" relative to teams, but especially individuals breaking an unfortunate streak. It must date in general sporting usage at least that far back.


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