Etymology Corner – ‘Cricket’

Although the weather may still suggest otherwise, the British cricket season is now fully under way. The first test series has been put to bed, and supporters are eagerly eyeing up The Ashes in July. With that in mind, we decided to look at the etymology of the word ‘cricket’…

The terminology of cricket is notoriously impenetrable to those who are not initiated into the mysteries of the sport. Traditional terms such as ‘square leg’, ‘googly’, ‘yorker’, and ‘nightwatchman’, as well more recent coinages such as ‘jaffa’ and ‘doosra’, are all guaranteed to bemuse your average French tourist.

Yet despite cricket being regarded as a quintessentially English game, the name of the sport actually comes from a medieval French word. A criquet was a goal or target, such as the upturned milking stool at which bowlers aimed in early versions of the game.

What are your favourite cricket terms? Have your say in the comments below…

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