Betting on the English Language


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Betting on the English Language

  1. 1. Betting on the English LanguageThis article was originally published on the Acclaro blog.Category: Documents, "Spot" on LanguageWelcome to Las Vegas and the 24/7 craps tables. Whilenot the easiest game to play in the gamblingpantheon, craps is the one most like a team sport.Players actively root for one another and often bolstereach other’s bets. When a table is “hot”, players scream,holler, give high fives and yes, even do chest butts.When it comes to the English language, craps hasactually contributed its fair share of terms into our day-to-day speech. However, be careful when using crapsand other gambling terms in your documents andmarketing campaigns that eventually need to belocalized. These terms, although common in English,may or may not “translate” well into other languagesand may require substantial reworking by a translator,ultimately adding extra time and cost to your localizationproject. Read more about how to write for international audiences.Now, let’s return to the craps table. I’ll bet you think that the word “crap” comes from the gameof craps. Well, that’s incorrect. Hand over a $10 chip to the author. The word “crap” originatesfrom the Middle English, Old French, and Medieval Latin for “one of a cluster of words generallyapplied to things cast off or discarded”. It took a while for it to be related to the bathroom in themid to late 1800s.Here’s a quick look at some craps terms that have permeated the English language:Crap out – a losing throw of the dice that makes all players lose their bets. Basically, lettingeveryone down or reneging on a promise. Sample English sentence: “He crapped out of hispromise to mow the lawn.”On a roll – on a winning streak, wherein the “shooter” continues to throw the dice. SampleEnglish sentence: “That team is on a roll. I think they will win the whole tournament.”Page 1: Betting on the English Language Copyright © Acclaro 2012
  2. 2. Play the Field – A craps term, however the English expression of avoiding commitmentactually originated with horse betting. Sample English sentence: “He’s playing the field andgoing out with a different person every night.”A Natural – a win when “coming out” of the point; someone who is born with a talent(although this has also been attributed to a boxing term). Sample English sentence: “She’s anatural at math and didn’t need to study for the test.”One more bit of craps trivia: How much will you bet you know the origin of the word croupier,the casino employee who distributes craps bets with a stick? One chip goes to you if you knewit’s French. But a bagful of chips go to you if you know that the origin has nothing to do withgambling and everything to do with horses. It comes from the noun croup, which is the rump ofa horse. The croupier was the person who rode on the rump behind the horseman. Thecraps’ croupier is considered the back-up man to the main dealer at the craps table – hence thetitle croupier (or person on the rump, as it were).About Acclaro: Acclaro is an international translation and localization company thathelps the world’s leading brands succeed across cultures. We translate websites,marketing campaigns, documents and software to give clients an authentic voice inkey language markets. North America: 1-866-468-5106 Worldwide: +1-914-468-0222 sales@acclaro.comPage 2: Betting on the English Language Copyright © Acclaro 2012