bandy (v.)

A new favorite, and at one point, a tennis word — to strike a ball to and fro.  Quickly this word stretched its meaning to other, non-ball nouns, such as rumors, gossip, conversation, heated argument, all of which can bandy or “bandies.” Often paired with the preposition “about,” but one can also bandy “with,” often with the implication of fighting.  And yet it can also mean to combine, to confederate. Wonderful word.

Etymology: 1570s, “to strike back and forth,” from Middle French bander, from root of band (n.2). The sense apparently evolved from “join together to oppose,” to opposition itself, to “exchanging blows,” then metaphorically, to volleying in tennis. Bandy (n.) was a 17c. Irish game, precursor of field hockey, played with curved a stick (also called a bandy), hence bandy-legged (1680s).

 

 

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