Nutmeg (football): a term associated with different images in different languages
Thread poster: Attila Piróth

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:03
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Nov 12, 2008

I opened this thread to discuss a particular football term, "nutmeg", defined by Wikipedia as a technique used in football (soccer) or hockey, in which a player plays the ball through an opponent's legs, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutmeg_(football)

As described on the same page:
The origins of the word are a point of debate. According to Alex Leith's book Over the Moon, Brian - The Language of Football, "nuts refers to the testicles of the player through whose legs the ball has been passed and nutmeg is just a development from this". The use of the word nutmeg to mean leg in Cockney rhyming slang has also been put forward as an explanation. The most likely source, however, was postulated by Peter Seddon in his book "Football Talk - The Language And Folklore Of The World's Greatest Game". Nutmegs were a valuable commodity and exporters would regularly place wooden replicas in the ships to England to make up the weight. To be 'nutmegged' implied stupidity on the part of the receiver. It soon caught on in football, implying that the player whose legs the ball had been played through had been tricked, or, nutmegged.

This term seems to have very colorful equivalents in a lot of languages: "petit pont" (= little bridge) in French, "kötény" (apron) or "bőr" (leather) in Hungarian; if I am not mistaken, "Tunnel-trick" (tunnel trick) is used in German, etc.

I would ask you to post equivalents here, by indicating the language (and possibly the country), in the subject line, the term(s) in that language, its/their English back translation, and a description of the etymology in English.

Hungarian
- kötény = apron
- bőr = leather
Explanation: This technique is called kötény (apron) in Hungarian, for "you should put on an apron so that the ball could not roll through". Another name "bőr" = "leather" comes from the association "leather apron". "Bőr(öz)" is also used as a verb.

Attila


 

Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:03
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Italian Nov 12, 2008

Here's known simply as "tunnel", quite self-explanatory really.
Gianni


 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:03
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Poorten Nov 12, 2008

In the Netherlands this technique is called 'poorten' by the Dutch and 'panna' by the Surinam population and many young urban players. The Dutch word can be translated as 'to gate', an unusual construction in Dutch too. I think 'panna' just means (small) gate.

Regards,
Gerard


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 13:03
SITE FOUNDER
English / US / hockey: 5-hole Nov 13, 2008

I have heard "nutmeg" used in both hockey and "soccer" here in the US, but it would be more common, I think, to refer to "putting it through the 5-hole"... at least in hockey. I was under the impression that this expression came from the fact that the 5-pin is the center pin in 10-pin bowling. Urban Dictionary has a different account, however: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=5%20hole

In Japan the term "tunnel" ("tonneru") is used.


 

xxxMorratrad  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish Nov 13, 2008

In Spanish is called 'caño' or 'túnel'.

Regards,

Marta


 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:03
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
German confirmed: Tunnel / tunneln Nov 14, 2008

I can confirm that the noun "Tunnel" is also used in German. The German verb to refer to this action/process would be "tunneln".

Steffen


 

David Sirett
Local time: 19:03
French to English
+ ...
Seddon nutmegged? Nov 14, 2008


The most likely source, however, was postulated by Peter Seddon in his book "Football Talk - The Language And Folklore Of The World's Greatest Game". Nutmegs were a valuable commodity and exporters would regularly place wooden replicas in the ships to England to make up the weight. To be 'nutmegged' implied stupidity on the part of the receiver. It soon caught on in football, implying that the player whose legs the ball had been played through had been tricked, or, nutmegged.


Not at all likely, IMO. A total anachronism for a start, given the centuries between when the nutmeg trade was important and when football became popular. OED has testicles = nutmegs from the 17th century on, so the testicles = nuts/nutmegs explanation works for me.

David


 

Luciano Monteiro  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Portuguese Nov 14, 2008

In Brazil, depending on the region, it could be called a "janelinha" or a "caneta".

"Janelinha" means little window.

"Caneta" means pen but is also slang for a (usually skinny) leg.

Unlike in English, neither "janelinha" nor "caneta" can be used as verbs. The correct usage is "dar uma janelinha/caneta" (to do a nutmeg).


 

Prokop Vantuch  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:03
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
nursery, violin Apr 17, 2009

In Czech football terminology we use the term "jesle" (or diminutive "jesličky") and "housle" (or diminutive "housličky") meaning nursery (small nursery) and violin (small violin), respectively.

In a sentence we can use it as "to give the opponent a nursery/violin".

[Edited at 2009-04-17 12:37 GMT]


 


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Nutmeg (football): a term associated with different images in different languages

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