sudden death
judygirl
I'm wondering about the origin of the phrase "sudden death" as it is used in sports.
Lewis Joplin II
I haven't found an origin yet. But here's the meaning and usage.

SUDDEN DEATH - "Settling a tie with a single stroke. The term comes from a variety of sports...The term was transferred to other kinds of instantaneous decision in the late 20th century..." It is used, with varying rules applied, in football, soccer, ice hockey, golf and tennis. From "Southpaws & Sunday Punches and other Sporting Expressions" by Christine Ammer (Penguin Books, New York, 1993).

Lewis Joplin II
"...Gamblers used the term even earlier to describe the final single throw of the dice or flip of the coin. Interestingly enough, the first appearance of the phrase 'sudden death' had nothing to do with sports. Mark Twain reported it in 1865 as a frontier expression for rotgut whiskey." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).
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