Out of left field

uncronopio
Lexiterian
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Contact:

Out of left field

Postby uncronopio » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:50 am

Looking for any reasonable explanations for this idiom.
"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." -- Mark Twain

Maximillian
Junior Lexiterian
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: Townsville, Queensland

Postby Maximillian » Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:01 am

I always thought it was a baseball expression. I remember coming across something on the internet some time ago suggesting it may have come from a reference to a mental hospital to the left of the left field on a baseball park in Chicago. Also there is the fact that left has since Latin times been the sinister side of the field. Anyway , neither of these suggestions really appealed to me. The first seemed to be fairly obscure and the thing about the left being always associated with the negative does not really tie in with the saying as from the left field, to me anyway, doesn't seem to mean wrong or bad, but rather something unforseen or unanticipated.

User avatar
tcward
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: The Old North State

Postby tcward » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:10 am

The overall concensus seems to be that the origins are baseball related, but that's the extent of the agreement.

The Phrase Finder contains a humorous discussion of this expression.

-Tim

User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2577
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby Stargzer » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:20 pm

:)

I like the reply, Something Wicket This Way Comes. You have to scroll to the bottom to see the reply, which comes after all the original messages.

I usually hear "in" as in "He's out in left field."

Are you sure "out of left field" didn't just come from out of the blue?

:wink:
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee

M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE

Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:15 pm

My gut feeling regarding the asymmetry between left and right fields here is that it has more to do with the fact that most baseball players, like most people in general - it would seem that there are similarities ! - are right-handed, and that therefore most long balls are hit out to left field. Any of you statistic buffs know whether this is indeed the case ?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?


Return to “Idioms”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests