THE HEISMAN.

What would you think if you read “Yahoo has been giving them the Heisman for two months now” in a discussion of Microsoft’s offer to purchase Yahoo? Even if you’re familiar with the Heisman Trophy as an annual award to the most outstanding player in college football, it’s completely unclear what the expression might mean. So this AskMetaFilter thread was very enlightening: “it’s from the pose of the figure in the Heisman trophy, with his hand extended, palm out, warding-off an oncoming opponent (thusly). So, Yahoo isn’t metaphorically giving Microsoft the Heisman trophy, it’s metaphorically giving Microsoft the Heisman gesture.” Other commenters weighed in with examples (“we would go to the club and of course most of us would try to pick up on girls. when the rejection was particularly embarrassing or decisive, we would say ‘oh damn, that chick just gave him the fucking heisman’”). So all is clear, slang shows its versatility once again, and once again I am grateful for the educational power of the internet.

Comments

  1. arthegall says:

    I’d actually heard (on an NFL films broadcast, of all places) a different phrase used for poses like this: the ol’ Huck ‘n’ Buck.

  2. Discussed on the American Dialect Society mailing list in a 2005 thread — see therein for early cites. The song “The Heisman” by the Raleigh, NC band Johnny Quest (mentioned in the Metafilter thread) goes back to 1989, and the band has said they got the expression from their collegiate fans.

  3. mollymooly says:

    If Jim Laughead coined “huck’n'buck” c.1951, he was perhaps influenced by the Hucklebuck dance of 1949; I’m not sure how similar the pose is to the dance.

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