Friday, March 7, 2008


I'm amused to find do-over as a recurring term in discussion of the Florida and Michigan Democratic primaries. From House Democratic leader Dan Gelber, a sentence that could have come from The Onion: "I think we have to do a do-over."

Do-over is likely to be familiar to any veteran of schoolyard games. That at least is the context in which I'm familiar with the term: the world of odds and evens and two out of three and choosing up sides. Any matter of reasonable or unreasonable dispute could be decided by a do-over: whether the ball was out of bounds, whether the dribbler was traveling, whether the runner was over the goal line when tagged. I must have said and heard do-over hundreds of times as a kid, in a number of variations:

"That's a do-over!"

"We gotta do that over!"

"No way! Do-over!"
The Oxford English Dictionary doesn't contain do-over — yet.

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