O/T Heats
Posted by: Eco Warrior (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2017 22:30

Would be interested if any of the cunning linguists out there (and I know there are some very educated and knowledgable folk amongst the regular posters) can throw any light on the origin of the word "heats" when applied to preliminary sporting rounds.
All my slightly beery Friday night drinking mates can come up with is to find out who's hot and who's not!

Hardly erudite, any better offers? Either sensible or comical appreciated, preferably the latter.

Re: O/T Heats
Posted by: Abberley (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2017 22:41

A quick Google would suggest they were not too far off the mark?


Meaning "a single course in a race," especially a horse race, is from 1660s, perhaps from earlier figurative sense of "violent action; a single intense effort" (late 14c.), or the meaning "run given to a horse to prepare for a race" (1570s). The latter word over time was extended to "division of a race or contest when there are too many contestants to run at once," the winners of each heat then competing in a final race.

Re: O/T Heats
Posted by: Southstand(again) (IP Logged)
Date: 12 August, 2017 08:55

I haven't got a problem with the generally accepted explanation that the word "Heat" came from German/ Saxon origins. Indeed, Horse racing is as good a reason as any for its common usage in English.

I think if we want to find the real origins of this particular usage we have to go back to ancient Greece.

In 400bc the Dromos in Sparta was a famous venue for sporting activity and the noun Dromos appears in the Greek usage for pathways roadways and, racetracks.
Dromos is also one of the Greek words for heat.

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