Links for June 9, 2019

Why Does English Have More Words for Sports Officials Than Any Other Language?

So the terms have slightly different base meanings and are not interchangeable, but their use in English does not follow any established pattern between sports. The lead official in a National Basketball Association game is a referee. In Major League Baseball, it’s an umpire. Tennis, American football, and lacrosse all have both referees and a variety of judges.

As a matter of fact, American football has a whopping seven officials: a referee (who’s in charge), an umpire, a down judge, a line judge, a side judge, a back judge, and a field judge. “There are so many cops on the field in a football game,” says Rosenthal. “The NFL [National Football League] is basically just enforcing rules and people happen to be playing a game in the meantime.”


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