Monday, August 31, 2009

Howzzat!

The word is inescapable, if you are watching a cricket match. Me and my roomies were watching the Ashes series live on TV and suddenly an uproar from the almost calm fielding side broke through the air... "HOWZZAT!!!"

Its a word of appeal thats synonymous with the cricket world. The word that brings the game and the spectators to a brief, anxious halt! And when it is a nail-biting scenario, the word kicks up emotions more than just anxiety. But observing the word from a linguistic focus, it seems incomprehensible to word-intensive person like me. The word "HOWZZAT', actually a shorter form of "How's that?" would in a worldly sense of proper usage would invite replies like "that's good", "awesome", "hmm..not bad", "good work", etc. But instead, umpires don't waste their energy replying to such appeals asking for praise!! They just raise their finger or just nod the head sideways.

Moreover, just imagine a scenario where someone comes to you and asks you "How's that?".. And you turn in some other direction, raise both your hands and point finger to sketch a picture of a square in the air. Doesn't it look funny? But thats what umpires do on the field to refer to the third umpire!

I can't imagine what would happen to me if I was made to stand behind the stumps and judge the game! I would probably reply, "Oh! That's a great piece of bowling" to an LBW appeal. I can't imagine the brickbats from a team of 11 on the field!

That was just a passing thought then, but I later tried to google the origin of the phrase/word "Howzzat" in cricket, but I couldn't find any references. Maybe any of you cricket devotees could help me out. Just for etymological curiosity!

6 comments:

shveta said...

he he if you were made an umpire then the term "howzaat"for an appeal would have to be changed to "howwillu"(consider this appeal of mine?)because the typical "howzaat" will get different answers from you "it was very ordinary!!good!!that was ok better than last season's bawling...etc".and more so you will analyse that bawling so much that the guy will say "ok boss forggett it i take my appeal back"shveta

fromperiphery said...

Now, howzzaat Mihir? I never knew that shveta throws googlies too !!!

mihir mulay said...

Just the finger...



but this time, the upright thumb!

Jui Chitre Deshmukh said...

i liked reading this :)I will try and google Howzzat..will tell you if I find anything.

mihir mulay said...

alright, now this is just a theory..
Aussies are habituated to saying, "Howzit going?" they never say the full sentence. One or more word in the sentence have to be a shortened combination of words...

Maybe they were the ones who possibly started appealing this way too..

Anonymous said...

Howzatt is derived from How was that?
~MAK