Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Weird usage of the day

Iran is gaming its future in Iraq on three fronts, the most public of which has been face-to-face meetings between U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi. Another session could be held in March.

Much as one hates to welcome Iraq back to the front page with puzzlement rather than enthusiasm -- "gaming" its future? Especially now that the AP (source of the tale in question) has put the weight of its stylebook behind "gambling," rather than "gaming," for what goes on when people gamble?

Let's not go totally overboard, of course (though your author too likes to slip down to the G-Drop Inn for beer and peevology every now and then). It'd be nice if we could proclaim that "gaming" was a cunning new euphemism invented by the Stupidity Tax industry, but it ain't; it's been used for gambling since before Young Shakespeare took his first creative writing class. But "game" doesn't have the transitive meaning of staking something or placing it at risk. We have a verb for that: "gamble." Wonder what was going on in assorted AP minds.


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

It constantly startles me to read that "gaming" means "gambling". I mean, I know it does - it's in the dictionary and everything. It's just that I would never so use it, and thus I wonder how many times I've missed the meaning in a hed or story ... For me, "to game something" means "to cheat" - or less judgmentally, "to take advantage of the rules".

Which makes a lede like this fairly unintelligible and leaves me puzzled.

4:52 AM, February 14, 2008  

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