Thursday, July 27, 2006

Oneupmanship - inventing a new word

I've often used the word (or phrase) one-up-man-ship (oneupmanship) and did not think it to be a real word and for some reason I thought that I had invented it. A search on Google shows that it is referred to on approximately 80,000 pages so I'm guessing that I'm very wrong. On requesting the definition of oneupmanship I see that it is undefined so I'm guessing that it does not appear in a dictionary yet even though Stephen Potter wrote a book that was published in 1952 called One-Upmanship. (The word verywrongmanship appears on zero pages in a Google search as I type this but at some point in future Google may have indexed this page and so verywrongmanship may appear in the index when you read this.)

I found two definitions of oneupmanship (next to an advert to learn Spanish - go figure) that said it was (1) when you were ahead in a game (for example cricket) or (2) you were cleverer than someone else. I disagree with both of these definitions. I would define oneupmanship as a pissing contest - metaphorically. However, that leads me on to an actually pissing contest that I once witnessed.

It was, of course, at a bachelor's party. We were in a small garden behind a pub and against the wall was another small wall about a foot or two off the ground. The groom-to-be and and a couple of others were on the low wall and they were literally having a pissing contest - who could pee the furthest. The groom-to-be was, understandably, not too steady on his feet and fell forward and being the agile athlete that he was kept one hand on his equipment and did a one-armed cartwheel creating a spectacular Catherine Wheel effect with his kidney-filtered Carlsberg Lager and landed on his feet facing the opposite direction - perfectly dry - but still unsteady on his feet. The judges ruled him the winner (extra points for staying dry) and arbitrarily assigned him another pint to down as his prize - of course.

(I was going to talk about oneupmanship here but got way-laid by a story so hopefully I'll return to the subject in the near future.)

1 comment:

Guy Ellis said...

It's 4 days after I posted this and I just clicked on the verywrongmanship link to see if Google had indexed it and they had so I can no longer say that verywrongmanship is not in the Google index.

A quick check of Yahoo search that it is not in there but it is in MSN search which surprises me because they are usually the laggards.