Saturday, February 18, 2012

Height vs. Length

How in the world did basketball players go from being tall to being long, from having height to having length? It may just be the announcers (whom I love to listen to) on our home sports network, Altitude TV, but I do not believe I have ever heard the words height or tall come out of their mouths. They talk about one team having a length advantage over the other. The guard is having a hard time guarding the taller player because of his length. Huh?

Babies have length. Anyone who stands erect has height. Babies are said to have length because they are unable to stand. They lie in the crib and are said to be so many inches long. A person is said to be so many feet tall. An upright person has height, not length.
This seems to be one of those annoying vogue words that someone started using and others found cute and made a permanent part of their vocabularies. Vogue words can be useful and colorful, as pointed out by William Safire here, but some are just plain ridiculous and annoying. Don't you agree?

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