Talk:above-board

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Interestingly, even the latest on-line OED does not accept this word without a hyphen. Is it common as a single word in US English? The nautical derivation for above-board seems unlikely, since there is widespread use from the early 1600s for card-sharp & juggler etymology.
Dbfirs 19:40, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

My MW3 shows both w/o hyphen as adverb and in one word as adjective. Usage on g.b.c. suggests that hyphenated form is 25% as common as unhyphenated (with space) form. With hyphen most usage appears to be as adjective. That is about 25% of adjective use is of hyphenated form, 75% of single word form (assuming that use of two-word form is all adverbial and no adverbial use of other forms). I have found numerous refs. to the nautical ety., though I remain a bit sceptical. I'm much more accepting of Samuel Johnson's card game etymology, but that might be taken with a grain of salt as well. The correspondence of semantic implications of the etymologies may make it not matter too much. DCDuring 22:27, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I suppose even the OED cannot keep up with current usage. The quotes in the OED seem particularly convincing regarding the card-sharp derivation from the early 1600s. What dates do you have for the nautical usage? Dbfirs 20:29, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Haven't gotten dates. I'm just loath to delete anything tainted with plausibility. As I recall, the references included Britannica dict 1913 and some other refs. from 2nd half of 19th C. Do we have sources other than S. Johnson for the card-play ety.?
1603 SIR C. HEYDON Jud. Astrol. ii. 67 "After the fashion of iugglers, to occupie the minde of the spectatour, while in the meane time he plaies vnder board". (sic. in original spelling.) (100 years before S. Johnson was born!) Not a direct usage of course, but clearly the concept of above- and under board were in use then.

1616 BEAUM. & FL. Cust. Country I. i. Yet if you play not fair play, and above-board too....
1628 EARLE Microcosm. lxxvi. 157 One that..does it fair and above-board without legerdemain ....
Dbfirs 18:11, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

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above-board

RfVd sense: "(nautical) Above the deck and therefore open and visible; hence the idiomatic use"

This is just wrong, isn't it? I always thought that the etymology had to do with table surfaces in selling or card-playing.DCDuring 19:06, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

OK. I see that there are two possible etymologies for the term. Both etymologies would have converged on the sense of openness and visibility and also been apposed to "under the table". I can't detect a difference in likelihood that the hyphenated form would have come from one etymology rather than the other. Shouldn't (at least) one entry show both etymologies and no entry show just one? DCDuring 19:20, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
OED gives only the card-sharp derivation of "above-board" dating from 1616 & 1628, but a 1603 usage of "above board" refers to jugglers. I suspect the nautical etymology is a later invention? Dbfirs 19:33, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
My MW3 shows both w/o hyphen as adverb and in one word as adjective. Usage on g.b.c. suggests that hyphenated form is 25% as common as unhyphenated (with space) form. With hyphen most usage appears to be as adjective. That is about 25% of adjective use is of hyphenated form, 75% of single word form (assuming that use of two-word form is all adverbial and no adverbial use of other forms). I have found numerous refs. to the nautical ety., though I remain a bit sceptical. I'm much more accepting of Samuel Johnson's card game etymology, but that might be taken with a grain of salt as well. The correspondence of semantic implications of the etymologies may make it not matter too much. DCDuring 22:29, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
1603 SIR C. HEYDON Jud. Astrol. ii. 67 "After the fashion of iugglers, to occupie the minde of the spectatour, while in the meane time he plaies vnder board". (sic. in original spelling.) (100 years before S. Johnson was born!) Not a direct usage of course, but clearly the concept of above- and under board were in use then.
1616 BEAUM. & FL. Cust. Country I. i. Yet if you play not fair play, and above-board too....
1628 EARLE Microcosm. lxxvi. 157 One that..does it fair and above-board without legerdemain ....
(Sources pinched from OED.) I would take the nautical etymology with a grain of salt, (or a sea!) Dbfirs 18:59, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
That settles it for me. DCDuring 19:46, 27 December 2007 (UTC)