What Does “Putting English On It” When Spinning a Ball Mean and Where Did the Expression Come From?

The expression “putting English” on a ball is used in tennis, golf, soccer, and baseball and means you’ve spun and curved the ball to overcome a problem.

The expression comes from English snooker, a pool game where one of the main strategies is to block an opponent from having a straight line shot at a ball he must hit.

To do this, the shooter will create a spin on his shot to circumvent the obstruction.

This spin is called “putting English on it.”

“Body English” refers to the contortions made by a player as he physically transmits his intention for the ball while it’s in motion.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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