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    #1

    the origin of "spin-off"

    What is the origin of the noun/adjective "spin-off" and the verb "spin off"? I think there must be a metaphor behind it by I'm not sure what metaphor.

  1. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    Hello.
    It's only a guess:
    Let's imagine there's a top (=television program, movie, book) spinning in front of us. It is spinning around so quickly, and it's gathering momentum (=popularity). Eventually part of it splits off, which is the "spin-off".

    Am I making any sense?

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    #3

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    What is the origin of the noun/adjective "spin-off" and the verb "spin off"? I think there must be a metaphor behind it by I'm not sure what metaphor.
    The OCED says: "to throw off by centrifugal force in spinning".

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    #4

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    I think of a blob of clay on a wheel. As the wheel spins faster, part of the clay flies off.

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    #5

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    Thanks. I wonder then if this metaphor of spinning is present in English other than in this particular word. In Polish, we say that a business is spinning when it's vibrant. I've never heard it in English I think.

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    #6

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    I would say it's not used to speak of a successful business. In fact, since the 1990s, "spinning" has come to mean what politicians and their people do when they attempt to present the facts of the day in the manner that best reflects on the glory and wisdom of the politician. "Lying," in other words.

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    #7

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "Lying," in other words.
    I don't think a spin-doctor (the purveyor of such spin) would agree. I think it's more like a spinning ball: when it lands it changes direction. What a spin doctor does is to take an event (which is going to have a bad effect on their masters - often a government - and apply spin (something that makes it have a harmless - or even positive - effect.

    I'm pretty sure this sort of 'spin' isn't related to 'spin-off'.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 20-Jul-2012 at 11:02. Reason: fix typo

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    #8

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    When every event is a positive for the politician, there is lying involved somewhere. Sure, some events can be spun either way, but that's not always the case.

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    #9

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    The OCED says: "to throw off by centrifugal force in spinning".
    I think this sort of 'spin off' is different. The OCED definition would fit sentences like 'The blob of clay spun offf the potter's wheel', or 'As the homicidal maniac whirled the hammer round his head it spun off at a tangent and brought the priceless candelabra crashing to the floor' (I knew I'd forgotten something - I'm overdue my meds ) But when a big business lets what was once a department become a self-contained independent company I don't see where centrifugal force comes into it.

    b

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    #10

    Re: the origin of "spin-off"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    But when a big business lets what was once a department become a self-contained independent company I don't see where centrifugal force comes into it.
    Maybe it is somehow related to post #5 (Birdeen's). Perhaps the meaning she suggests there has started to be adopted in English in certain environments?

    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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