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    #1

    Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    Where I live, table tennis players are called paddlers in our local newspapers. I wonder why this word is used because I have checked the meaning of the word in my dictionaries, and none of them associates it with table tennis players.

    Could somebody please let me know if the journalists have made a mistake?

    Thanks.

  1. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

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

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    (Note that that definition is marked as American. The only time I've heard that use of 'paddle' in the UK was at a language school where the students expected me to speak Am. Eng.! For us, it's table-tennis or ping-pong (or, for followers of Boris Johnson, 'wiff-waff'.))

    b

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    #4

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    (Note that that definition is marked as American. The only time I've heard that use of 'paddle' in the UK was at a language school where the students expected me to speak Am. Eng.! For us, it's table-tennis or ping-pong
    The definition given is for the 'bat', not the game.

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    #5

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    As another BrE speaker, I haven't heard paddlers used with this meaning.

  4. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    [QUOTE=Tan Elaine;910060]Where I live, table tennis players are called paddlers in our local newspapers.QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    The definition given is for the 'bat', not the game.
    Hence, it should follow that 'paddlers' applies to the players, just as 'golfer' applies to 'someone who plays golf, especially as their job', IMO.

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

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    In fairness, I don't think the 'golfer' analogy is entirely fair; a golfer, on the 'paddler' logic, should be an 'ironer' or a 'clubber' - as the thing they hold is an iron or a club. But I think your idea of the word's formation is right.

    Coincidentally [as further support for the 'thing-held + "-er"' hypothesis] the word 'paddler' is, I believe, sometimes used in Br. Eng. (perhaps chiefly among fellow practioners) to mean 'one who propels a canoe [wielding a paddle].

    b

  6. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    I hope no teacher here will show me the paddle (#4) for that
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #9

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    While the table tennis athletes certainly use "paddles" in their game, I think calling them "paddlers" is just a bit too much. It seems kind of cutesy and condescending.

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    #10

    Re: Why are table tennis players called paddlers?

    I agree. It would never have occurred to me to call them anything other than "table tennis players."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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