Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 22:26:58 -0500

From: Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALE.EDU

Subject: Re: "level the playing field"

On Tue, 13 Jan 1998, Gerald Cohen wrote:

I recently received a query about the expression "to level the playing

field." In what way is a playing field leveled? What is the origin of this

unusual expression? Is it older than the past decade or so?

Can any ADS members help out on this?

I'm not currently an ADS member, but I can tell you that the earliest

citation yielded by Nexis is from American Banker, 8 Jan. 1979: "Mr.

Brawner said the Oregon BA welcomed 'any and all competition, on a level

playing field,' a metaphor the association has used frequently in

arguments for 'competitive equality.'" All the earliest occurrences on

Nexis are from similar banking contexts.