Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 08:29:40 -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

It would seem that a playing field is leveled when its bumps, perhaps its

slopes are smoothed out so no part is higher than any other part. The

following citation illustrates the nonfigurative usage:

1978 _Business Week_ 1 May (Nexis) The new BL chairman did his first

business deal at his upper-crust school in Grahamstown when he bid

successfully for the job of leveling and grassing the school's playing