Bridge (the game of)

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Bridge (the game of)

Post by Mel » Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:09 pm

Are any of you bridge players, like myself.

Ever wondered about the origins of the name. I used to think it was somehow connected to pontoon. Well, they are both forms of bridges.
here is something I found.

The truth, alas, is that no one knows precisely where the name "bridge" for the card game came from, although it's fairly certain that it has nothing to do with other senses of the word "bridge." The invention of bridge in the 19th century was, evidently, based on a card game long popular in the Near East and known at that time as "Russian whist." (The word "whist" itself, by the way, is an old British equivalent of "shhh!," and is a natural name for a game that demands silence from its players.) "Russian whist" was also known as "biritch" or "britch," both of which do sound Russian although neither of them seems to be an actual Russian word. In any case, once the British took up the game, "britch" became "bridge" through a process known as "folk etymology," which is a fancy way of saying that people often substitute a word they do know ("bridge") for one they don't ("britch"), even when the substitution makes no sense. So the answer is that the name "bridge" is almost entirely random and doesn't mean a thing.
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Signature: Another season another reason....

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