Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
The American term used in ice hockey for the method of starting or restarting play is a face-off, because two opposing players come up practically face-to-face over the spot, ready to catch the puck after it's thrown in by the linesman. The Slovak term buly comes from British English bully, used in field hockey, but originally in the kind of football (pre-soccer) played at Eton College (the exclusive private secondary school near Windsor, west of London), which included elements of rugby. One of these is the scrum /skram/ or scrimmage /skrimidž/, mlyn in Slovak, in which several players on each side bend forward linking their arms over their backs to form a tight unit. Then they come forward together, the referee puts the ball into the “tunnel” between them, and the players try to push the others off the ball and capture it for their team.
More about the word bully. The current meaning is associated with using strength to gain something, whether it's the ball in field hockey or Eton football, or power and domination in the case of a person who tyrannizes weaker people for their own satisfaction (šikan). You would think logically that bully is derived from bull, i.e. býk, bujak, being a strong, aggressive animal, but it's not so simple. This is a classic example of how originally positive words get degraded with use, because the starting-point here is the old German word Buhle meaning a lover, i.e. frajer. Such a man was seen as courteous (zdvorilý) and affectionate at first, then well-dressed and self-confident, and later considered as boastful and arrogant, and finally as a BMW SUV driver.