Of all the many fascinating things I've read about Manute Bol this weekend, here's the most bizarre: a language blog written a few years ago suggested that Bol might have been responsible for coining and/or spreading the phrase "my bad." (I'm not trying to be flip; for the really touching and moving version of Bol's legacy, please read The Post's obit, or Kevin Blackistone's column from South Africa.) The "my bad" item, written by British professor of linguistics Geoffrey K.
In the same year, the Chicago Tribune's Bob Greene wrote a column on the phrase, for which he contacted several linguistics professors, some of whom hadn't heard of "my bad." One of these professors, Larry Horn from Yale, "was under the impression that it was a slang phrase that began in inner city neighborhoods--during sports competition--and has begun to enter the wider language." "It's been around for a while," Horn said."The first time I heard it used was on 'ESPN Sports Center,' where the anchors were talking over a videotape of someone fumbling or making an error.The anchor said 'My bad' in a sort of funny, joking way....Does professor Horn think "My bad" will become a regular part of English usage? "It's hard to predict which words or phrases will stick. But regardless, Nexis shows Bol as the first pro basketball player to regularly use "my bad," which is a wacky enough fact on its own.'Cool' is one example of a word that filled a need. We already have 'My fault,' so I don't know if there's a real need for it." Pullum acknowledges that the timing is perhaps a little off, and posits that possibly Bol originated the phrase during his early days at Cleveland State and Bridgeport U. I think it's equally possible that Bol picked it up from being in P. (Via David Steele) Wake up Guys, the phrase "My Bad" has been in use for decades.
It's been around since at least the 1940s--it probably began with jazz musicians. Back in the late 60's we used the term for My Fault when we dropped a pass or missed a block. Some one said it years ago "There's nothing new under the sun".Wake up Guys, the phrase "My Bad" has been in use for decades.Back in the late 60's we used the term for My Fault when we dropped a pass or missed a block. Some one said it years ago "There's nothing new under the sun".My sympathies to Manute Bol's family on his untimely death.There is verbal testimony that the expression "my bad" was in use in the 1970s and earlier, but the evidence in the printed record has not yet provided a date before the 1980s.The comprehensive Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for the term, and the earliest citation in the OED is dated 1986: 1986 C. WOLFF Back-in-your-face Guide to Pick-up Basketball 226 My bad, an expression of contrition uttered after making a bad pass or missing an opponent.