Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 19, 2019 is:
deke • DEEK • verb
: to fake an opponent out of position (as in ice hockey)
“[Carl Yastrzemski] led the league in (outfield) assists seven times. He was great at deking the runner into thinking he’d catch the ball or it was over the wall. Most of the assists were on guys trying for doubles.” — Jon Miller, quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle, 13 June 2019
“After taking a pass from Diego Rossi and avoiding a sliding defender, Vela stepped around another defender inside the box, deked keeper Daniel Vega to the ground then dribbled around him….” — Kevin Baxter, The Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2019
Did you know?
Deke originated as a shortened form of decoy. American writer Ernest Hemingway used deke as a noun referring to hunting decoys in a number of his works, including his 1950 novel Across the River and into the Trees (“I offered to put the dekes out with him”). In the 1940s, deke began appearing in ice-hockey contexts in Canadian print sources in reference to the act of faking an opponent out of position—much like how decoy is used for luring one into a trap. Today, deke has scored in many other sports, including baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. It has also occasionally checked its way into more general usage to refer to deceptive or evasive moves or actions.