June 07, 2012
sacrifice fly (noun)
\SAK-ruh-fyce-FLYE\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: an outfield fly in baseball caught by a fielder after which a base runner scores
How do you use it?
The team won the game in a walk-off when a sacrifice fly enabled the runner to score from third base.
Are you a word wiz?

At the root of "sacrifice" is the Latin word "facere." What do you think "facere" means?

We're not making this up—"facere" is Latin for "to make." Latin speakers combined "facere" with "sacre" meaning "sacred" to form "sacrificium." They used "sacrificium" to refer to the act of making an offering of something precious to one of their gods, especially by the killing of a victim (such as a sacrificial animal) on an altar. English speakers adopted "sacrifice" and it eventually developed the less gory meaning of "a giving up of something especially for the sake of someone else." That's the meaning we find in "sacrifice fly" where the batter makes an out but in doing so allows a run to score. We see the same meaning in another baseball maneuver, the "sacrifice bunt," which refers to a bunt that allows a runner to advance one base while the batter is put out.
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