Guaranteed to improve your English

Table Tennis By Any Other Name

I fondly remember the late 1970s-early 1980s as, among other things, a time when it seemed everybody, my family included, played table tennis in their garages. Oh, the balls slamming and the serves spinning — I can still hear the sounds of paddle on ball and ball on table.

Of course, most of us, again myself included, rarely called the game table tennis. We called it ping-pong or pingpong.

Which is correct? The answer comes courtesy of It cites the International Table Tennis Federation as saying the name “table tennis” first appeared as a board and dice game in 1887. John Jacques registered Ping-Pong as a trade name in England in 1901, and Parker Brothers bought the rights from him that same year. Also in 1901, The Table Tennis Association and The Ping-Pong Association formed. They merged in 1903 and died out in 1904.

The game saw a revival in the 1920s, and people used the term table tennis to get around Parker Brothers’ trademark. Today, the serious players still call the game table tennis; the more recreational players and Chinese professionals use ping-pong. But since that name remains trademarked (Hasbro now holds it), people write pingpong as a generic term.

Spell it “T-A-B-L-E  T-E-N-N-I-S” to avoid Hasbro’s wrath.

Until next time! Use the right words!





February 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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