Sporting Vernacular 2. COACH

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The Independent Online
WITH ENGLAND'S search for a full-time football coach looking fraught, it is appropriate to remember that the national team's education only really began in 1953, courtesy of the mighty Magyars. For "coach" is one of the few English words borrowed from Hungarian, coming (via the French coche and German kutsche) from kocsi, an adjective meaning "of Kocs" - a village in the north-east of the country, between Budapest and Gyor, an area famous for making carts and carriages. The full form was kocsi szeker, or "cart from Kocs".

The modern sense of "trainer" or "instructor" had its origins in 19th century Hungarian student slang, the idea being that the scholars were conveyed or guided through their exams by the tutor as if being driven in a carriage. ("Manager" has a similar connotation, by the way, coming from the Latin for "to handle", but was first used to describe the idea of training horses rather than humans.) Let us hope Kevin Keegan is not going to drive a coach and horses through the manual.