Sporting Vernacular 21. DRUGS AND DOPE

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The Independent Online
THE ORGANISERS of this year's Tour de France are referring to it as the "Tour of Redemption", as a curative to last year's pharmaceutical debacle. Apothecaries were known as druggists in Shakespeare's times, while "drugs" was 19th-century student slang for pharmacists; the word comes from the French drogue, and originally, it is thought, from the Dutch droog or "dry"- droge waere was "dry goods".

"Dope" is also Dutch: doop, or sauce, gave Americans a word for any thick, semi-liquid preparation. In the 19th century, it came to denote, at first, opium and then any drug, and it was the effects of the drugs that gave "dope" its sense of "fool", as in "dopey". Will cyclists be dopey enough to use the stuff this year? The next three weeks will tell all.