Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Word of the Day #14: Tilt

The History of 'Tilt'

An interesting word and one that my friends and I use a lot.

To a lot of us, the word tilt has stemmed from poker. In poker terms it means to get angry/be annoyed. There are multiple ways to be "tilted" in poker notwithstanding: losing a hand on the river, folding to a big bluff.

But I asked myself the other day, where did poker players get this word from? The reason it has given me a bit of interest is because although the term is now used heavily around the word, it is still slang when referring to the word tilt as being angry. If you look up or a similar website you will get the usual meanings:

1) slope, incline
2) jousting
3) moving a camera up and down for photography

     The Earth is on tilt!

I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I am going to assume that the word tilt comes from Pinball.

In Pinball machines, there is a mechanism that stops players from cheating. If you move the machine too much or tilt it upwards, the game will freeze for that 'ball'. It will usually flash the word tilt on its screen. Now players who have played pinball enough should know this and won't do this anymore, but usually when 'tilt' comes up on the screen is when players get annoyed/angry at the machine (ball goes straight up and down the middle, misclicking, mis-timed shot etc) they will hit/push and will inevitably cause the 'tilt' mechanism to activate.

"Causing a Slam Tilt (by hitting or attacking the door to the coin vault or other *very* violent behaivour towards the machine) immediately ends the current game for you and anyone else currently playing and is hence considered very rude. " - Patrik Lundin

Surely the word tilt comes from a poker player(s) who played a lot of angry pinball.

1 comment:

David Chambers said...

Nice post. I had to laugh at the possibility that misclicking predates the personal computer, and that it has its origins in pinball. Now I feel the need to listen to Pinball Wizard.