Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Timbledon

proper noun humorous

a name used to refer to the Wimbledon tennis championships when the British player Tim Henman is competing

'If it's the time of the year for Wimbledon then common sense dictates that it is "Timbledon" time again … If anyone is located anyplace near the SW19 address of the All England Lawn & Croquet Club, a.k.a. Wimbledon …, then their world will revolve around the trials and tribulations of Tim Henman …'

TennisReporters.net 9th June 2005

The UK's annual obsession with the performance of British tennis player Tim Henman at the Wimbledon championships has in recent years led to the competition being given the rather tongue-in-cheek label Timbledon. Despite the underlying feeling that the championships should not only be about Henman winning, the desperate hope that there may finally be a British men's singles champion after a wait of almost 70 years has fostered a definite 'Tim-centric' attitude!

if only Tim had had as much success at Wimbledon as he's had in word formation during recent years

Timbledon is sometimes used to refer to the (as yet hypothetical) concept of 'the Wimbledon tennis championships when Tim Henman becomes singles champion' with bookies recently taking bets on whether 2005 would finally be Timbledon.

If only Tim had had as much success at Wimbledon as he's had in word formation during recent years! In 1996, the first year that Tim reached the quarter finals, the term Henmania was coined, a clever blend of Henman and the noun mania, referring to the condition of being a very enthusiastic supporter. Henmaniac quickly followed, used as both an adjective and a countable noun as a humorous reference to obsessive fans. Then came Henman Hill, the name given to the area of the club where fans without show court tickets gather to watch their hero on a giant TV screen (in 2005 re-named Murray Mound in the aftermath of the relative performances of Tim and Scottish player Andy Murray during the first round). Most recently, BBC coverage of the event has given us the Tim-ometer, a play on the word barometer used to describe Tim's performance and attitude at various stages during the competition. After a victorious but difficult first round match for example, the Tim-ometer was reported to show a 'luke-warm' reading!

Background – Timbledon

The tongue-in-cheek description Timbledon was first used as far back as 1999, but has gained general currency in media coverage of the 2005 championships amid speculation of it being Tim's last real chance of winning the competition.

New coinages from the championships have not only been centered around Tim Henman. The abbreviation SW19, as featured in the citation above, is now frequently used as an alternative way of referring to the tennis club itself, as in:

'It's Ladies Day at SW19 as 18-year-old Maria Sharapova begins the defence of her title …'

The Radio Times 21st June 2005

SW19 is based on the UK postcode for the Wimbledon area of Greater London, with SW standing for South West.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 20th June 2005.

Open Dictionary

endies

Employed but with No Disposable Income or Savings: people who are in work but only earn just enough to live on

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog