Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pitched Battle?

Recently, in an actual human conversation, I used the term “pitched battle” to describe my animosity toward and/or inability to get along with a fellow humanoid.
Only afterward, did I wonder about what I had said.
I did not wonder about how much I cannot stand the other person.
I wondered about the phrase “pitched battle.”
As in…. what the hell does it mean?
Plus… how is it different than your everyday run-o’-the-mill BATTLE?
What does the “pitched” part mean?

So, I did research.
Apparently, a pitched battle is one which has been planned, and the battlefiled has been pitched on or chosen beforehand, by both sides.
It is “an intense battle fought in close contact by troops arranged in a predetermined formation.”
A PRE-CHOSEN time and place!
A pitched battle is a battle where both sides choose to fight at a chosen location and time and where either side has the option to disengage either before the battle starts, or shortly after the first armed exchanges.
A pitched battle is not a chance encounter such as a skirmish, or where one side is forced to fight at a time not of their choosing such as happens in a siege.
For example the first pitched battle of the English Civil War was fought when the Royalists chose to move off an escarpment to a less advantageous position so that the Parliamentarians would be willing to fight the Battle of Edgehill. In contrast, the Battle of Gettysburg, fought during the American Civil War, started by chance as a skirmish, but as both generals chose to reinforce their positions instead of disengaging, they turned what was initially a skirmish into a pitched battle.

So, to recap…. a pitched battle is sort of like two opposing forces coming together and saying, “Hey, listen. Tomorrow, have your forces meet my forces at such-and-such place…… and then let us engage in systematically killing each other!”

Ummmmmm….. this is not quite what I was meaning, by using the term “pitched battle” with my foe.
What I was meaning by using the phrase was more like, “If I could do it and get away with it, I would love to let the air out of his tires and then run away laughing….” but like, I don’t want to premeditatively KILL the guy or anything.
So, I’ve gotta sharpen up on my terminology here, you know?
[Or else kill the guy.]



Beth said...

If you figure out how to let the air out of someone's tires without getting caught, let me know.

Pitch is a funny word. Remember the expression "pitch a little woo?" (Although it's before our time...)

Jeane said...

That was really interesting. I never thought about what the phrase meant before. Nice to know, so I don't use it wrong!

patricia said...

Boy, you sure do your homework!

And be sure to let us know if you do let the air outta his tires...