Online Encyclopedia

PITCH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 660 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PITCH. (I) (0. Eng. pic, an adaptation of Lat. pix, picis, Gr. vivo—a, 7rirra, allied with Gr. 7rLTVr, pine-tree, Lat. pines), the name of various substances of dark colour and of extremely viscid and tenacious consistency when subjected to heat. Strictly the term is applied to the resinous substance obtained as a solid residuum by the distillation of wood-tar (see TAR), or the non-resinous substance similarly produced from Coal-tar (q.v.). The name is also applied to the natural mineral sub-stances, i.e. asphalt or bitumen (qq.v.). (2) A noun of various meanings which are somewhat difficult to connect with the verb from which they apparently must be derived. " To pitch " means primarily to thrust in or fix a stake or other pointed object into the ground, hence to place in a fixed position, set in order, cast or throw, hence to incline or slope. The etymology is obscure, but it appears in Northern dialects as " pick," of which it may be a variant; there is some difficulty in connecting this form with " pick," variant of " pike " (q.v.).
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ARCHIBALD PITCAIRNE (1652-1713)
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