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February 04, 2018

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The word "mazy" has completely disappeared from British English except in the fossilised phrase "mazy run" for a skilful and impressive move in football [soccer]. I've always understood it as a run with many rapid changes of direction, sending multiple opponents the wrong way.

I first came across it in the Reminiscences of Captain Gronow, in the famous passage where he talks about the introduction of the quadrille in 1815, concluding with:

The "mazy waltz" was also brought to us about this time; but there were comparatively few who at first ventured to whirl round the salons of Almack's; in course of time Lord Palmerston might, however, have been seen describing an infinite number of circles with Madame de Lieven. Baron de Neumann was frequently seen perpetually turning with the Princess Esterhazy; and, in course of time, the waltzing mania, having turned the heads of society generally, descended to their feet, and the waltz was practised in the morning in certain noble mansions in London with unparalleled assiduity.

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