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Band (together) vs. bandy (about)

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  • To band together is to form a group or to cooperate. To bandy something about is to toss it around, literally or figuratively. Bandy’s exact origins are unknown, but it was originally used in tennis and similar sports, where to bandy a ball about is to hit it back and forth.

    Band together and bandy about are sometimes mixed up, and the confusion goes both ways—for example:

    When the term entrepreneur is banded about, glitzy biographies of “celebrities” … spring to mind. [Norfolk Eastern Daily Press]

    Brian Wilson and those living original members have bandied together for a 50-show tour and reunion album next year. [Gothamist]

    For all their freeness in banding around accusations … the SWP, Counterfire and Socialist Action have agreed [on] a list which is 5/6 male! [Workers’ Liberty]

    [A] lobby group of 300 farmers is bandying together to preserve their livelihood. [NZ City]

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    And here are some positive examples:

    He does not bandy about terms like “cantilever” or “curtain wall.” [New York Times]

    But the old-school tailors of world famous Savile Row are being forced to band together to halt the march of vulgar commercialism. [Daily Mail]

    When the timetable for the sale of spectrum was established two years ago, a ballpark figure of $1.5 billion was bandied around. [The Australian]

    The Winnipeg theatre community is banding together to help two of its own rise from the ashes. [Winnipeg Free Press]

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