In association with my question about the names of foods that have a risk of turning into an offensive remark, there was the following statement in New Yorker’s (May 25) article titled “Sergio Garcia and the lifespan of an offensive remark”:
“That decidedly tame scandal was fanned for a while by reporters, who kept asking the two about each other, and writing down the barely barbed things they said. “He’s not the nicest guy on tour, said Sergio of Woods. “Not real surprising that he’s complaining about something,” Tiger said of Sergio. Even for golf, this squabble seemed tame.”
I’m not familiar with the usage of the word, ‘tame’ other than the implication of docility as defined by Cambridge English Dictionary:
Adjective. (especially of animals) not wild or dangerous, either naturally or because of training or long involvement with humans:
While OED gives a wider scope of definition of ‘tame’ as an adjective than Cambridge Dictionary does:
- (of an animal) not dangerous or frightened of people, domesticated.
- informal (of a person) willing to cooperate.
- (derogatory) not exciting, adventurous, or controversial.
- North American (of a plant) produced by cultivation.
With that said, questions,
(1) What does ‘tame’ in the quoted sentence (tame scandal / tame quibble) mean? How can it be rephrased?
(2) If it means an “unexciting / uncontroversial” trivial matter as defined in 3. of OED definition, why the press made a fuss? Why had Garcia to apologize to Woods and public?
(3) Is this usage of the word, ‘tame’ in the sense of “not exciting / unworthy of note / trifling” as prevailing as the meaning of ‘not wild’ and ‘docile’ only to which I’m accustomed?