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Feeling rather bogeyed, I'm looking for some fore-closure to this query — help!

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Oh, come on, Arthur. We know you know the answer to this, and we know you know we know you know it. –  Robusto Mar 18 '11 at 17:54
    
Sucksex!! You've ex-posited my dangling participle for the world to see,man...... –  user5531 Mar 18 '11 at 18:08
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Most interesting. I lways knew it was a traditional warning cry while golfing, but I just googled it and there is sever possible sources

[Cut paste and some editing from WIKIPEDIA]

It is mentioned as early as 1881. The term means "look ahead", and it is believed to come from the military "beware before", which was shouted when a battery fired behind friendly troops. - This one sounds most likely to me - it just fits with the Scots and the British history as I know it.

Other possible origins include the term being derived from the term "fore-caddy", a caddy waiting down range from the golfer to find where the ball lands.

It also may have a contraction of the Gaelic cry Faugh a Ballach! (i.e. Clear the way!) which is still associated with the sport of road bowling which has features reminiscent of golf.

=When I get to work I'll try to look it up in the OED and see when it was first used in written form.

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How do you pronounce "Faugh a Ballach" in Gaelic? Presumably 'huh'? –  Mitch Mar 18 '11 at 21:10
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From what I've read, the term "fore-caddy" has the most plausibility. The golfer would yell at the fore-caddy to look for the incoming ball, and I reckon it would take one round to shorten "FORECADDY!" to "FORE!" –  ghoppe Mar 18 '11 at 23:51
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"Fore" in this sense is the same as in a book's "foreword," i.e., "that which goes before." Or even, the 'fore' in "before." Means "those in the fore should look out - here comes a shot."

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