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If someone says "the Yankees are going to lose", and everyone starts believing it, including the players, and it actually happens — what is the word for that?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Self-fulfilling prophecy. (I am not aware of a single-word equivalent in English.)

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There should be a word for it, but that's just my opinion. –  Chris Dwyer Oct 21 '10 at 19:13
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@Chris: I'm afraid our chances are rather slim, given that even those crazy Germans with their kindergarten and zeitgeist and schadenfreude and whatnot haven't been able to come up with anything less clunky than selbsterfüllende Prophezeiung for self-fulfilling prophecy. –  RegDwigнt Oct 21 '10 at 19:23
    
What about "qruul"? "They thought they were going to lose, and they did. What a qruul." –  Claudiu Oct 22 '10 at 14:00
    
@Claudiu: sounds like an evil twin of cuil or a minion of King K. Rool... –  RegDwigнt Oct 22 '10 at 14:10
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@Chris: there should be a word for it ... OK, let's invent "to dwyer" ... –  GEdgar Jun 23 '13 at 16:37

I remember my cousin, who is a psychologist, mentioned about the term "Pygmalion effect". Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, often children or students and employees, the better they perform. The effect is named after Pygmalion, a Cypriot sculptor in a narrative by Ovid in Greek mythology, who fell in love with a female statue he had carved out of ivory.

The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, and, in this respect, people with poor expectations internalize their negative label, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly. Within sociology, the effect is often cited with regards to education and social class.

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Also called 'anchoring', a term that's become increasingly popular (Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational etc.). But these are not exactly what the question is asking for. –  smci Oct 12 '13 at 22:49

Besides the already mentioned self-fulfilling prophecy, the closest things that come to my mind are:

  • lack of confidence
  • diminished self-esteem

which are rather the cause to make happen what you described.

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The Yankee's nascent loss...

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Depending on exact context, you might get away with "conjure". Even "will" might do.

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Can you explain further? I tend to disagree with this. –  American Luke Oct 23 '12 at 13:43

In the Bible, the verb to call means "to speak something into existence", but it only refers to God.

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Examples? It seems to me that in the Bible, the verb call used by God means that he names something. God speaks something into existence by saying "let there be". And in Genesis, first He speaks something into existence, and then He names it. "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven." –  Peter Shor Jun 23 '13 at 22:35

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