Old Sport Examples
The phrase "old sport" is often used as an informal form of address for a male friend or acquaintance.
How have you been, old sport?
The phrase "old sport" is somewhat dated. It is synonymous with "old chum." Today's synonyms would include words like "mate" or "bro."
The phrase originated in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. Gatsby uses term to refer to Nick several times in the novel. Here are some excerpts from the novel:
"Good morning, old sport. You're having lunch with me to-day and I thought we'd ride up together."
He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American - ...
"It's pretty, isn't it, old sport?" He jumped off to give me a better view. "Haven't you ever seen it before?"
"Look here, old sport," he broke out surprisingly. "What's your opinion of me, anyhow?"
The phrase is obviously an informal address and almost a nickname that Gatsby has for Nick. Gatsby desires to appear as if he is from "old money" and that he belongs in a specific social group. His repeated use of "old sport" for Nick is a way for Gatsby to assert an "old chap" friendliness with Nick that is not supported by the depth of their acquaintance. Gatsby's repeated use of the phrase is an affected use of language that demonstrates his desire to be part of a higher social status, and the use of the phrase shows that Gatsby is attempting to be something he is not-imitation rather than originality.
Today, you would likely not hear someone refer to a male friend as "old sport." It would be considered an antiquated phrase today. Today, the same type of address would be "bro," "mate," or "man."
Literary Terms Examples