eye candy

Mon May 31 03:54:03 UTC 1999

At the recently adjurned DSNA meeting at Berkeley the term _eye candy_
was use in one of the papers.  It had not been found in dictionaries by
the presenter.  It (in the form _eye-candy_) is in HDAS with a date of
1984.  However, it is substantiated by only one quotation.   I expect
to have an entry for _eye candy_ along with _eye-candy_ in a future
issue of The Barnhart Dictionary Companion.  The earliest date I have
found (so far) is 1981.  It is probably the precursor of _arm candy_
(DC 11.4) and _ear candy_ (DC 5.1).

I am somewhat surprised at the lack of a record in dictionaries (with
the exception of the Century Dictionary) of figurative use for _candy_
in English prior to this century.  HDAS and DARE both have evidence
from this century for figurative or transferred meanings of _candy_.
_Candy_ comes from French in the 13th century (see Barnhart Dictionary
of Etymology) with corresponding forms in Persian, Arabic, and
Sanskrit.  Is semantic development for _candy_ prior to this century
found in these and other languages?

David K. Barnhart
Barnhart at highlands.com

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