question for safire's column

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 3 11:44:29 UTC 2000

On Wed, 2 Aug 2000, Frank Abate wrote:

> Fred, what is the date of the Darwin cited?

I am taking the quote from the 1898 edition, but it was first published in

> I still feel that the pallid idea is not part of the real signification
> of "livid", based on its etym and the examples presented in OED.  I
> would be pleased to give way to other examples that show the association
> between "livid" and paleness.

Well, it looks like the OED entry misses a major part of the history of
"livid" (it refers to paleness in sense c but omits the history that gave
rise to sense c).  The Merriam-Webster entry is better, picking up as it
does the paleness sense which research into early uses of the word
reveals to be a common one.  I'll try to post some of my evidence later

Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at

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