Graham article re "smog"

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Sat Apr 7 08:55:31 UTC 2001

My ever-ready colleague Carl Berkhout responded with the following when
apprised of Fred Shapiro's discovery re Bierce's use of "smog":


I recall assigning or accepting "smog" as the topic of a short
library-research paper for one of my better 405: HEL students a couple of
years ago, and she did in fact quickly come up with, among other things,
Bierce's citation of Edmund Yates in an article written by Andrew Graham
a few years earlier.  It happens that the Graham piece, a lively and
delightful read, is on-line at this address:  (For
"smog" scroll down to the vicinity of note 19.)

I'm sure I told her that she should then pursue the exact Yates reference
in the Atheneaeum or wherever else it might have appeared in the London
press, but I don't have her paper to hand as I sit here and can't recall
her final version just now.  Meanwhile, "grumous" now pops into my ken as
a good word that I recall only vaguely and, I am sure, have never used.
I see that it is both French and technical/medical, but it surely has
some rich Anglo-Saxon marrow.  Just gotta start using that word--first of
all on this grumous, yowling cat that is now pawing at my keyboard as I
try to send this off.


Rudolph C Troike wrote:
      Date:    Fri, 6 Apr 2001 10:26:36 -0400
      From:    Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
      Subject: Major Antedating of "Smog"

      1884 Ambrose Bierce in _The Wasp_ (San Francisco) 6 Dec. 3/1
      The Devil's Dictionary...FOG, _n_.  A substance remaining after the last
      analysis of San Franciscan atmosphere--the sewer-gas, dust, cemetery
      effluvium, disease germs and other ingredients having been eliminated.
      Of these, however, dust is the chief, and as Mr. Edmund Yates, by
      combining the words "smoke" and "fog," gave to the London atmosphere the
      graphic name of "smog," we, in humble imitation but with inferior
      felicity, may confer upon our own grumous environment the title of "dog."

      Fred Shapiro


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