"software" coinage

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 12 17:49:09 UTC 2001

On Tue, 12 Jun 2001 AAllan at AOL.COM wrote:

> Has anyone investigated the origins of "software"? Probably lots. But I have
> come across two contradictory claims:

John W. Tukey used "software" in print in 1958.  I discovered this usage
through a JSTOR search, wrote it up in the IEEE Annals of the History of
Computing, and it received worldwide publicity after the New York Times
headlined Tukey's obituary "John Tukey, 85, Statistician; Coined the Word
'Software'" and many other news media similarly spotlighted my 1958

On the other hand, Paul Niquette maintains that he used the word as early
as 1953.  He has not yet supplied any documentation for this assertion,
but I am working with him to see if he can indeed back up his claim.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
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 yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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