the meaning of life; & brunch

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Jan 7 22:29:51 UTC 2002

[From a brief sketch of Frank Ward O'Malley ("O'Malley of the Sun"), a
newspaperman]  He is supposed to have coined the phrase "Life is just
one damned thing after another," and the word "brunch," to describe the
morning newspaper man's breakfast-luncheon combination.   Stanley
Walker, City Editor. N. Y.: Frederick A. Stokes, 1934, pp. 292-93.

  The American Heritage Dictionary of American Proverbs credits the
saying to a 1923 book of aphorisms by Elbert Hubbard.  The Oxford
Dictionary of Proverbs, Sayings & Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary
of 20th Century Quotations also say Hubbard.  They note that it is also
frequently attributed to O'Malley.

  The OED has "brunch" from 1896 (an English quotation in which it is
attributed to one Mr. Guy Beringer) and 2 from 1900, at least one of
which is also English.  O'Malley was born in 1875 (and died in 1932),
and so is unlikely to have coined this word, although he may have
introduced it to New York or coined it independently.

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

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