Ground Zero

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sat Jan 26 17:03:59 UTC 2002

In a message dated 1/25/2002 9:05:19 PM, JJJRLandau at AOL.COM writes:

<< "Ground Zero" is not a new term.  Both the OED2 and the M-W 10th Collegiate
give a date of 1946.  I was able to antedate the OED2 entry by one week. >>

1. Words of the Year need not necessarily be new, right? For that matter,
"9/11" is not really "new"--it just took on a new significance (cf. "Fourth
of July").
2. In any case, the use of "Ground Zero" as a proper noun is new, it seems,
especially with the reference it will have in New York City.
3. My vote for "9/11" over "Ground Zero" was based in part on the general
significance of the term as it relates to the entire terrifying series of
events that took place on 11 September and the media obsession with those
events for weeks thereafter. "9/11" refers to it all, not just the New York
City locus of those events. My own prediction is that "9/11" will continue to
be used widely for years to come, whereas "Ground Zero" will be less
important lexicographically.

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