the oldest surviving slang

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 2 01:20:42 UTC 2002

At 6:01 PM -0400 7/1/02, Baker, John wrote:
>         I believe that "cunt," in use since at least c. 1230, is
>still considered slang.  "Cool" goes back to only 1948 and "dope" to
>1851, according to the OED.
>John Baker
Well, RHHDAS does have "cool" back the 1930's, but that's still not
1851, so I yield the point.  I'm not sure I see "cunt" as principally
slang, though, its appearance in RHHDAS notwithstanding.  Allen
Walker Read (in his material on the F-word in the new publication)
has some counterarguments, and a tracing of the word's history (back
through the poetry of Wilmot, Earl of Rochester or the songs of
Robbie Burns, inter many alia), would also lead me to question that
classification.  With "dope" meaning 'idiot'--no such demur is


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