more on "gen up" and "gin up"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Nov 6 01:12:56 UTC 2002

In a message dated 11/05/2002 6:08:10 PM Eastern Standard Time,
einstein at FROGNET.NET writes:

> From Google cites, British "Gen up" seems to originate in computerspeak--the
>  next generation software will have new features, hence to innovate = to gen
>  up something.

Dubious.  If you want to claim an origin in computerspeak, then try the word
"sysgen", a shorting of "system generation" which means to set up all the
software needed to create the operating system on a computer.  The first
operating systems appeared in the 1950's, before the advent of the "second
generation" computers, so it is a reasonable conjecture that the word
"sysgen" antedates the phrase "nth generation computer" or "next generation

I don't have a date for "sysggen"---it's not in OED---but I recall hearing it
from 1966 when I first starting working as a programmer.  I have a suspicion
that "sysgen" was invented by IBM which in the 1960's gloried in marching to
their own drummer on computer terminology.

     James A. Landau
     systems engineer
     FAA Technical Center (ACB-510/BCI)
     Atlantic City Int'l Airport NJ 08405 USA

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