German measles

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Nov 23 23:54:21 UTC 2002

In a message dated 11/22/2002 9:24:57 AM Eastern Standard Time,
TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG writes:

> My impression, from a quick look at my literature database, is that
>  the term "German measles" didn't really become at all popular in
>  English until the early years of the twentieth century. It appears
>  in works by Edna Ferber (1911), J M Barrie (1911), George Bernard
>  Shaw (1913), and Willa Catha (1922). The earliest I have found is
>  from "Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac" by Eugene Field (1896), which
>  is well after the OED's first entry.

This afternoon I saw Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" for the
first time in 25 years.  In Act IV, when Jack Worthing is replying to Lady
Bracknell's questions on Cecily Cardew's pedigree, he says something like
"measles, both the German and the English version" (sorry, quoting from

      - Jim Landau (who once went by train from Victoria Station to Worthing
via the Brighton Line)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list