more on Gay Nineties

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Sep 4 09:30:35 UTC 2002

The following two bits from John Simpson of OED, con permesso:


OED has "roaring fifties" from 1921 - I believe with ref to the
Gold Rush; and "naughty nineties" from 1925 (of the decade - Sellar and
Yeatman's ref to the "old gentlemen" of the period dates from 1930).

I should revise my last note to include the "hungry forties" (1840s),
recorded by the OED from 1905.


The above are earlier evidence of decades being referred to as a unit by an
epithet.  Previously I had posted that the earliest such evidence was from
1927, in ref to "the Roaring Twenties" (the 1920s).  So now it's back to

I still find it remarkable that this practice was not even earlier.  Can
others antedate this?

Frank Abate

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