Antedating of "Fan"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 5 11:56:47 UTC 2004

OED and HDAS have 1889 as their earliest citation for the modern word
_fan_ 'fanatic.' I believe that Barry Popik and David Shulman have pushed
this back to 1887 in articles in American Speech and Comments on
Etymology.  Here is earlier from

1886 _Sporting News_ 31 May 5 (  The Boston fans explain
the poor playing of their nine so far by saying that Radbourne does not
get effective until June, while Buffinton has had a lame shoulder, Sam
Wise has been sick and Burdock has been slow about getting down to work.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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