Antedating of "nit-wit" (1915)

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 22 03:01:19 UTC 2004

On Wed, 21 Jan 2004, Sam Clements wrote:

> OED and M-W have 1922.
> 13 Feb. 1915 _Ft. Wayne(IN) News.  1/7
>   <<It pitied him as a poor nit-wit who was floundering about to hold
> his job and wished to do all possible to help him.>>

Here's earlier:

1914 _L.A. Times_ 5 June 14 (ProQuest)  After her trip to Virginia Miss
Helen Morton was quoted as saying that Chicago men were "nit wits" and
that she fled, not to be married, but to associate for a time with real
men and enjoy herself in her favorite pastime -- the training and riding
of horses.

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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