Antedating of "Socialist"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 23 15:17:54 UTC 2004

At 8:03 AM -0500 1/23/04, Fred Shapiro wrote:
>socialist (OED 1827)
>1793 'Impartial Observer in London' _Fact without fallacy: or,
>constitutional principles contrasted with the ruinous effects of
>unconstitutional practices_ 41  Man, alas! in savage or in social life, is
>still the same selfish, restless, sanguinary being; in savage life, his
>wants are fewer, and his power of doing mischief more contracted; in
>social life his wants are insatiable, and his means of devastation
>boundless.  A very slender vocabulary enables the savage to transact the
>business of life.  Voluminous dictionaries enable the socialist to
>misinterpret the transactions of his neighbour.
>Fred Shapiro
But, unlike the other antedates we've been discussing, this seems to
be a largely unrelated sense from the principal one, _socialist_
meaning 'social being' or 'participant in a social system'


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