Antedating of "Unemployment"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 24 14:39:52 UTC 2004

On Fri, 23 Jan 2004, Laurence Horn wrote:

> At 10:20 PM -0500 1/23/04, Baker, John wrote:
> >         This sounds like "not in use," rather than "forced idleness"
> >(the meaning referred to in the infamous Wall Street Journal
> >article).  Is there an antedating for the "forced idleness" meaning?
> Right, just what I was going to say.  The 1888 OED cite involves the latter:
> 1888 Science XI. 192/1 The chief purpose of the inquiry was to
> ascertain..the extent of unemployment generally.

There is nothing for the "forced idleness" meaning in Eighteenth-Century
Collections Online.  As I have mentioned previously, years ago I sent an
1800 citation for the "forced idleness" sense to OED.

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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