Java (1823)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jul 9 23:03:23 UTC 2006

These cites are valuable, though they seem to be specific Standard English rather than generic slang or colloquialism. As HDAS II indirectly suggests, the generic usage may not have become common till the 1890s.

  Of course, there must have been teeming masses fifty years earlier who neither wrote for publication nor recognized "Java" as the name of an island.

  Nowadays "java" can sopme from anywhere.


Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Dave Wilton
Subject: Java (1823)

OED2 and HDAS have 1850.

All found via Proquest Historical Newspapers.

Christian Spectator, 1 Feb 1823, "Review of Imitation Waverly Novels," p. 81
"The most remarkable general characteristic of these works is their common
relation to the Waverly Novels-a relation very much the same with that which
'Roger's Columbian Coffee' bears to the real Java."

Southern Rose, 20 Feb 1836, "Original Sketches," p. 97:
"The subject of coffee was discussed at dinner in all its various bearings,
our guests being evidently au fait in its mysteries. One contended for
Mocha, the other for Java, one was for infusion, another for decoction."

Graham Journal of Health and Longevity, 17 Oct 1837, "Interesting Case of
Recovery From Disease," p. 224:
"I am aware it will excite a smile of incredulity or contempt to hear me say
that I never drank a cup of 'Mocha' or 'Java' with any thing of the
enjoyment with which I now sip my glass of pure cold water."

Graham Journal of Health and Longevity, 12 May 1838, "What Is Thirst?"
".and a coffee pot full of 'the fragrant beverage from the best of old

Boston Weekly Magazine, 22 Sep 1838, p. 22:
"Mocha coffee, if it can be had pure, is most desirable-Old Java is good,
but has some oil in it, which produces the effect of an aperient."

The New Mirror, 27 May 1843, "The Remnant of That Story, p. 122:
"It is customary in many parts of the country to have the best Java for
dinner, in honor of a visiter [sic], and is considered the highest evidence
of a welcome."

Spirit of the Times, 7 April 1849, "There Goes My Horse," p. 77:
"As the savory odors of fresh pies, hot coffee, roasted oysters and the
like, fell upon his excited nascent organ, he approached the box, ordered a
bowl of old Java, swallowed a dish of glistening Shrewsbury's in a jiffy,
gulphed down a quartette of generous Sandwiches, and topped off with the
biggest half of a smoking custard pie."

Christian Register, 21 April 1849, p. 64:
"It is right however to say, that I stopped at the house of the lady last
mentioned; and on the very first morning was presented by herself,
personally and voluntarily, with a cup steaming with prime old Java."

--Dave Wilton
dave at

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