Antedating of "Political Correctness"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Sat Jul 22 07:05:59 UTC 2006

On Fri, Jul 21, 2006 at 02:55:33PM -0400, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> At 7/21/2006 12:02 PM, you wrote:
> >political correctness (OED 1979)
> >
> >1805 _The Witness_ (Litchfield, Conn.) 25 Sept. 3 (America's Historical
> >Newspapers)  The constitution presumes that the people are the judges of
> >political correctness, and has accordingly left the decision to them.
> >
> >Fred Shapiro
> Isn't this more a literal use of "correctness" -- here perhaps
> meaning "correct actions by politicians" -- than the "advocacy of or
> conformity to politically correct views; politically correct language
> or behaviour" of the OED?  Or does "politically correct behavior"
> encompass the 1805 use?  Or does the OED need to separate mingled senses?

OED's sense (a) of _politically correct_ is 'appropriate to
the prevailing political or social circumstances' (noted as
not being a fixed collocation in early use); it is this sense
being used by this and other early examples of _political

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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