Sun Jun 4 23:08:09 UTC 2006

        Safire today refers to "gaga," which he, and M-W, takes back to
1917.  Here's an example from 1910, albeit from a later publication of a
diary:  "At Constantinople he [sc. Winston Churchill] had stayed four
days, and had been taken to see the new Sultan, but had found him
uninteresting; indeed _gaga_."  Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, My Diaries; Being
a Personal Narrative of Events 1888 - 1914, Part Two [1900 - 1914], at
322 (3d ed. 1923; copyright 1921) (diary for Oct. 14, 1910) (via Making
of America).

        For the stereotypical baby talk "ga-ga," presumably the ultimate
source of the word (though it derives immediately from French), there is
an example in Metta Victoria Fuller, The Senator's Son 204 (2d ed. 1853)
(via Making of America).  Doubtless it can be further antedated.

John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

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