Re: [ADS-L] Further Antedating of "Black Hole"

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Thu Apr 17 19:10:56 UTC 2008

I suppose it also depends on just how elastic the phrase "coin a term" is.
Some anonymous student may have shouted the term out, but the scientist was the
one who realized how good it was and made it famous. He was the first
scientist to use the term, and his role in attaching the word to the meaning is an
important stage in its coining. Science is collaborative.

Was Franklin Roosevelt the coiner of the phrase, "The only thing we have to
fear is fear itself," or was it "coined" by some now-forgotten speech writer.
Ditto JFK's famous "Ask not what your country can do for you, but [etc.]"

This is not to say that Shapiro's discovery is not lexicographically
important, only that it should not be taken to imply that saying that the scientist
"coined" the term is not entirely untrue, regardless of the exact pathway of its

In a message dated 4/17/08 4:45:43 AM, wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG writes:

> I'm with Fred Shapiro on this: claims of first creation are important in
> science, since reputations and rewards rest on them. It would be good to
> know who wrote the 1964 article. It is not to decry the memory of a famous
> teacher and theorist to get to the truth behind the myth.

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