Antedating of "TV"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 25 10:48:04 UTC 2008

TV (OED 1948)

1946 _N.Y. Times_ 31 Aug. 10 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)  The FCC also has authorized the CBS to change the call letters of its frequency modulation station in New York from WABC-FM to WCBS-FM, it was said, and its television station from the present designatio of WCBW to WCBS-TV.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Benjamin Zimmer [bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2008 10:43 PM
Subject: Re: Madman Muntz and TV

On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 9:21 PM, Baker, John <JMB at> wrote:
>        I'm inclined to think that myself, especially in light of the
> apparent lack of contemporary references supporting his claim.  It is
> true, however, that Earl Muntz was an early user of the term.  He seems
> to have gotten into the television set manufacturing business in 1946,
> with his first sales in 1947.  The term "TV" has been traced back to
> 1947, according to M-W.  A use before that date would throw his claim
> into serious question; a use before 1946 would seem to disprove it.  Can
> anyone beat those dates?

WCBS-TV has had those call letters since Nov. 1, 1946, according to
Wikipedia. I'd imagine that and other similar station names had a big
influence on the use of "TV".

--Ben Zimmer

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