Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Dec 5 15:51:31 UTC 2008

My latest Word Routes column is on "brand-new" vs. "bran-new":

Beyond the column's discussion of the eggcornic etymythologies
surrounding "bran-new", antedatings for that spelling may also be of
interest. OED2 has it from 1714 -- here it is from 50 years earlier:

Charles Cotton, _Scarronides: or, Virgile travestie A mock-poem. Being
the first book of Virgils AEneis in English, burl├ęsque_ (1664), p. 80
A lusty Rascal, such a one
As one of you (dispraise to none)
Comes into th' yard, and off o'th' Hedge,
Where all our Clouts, were hung to Bleach;
Whips me a bran-new Flaxen-Smock,
The very best of all my Stock.

That's from the original edition on EEBO (confirmed by page image).
Subsequent editions that include burlesques of both Books I and IV of
the Aeneid change "bran-new" to "brand-new" in this passage:

However, these later editions include another "bran-new" in a passage
from the Book IV burlesque:

At last she sallies from the House,
As fine and brisk as Body-Louse.
Shee Hood and Safe-guard had bran new,
The Lace was Yellow, Cloth was Blew.

Here's another early EEBO hit for "bran-new":

Walter Scot, _A true history of the several honourable families of the
right honourable name of Scot in the shires of Roxburgh and Selkirk,
and others adjacent_ (1688), p. 26
Some late start-up bran-new Gentlemen,
That hardly knows from whence their Fathers came.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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