avuncular (1823)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Jul 20 04:46:56 UTC 2009

My latest Word Routes column is on two words closely tied to Walter
Cronkite, "avuncular" and "anchorman":


The "anchorman" part is a followup to my Slate piece from over the
weekend. As for "avuncular", I mention this early cite, antedating
OED's 1831:

1823 James Smith in _Monthly Rev._ V(25):38 'I take,' continued Mr.
Robert Robertson, 'an avuncular interest in all that concerns you.'

So is it just a coincidence that "avuncular" appears in the January
1823 _Monthly Review_ and "materteral" shows up in the September 1823
issue (from a different author)? Was the _Monthly Review_ the go-to
journal for whimsical kinship-based neo-Latinisms?

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list