Christmas Eve Antedating : "Humbug"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Aug 1 00:15:06 UTC 2010

For "humbug", noun, I will let the experts decide whether the following is
      "2. A thing which is not really what it pretends to be; an
imposture, a deception, fraud, sham."; 1751, then 1831; or
      "3. Deception, pretence, sham ..."; earliest quote 1825.

Datelined London, December 10.
Ha! Mr. Printer, is it come to this at last!  And is there really
nothing in all we have been lately told, of some great doings upon
the carpet? Portugal dreads a Spanish Invasion ... extraordinary
cabinet councils; boards of trade and treasury at home; and all for
nothing!  This is such a bare-faced political humbug, that--- but I
have done; for we are possitively told, there is nothing at all in
it; and on my conscience, I am of opinion, that were another army of
rebels at Derby, and the French actually landed in Sussex, we should
be told the same tale.

The Providence Gazette, 1765 April 20, page 2, col. 3.  EAN.


At 7/31/2010 07:19 PM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote:
>On Christmas Eve, 2009, Fred Shapiro offered us:
> > humbug (OED 1751)
> >
> > 1750 _The Adventures of Mr. Loveill_ 197 (Eighteenth Century
> > Collections Online)  That species of wit some time since
> > laugh'd out of the world by Mr. Addison, under the name of
> > _Bite_, and now reviv'd among the polite world, under that of
> > _Humbug_.
>For what it's worth, here's a sighting of "humbug" from June, 1749.  (See
>far below.)
>By the way, the OED2 offers a short piece that appeared in *The Student*
>(II, p. 41) as containing earliest examples of "humbug" as a verb and as a
>noun.  (It's also featured in the Dictionary's section on the word's
>origin.)  I have the impression that this important "humbug" piece appeared
>not in the January, 1751 issue (as suggested by the OED2), but instead in
>the November, 1750 (II, 2; p. 41) issue of that publication.
>-- Bonnie
>They will never have enough guts in their brains to find out, that there are
>others, whom I have the wit not to name, who may dispute these points with
>me; and thus I shall *humbug* them clean, by giving them my own praise,
>while they suppose some other impudent fellow is having a fling at me.  [p.
>[Here, "humbug" is italicized. -- BTB]
>From, Whoever You Please [author], OBSERVATIONS on the Art of PUFFING; or
>the Love of Authors to themselves, and the good Opinion they usually
>entertain of their own performances; with some Remarks on the Selfapplause
>of another Set of Publick People, The Players, and particularly of the
>modern Prince of that motley Community, *British Magazine* (London),
>(1749:June) p. 219.  [Via ProQuest's British Periodicals database; also
>appearing in ProQuest's Periodicals Archive Online database.]
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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