antedating: buffer

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 3 21:19:33 UTC 2010

OED has this (_Naut_. A chief boatswain's mate. Also, a petty officer.) from
1864.  Much earlier:

ca1765-1795 _The Jolly Sailor's True Description of a Man of War_
(broadside) in C. H. Firth, ed. _Naval Songs and Ballads_ (
[London:] The Navy Records Society, 1908)  236: While the buffers stand with
their rattans,/ Crying 'Keep down out of the gangway.'

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