Short takes: INITIALISM

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 31 15:03:42 UTC 2010

At 10:47 AM -0400 3/31/10, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 10:17 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>  At 6:01 AM -0400 3/31/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>>>As the discussion about txting progressed, I began wondering about the
>>>use of acronyms and initialisms /as nomenclature/. OED gives Feb 1943
>>>issue of American Notes & Queries as the earliest source, Wiki pins the
>>>Bell Labs as coining the term in the same year--sounds plausible, but
>>>not definitive.
>>>But initialisms go back further. OED cites back to 1899.
>>  Not counting "O.K." and other jocular abbreviations from that period,
>>  as documented in detail by Allen Walker Read, I assume.  [snip]
>I believe Victor was talking about the term "initialism," not the
>phenomenon, as in:
>1899 R. THOMAS  in N. & Q.  9th Ser. III. 103/1 In my 'Handbook' I
>give an initialism of Mr. Watts's, 'P. P. C. R.'
Oh, so he was.  I was reading too quickly, and with my own (and my
student's) goals serving as blinders.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list