Has "congressman" ALWAYS meant "representative, not senator"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Nov 2 16:21:59 UTC 2010

Nice job, Neal.  (And in passing, an accurate reporting of what I
found and surmised.)

New thoughts to me are the observations that:

1)   The plural "congressmen" appears when both houses were meant,
while "congressman" referred only to a member of the House.  I
suspect one will also find that in the early, 18th-century
appearances of these words in newspapers.

2)   Being Senator is more prestigious.  Well, that's not really a
new thought.  What is new is that would certainly be consistent with
political thought in the second half of the 18th century, with its
glorification of the Roman Republic.

One thing Neal did not mention is that the Continental Congresses
were unicameral, so naturally all embers were congressmen.  The
difficulty arose when a bicameral U.S. legislature was proposed.


At 11/2/2010 09:57 AM, Neal Whitman wrote:
>On Visual Thesaurus: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/dictionary/2473/
>and on the blog:
>Thanks to everyone who responded to my query!
>Neal Whitman
>Email: nwhitman at ameritech.net
>Blog: http://literalminded.wordpress.com
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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