Is aborted

Federico Escobar federicoescobarcordoba at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 6 23:45:46 UTC 2011

Garson, I'm far from the first to say such a thing, but you're really good
at this. You separated the wheat from the chaff quite effectively on a
search that was difficult to pick apart because of the more common forms of
the "abort" passive that swamped page after page of search results. Thanks
for sharing your findings. Very interesting.

Those helpful examples from the OED were not in my version of the dictionary
(OED2), which I'm afraid is becoming quickly superannuated. But the yearly
fees for the online OED are still too steep, as I see it. (This OED fee
situation came up in an earlier thread, and some people suggested turning to
public libraries for access; alas, the one closest to me doesn't have an OED

Speaking of dictionaries, a side note. It's almost silly of me to be
enthused by such a thing, in this great age of marvelous technological
advances, but I was impressed by the "Voice search" allowed by the
Merriam-Webster iPod/iPhone/iPad app. You just speak into the device, and
the app will find the word. It's fairly reliable. I haven't seen anything
like it online (and it's free: hint, hint, OED).


On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 12:59 AM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Is aborted
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Moving from dogs to humans:
> (OED Third edition, July 2010; online version November 2010)
> abort, v.
> d. trans. To cause (a pregnant woman) to abort; to perform an abortion
> on. Also occas. intr.
> The OED has a first cite in 1908. The second cite in 1931 shows a passive
> form.
> 1908    Buffalo Med. Jrnl. 64 24   It is not always necessary to abort
> a woman who has a fibroid so situated as apparently to act as a bar to
> delivery.
> 1931    Lancet 26 Dec. 1434/1   Where healthy women have been aborted,
> it has usually been carried out surreptitiously, under unfavourable
> conditions, or by incompetent persons.
> Here is a cite in 1894.
> Transactions of the Chicago Gynecological Society
> Meeting of December 21st 1894
> Dr. Henrotin. – If the pains are coming on and the woman is about to
> abort why not abort the woman first instead of opening the abscess
> first and producing an abortion afterward
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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