victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 19:44:41 UTC 2011

FWIW, the 1859 edition is in GB. I came across this issue as OED cited
the 1860 edition as the earliest available occurrence of a word (a
food item I don't recall at the moment--perhaps "tamale", spelled very
differently in Bartlett's).


On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> Somehow, Larry's comment on the possible gender specificity of the noun "blond(e)" reminded me of an old joke about Ken, the boyfriend of Barbee; it culminates in the punchline "Because he was a blond too."
> Then, in reference to a detail featured in the joke, I contemplated the fact that students in recent years (ones in my folkore classes commonly report the joke) seem not ever to use the anatomical term "navel" (much less "umbilicus"); their only term for that feature is "bellybutton"--which I had always taken to be a jocular nursery term, not altogether seemly in adult discourse.
> HDAS cites the term in the "fourth" edition of Bartlett's _Dictionary of Americanisms_, 1877.  OED, in turn, cites HDAS and the date 1877, adding two British examples, 1934 and 1946.
> A character named "Mrs. Bellybutton" appeared in 1847 in H. N. Moore's _Fitzgerald and Hopkins; or, Scenes and Adventures in Theatrical Life_ (Philadelphia:  G. Sherman).  Could there be some other (non-anatomical) allusion in her name?
> For what it's pedantically worth:  I believe the so-called fourth edition of Bartlett's _Dictionary of Americanisms_ (1877) is, technically speaking, the third edition.  The 1860 edition, designated on the title page as the third, is actually just a reprint of the 1859 (second) edition (another reprint appeared in 1869).

The American Dialect Society -

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