"triage" (v.)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 6 16:30:56 UTC 2011

I was trying to determine if an occurrence of "triage" as a verb in _Rules of Civility_ (set in 1938) was anachronistic (like "you broke it, you bought it" and unlike "dibs!", mentioned previously), and I was surprised to see that all the OED entry has for the verb is the annotation "Rare" and a single cite from Herr's _Dispatches_ (1977), "He was so bad that the doctor triaged him, passed him over to treat the ones that‥could still be saved."  I'd be surprised if the early cites weren't in fact from military contexts like Herr's, but I'd also be surprised if these were in fact "rare", especially if participial uses like "triaged patients" (not exemplified in the OED, but rampant on the web) are included.


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

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