"little green men"; "flying saucer"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 20 02:50:29 UTC 2011

That crazy NewspArch!  This slightly earlier "flying saucer" just popped up:

1947 _Albuquerque Journal_ (June 27) 1: Flying Saucer Mystery Deepens
as Eyewitness Descriptions Increase.

This too is an AP dispatch. The term does not appear in the body of the article.


On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "little green men"; "flying saucer"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> OED has nothing before 1961. Tsk.
> GB affords numerous 19th C. British exx. referring to trolls, elves,
> and the like.  The following U.S. cites show too that it was used to
> refer to imaginary figures supposedly seen in delirium tremens.
> The 1948 is the earliest ex. that refers to denizens of outer space
> and, by implication, spacemen in saucers. It suggests that still
> earlier exx. may exist in comic books and pulp magazines.
> 1945 _San Antonio Light_ (Aug. 5) 57 [NewspArch.]: Pink elephants and
> "little green men" are often seen around by those who hit the bottle
> too often and too hard.
> 1946 _Independent Record_ (Helena, Mont.) (June 24) 4 [ibid]: [L]ittle
> green men...anonymous gnomes.
> 1947 _Daily Register_ (Harrisburg, Ill.) (June 6) 8 [ibid.]: Little
> green men do not exist solely in nightmares. According to the
> Encyclopaedia Britannica, the complexions of the Punans, natives of
> Borneo [etc.].
> 1947 _San Antonio Express_ (June 25) 6 [ibid.]: She could babble of
> nothing but the fairies and little green men. [Though the term "flying
> saucer" was coined within a few days of this, the reference here is to
> elf-like beings. -JL]
> 1948 Mary Hill in _The Prospector_ (El Paso, Tex.) (Feb. 21) 2
> [ibid.]: I'm afraid I'll never take a ride on a high-powered atomic
> space ship and tour the Milky Way. It's  pity, because a lifetime of
> reading funny books has me completely prepared to meet little green
> men, life forms which exist on silicon, or entities of pure thought.
> 1953 _Newport [R.I.] Daily News_ (Nov. 27) 8 [ibid.]: [A]ny time now
> we may expect to see a herd of pink elephants, and read that a flock
> of flying saucers have landed in Times Square, N.Y., with little green
> men popping out wanting to see the sights of Manhattan.
> Etc., etc.
> And an antedating, by about a week, of "flying saucer":
> 1947 _Dixon [Ill.] Eve. Telegraph_ (June 30) 1 [ibid.]: "Flying
> Saucer" Controversy Is Continued; New Witnesses Report. Seattle,
> Wash., June 30.- (AP) - The "flying saucer" controversy continued
> today with eyewitness converts almost as numerous as the announced
> skeptics.
> [The seminal "flying saucer" report was made on June 24. This AP
> dispatch is the earliest printed ex. I find. - JL]
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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