fiber etc.

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 21 05:49:31 UTC 2011

I noticed that OED has a draft addition 1993 on fibre/fiber:

Dietary material that is resistant to the action of the digestive enzymes,
> consisting chiefly of the cell walls of plants; roughage. Also dietary
> fibre.

 This runs from 1909 forward (to 1986). Dietary fibre doesn't have a
description but diverts to fibre.

Roughage 2.a. is also included, but from 1850, with dietary implications
from 1911:

2. a. Originally: fibrous plant material used as animal fodder, such as
> grass, hay, and silage. Later also: indigestible vegetable matter in the
> human diet, which aids the passage of food and waste products through the
> gut (also called dietary fibre).

Note the connection to "dietary fibre". But the common current reference to
"roughage" has nothing to do with fiber directly, but rather is a
[anti-]euphemistic reference to leafy greens. 2.b. is "fig." but it does not
include this particular usage.

However, even though both fibre/fiber and roughage have been in use since
early 1900s, this has not always been used in the popular press or in
advertising (things changed drastically at least in the 1980s, but possibly
even in 1970s).
Now Eats Any Kind of Food, and no Constipation [Advertising]. Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette - Oct 27, 1934. p. 13/5

> Laboratory tests show Kellogg's All-Bran provides "bulk" to exercise the
> intestines, and vitamin B to help muscle tone. Also iron for the blood.
> The "bulk" in All-Bran is much like that of lettuce. Inside the body it
> forms a soft mass. Gently, it clears out the intestinal wastes.


The American Dialect Society -

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