Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 27 05:18:43 UTC 2011

There is a significant shortage of recent--well, more recent--examples
for all OED lemmas under "daft". The dates are 1571, 1855, 1880 and
1832-53 (plus one obsolete with examples only from c.1200 and another
from a1500).

There is also a top note: " Now chiefly Sc. and north." This seems a bit
odd, since I've never been in those parts and am quite familiar with the
word (as used by others, esp. by my ex-wife, who picked up her English
in New Jersey, Florida, American International School in Israel and
Boston). That would be for sense 2.b.: Of persons: Wanting in
intelligence, stupid, foolish. But consider an older candidate for
either 2. or 4.: Thoughtless or giddy in one's mirth; madly gay or
frolicsome. This one is either from 1894, if fiction, or from 1699, if
earnest. Given the dates in the OED right now, it would be good
interdating either way.

The Pall Mall Magazine. Volume 2(11). March 1894
The Romance of Cliveden. p. 754 [The "Manuscript" is dated "Cliefden,
Jan. 30th, 1699.]
> The mayds were quite daft about him.


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

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