missing senses of 'entitlement' in the OED

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Jan 18 05:56:08 UTC 2012

There are lots of lacunae in the OED, but this one is very striking: 'entitlement' is treated only as a run-in from 'entitle', and documented by only one citation, from 1835, with the sense "a means of entitling; a designation, name." The entry doesn't look like anybody has touched it since Murray's day -- the latest cites are from 1860 (though this is described as an online version dated 2011 and has a link to an earlier one).  So there's no mention of either the political sense of the word, which I think became common following the New Deal, or of its use in ego psychology, which gave rise to the modern popularity of "sense of entitlement." This really cries out for an out-of-sequence revision, given that the word will be even more prominent in the coming months.


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