missing senses of 'entitlement' in the OED

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 18 11:49:40 UTC 2012

I too have noticed the need for updating "entitlement" in OED.  I also have written in the Yale Law Journal about "entitlement" in its contemporary political meaning having been popularized by my friend Charles Reich in his pathbreaking Yale Law Journal articles of the early 1960s.

There are many really dated OED entries in the beginning of the alphabet, which is why it was a good decision of theirs to shift to the beginning of the alphabet before finishing up the latter part of the alphabet.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Geoffrey Nunberg [nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:56 AM
Subject: missing senses of 'entitlement' in the OED

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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