Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Aug 12 14:34:24 UTC 2013

As it happens, my latest "Word on the Street" column for the Wall
Street Journal is on "chatter":

On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> That was my reaction to the whiny but self-assured guest on FNC. Sadly,
> that's what passes for news. I didn't think of Clancy, but did try to
> explain to the person watching it that the term was much older than this
> guy was claiming, specifically mentioning WWII.
>      VS-)
> On 8/12/2013 7:17 AM, Dave Wilton wrote:
>> "Chatter" has been around signals intelligence community for quite some
>> time, long before the internet became a thing. My guess is that "radio
>> chatter" would be the original, going back to WWII, if not earlier. I've
>> turned up a few instances of "chatter" used in connection with radio
>> transmissions in Tom Clancy's 1986 "Red Storm Rising" and his 1988 "Cardinal
>> of the Kremlin." I'm sure antedatings can be easily found.

Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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