Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed May 22 18:43:20 UTC 2013

The OED is actively interested in soliciting, verifying, editing, and eventually publishing antedatings.  However, as anyone with much familiarity with the OED knows, this is a 150+- year project in which it may take decades for information to be verified, edited, and published.  Although the delay can be frustrating to contributors and users, the care taken by the OED, which often reveals that putative antedatings are erroneous, is a good thing and increasingly remarkable in a world in which the garbled metadata of Google Books is taken as valid by many.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Steve Richardson [steve.richardson at FURMAN.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 2:16 PM
Subject: OED

        Almost twelve years ago I submitted to the OED an antedating for "bowie knife." They have its  first use attributed to Charles Dickens in 1842. Really? --a British writer made use of this exclusively American tool/weapon before any  scribe on the American continents? I had run across Edgar Allan Poe's use of it in his only novella, the Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym, published 1838. Subsequently,(now about six years ago)with access to the ProQuest Historical newspapers and American Periodical Series I find dozens of uses beginning in the year of Jim Bowie's death at the Alamo in 1836. So I tried to press my luck with the OED folks again and submit an antedating proposal. It's been over six years and they still proudly acknowledge first use from the pen of Dickens.
Oddly they still solicit antedatings on their site.

Steve Richardson
Outreach Librarian
James B. Duke Library
Furman University
(864) 294-3227
steve.richardson at furman.edu

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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list