Antedating of "Nihilist"

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Oct 1 04:08:29 UTC 2013

But what could 'nihilist' mean here? Is there any reason to suppose a causal connection between this and the later senses of the word, or is it just an antedate of the form?


> From: "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Antedating of "Nihilist"
> Date: September 30, 2013 7:26:38 PM PDT
> nihilist (OED3 1854)
> 1823 _Eclectic Review_ Nov. 410 (ProQuest)  No common object united the immigrants, and no common character could be traced through the mass.  Of the number who finally filled up its extent, were Calvinistic, Arminian, Sabbatarian, and Separate Baptists, constituting, together, the largest class of inhabitants; Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Moravians, Quakers, and Jews.  Of most of these classes, a considerable number are Nihilists.
> Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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