[Ads-l] Antedating of "Ampersand"

Michael Quinion michael.quinion at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Thu Dec 18 13:47:22 UTC 2014

Fred Shapiro wrote:

> ampersand (OED 1837)
> 1795 'Mr. Pratt' _Gleanings through Wales, Holland and Westphalia_ (pt. 1)
> 306 (Eighteenth Century Collections Online Text Creation Partnership)  At
> length, having tried all the historians from great _A_, to _ampersand_,
> he perceives there is no escaping from the puzzle, but by selecting his
> own facts, forming his own conclusions, and putting a little trust in his
> own reason and judgment.

This is also very probably the first appearance in print of the idiom 
"from A to ampersand", meaning the whole range of a subject. As this idiom 
is recorded into the twentieth century, it long outlasted the saying of 
the alphabet with "and per se and" as the last item.

Michael Quinion
World Wide Words
Web: http://www.worldwidewords.org

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

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