[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

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