Early "terrorist"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 5 16:40:36 UTC 2014

Early "terrorists" were, as OED shows, associated directly with the Reign
of Terror of the French Revolution.

But the transference to other violent anarchists would have been
irresistible and practically inevitable.

One might argue, with some cogency, that more recent terrorists of the
Nine-Eleven variety are a bit different in that they try  to influence
political attitudes through terrorization of the populace, rather than
attempt to set up a Jacobin "Reign of Terror."  In that case, OED might
tweak its defs. just a little.


On Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM, Christopher Philippo <toff at mac.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Christopher Philippo <toff at MAC.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Early "terrorist"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Jan 5, 2014, at 10:25 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> > OED has the modern sense from 1806, but nothing again for sixty years.
> The completely natural usage below suggests that the word was familiar, at
> least to politicians and journalists, in the 1830s: […]
> I’d say you’re right!
> *  “He was at that moment in Paris, protesting against a decision of the
> representative Aubry, who had stricken him from the rolls of the artillery,
> as a protégé of the terrorists.” New-York American For the Country. July 1,
> 1828: 1 col 4.
> *  “We trust that the result will restore tranquility to the city, and put
> down the boisterous brawling of the agitators and terrorists in that
> state.” “Nullification.” Schenectady Cabinet. September 15, 1830: 3 col 2.
> (sourced to Com. Adv.)
> *  “With union and perseverance, his cause can be made to prevail against
> that of the nullifiers, disunionists, corruptionists, and terrorists, that
> now bear away.” New-York American For the Country. December 17, 1830: 1 col
> 1
> *  “Lady Morgan, in her late work on France, mentions of having seen a
> horrible relick in the museum of a private gentleman.  It was a copy of the
> Constitution of 1793, bound in human skin!  It had been the properly of a
> terrorist, who paid the forfeit of his atrocity on the scaffold.” Oswego
> Free Press. February 16, 1831: 4 col 6.
> *  “1795. […] down with the Terrorists” “Shouts in Paris.” Utica Sentinel
> & Gazette. October 18, 1831: 1 col 4.
> *  "M. Rouget de Pisle had been wounded at Quiberon, and persecuted by the
> terrorists, from whom he had escaped by flying into Germany.—Encyclopaedia
> Americana” "Marseilles Hymn." Chittenango Herald. March 12, 1844: 1 col 6.
> Christopher K. Philippo
> Glenmont, NY
> http://doesnotevenrhyme.blogspot.com
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