[Ads-l] "antedate" for _pothole_

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 6 04:35:03 UTC 2014


I am not questioning the anachronism in "Pemberley", but the implication
that somehow a 'pot hole' can be a naturally occurring hole generally, but
not in a road,  at least not before 1889.
On Nov 5, 2014 7:32 PM, "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "antedate" for _pothole_
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Nov 5, 2014, at 4:41 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>
> > Isn't the term "pot hole", referring to a geological feature defined =
> as a
> > deep round hole, much older than 1889? If so, it seems to me to bring =
> the
> > Harte sourcing into question.
>
> Yes, but that's a different OED entry--
>
> A hole formed by the wearing away of rock by the rotation of stones in =
> running water or by glacial erosion; (more generally) any cylindrical or =
> deep bowl-shaped hole of natural origin. Also: an underground system of =
> shafts, chambers, and passages formed by water erosion.
>
> --with cites back to 1826:
>
> 1826   T. L. McKenney Sketches Tour to Lakes (1827) 54   The waters were =
> once, in many places, some fifty feet above their present level; for =
> their action upon the rocks is plainly seen in the pot holes, as the =
> excavations are called, which are made by the action of pebbles upon the =
> rocks.
>
> Still a bit later than the action in "Pemberley", during the time when =
> "Boney is threatening our shores", but that would have been a nearer =
> thing than the Harte sense exemplified by the pothole-riddled road.
>
> LH
>
>
> >=20
> > DanG
> >=20
> > On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > wrote:
> >=20
> >> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >> -----------------------
> >> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> >> Subject:      "antedate" for _pothole_
> >>=20
> >> =
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> -----
> >>=20
> >> The OED attributes the first cite in the modern sense ('a depression =
> or =3D
> >> hollow forming a defect in the surface of a road, track, etc.') to =
> Bret =3D
> >> Harte, 1889.  But in "Death Comes to Pemberley", the BBC adaptation =
> of =3D
> >> the P. D. James novel (which came up on the list in an Anachronism =
> Watch =3D
> >> posting a couple of years ago for its "antedates" of _police_, _in =3D
> >> touch_, and the especially egregious _lifestyle_), a visitor to =3D
> >> Pemberley in what is plausibly 1803, give or take a year, complains =3D=
>
> >> after her carriage ride that "the road is riddled with potholes".  =
> Take =3D
> >> that, Harte!
> >>=20
> >> LH=3D
> >>=20
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >>=20
> >=20
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
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