"blowing" = "blowen" (and the OED)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Oct 8 14:42:07 UTC 2014

Thanks, Robin.  I did have HDAS if not on my bookshelf at least open 
upon my desk ... well, upon Widener Library's Reference Room's 
desk... as I was investigating its spurious 1824 quotation for 
"fancy-girl".  But it has no entry for "blowing" -- nor any relevant 
sense under the verb "blow" -- and I would not have thought to look 
for "blowe...".  Nor did I find "blowing" in the OED, since I was 
intimidated by its 949 quotations containing that word; even starting 
at "blow..." only removed 55.

The OED2 subsumes "blowing" under "blowen" ("Forms:  Also blowing"), 
and I assume therefore its entry should include quotations with 
either spelling.  Its earliest citation is 1818 (for "blowen", from 
Vaux).  The 130-year antedating in Thomas Shadwell's _The Squire of 
Alsatia_ should be added (if confirmed; a 1688 edition is in EEBO).


At 10/8/2014 02:39 AM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>1821 J. Burrowes _Life in St. George's Fields ..._  p. [25].
>"Blowing, a fancy girl".  (This is within what Burrowes presents as
>"A Slang Dictionary" to interpret his character's speech.)
>Imprint London: 1821.  GBooks, full view.  [I have not tried to trace
>"blowing" as a British "slang" term.]
>   ...
>"Blowing" is the earlier form of the more familiar "blowen", 
>earliest citation I think 1688 in Thomas Shadwell's _The Squire of 
>Alsatia_. Although the "blowing" form is found as late as Byron's 
>_Don Juan_ (1811), it has been more-or-less replaced by "blowen" by 
>the end of the eighteenth century.  As can be seen by tracing the 
>shift between the two terms in the course of the evolution of the 
>five editions of Grose's _Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue_ between 
>1785 and 1823.
>Not just English but American too.  There's a succinct entry in 
>HDAS, which everyone has on their bookshelves (or ought to have).
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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