[Ads-l] Antedating of Political Sense of "Radical" (Noun)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 23 20:01:39 UTC 2015

The OED's first use for the political sense of the noun "radical" is dated 1822.  This is a surprising first use in that there are plentiful earlier examples in newspaper databases.  Here is the earliest I was readily able to find:

radical, n. (OED, 6.a., 1822)

1811 _Morning Post_ (London) 3 June (British Newspapers 1600-1950)  Guildhall was desirable for the _radical_ Reformers, because they could not be molested by soldiers!!! ... The trick played off at the former Court became evident as to the design, from the division of Friday, the number of the _radicals_ being exactly the same on both days, viz. 80.

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

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