[Ads-l] mole = spy antedating (?)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 3 12:58:10 UTC 2015


On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 9:33 PM, Peter Morris wrote:
>
> According to fred in this post, mole = spy is known from 1922
>
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2014-July/133479.html
>
> I think I've found one from 1910.
>
> The truth is that historians have accepted these clandestine agencies as
> part of the ordinary machinary of statecraft. The moles are always there
> beneath the surface, and the mole-catchers are always at work to restore
> the balance of power.
>
> The Spy in Modern History
> The Athenaeum, no 4236 September 1910 (?)  p356
> https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uVVDAQAAMAAJ&dq=espionage+mole&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=spy
> https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KoNAAQAAMAAJ&dq=spy+mole&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=mole
> https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uVVDAQAAMAAJ&dq=espionage+mole&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=mole
>
> Usual disclaimers about Google dating apply, but this appears to be the =
> same article, and shows the date
> http://tinyurl.com/pyz9kry

Confirmed by the British Periodicals database (via Proquest): date is
Sept. 24, 1910, p. 356, col. 1.

--bgz

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