[Ads-l] "steal (someone's) thunder", 1858; OED 1900--

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 24 06:47:46 UTC 2015


Back in October 2013 Joel presented an excellent citation containing a
figurative use of the expression "steal my thunder" from 1858 which
antedated the OED citation in 1900. Following Joel's lead I located an
earlier cite.

Now the QI website has an entry on the general topic with an
acknowledgement to Joel:

They Will Not Let My Play Run, But Steal My Thunder
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/12/23/thunder/

The distinctive phrase "steal my thunder" with an ascription to John
Dennis was circulating by 1747. The figurative expression emerged by
1831.

(The subject line of this message is from a revivified zombie
discussion thread. This use of "zombie" for an old inactive discussion
thread is found on the Straight Dope Message Board.)

Feedback welcome,
Garson

On Sat, Oct 5, 2013 at 3:16 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "steal (someone's) thunder", 1858; OED 1900--
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Joel: Thanks for mentioning this fun phrase and posting a great
> example of its figurative use in 1858. Here is another example that is
> a bit earlier of the figurative  "steal (someone's) thunder", i.e.,
> "steal our thunder":
>
> [ref] 1843 July 21, Commercial Advertiser, Change of Note, Quote Page
> 2, Column 4, New York, New York. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> CHANGE OF NOTE.—After rebuking the Commercial for applying the term
> "haughty," to Mr. Calhoun, although it was done in no invidious sense,
> we find that the Express has adopted the same phraseology. Don't steal
> our thunder, it you please.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Sat, Oct 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>> Subject:      "steal (someone's) thunder", 1858; OED 1900--
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> " ... nothing strongly marked or ludicrous
>> escaped her. She would constantly tell me of
>> these things, and add: 'Now, I shall use that
>> some day; so don't steal my thunder.' "
>>
>> Godey's Lady's Book, vol. 56 (1858), p. 346, col.
>> 2.  By Alice B. [Neal] Haven, "Personal
>> Reminiscences of Miss Eliza Leslie."  GBooks, full view.
>>
>> Antedates OED2 "thunder, n." 3.d., 1900--.
>>
>> Since, as the etymology of the OED says, this is
>> "Derived from the utterance of John Dennis
>> (1657–1734)", one might expect to find something
>> between him and 1858.  I didn't in GBooks.
>>
>> Joel
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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