[Ads-l] Kryptonite WAS Fictional Materials for OED (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Fri Jan 9 20:13:44 UTC 2015

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Wikipedia says kryptonite was invented for the Superman radio show in 1943, and doesn't show up in the printed comics until Superman #61 (dated Nov 1949).

Here is an earlier text-based citation.

11 Oct 1945  Castle WY _The Castillian_ p 3 col 1
"So now he's set to do things with Kryptonite, more powerful than Uranium, with the problems of establishing peace in the world uppermost in his mind."

(The article is syndicated, and appears in other newspapers on that same day.)

Here are citations where the word is used more figuratively, meaning a generic exotic substance.

19 Jan 1964 Greenville MS _The Delta Democrat-Times_ p 1 col 5

"The rules would prohibit, for example, an advertisement saying: "Buy Brand X, the cigarette that gives you extra protection" or "Brand Y contains the new improved kryptonite filter." "

11 Oct 1968 St Joseph MI _The Herald-Press_ p 1 col 4
" "Everyone thank Jim Northrup for putting that Kryptonite on the mound today," another player shouted."

(Again, these articles are syndicated, and appear in other newspapers on that same day.)

And finally, a citation that implies Kryptonite is an exceedingly strong or tough material (supporting the meanings below).

7 Jun 1970 Lincoln NE _The Lincoln Star_ p 4G col 5
"He says that nearly every small item now comes packaged in an impregnable plastic container affixed to a sheet of kryptonite that defies all efforts short of a blow with an axe to open it."

I suppose that the Kryptonite brand of bicycle locks plays off this.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Shapiro, Fred
> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 10:27 AM
> Subject: Re: Fictional Materials for OED (UNCLASSIFIED)
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header ---------------
> --------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Fictional Materials for OED (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Right, my impression of kryptonite is not that it's hard, but rather
> that i= t has some kind of poisonous effect on people from the planet
> Krypton.  But=  in its figurative application it may have been
> misinterpreted in the popul= ar mind.=0A= =0A= Fred Shapiro=0A= =0A=
> =0A= ________________________________________=0A=
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of
> Mullin= s, Bill CIV (US) [william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL]=0A=
> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 10:18 AM=0A=
> Subject: Re: Fictional Materials for OED (UNCLASSIFIED)=0A= =0A=
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED=0A=
> Caveats: NONE=0A=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> >=0A=
> > Classification: UNCLASSIFIED=0A=
> > Caveats: NONE=0A=
> >=0A=
> > Fictional Materials for OED=0A=
> > Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU=0A=  Mon Jan 4
> >22:31:05 UTC 2010=0A= =0A= =0A=
> > > "Kryptonite" probably deserves a dictionary entry because it
> has=0A=
> > > metaphorical uses beyond the Superman genre...=0A=
> >=0A=
> > Here are two such uses, documented from the mid-'70s:=0A= =0A=
> >---=0A= =0A=
> > * Kryptonite, adj. 'very hard or indestructible, as if made of=0A=
> >Kryptonite'=0A= =0A=
> > 1975 _Chicago Tribune 28 Dec. F14/2 "Well it doesn't bother me a
> >bit,"=0A=  says the man with the Kryptonite ego.=0A= =0A=
> > 1977 _College English_ 38 (7) 641 Further, we determine that the=0A=
> >kryptonite-hard desk surface is there to prevent students from=0A=
> >scribbling.=0A=
> >https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-
> 3A__www.jstor.org_sta
> >bl=
> e_376066&d=3DAwIFAg&c=3D-
> dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DsRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23b=
> CfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=3Dc9n07CTZYAv3M1QXx04REu-
> kOmCip_vohjq_fwpQXlk&s=3DmVB=
> 8rxVLP7JMIDqp2VanU0ErRyFQkfOcCqw5PasBE6A&e=3D=0A=
> >=0A=
> > 1981 _L.A. Times_ 12 June E22/2  [Pete Rose is] 436 away from
> >Cobb,=0A=  whom he could pass in 1984, providing his Kryptonite body
> >doesn't=0A=  suddenly incinerate.=0A= =0A=  ---=0A= =0A=  --Ben
> >Zimmer=0A= =0A=
> =0A=
> It's been a while since I read many Superman comics, but I don't recall
> Kry= ptonite as being "hard or indestructible" -- at least any more so
> than any = other radioactive rock.=0A= =0A=
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED=0A=
> Caveats: NONE=0A=
> =0A=
> ------------------------------------------------------------=0A=
> The American Dialect Society -
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Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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