[Ads-l] mammoth, adj.

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 23 08:42:49 UTC 2015

The two citations below do not antedate the adjectival use of mammoth,
but they may be of interest. The first cite contains the phrase
"Mammoth of Democracy" which apparently referred to the new U. S.
President Thomas Jefferson. So Mammoth was being used figuratively for
Jefferson by February.

Date: February 10, 1801
Newspaper: The North-Carolina Minerva (The Raleigh Minerva)
Newspaper Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Article Title: Communication
Quote Page: 3
Column: 3
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
In the business of the ensuing "Hobson's choice" of President of the
United States, it behoves the federalists in Congress to make the
strongest opposition in their power the great Mammoth of Democracy.
[End excerpt]

The citation below showed Mammoth being applied as an adjective to
some additional terms: "Mammoth Pye", "Mammoth Apple Pye", "Mammoth
appetite". The article also repeated the existing phrase "Mammoth

Date: September 22, 1801
Paper: Newburyport Herald
Newspaper Location: Newburyport, Massachusetts
Article Title: From the Western Star: A Mammoth Pye
Article Author: Republicanus
Quote Page: 1
Column: 3
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
I therefore take the liberty to propose to you to shew your
patriotism, by making a great Mammoth Apple Pye, to be presented with
the Mammoth Cheese. . . .

The cheese is said to weight twelve hundred pounds--the Apple Pye
ought therefore to weigh at least forty-eight hundred, as Mr.
Jefferson, unless he has a Mammoth appetite for Cheese, will want four
pounds of Pye to one of Cheese.
[End excerpt]

In Ben's citation "Monticello" was misspelled as "Montecello", I
noted. However, this correctly represented the spelling given in the
newspaper page image.

Please double check for typos and other errors before using this information.

On Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 12:18 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      mammoth, adj.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The Atlantic's Megan Garber writes about the "mammoth cheese" of 1801,
> delivered to Thomas Jefferson from Cheshire, Mass.:
> http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/01/the-real-story-of-the-white-house-and-the-big-block-of-cheese/384676/
> She writes: "It was the first time 'mammoth' was used as an
> adjective." OED3's earliest cite is from an Oct. 22, 1801 letter by
> Jefferson referring to a "mammoth veal," which was actually inspired
> by the "mammoth cheese." Here's the earliest reference I've found to
> the cheese as "mammoth":
> 1801 _New-Hampshire Gazette_ (Portsmouth, NH) 4 Aug. 3/1
> Albany, July 28. Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Berkshire
> (Mass.) to his friend in this city.
> I have nothing new or strange to tell you, excepting of a Mammoth
> Cheese which the Cheshire people are making to present to the Mammoth
> of Montecello.
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> http://benzimmer.com/
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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