[Ads-l] mammoth, adj.

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Fri Jan 23 11:03:35 UTC 2015

I'm sure this is obvious, but I thought I'd point it out anyway--there is an inherent connection between Jefferson and mammoths, in that he wrote extensively about them early in his career, and he was apparently called 'Mr. Mammoth' 


A long discussion of this (and Jefferson's thoughts about moose) can be found in a book by an IT policy colleague, David Post: 


Geoffrey S. Nathan 
Faculty Liaison, C&IT 
and Professor, Linguistics Program 
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT) 

Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks. 

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Ben Zimmer" <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Friday, January 23, 2015 12:18:36 AM
> Subject: mammoth, adj.

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> Poster: Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: mammoth, adj.
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> 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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