[Ads-l] Further Antedating of "Debug" and "Debugging"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jun 28 12:26:25 UTC 2015

The OED's first citation for "debug" and "debugging" is dated 1945.  I have previously pointed out an earlier occurrence in a letter from J. Robert Oppenheimer to Ernest Lawrence, Oct. 27, 1944 (see Wikipedia article on "debugging").

Now I have found a 1941 occurrence:

1941 _Radio_ 25: 96 (Google Books)  Upon completion of the r.f. and modulator section and after the usual and normal "debugging" sessions using an a.c. power supply, the units should be ready to assemble.

Note that this citation adds to the overwhelming evidence that the popular etymological myth, that defects are called "bugs" and their removal is called "debugging" because a moth was found in an early computer by Grace Murray Hopper, is ridiculous.  "Bugs" in engineering contexts were around as far back as 1875, and now we know that even "debugging" was around as early as 1941.

Fred Shapiro


YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)

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

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