[Ads-l] Antedating of "American" (Inhabitant of America, of European Descent)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed May 27 15:08:37 UTC 2015


Yes, John and Ben must be right in their reading of the 1595 citation.  The OED probably saw this quotation in Early English Books Online and rejected it.

Fred Shapiro



________________________________________
From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Ben Zimmer [bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 10:22 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: Antedating of "American" (Inhabitant of America, of European Descent)

John's explanation is far more plausible than the idea that someone
might be talking about "English Americans" more than a decade before
the settlement of Jamestown.

On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 10:08 AM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:
>
> Does the larger context make it clear that the meaning is English-Americans?
>  Because a plausible reading is "The cold Finlanders once might visit Africans,
> The Spanish [might visit] Indians, the English [might visit] Americans,
> Without interpreters."
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of=
>  Shapiro, Fred
> Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 7:20 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Antedating of "American" (Inhabitant of America, of European Desce=
> nt)
>
> American (OED, 2., 1648)
>
> 1595 Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas _Babilon_ 23 (Early English Books Online)
>  The cold Finlanders once might visit Africans, The Spanish Indians, th'
>  English Americans, Without interpreters.

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