[Ads-l] Antedating of "Modernism" Sense 2 in OED

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 31 19:49:18 UTC 2016


The OED's first use of "modernism" sense 2. ("Modern character or quality of thought, expression, technique, etc.; sympathy with or affinity for what is modern") is dated 1803.  However, some of the hits for the word "modernism" in Eighteenth Century Collections Online seemingly should be considered examples of sense 2, such as:

1772 Jean-Nicolas de Sauseuil _An Analysis of the French Orthography_ 17  They give the Hebrew reading a character of modernism inconsistent with the real system of pronunciation which should be found in so antique and original a language as they would have it to be.

_Id._ 129  For a proof of this assertion, I shall not call in the Hebrew; since the madness of modernism, and _Houbigantism_, has prevailed so much as to distort the language.

_Id._ 136  Whether it does not set in the most perspicuous point of light the modernism of their inventions, with respect to their present administration of the vowel points?

Fred Shapiro

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