[Ads-l] Antedating of "Comfort Girl"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 12 18:49:35 EST 2017

> comfort women (as we now say)

Just as we now say, e.g. "b(ar)-woman" and formerly said such things as
"cigarette-woman"and read tales such as "The Little Match-Woman." 😜

But, seriously, folks, way back in the '60's, there was a letter to the
editor of the Los Angeles Times, on the topic of education, that spoke of
"fourth-grade women."

On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 3:59 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> The OED has 1945 for "comfort girl" and 1961 (with a bracketed 1949) for
> "comfort woman."  "Comfort girl" was used in an Associated Press article by
> Charles A. Grumich, which ran in many newspapers; this is from the Decatur
> Daily Review, Mar. 31, 1944 (Newspapers.com).  The article is about
> Japanese soldiers taken prisoner in Burma and is based in substantial part
> on the account of one such prisoner.  In a portion of the article under the
> heading ""Comfort Girls" with Army" is the following:
> "As morale-boosters, he said, there were twice weekly rations of soap,
> towels, tobacco and sweets, and saki is drunk every Sunday.  Then there is
> the systematized service of camp followers, units of "comfort girls"
> attached to each division.
> Twenty imported Japanese girls - the Japs don't trust or force Burmans in
> this extracurricular service - are provided for each regiment."
> Note that these comfort women (as we now say) were Japanese, although the
> use of Korean comfort women is better known.
> John Baker
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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