[Ads-l] Facebookery: "Sally refuses to be _gaslit_."

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 16 10:20:49 EST 2017


> still pretty early in the term's development.

Only if we assume in the face of what we know about word coinage, etc.,
that to "gaslight" did not originate shortly after the stage play or the
movie.

There is no more basis to assume that than to assume that it "obviously"
did.

What does it mean for a word (or the sense or form of a word) to "exist"?
If we find an indisputable 1944 ex. in a private letter not to be published
till 2018, that would not alter the limited number of facts that we have.
These are:

1. The verb appeared in print in 1961.

2. "Gaslit" appeared in 1965 (though not, n.b., in "print.")

3. HDAS attests a chance 1956 occurrence (not written down till 1968),
which as documentation may be accepted or rejected.

4. Found in print in 1961, the verb had somewhat wider circulation in the
mid to late '60s.

5. The verb has never been common in print.

6. It has come to national prominence in 2017.

In my opinion, the 1961 ex. suggests (without proving, of course) earlier
currency among (some) psychologists and psychiatrists. Again in my opinion,
these may be the group most likely to have created and used the verb in the
first place soon after the notoriety of "Gaslight."

So when was "gaslight," v., actually coined? Does its limited pre-1961
career (if any) matter in the history of English? Or not matter? Or sort of
matter? Why?

(Similar questions might be asked about my discovery of a Civil War "fucked
up," discussed here some years ago.)

JL





On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 11:39 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> Would you say (a) or (b):
>
> a) I lighted a match.
>
> b) I lit a match.
>
> Exactly! I'd say, "I _struck_ a match."
>
>
> On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 9:03 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > I would also assume "gaslighted" is older, which is why I was surprised
> to
> > hear "gaslit" used in the 1965 "Gomer Pyle" episode -- which, even if
> it's
> > not the earliest known use of the verb (thanks to Stephen and Garson
> > finding cites from 1961 and 1962) is still pretty early in the term's
> > development.
> >
> >
> > On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 7:22 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I will only say that 'gaslighted' seems older, 'gaslit' more recent.
> > >
> > > OTOH, I can't imagine using 'highlit' instead of 'highlighted'.
> > >
> > > DanG
> > >
> > > On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 4:34 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 10:47 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com
> >
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Wouldn't the word "gaslit" be familiar
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > To whom? How can anyone tell? I *prefer* "gaslighted," but I don't
> feel
> > > > that "gaslit" is "wrong," in any sense. The difference is akin to
> that
> > > > between "ee-conomic" and "eh-conomic" or "ee-ther" and "eye-ther" or
> > > > "thrive, throve, thriven" and "thrive, thrived, thrived," IMO.
> > > >
> > > > "You pays your money, and you takes your choice."
> > > >
> > > > "Different strokes for different folks."
> > > >
> > > > Youneverknow.
> > > >
> > >
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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


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