[Ads-l] metaphorical "litmus test" (1912)

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Fri Mar 24 21:26:12 EDT 2017

Since "litmus paper" goes back to 1803, there's more work to be done.


      From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
 Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 4:47 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] metaphorical "litmus test" (1912)
Excellent column, Ben. Great citations Ben and Bill. Here is a
metaphorical "litmus paper test" in 1896.

Date: March 16, 1896
Newspaper: The Pittsburgh Press
Newspaper Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


[Begin excerpt]
The alleged investigation will not stand
the litmus paper test of public opinion.
[End excerpt]


On Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 4:05 PM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> Slightly earlier:
> _Cleveland [OH] Leader_ 4 Sep 1904, p 11 col 4
> "The people ring true; the incidents stand the litmus test of our own experiences."
> [from a book review]
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Ben Zimmer
>> Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 11:22 AM
>> Subject: metaphorical "litmus test" (1912)
>> My latest Wall St. Journal column is on the phrase "litmus test" and how it has become a political metaphor.
>> https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-litmus-became-a-test-for-court-nominee-gorsuch-1490365660
>> If paywalled, you can Google the headline or follow a social media link like this one:
>> https://twitter.com/bgzimmer/status/845289601451413504
>> OED2 has the figurative sense from 1957, folded into the cites for "litmus." Here are some examples starting in 1912.
>> "Still Palming Off Platitudes," Times Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), Feb.
>> 22, 1912, p. 4, col. 1
>> The tenure of a judge and the life of the people affected by his decision is infinitesimal when subjected to the litmus test of time.
>> https://www.newspapers.com/image/146645259/
>> http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038615/1912-02-22/ed-1/seq-4/
>> "National Politics," Des Moines Register, Feb. 12, 1913, p. 6, col. 6 "Conservation is the litmus test of progressivism. Where do you stand on
>> conservation?" was my next question [of Pennsylvania Senator Boies Penrose].
>> https://www.newspapers.com/image/128838776/
>> "A Penrose-Dimmick Mixture," Chester (Pa.) Times, Feb. 28, 1914, p. 12, col. 3 A special dispatch from Scranton to the North American
>> shows the J.
>> Benj. Dimmick's candidacy is being put to the litmus test and reveals the presence of Penrose alkalies... The litmus test applied to the
>> Dimmick regime shows alcohol.
>> https://www.newspapers.com/image/5325232/
>> Elbert Hubbard, "Negative Advertising," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 31, 1914, p. 10, col. 5 Any man who thinks that he is necessary to the
>> perpetuity of an industry would do well to take a look at himself in a mirror and make sure that his purity of purpose will stand the litmus
>> test.
>> https://www.newspapers.com/image/85469771/
>> "Publicity," Women's Wear, Apr 9, 1915, p. 24, col. 4 Ad Club's Vice of Being Too Virtuous. -- In an article on the editorial page of the New
>> York American, Elbert Hubbard said in part [...] "Advertise as you wish, but do not get dogmatic and apply the litmus test to your neighbor."
>> similar quote in "The Vices of Virtue," The Philistine, June 1915, pp. 5-6
>> https://books.google.com/books?id=yrs0AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA6
>> "Little Theater Called Hope of Dramatic Art," Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 1916, p. 10, col. 1 [Prof. Albert Hatton Gilmer of Tufts
>> College, in an address before the Drama League of America at its recent national convention in St.
>> Louis:] "The drama must stand the litmus test of actor and audience."
>> --bgz
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list