[Ads-l] dysphemism

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 18 18:42:21 EDT 2017


On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 6:24 PM, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com>
wrote:

> The Wikipedia article on "Chipped Beef" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> Chipped_beef reads:
>
> <quote>In American military slang it is commonly referred to by the
> dysphemism "Shit On a Shingle" (SOS)—or, "Stew On a Shingle", "Same Old
> Stuff", "Something On a Shingle", or occasionally "Save Our
> Stomachs".</quote>
>
> I was intrigued by the word "dysphemism".  How long has it been around?
>
> A quickie search on Google Books turns up an 1873 usage which appeared in
> two different magazines:
>
> MacMillan's Magazine, April 1873  page 492 second column about 15 lines
> down
> https://books.google.com/books?id=FR5rfMmeYWYC&pg=
> PA492&dq=dysphemism&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjro9i6lvvWAhVBbiYKHas2D
> ccQ6AEITDAI#v=onepage&q=dysphemism&f=false
>
> Every Saturday  May 10, 1873 page 510 second column second full paragraph
> https://books.google.com/books?id=f205AQAAMAAJ&pg=
> PA510&dq=dysphemism&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjro9i6lvvWAhVBbiYKHas2D
> ccQ6AEIUTAJ#v=onepage&q=dysphemism&f=false


Those antedate OED2's 1884. ProQuest has nothing earlier (it has the April
1873 Macmillan's Mag cite misdated as Nov 1872).

"Dysphemism" has also come up here many times in the past, e.g.:

http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2009-August/092462.html

--bgz

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