[Ads-l] "seed" antedatings

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 31 13:12:28 EDT 2018

My latest Wall Street Journal column, in honor of the US Open, is about the
word "seed" in the tennis-related sense.


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Here are a few antedatings I turned up, earlier than cites given in the
latest OED entry revisions (Mar. 2018 update).

* seed, v. (OED3 sense 11a, 1898)

The Amateur Athlete, July 1, 1897, p. 14, col. 1
For many years it has been an unwritten law that "seeding" the best players
through a draw is legitimate, and last year and the season before, the
Executive Committee of the U.S.N.L.T.A. practised this method even in the
championships at Newport.
The Amateur Athlete, July 8, 1897, p. 11, col. 2
This would give them just enough time to reach Boston in time for the first
matches, but as they will probably be "seeded" through the draw so that
they would not meet any of the strongest men on the first days here, they
would doubtless have time to get into shape for play before their first

* seeded, adj. (OED3 sense 7a, 1911)

Buffalo (NY) Commercial, July 29, 1901, p. 4, col. 2
There has been a good deal of feeling among the players in favor of a
"seeded" draw. However, Dr. Dwight and other officers of the U.S.N.L.T.A.
are opposed to "seeding" and the new tournament regulations that are soon
to be issued will probably forbid it.

* seed, n. (OED3 sense 9, 1933)

Shamokin (Pa.) News-Dispatch, Mar. 16, 1931, p. 5, col. 2
None of the top "seeds" have anything to worry about in the second round.
[INS wire report on National Indoor Tennis Championships]


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

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