[Ads-l] Origin of term curate's egg

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 31 21:01:48 EDT 2018


> On Jul 31, 2018, at 8:57 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> LH mentioned the 1905 citation for "curate's egg" in the OED.
> 
> Bill Mullins found and shared a Nov 29, 1900 citation for "curate's
> egg", and found an earlier match on May 19, 1896 which he could not
> verify because he did not have a subscription to
> Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.
> 
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2015-January/135775.html
> 
> John Baker verified the  May 19, 1896 citation in the "Edinburgh Evening News"
> 
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2015-January/135776.html
> 
> Wikipedia traces the genesis of the expression to a cartoon in "Punch"
> on November 9, 1895:
> 
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curate%27s_egg

As does the OED in the material I cut and pasted
> 
> But I have just found a citation dated May 21, 1895 in the
> "Huddersfield Chronicle" of Yorkshire, England indicating that the
> same joke about a curate served a bad egg at the Bishop's breakfast
> table appeared in the humor magazine "Judy" before it appeared in
> "Punch".
> 
> In addition, a precursor joke about a young religious person served a
> bad egg at a bishop's breakfast-table was circulating by 1875.
> 
> Garson

Thanks, Garson!  Very nice!  But remember that for optimists like Punch's curate, the egg at that breakfast-table was half good.

LH
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jul 31, 2018 at 3:14 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> Gives a whole nother meaning to the curate’s egg…
>> 
>> OED
>> _curate's egg_  n. taken as a type of something of mixed character (good and bad). Originating in a story of a meek curate who, having been given a stale egg by his episcopal host, stated that ‘parts of it’ were ‘excellent’ ( Punch 9 Nov. 1895, p. 222).
>> 
>> 1905   Minister's Gazette of Fashion Aug. 141/1   The past spring and summer season has seen much fluctuation. Like the curate's egg, it has been excellent in parts.
>> 1962   Oxf. Mag. 22 Nov. 91/1   All the same it is a curate's egg of a book. While the whole may be somewhat stale and addled, it would be unfair not to acknowledge the merits of some of its parts.
>> 
>> Twitter isn’t mentioned by name, but…
>> 
>> LH
>> 
>>> On Jul 31, 2018, at 12:14 PM, Andy Bach <afbach at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> First place I recall this is via the NYC Bike Snob from 2017
>>> 
>>> http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2010_01_05_archive.html
>>> 
>>> Who points to an NYTimes article about Twitter
>>> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/weekinreview/03carr.html
>>> 
>>> On Twitter, anyone may follow anyone, but there is very little expectation
>>> of reciprocity. By carefully curating the people you follow, Twitter
>>> becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people in their
>>> respective fields, whose tweets are often full of links to incredibly
>>> vital, timely information.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 10:09 PM, Dennis During <dcduring at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Not every online dictionary has this sense of curate, but Oxford online
>>>> has:
>>>> "Select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information,
>>>> etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge."
>>>> *‘nearly every major news organization is using Twitter’s new lists feature
>>>> to curate tweets about the earthquake’*
>>>> 
>>>> I don't think "curate" was used much this way ten years ago, but it has
>>>> been increasingly so used since.
>>>> 
>>>> See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/curate#Etymology_2 for 5 examples.
>>>> 
>>>> On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 8:17 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>>> -----------------------
>>>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>>> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>>>> Subject:      curate
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> -------------------
>>>>> 
>>>>> Nowadays simply =3D select carefully
>>>>> 
>>>>> "Have 1 minute? We've curated this for you: 5 ways to amplify your
>>>>> Gal=C3=A1pagos expedition."
>>>>> 
>>>>> I've been hearing "curated" this way in TV commercials for months but
>>>> kept
>>>>> quiet about it.
>>>>> 
>>>>> ISTR  a selection of "specially curated" cosmetics sent regularly to
>>>> one's
>>>>> door.
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> JL
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> --=20
>>>>> "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
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> --
>>>> Dennis C. During
>>>> 
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> 
>>> a
>>> 
>>> Andy Bach,
>>> afbach at gmail.com
>>> 608 658-1890 cell
>>> 608 261-5738 wk
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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