[Ads-l] Antedating (by the OED) of "Gay" (Homosexual)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 6 15:14:23 EST 2019


I just noticed that the OED has recently pushed back its longstanding 1941 first use of the word "gay" meaning homosexual.  There is now (not counting the several square-bracketed citations from the 1920s and 1930s) the following first-use citation:


?1937   Typescript (anon., ‘I was twenty years at the time’) (Univ. of Chicago Libr.: Ernest W. Burgess Papers, Box 98, Folder 11) 1   Al had told me that Kenneth was not gay but jam [i.e. heterosexual], and so I acted very manly.

Fred Shapiro





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