[Ads-l] Slight Antedating of "Soccer"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jul 11 11:23:55 EDT 2021

The word "soccer" is usually thought of as being an Americanism, but it originated in England.  In 2013 I published a letter to the editor in the New York Times, pointing out that Evan Kirshenbaum had discovered antedatings of the word (the OED had a first use of 1889 with the spelling "socca") in two English school periodicals: "socker" in the Dec. 1885 issue of The Oldhallian, and "soccer" in the Oct. 1886 issue of The Carthusian.

Now, through searching Google Books, I have found the word in another English school periodical, The Malburian, published by Marlborough College.  A letter to the editor in the 25 Nov. 1885 issue, page 183, begins with the sentence "I can't help thinking it a great pity that there has been no 'Association' on the Common this term."  The letter is signed "SOCCER."  Although the signature is used as the name of the letter-writer, it is clear that this is a pseudonym referring to the game.  In the letter, "Association" refers to "Association Football," the etymological parent of "soccer."

Fred Shapiro

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

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