[Ads-l] Antedating of the Engineering Term "Bug"

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 17 01:06:46 EST 2022


Very nice, Fred!

Mark Mandel

On Sun, Jan 16, 2022, 10:35 PM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> Of all the tens of thousands of words whose origins I have investigated,
> one of the ones I am proudest of is my work on the engineering term "bug."
> I believe my writings on this subject were responsible for publicizing the
> fact that the story about Grace Murray Hopper coining the computer term
> "bug" after a moth was found inside one of the earliest computers was
> false.  The computer use of "bug" is clearly merely a specialized
> application of a general engineering term going back to the days of Edison,
> who used it frequently.
>
> The earliest known citation for the engineering "bug" has been dated
> August 15, 1875.  This was discovered, not by me, but by Peggy Kidwell of
> the Smithsonian Institution, who published a brilliant article about this
> subject.  Now I have found a bit earlier citation:
>
> bug [engineering sense] (OED 1875 Aug.)
> 1875 The Operator 15 May 10 (Internet Archive)  The Boston Quadruplex with
> Gerritt Smith's new double decked relays has not a solitary "bug" upon it.
>
> Fred Shapiro
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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