very giving

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Mar 8 19:43:20 UTC 2001

On Wed, 7 Mar 2001, Thomas Paikeday wrote:

> Can anyone find lexicographical citations for "very/quite/seem giving"
> in the sense of "very generous," etc. as in "Jack is a very giving
> person"? My resources are rather meagre. OED has 4,084 occurrences of
> "giving" but no "very giving." A database I used for my last dictionary
> has 9,724 of "giving" and two of "a very giving person" (one from TOTAL
> HEALTH and another from GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, both 1990). Is "a very giving
> person" the only way the word is used? The 13,808 cases of "giving" (OED
> + mine) are too many to scan individually for the phrase in question.

The earliest cite I find on Nexis for "very giving" is the following:

1982 _Wash. Post_ 24 Jan.  And he's a very giving person.

The Nexis search makes it clear that "very giving" is not the only way the
term is used.  The earliest examples of this usage of "giving" that I see
are the following:

1980 _N.Y. Times_ 26 Aug.  The person who is ill is not capable of
responding, and the giving person just has to get away some part of the
time to get revitalized.

1981 _N.Y. Times_ 18 Jan.  He is a warm, giving person.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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