Thanks to lexicographers

Sat Apr 6 13:33:33 UTC 2002

rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU,Net writes:
>I am wondering yet, given the highly
>condensed citations in the OED, whether a reader finding a citation for
>"Rathskeller" in a travel account from Germany pre-dating the earliest
>citation, would readily be able to discriminate which was a genuine
>reflection of native English usage.

My approach, not unlike some OED editors past and present, would be to
show enough context to help resolve that question.  After all, OED
citations are not all abbreviated.

An editorial note might also, on occasion, be used; however, that might
take as much space as a "longer-than-usual" citations.

The first written example of _hamburger_ of which I am aware is
horribly truncated.  I attempted to expand that quotation and, in the
process, found it difficult to stop.  The example of usage from the OED

You are asked if you will have

What I have discovered, with the assistance of a enterprising
librarian, is:

The tables in the ordinary cheap restaurant, where a man may procure a
“square meal for two bits” are set with a moderately clean table cloth
and the usual articles which are placed upon the table in any
restaurant.  ... The waiter approaches you with an expression of
countenance which betrays an experience with a cold and unsympathetic
woeld [sic]. You are asked if you will have
"porkchopbeefsteakhamandegghamburgersteakorliverandbacon." [A feeling
of awe passes over you as you meekly answer in the affirmative and tell
him you want it underdone.(])  You haven't the slightest idea what you
are going to get.  And it's not expected that you should know.


barnhart at

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