Antedating of "Yalie"

Sun Nov 2 04:15:15 UTC 2003

        It's funny how we seem to be able to do without naming something when there isn't a convenient word for it.  Yalies have been around for half a century, but there's no equivalent word for those associated with Harvard.  (Yes, yes, you can say Harvardian, but we would all rather you didn't.)  There used to be "Harvard man" (as in "You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can't tell him much"), but that has been outdated by current standards of gender inclusiveness.  (Harvard types do have "Cantabrigian," the much-loved term for residents of Cambridge.  Beat that, New Haven!)  Many colleges, I daresay the majority, have no word at all for their people.  I have no idea what to call someone at my own undergraduate alma mater, Centre College - Centrists, perhaps?

        Similarly, you may recall that there was much gnashing of teeth in the latter years of the past century over the conundrum of what to call this decade.  Now we are in the third or fourth year of the decade, it still doesn't have a name, and the populace seem to be strangely comfortable with that.

John Baker

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