Melvyn Bragg book

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Mon Nov 24 12:08:12 UTC 2003

I'm currently writing a review for World Wide Words of "The Adventure
of English" by the British novellist and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.
This is a very readable non-academic introduction to the history of
the language, based on his radio and television series. However, he
falls into the same trap as so many writers by uncritically repeating
a number of folk etymologies.

He also states that Davy Crockett "was one of the first exponents of
'Tall Talk' - using new words like 'skedaddle', 'hunky-dory' and
'splendiferous'". The OED has first examples of these from 1861, 1866
and 1843 respectively, while Crockett, of course, died at the Alamo
in 1836.

Crockett is not on record anywhere I've looked as employing any of
these words. Before I assert catagorically Bragg is wrong about this,
would anyone who knows different tell me where there's evidence that
Crockett did indeed use them?

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at>
Web: <>

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