black head

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Tue Dec 7 23:36:21 UTC 2004

On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 17:05:56 -0600, Mullins, Bill
<Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:

> Is "black head" (as in a pimple or skin blemish) slang?  I would have
>thought it to  be relatively standard, but couldn't find it in the OED
>I found an 1871 newspaper ad mentioning it.

See OED2 def. 4 for "black-head":

  4. = COMEDO.

  1837 J. F. PALMER Gloss. in 'A Lady' Dialogue Devonshire Dial. 30
  Blackhead, a boil or pinswell, from the black spot which appears
  at the apex. 1885 [see COMEDO]. 1910 Daily Chron. 15 Jan. 9/1
  Sometimes blackheads gather in the forehead lines,..they must be
  pressed out with the blackhead instrument, if steaming and massage
  fail to remove them. 1949 E. DE MAUNY Huntsman in Career III. iii.
  160 His skin was tanned deep brown, which somehow accentuated the

--Ben Zimmer

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