"beatnik"--coined by Herb Caen?

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jun 26 11:53:36 UTC 2004

On Sat, 26 Jun 2004, Laurence Horn wrote:

> That claim, made tonight on Jeopardy, is supported by various web
> sites (the idea being that the San Francisco Chronicle columnist came
> up with the term in a 1958 column, of course as a blend of "beat
> (generation)" and "sputnik"), but does not appear in the OED entry
> for the word.  The RHHDAS does endorse the Herb Caen coinage, though.
> Are any antedates available, or is this an rare actual instance of a
> verifiable and attested coinage?

Yes, it was a Herb Caen coinage, clearcut.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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