Antedating of "baseball" (except Jane Austen)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Feb 28 15:14:16 UTC 2006

Given the Austen citation, I am not surprised that there are earlier
ones, from England I presume.  What struck me--but I didn't say in my
previous message--that this 1861 citation is from America and not
much before the OED3's first American citation of 1870.  (As for
"base ball" vs. "baseball", the 1870 citation is hyphenated, perhaps
indicating a period of transition from two words to one?)

Is the 1861 citation therefore of the American game, rather than the British?


At 2/28/2006 09:25 AM, you wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Antedating of "baseball" (except Jane Austen)
>On Tue, 28 Feb 2006, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > The Farmers' Cabinet [Amherst, New Hampshire], 2 Aug. 1861, page 3.
> > "Correspondence from the Second New Hampshire Regiment".
> > [Early American Newspapers]
> >
> > Capt. Weston stood like a hero, and as shot and shell flew over our
> > heads, he kept his jokes going as though we were playing base ball.
> >
> > antedates OED3 sense a. 1870-, except c1815 Austen.
>There are many pre-1815 citations that have been found for "base ball,"
>going back to a 1744 children's book (earliest existing edition is 1760).
>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     
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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