Tangram (now 1809 -- or 1712?)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Sep 11 01:35:09 UTC 2007

On 9/10/07, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> Is it possible that the popularizer in the Occident knew the word
> "trangam", and decided to coin a word for his "discovery" by simply
> moving the "r"?

Or perhaps the popularizer, looking for a good name, consulted a
dictionary -- say, Webster 1828 -- and misread "trangram" as
"tangram", thus creating a second-order error. (Webster inherited the
"trangram" misspelling from Johnson.)

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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