Slight antedating of "bafflegab"?

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Sat Sep 15 19:13:19 UTC 2007

I have a quote from Jan. 19, 1952, in the Oxford Dictionary of
American Political Slang (2004):

1952 _Berkshire Evening Eagle_(Pittsfield, Mass.) (Jan. 19) p.3:
Bafflegab...Defined, tongue-in-cheek, by its coiner as “Multiloquence,
characterized by consummate interfusion or circumlocution or
periphrases, inscrutability, incognizability, or other familiar
manifestation of obstruse expatiation commonly utilized for
promulgations implementing procrustean determinations by
governmental bodies.”

Grant Barrett
Double-Tongued Dictionary
editor at

On Sep 15, 2007, at 14:29, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> From another list [source of the text below unfortunately
> lost].  This might antedate OE2 by 4 days.
> This word hit the newspapers and public notice on 19 January 1952,
> the day after a plaque was presented to its inventor to mark his
> creation of this invaluable word. He was Milton A Smith, assistant
> general counsel for the US Chamber of Commerce. It was presented by
> Michael V DiSalle, the head of the Office of Price Stabilization, who
> rejoiced in the title of Price Stabilizer. (Where are people like
> this when you need them?)
> Milton Smith coined the word in a piece he wrote for the Chamber's
> weekly publication, Washington Report, which criticized the OPS for
> the bureaucratic language it used in one of its price orders. This
> was picked up by the Bellingham Herald in Washington State, which
> wrote an editorial about it, saying "Gobbledegook is mouth-filling,
> but it lacks the punch of bafflegab. The inventor of that one
> deserves an award." The newspaper made sure he got one by paying for
> the plaque to be made and organizing its presentation.
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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