"empath" as lexicographic lacuna

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Nov 24 16:17:20 UTC 2008

On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 11:08 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> I was curious about when the word was first attested,
> and to my surprise _empath_ is unlisted in either the (online) OED or
> AHD4, despite the fact that it has both a wikipedia entry (albeit
> largely devoted to the science-fiction ESP-y variety of empath as
> opposed to the more general sense invoked by Connelly's FBI agent and
> the Acrostic designers) and "about 730,000" raw g-hits for the word.

It's in the Science Fiction Citations database (on Jesse's site) and the book it
spawned, _Brave New Words_. Here's the online entry, with cites back to 1956:


--Ben Zimmer

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

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