"bulls and bears" - antedatings to 1725

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Dec 4 23:31:43 UTC 2010

Upon this I mov'd off, and went to the Royal Exchange, the center of
Business ... but to my great Amazement, I found its spacious Area
deserted ... Even Stockjobbing ceased, and the Bulls and Bears of the
Alley were fled ...

New-England Courant [Boston]
1725 May 10
p. 1, col. 2.

Antedates OED 1989 "bear" n.1 sense 8.c., 1744-  (The sense that
applies to persons.  8.a. is "bear-skin", the stock, noun or
attributive; 8.b is simply "bear", for the stock.)

For "bull", n.1, sense 8.a, the OED does not make the same
distinction between things and persons as it does for "bear".  Its
cites of 1714 and 1721, the only ones earlier than the NEC, are for
things, the stocks that are expected to rise.  The earliest citation
for persons is 1761.  Therefore I claim:

Antedates OED 1989 "bull" sense 8.a., of persons, 1761-.

The 1744 quotation is I think also the earliest with "bulls and
bears" as a phrase.

And now I must confess that this quotation comes from the NEC's
republication of  John Trenchard's "Cato's Vision", published in
Dublin in 1723 and reprinted the same year in Edinburgh.  [E.g., ESTC]


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list