acronym antedated to 1940

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Dec 5 15:17:37 UTC 2010

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Stephen Goranson [goranson at DUKE.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, December 05, 2010 6:45 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] acronym antedated to 1940

American Notes & Queries has it (p. 167) in Feb., 1943

Confirmed on paper:
Paris Gazette,
Lion Feuchtwanger;  translated by Willa and  Edwin Muir
xii, 860 p. 21 cm. New York, Viking Press, 1940.
Chapter 47, Beasts of Prey, pages 665-666:

His first glance at the _Paris German News_ told Wiesener that this new paper was nothing like the old _P.G._. "They can call it the _P.G.N._ if they like," he thought, "but that's the only difference. Pee-gee-emm; what's the word for words like  that, made out of initials? My memory is beginning to fail me. [p. 666] Just the other day there was a technical expression I couldn't remember. I must be growing old.
"_P.G._ or _P.G.N._, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other....
"Pee-gee-emm. It's an acronym, that's what it is. That's what they call words made up of initials. So i remember it after all; that's at least something....

Stephen Goranson

"-emm" above, of course, should be "-enn."

The above is translated from his Exil (Querido Verlag, N.V. Amsterdam, 1940); I have no copy at hand.

In German Akronym appears to go back at least to 1921 or 1922 (though the volume has not yet arrived from storage to check):
 Brockhaus Handbuch des Wissens in vier Bänden.
Edition         6. gänzlich umgearb. und wesentlich verm. Aufl. von Brockhaus’ kleinem Konversations-Lexikon.
Published       Leipzig, F. A. Brockhaus, [1922-23, c1921-23] v.1 p. 37


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