Antedating of "Initialism"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 6 16:21:43 UTC 2010

Yes, I failed to check the archives.  If I had, I would have found that Victor gave the 1844 occurrence of _initialism_ in a posting in March.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Victor Steinbok [aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, December 05, 2010 5:50 PM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "Initialism"

I thought I'd found an 1844 citation back in March... In fact, the N&Q
citation refers specifically to name initialism, introduced as a term by
Ralph Thomas (apparently) only a couple of years earlier. And I posted
Thomas's original source link back then as well. I can check the
archives for the links, but so can anyone else.


PS: I know it was posted to the list and not lost in the mail somewhere
because I had got replies ON the list from several people.

On 12/5/2010 10:39 AM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> Related to "acronym" is the word "initialism," antedated below:
> initialism (OED 1899)
> 1870 _Notes and Queries_ 26 Nov. 454  The following is a short list of disguised and ungiven authors ... M.A.C. (initialism) -- Miss Mary Ann Cursham of Notts.
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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