Antedating of "Tsunami"

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun Feb 28 16:25:59 UTC 2010

Genealolgy Bank shows the same story in the Sunday Magazine(p25) of the
Philadelphia Inquirer, 26 July 1896, in perfect English.

Sam Clements

----- Original Message -----
From: "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, February 28, 2010 07:48
Subject: Antedating of "Tsunami"

> Newspaperarchive has a slightly earlier occurrence of "tsunami":
> Semi-Weekly Cedar Falls Gazette, The - July 28, 1896, Cedar Falls, Iowa
> ...rescuers were terri wihile in the latter 2655 out of 3747 were killed
> it was shortly before 8 oclock on the night of monday june 15 that
> dwellers near the coast heard strange sound that came out from the sea
> swelling on the calm evening air the dreaded tsunami sea wave was not
> altogethernewto some of those who were su soon to become its victims but
> it is asserted that tha people were exceedingly slow to realize the
> immensity of the danger that threat ened them tsunami cried terror
> stricken fisherman and tsunami pass ed the echoing wail...
> The usage here is not entirely naturalized into English.
> Fred Shapiro
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> victor steinbok [aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM]
> Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 11:42 PM
> Subject: Re: *tsunamus
> Interesting that the OED missed such a trivial publication as National
> Geographic for Sept. 1896 for antedating tsunami. In fact, the entire
> cover story is devoted to it (specifically to one of June 15, 1896,
> pp. 285-9). The Atlantic was not to be outdone, placing a story, A
> Living God, in the Dec. 1896 issue of the Monthly (pp. 833-41).
> There is also a Tsunami entry in the Helpburn's
> Japanese-English/English-Japanese Dictionary, 2nd/4th ed., 1872/1888,
> p. 567/695 (see also entry on p. /166)
>> TSUNAMI, [], n., A large waves that rolls over and inundates the land.
> [There is also a verb that shares the same first two characters.]
>> HISSARAE, -RU, [], t.v., to take all away; to sweep away, to make a clean
>> sweep: tsunami /wa ie kua wo/ --, the huge wave swept away the house and
>> godown [added in 4th ed.: /kane wo -- te nigeru/].
> Note, however, that 1) this is a dictionary and the words are in
> Japanese, not adopted in English, and 2) the 2nd edition was published
> in Shanghai by the American Presbyterian Mission, before it was picked
> up by international publishers; the 4th and subsequent editions (not
> sure about 3rd) were published by Z.P. Maruya, Tokyo, Kelly & Walsh,
> Yokohama/Shanghai/Singapore, and Trubner & Co in London.
> The same definition is in Ichikawa's New Pocket Dictionary, also from
> 1888 (Yokohama).
> So the actual antedating is only by one year, but there might be more
> a bit earlier--just not on GB (majority of hits on {tsunami pre-1900}
> were false--about half were false dates and half bad OCR, especially
> the ones to the first half of the XIXth century and those in other
> European languages).
> VS-)
> PS: Sorry about the links--I am on a computer where no URL shortening
> is set up, so I am skipping it. The titles should be easy to find.
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:35 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>
> wrote:
>> At 6:34 PM -0500 2/27/10, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>One of Honolulu's news anchors apologized on CNN for having said "tidal
>>>wave" when he meant "tsunami." He also emphasized that "tsunami" is
>>>Perhaps someone complained about apparent subject-verb discord.
>> No, it's not Latin, it's Italian:  Would you like to much on a tasty
>> panino while you watch the tsunamo?  Of course in the original
>> Italian it was "zunamo", but it is a loan word after all.
>> LH
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