Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jan 8 04:30:17 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 9:31 PM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake
<taylor-blake at nc.rr.com> wrote:
> Of "optics," Bill Mullins observed:
>> This usage goes back to 5/2008, if not earlier:
> http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/05/an_optics_problem_for_m
> ccain.php
> I first noticed this usage about 6 months ago.  It's one of my favorite
> discoveries of the year.
> And then I was interested (and grateful) to see that listmember Bruce K.
> Dykes had posted about it in May, 1999.
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9905C&L=ADS-L&P=R153

Back to 1983 in Canadian sources...

1983 _Globe and Mail_ 21 Apr. 7 (Factiva) They say in Larry Grossman's
health ministry, it's all a matter of optics. This has nothing to do
with the eyes, but it has everything to do with the way the public
sees things.
1983 _Globe and Mail_ 5 Nov. 10 (Factiva) The political optics seemed
right but almost at once the plan ran into serious opposition.
1986 _Globe and Mail_ 29 Aug. 51 (Factiva) After Wrye and his
associates left, Industry Minister Hugh O'Neil showed up to get the
Premier's "guidance" on how to handle the political "optics" of a
series of massive layoffs at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie and

--Ben Zimmer

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

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