Two Questions for Journalist

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 14 17:43:01 UTC 2012

I am talking with a journalist about the kind of research into word-origins that is done on ADS-L.  She asked two questions that I would welcome help in answering:

What are examples in recent times of important discoveries about etymology or word-origins or phrase-origins or quotation-origins being made "the old-fashioned way," i.e., using methods other than searching online databases?

Now that "O.K." and arguably "the whole nine yards" have had their derivations uncovered, what are the other most significant or most interesting words or phrases with mysterious etymologies?

All suggestions would be welcome.  I need to get back to the journalist by Sunday.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list