British bias in the OED :-)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 16 19:20:03 UTC 2012

In that case, the school colors of all universities should be in the OED.
 And the mascots and symbols of all big-league sports teams. And the
slogans of major advertisers.

Or what's a dictionary for?


On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 2:10 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: British bias in the OED  :-)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Dec 16, 2012, at 12:46 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > Under "blue, n." one finds:
> >
> > 9. Light blue and dark blue have become the distinctive colours of
> > the representatives both of Eton and Harrow Schools, and of Cambridge
> > and Oxford Universities, in their rival athletic contests. So the
> > 'Dark Blues' denote Oxford men or Harrow boys; 'to win his blue', or
> > 'to be a Blue', is to be chosen to represent his University or School
> > in rowing, cricket, etc.; 'an old Blue' is one who has rowed or
> > played in an inter-University contest.
> >
> > I am offended, as I'm sure Larry and Fred will be, by the omission of
> > any reference to old and prestigious American universities, both
> > founded in the early 18th century -- Yale Blue (a "dark azure") and
> > Columbia Blue ("a light blue tertiary color").
> >
> Not to be picky, but while Yale, founded in 1701, does indeed date back to
> the early 18th c. (or even the long 17th), Columbia was founded in 1754,
> too late to qualify for the early 18th, and hence missing out on the highly
> prestigious deep blue and having to settle instead for the less desirable
> babyish blue tint, formally known as the eponymous Columbia blue.  So while
> *our* superannuated alums are Old Blues, Columbia's can only be Middle-aged
> Blues.
> But yes, we should both definitely be entered at "blue, n."
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list