Antedating of Speed (=Methamphetamine)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 14 19:10:07 UTC 2013

Here is "speed" a bit earlier.

[ref] 1966 June 5, Cleveland Plain Dealer, "LSD, Marijuana Are 'Hip'
at Colleges" by Bernard Gavzer, Page 23-A, Column 2, Cleveland, Ohio.
(GenealogyBank) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
The source of amphetamines ("speed" is the current hippie term) and
barbiturates could be just about any friendly medicine cabinet.
[End excerpt]

On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 1:42 PM, Ben Zimmer
<bgzimmer at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Antedating of Speed (=Methamphetamine)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM, Baker, John wrote:
>> The OED's earliest example of "speed" to mean an amphetamine drug, especially
>> methamphetamine, is from the Avatar (Boston), September 1967.  It was used
>> earlier in Nicholas von Hoffman, The 'Golden Dream' May Be Little More Than
>> a Nightmare, Washington Post, Aug. 21, 1966, at E5, col. 1:
>> <<It [sc. methedrine] is a powerful drug, an amphetamine, that starves the
>> brain of oxygen and sends the soul scudding before misty winds.  They call
>> it "Speed, "Battery Acid," "Fast Freak.">>
> [...]
>> It may be that the OED knows about this use of "speed" already, since its
>> "meth" article cites to another article by von Hoffman in the Post from the
>> same day.
> I found the "meth" cite in 2004, but didn't catch the "speed" usage.
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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