FW: Why does Wikipedia have 1825 for "spelling bee"?

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 16 17:43:39 UTC 2013

It is conceivable that someone misread the 1875 date as 1825. Ben
mentioned that the OED has cites from 1875. The digits 7 and 2 can be
easily confused. (I did not see an antedating of 1850 for "spelling
bee" in Times (UK) Digital Archive 1785-2006 or Nineteenth Century
British Library Newspapers (GaleGroup) but more than one person should

The Scripps National Spelling Bee website has a webpage with the title
"Origin of the Term Spelling Bee" and it mentions the 1875 date, too:


[Begin excerpt]
Spelling bee is apparently an American term. It first appeared in
print in 1875, but it seems certain that the word was used orally for
several years before that.
[End excerpt]

Here is a link to Barry's entry on "Spelling Bee (Spelling Match)"



On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 11:31 AM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Subject:      FW: Why does Wikipedia have 1825 for "spelling bee"?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A few ads-l members received the message below from Barry Popik, and I now share it with the entire list.  The entry Barry refers to is on his website barrypopik.com -- a true labor of love containing some 8900 items.
> Gerald Cohen
> ________________________________________
> From: Barry Popik [bapopik at aol.com]
> Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2013 11:53 PM
> Subject: Why does Wikipedia have 1825 for "spelling bee"?
> FYI, I did a "spelling bee" entry.
> I know Wikipedia has its problems (the "Uncle Sam" entry IS STILL
> WRONG), but what's this?:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_bee
> The earliest evidence of the phrase spelling bee in print dates back to
> 1825, although the contests had apparently been held before that
> year.[citation needed]
> It appears that the term comes from England, not the U.S. Has anyone
> checked the British Periodicals/Newspapers databases?
> <snip>
> Barry Popik
> Austin, TX
> www,barrypopik.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list