Antedating of "MILF"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Feb 24 19:22:47 UTC 2013

On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 1:49 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> Thanks for your response, Jesse. Below is a citation pointing into a
> book about language published in 1995 that presented linguistic data
> collected in 1992 that included the term MILF. This cite may satisfy
> the properly exacting standards of the OED:
> Title: Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self
> Authors: Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz
> Editors: Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz
> Year: 1995
> Publisher: Psychology Press
> Start Page: 293
> Quote Page: 294
> (Google Books Preview)
> The data was given using a tabular format. Below I have reformatted
> the entry for MILF by interspersing the headings:
> [Begin heading and data from book]
> Appendix II
> Terms for Women, Defined by Linguistics 55 Students, Spring 1992
> Lexical entry: MILF
> Meaning: “mother I'd like to fuck," attractive older woman
> Student comments about slang users or usage: college students from
> East Contra Costa [California]
> Sex: m
> Ethnicity; European
> [End heading and data from book]

Great find, Garson. I actually have this book and can confirm what Google shows.
It appears in Laurel A. Sutton's "Bitches and Skankly Hobags: The Place of Women
in Contemporary Slang" (Ch. 11 of the edited volume). Sutton collected slang
terms from Berkeley undergrads in 1991-92. "MILF" shows up on the Spring '92
list, but not the Fall '91 list. Interesting that it was known in the Bay Area
(East Contra Costa) at the same time that it was being popularized by Buffalo
lifeguards and their musical buddies.


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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