Antedating of "MILF"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 25 05:14:20 UTC 2013

Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Try this:
> "MILF" seems not to have shown up in Fall 1991.

Jon: Thanks for your skillful searching. The link you have provided
appears to lead into a different section of the same paper by Laurel
A. Sutton that we have been discussing on this thread, i.e., "Bitches
and Skankly Hobags: The Place of Women in Contemporary Slang" in the
book "Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self".
Previously on this thread, Ben Zimmer also noticed that the term MILF
is absent on the 1991 list and present on the 1992 list:

Ben Zimmer wrote:
> Sutton collected slang terms from Berkeley undergrads
> in 1991-92. "MILF" shows up on the Spring '92 list, but
> not the Fall '91 list.

Perhaps I should clarify the goal of my previous message. The book
"Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self" was
published in 1995. Hence, the instance of MILF (with a definition)
that has been located was published in 1995. Of course, persuasive
internal evidence indicates that the term was actually collected in
spring 1992.

Nevertheless, if MILF (with a definition) can be located in a
conference proceedings published in 1992 that would be a superior
piece of evidence, because it would not be necessary to depend on
internal evidence to specify the year. The previous message presented
the title: "Locating Power: Proceedings of the Second Berkeley Women
and Language Conference" of a volume that may contain an instance of
MILF because it contains Sutton's paper (though the paper may have
been in a preliminary form).

The conference was held April 4th and 5th. It is possible that the
data for spring 1992 had not been collected when the paper was
prepared for the conference. Yet, "spring" might refer to the spring
semester which typically begins in January. So perhaps there was
enough time to collect the data and put it in the conference paper.

The American Dialect Society -

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