Antedating of "MILF"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Feb 25 14:28:19 UTC 2013

On Feb 25, 2013, at 12:14 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:

> 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).

I have that paper from the 1992 volume, and MILF does appear in a paragraph listing the collected terms on p. 564 and then in Sutton's discussion on p. 565 ("The acronym MILF ('mother I'd like to fuck') is particularly interesting, since it singles out older women and expresses men's condescension toward them").

I can send either or both of you a .pdf of the article copied from that book.


> 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 -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list