HELP! I accidentally found a word fossil!

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 5 02:20:45 UTC 2013

For starters, what was the word and the date?

We've posted a number of nineteenth-century antedatings of exceedingly
naughty words here over the years.


On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 8:50 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: HELP! I accidentally found a word fossil!
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A lot depends on how significant the discovery is, how quickly you want to
> get the discovery to be promulgated, whether your main concern is to get
> personal recognition or to ensure that the information is preserved for
> posterity, whether you want recognition in a particular community of
> people, etc.  The main options are as follows:
> Post on ADS-L
> Send finding to Oxford English Dictionary
> Publish information on a blog or website
> Get journalist interested in writing up your discovery
> Publish in a scholarly journal such as American Speech or Notes and Queries
> Publish an article or letter to the editor yourself in a newspaper or
> popular magazine
> I should note that it is not that likely that a newbie would find quite a
> few earlier citations shedding new light on probable origins and refuting
> popular theories of a much-wondered-about word, so it may be that you are
> misunderstanding the evidence you have found or misunderstanding the
> existing state of scholarship.  If you want to share more information about
> the nature of your find, it would be easier to advise you.
> Fred Shapiro
> Nathaniel Sharpe [nts at BETHLEHEMBOOKS.COM]
> Sent: Friday, January 04, 2013 6:05 PM
> Subject: HELP! I accidentally found a word fossil!
> Hi everyone,
> A few months ago I discovered one of my ancestors being called a naughty
> name in an old newspaper Black List. Wanting to know more about this
> common epithet I looked up its history and learned that the earliest OED
> reference was from 12 years after my forefather was so unjustly slandered!
> Since then I've used my experience as a genealogist to uncover quite a
> few early instances of this much-wondered-about word. The evidence I've
> found sheds new light on probable origins, as well as refuting other
> popular theories.
> But where do I go from here? I would love to share what I've found but
> would like to do so in the most effective manner, and to the right
> audience. Should I sum up my discoveries in an article and try to submit
> it to a magazine? Should I self-publish on a blog? Should I share it on
> this list?
> I know these are all rather subjective questions, but as I am a n00b is
> this field I thought I would make an appeal to your collective wisdom.
> Let me know what you think,
> Nat
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