late = 'died long ago' (UNCLASSIFIED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 23 17:07:45 UTC 2013

It's also possible to pick up a few instances of "the very late Mr.", although Google's estimate of how many is more than usually misleading. The "About 1,880,000 results" turns out on closer examination to amount to exactly 15 instances.  There are a couple of references to the very late Mr. Shakespeare, and this one of local interest:

Oct 20, 2010 – New Haven has been abuzz with parties honoring the very late Mr. Charles Darwin.

But if 15 can count as about 1,888,000, I don't see why a man dead for 128 years can't count as (very) late.


On Jan 22, 2013, at 6:53 PM, Tyler Schnoebelen wrote:

> Google Ngrams might be one way to look at how "The Late" has been used. (For
> example, "The Late Mr" is a reasonable search term for exploring:
> r_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=).
> Having suggested this as a data source for examining how "late" has changed
> over time, I will stop far short and just note a couple favorite items:
> - Back in the late 1700s, it seems like a common use of "The late Mr." to
> talk about marriages (if the bride's father was dead, for example) or estate
> sales.
> - Fielding published "The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild
> the Great" in 1743-Jonathan Wild had died in 1725. Wikipedia suggests that
> Fielding was working on this before 1741, though.
> - "The Theological and Philological Works of the Late Mr. John Toland. Being
> a System of Jewish, Gentile and Mahometan Christianity" was originally
> published in 1732. Toland died in 1722.
> q&f=false
> Tyler

The American Dialect Society -

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