Antedating of "Die-Hard"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Jun 13 15:29:46 UTC 2013

The OED's first use for the noun or adjective "die-hard" is dated 1844, and refers specifically to the 57th Regiment of Foot in the British Army.  An article in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Autumn 2008, page 259, supplies some antedatings.  The earliest of these, Lieutenant William Swabey's diary for May 16, 1812, is quoted: "This day was the anniversary of Albuera, and all the Regiments here, viz., the 57th, or 'Die-hards', 31st, or young Buffs, 3rd, or old Buffs, etc., paid due honor to the occasion."

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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