Antedating of "flash mob", n.2

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 13 20:58:38 UTC 2013

This term was added to the OED in the June 2013 update, but can be antedated in and via Usenet.


flash mob (OED: n.2, 8 July 2003)

An 18th June 2003 post to titled "The inexplicable flash mob"...

... links to this earlier blogpost that uses it in the title and in a comment:

16th June 2003 - Cheese Bikini? - Sean Savage

[Begin extract]
Flash Mobs Take Manhattan
[End extract]

And a comment by the blog author the next day:

[Begin extract]
I will post rumors of future flash mobs here if someone tells me about them.
[End extract]

Web Archive from 20th June 2003:



PS Know Your Meme claims:
"The concept of improvising a public assembly was first denoted as a “smart mob” in author Howard Rheingold’s book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution published in 2002. The term “flash mob” was coined a year later by Harper’s Magazine senior editor Bill Wasik, who organized the first flash mob event at Macy’s department store in New York City on June 3rd, 2003, following a failed attempt earlier in May."

This may be true, but at least the 16th June email from the organiser quoted on the blogpost above (for "MOB #2") doesn't use the full term, only "MOB". Likewise this 27th May email for "MOB #1" and this 25th June for "MOB #3":

This later article names Sean Savage as the originator of the term "flash mob".

The American Dialect Society -

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