Early "bullshit"

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 19 20:23:42 UTC 2014

I see that there's some disagreement about the earliest appearance (in
print, obviously) of "bullshit," which Mark Liberman addresses here:


In any event, it looks like HDAS has 1914 sighting, which Mark
mentions in his piece.  I should point out that Jonathan Lighter also
mentioned a *possible* 1880 occurrence here:


(Have I missed other discussions of early examples in the ADS-L archives?)

Anyway, I've run across a couple additional early uses, both of which
seem to be head-scratchers.  The first, from 1886, I find merely
puzzling.  The second, from 1916, is both puzzling and somewhat
comical.  (See below for both.)

As usual, enlightenment is always appreciated.

-- Bonnie


N.L. Gage read an editorial from a New York paper, which stated that
the brick pavement was found very durable in Bloomington and other
small cities, and that the expense of keeping it in repair was very
small.  Wherever brick pavement had been used, it was giving unusual
satisfaction.  The total cost of the pavement runs from $1 80 to $2 50
per square yard, according to the bullshit of sand.

(From "Will Pave; The Decision Arrived at at Last Night's Meeting,"
The Daily Commonwealth, [Topeka, Kansas], 31 August 1886, Pg. 5,
column 2; via newspapers.com.)

(By the way, "bullshit of sand" may well be a typo for, well,
something, but that "bullshit" is quite clear. -- Bonnie)


The second item is an advertisement that appeared in The Charlotte
[NC] News in March 1916. It's for Scholtz's Florist on North Tryon
Street.  I've uploaded to the following site a PDF including the ad
itself as well as a larger page view.  The file will be available
there for about a week.


(That advertisement was also in the database at newspapers.com.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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