an antedating "how to"?

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 23 13:13:26 UTC 2014

The key to searching is to have a known set of databases/sites to search,
choosing appropriate ones based on the time period of the term's earliest
date, searching with a date range, and narrowing it down.

There's a lot of free databases/sites you can search, and if you're a
member of a good library you may also have access to some paid ones too.

I made a list here:

As Bonnie suggested, if your library has its own local archive, you may be
able to find some antedatings others would miss.

Another suggested task is for the students to collect current slang which
may not be in any dictionaries (yet). Compile those, find early quotations,
and put it online. You could use the result as the starting point for the
next class. Make sure to include a definition, as the meaning may well
change over time, and you can include other senses.

A London teacher did something similar a bit similar (but only current
meanings and without dates):

Which for example I found useful for these answers:

Finally, there's a "How to search for an origin" guide on Know Your Meme
which, whilst obviously targeted at memes, can be used as a starting point
for newer terms.


The American Dialect Society -

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