[Ads-l] Antedating of "Debug," "Debugging" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Thu Oct 16 18:14:30 UTC 2014

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

I see that neither OED nor OED SF project has "bug" = slang for insectoid alien life form, usually insulting.

Heinlein, _Starship Troopers_ (1959). p 278 of 2006 Ace trade PB edition. 
"Another Bug hunt, boys."

_Aliens_ (1986 film)
"Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bughunt?"

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Shapiro, Fred
> Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:40 AM
> Subject: Antedating of "Debug," "Debugging"
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header ---------------
> --------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Antedating of "Debug," "Debugging"
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> The OED's first citation for "debug" and "debugging" is dated 1945.  An
> ear= lier occurrence is found in a letter from J. Robert Oppenheimer to
> Ernest L= awrence, Oct. 27, 1944.  Oppenheimer wrote:
> It was clear from your plans, and also from the reports from the
> visitors t= hat all personnel that you now have is occupied in getting
> into operation a= nd debugging, and certainly we must all regard this
> as the wisest use that = can be made of your men.
> The letter can be found on the web at
> http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/Exhibits/physics/images/bigscience25.jpg
> Note that this citation adds to the overwhelming evidence that the
> popular = etymological myth, that defects are called "bugs" and their
> removal is call= ed "debugging" because a moth was found in an early
> computer by Grace Murra= y Hopper, is ridiculous.  "Bugs" in
> engineering contexts were around back t= o Edison in the 1870s, and now
> we know that "debugging" was around as early=  as 1944.
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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

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