[Ads-l] Bloviate and Harding

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 24 16:24:50 UTC 2015

Harding didn't even coin "founding fathers."

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Ben Zimmer [bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2015 5:07 PM
Subject: Re: Bloviate and Harding

On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 3:17 PM, Mark Peters wrote:
> I'm doing some research on *bloviate* and it's variations, and I've run
> into a weird problem: although virtually every source says Warren Harding
> loved to use this word, I can't find a single example of him using it: not
> in the OED, GDoS, Yale Book of Quotations, or even Presidential Voices. So
> far I've run dry in collections of his letters too.
> Is Harding's use of this word just a myth? I know his coining the word was
> debunked, but I'm starting to wonder if he ever used it at all.

Here's the earliest attribution to Harding that I can find, and the
only one that directly quotes him.

Columbus (Ga.) Daily Enquirer, Nov. 23, 1920, p. 1, col. 5
An Elk Does Not "Bloviate" About Good Deeds -- Harding.
New Orleans, La., Nov. 22 -- President-elect W.G. Harding in his
address to the Elks here last week, coined a new word, which, insofar
as can be determined, has never before been used. In describing the
kind of person an Elk is, the Senator is quoted as saying:
"An Elk is a person, who, when he does a good deed, keeps the
knowledge thereof in his own breast and does not 'bloviate' about it."

Of course, Harding didn't in fact coin "bloviate" (nor did he coin
"normalcy"), as I discuss here:



Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=38zYvlowPvJ1D3b4xSn9b1FNemKqLsFJa8SAsewm8Ns&s=fOzImivUua8aB8ZB1AgzKPw489Y-KRAZ4Ljrog0EiTY&e=

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list