[Ads-l] Help reading a 1721 Boston newspaper

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Mon Sep 14 05:27:58 UTC 2015

Douglass asked:

"Why not "bombast" [adjective]?"

Yes, I somehow overlooked the OED's "bombast, adj." until after I'd sent my question.  Surrounding 1721 the OED2 has quotations from 1674 and 1781, so perhaps it would be a useful interdating.  But my main interest is in deciding between it and "bombard", which would be more interesting to the OED.

I've never ... well, hardly ever ... been able to distinguish "adjective" from "attributive noun", and I won't try here.


      From: Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at NB.NET>
 Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2015 11:58 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Help reading a 1721 Boston newspaper
On 9/12/2015 12:17 PM, Joel Berson wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:      Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Help reading a 1721 Boston newspaper
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I would be grateful for help (ideally from more than one person) in reading=
>  a line from the Boston Gazette of 1721 (Aug.. 28 to) Sept. 4.=C2=A0 On pag=
> e three there is a letter "To the Author of the Boston Gazette".=C2=A0 Its =
> second paragraph contains the text "but whether a ? loose wild pedantick Sc=
> hool Boy performance ..."
> The letter is signed "W. Anti-inoculator" (William Douglass).=C2=A0 I am no=
> t able to identify the writer characterized as a "School Boy" performer.
> I have two possible readings for the questioned word, "Bombard" (n. 1.a or =
> 1.c) or "Bombast" (n. 3.a).=C2=A0 "Bombast" seems more likely to me given t=
> he context (speech) and the appearance of the next-to-last letter (more lik=
> e a long s than an r).

Me, I can't actually see the text in question.

Why not "bombast" [adjective]?

(I guess this adjective is no longer usual. To check whether it was used 
in the period in question, one can search for (e.g.) <<"the most 
bombast">>, incidentally at the same time maybe somewhat distinguishing 
"adjective" from "attributive noun".)

Incidentally, I see the sentence in question mentioned in Perry Miller's 
"The New England Mind" (Google Books: search for (e.g.) <<bombast "loose 
wild" "perry miller">>).

-- Doug Wilson

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

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

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