[Ads-l] Antedating of "tumbleweed"

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 20 04:16:01 EST 2016


OED: 1887

Here's an antedating from The New England Farmer: Devoted to
Agriculture, Horticulture, and its Kindred Arts and Sciences (Boston,
January 1858, Vol. X, No. 1):

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A VEGETABLE CURIOSITY--THE TUMBLE WEED.

Among all the examples chosen from the innumerable productions of
nature to illustrate natural theology, I do not recollect to have seen
the tumble weed, at it is commonly called, (I have not looked out the
botanical name,) and yet if it is not a speaking witness, it is a
living, moving witness that there is an intelligent creature. These
may be seen moving across almost any of large western fields in the
fall of the year, and remain all winter in the corners of the fences
as if stationed to remind the passer-by that there is a God. I have
just brought one of these weeds into my study. It is of the common
form, and a little above the common size. It resembles a gooseberry
bush, or it is of the general form and size of a farmer's corn-basket,
and so nearly round or globular that a light wind will roll or tumble
it along upon the ground, dropping its countless seeds all the way.
And nature has not only given it this self-threshing and self-sowing
power, but has connected with it a provision for getting loose. The
strong thick root becomes so weak about an inch below ground, just as
the weed gets ripe that a light wind will hurl it about in every
direction.

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https://books.google.com/books?id=xBU4AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA19

Hugo

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