[Ads-l] Word: bio-break, biobreak, bio break (Aug 7 1991)

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Tue Jun 28 23:35:58 UTC 2016

On 6/28/16 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
> Date:    Mon, 27 Jun 2016 17:15:16 -0400
> From:    ADSGarson O'Toole<adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Word: bio-break, biobreak, bio break (Aug 7 1991)
> While listening to "How Google Works" by ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and
> Jonathan Rosenberg I heard the word "biobreak". The Merriam-Webster
> website discussed this topic in a column about "Words We're Watching".
> http://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/bio-break-meaning-and-origin
> [Begin excerpt]
> Bio Break
> A short break in a meeting or event so participants can use the restroom
> [End excerpt]
> The Merriam-Webster article also stated:
> [Begin excerpt]
> Bio break is a word that dates back to the mid-1990s. Wired reported
> in 1994 that it was "techie slang for using the bathroom," and while
> it's become common in some business settings, it's still emerging
> among general users. We have seen a gradual uptick in its use in
> recent years.
> [End excerpt]
> The "Wired" article containing the word was published in July 1994 and
> was titled "Jargon Watch" by Gareth Branwyn.
> It's mentioned in the 2004 "Word Spy" book, but I did not see a
> citation. Also, I did not see an entry at the "Word Spy" website.
> Below is a citation from August 1991 that appeared in a Usenet
> newsgroup dedicated to discussion of fantasy-role-playing games.
> Source: Usenet
> Newsgroups: rec.games.frp
> Subject: Re: Player's Tricks of the Trade
> From: co...  domain @Nephi.Enet.DEC.Com (Rodent of Unusual Size)
> Timestamp: August 07 1991, 12:11:52 GMT
> https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.games.frp/V4Xt8iJ6PU0/InXW9hcA0r8J
> [Begin excerpt]
> One thing I started doing recently (about 1986, I think;-)  is to keep
> a logbook/diary of what happens.  It means we have to stop play fairly
> often so I can catch up, but everybody uses the time to take a bio
> break or stretch or something, so it's not an utter loss.
> [End excerpt]
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -http://www.americandialect.org

I've heard this in fannish settings; I dunno if other fannish informants 
will have anything more useful or substantive to say (Bill? Mark?). So, 
yes, I think the gaming antedating "makes sense."

---Amy West

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

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