[Ads-l] dihydrogen monoxide

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 6 13:00:14 UTC 2016

Below is an another instance of "dihydrogen monoxide" that appeared in
a letter to a newspaper in 1960. This use was a precursor to the
common modern device in which dihydrogen monoxide has been parodically
depicted as a hazardous substance.

Within the letter "fluorine" was misspelled as "fluorine".

[ref] 1960 December 12, Richmond Times Dispatch, Voice of the People:
'Anti-Billboarders' Up in Arms (Letter titled "Fluorine in Water Not
Harmful, He Says" from Don Burch, Charlottesville), Quote Page 18,
Column 4 and 5, Richmond, Virginia. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Some persons have an aversion to adding anything whatever to their
drinking water. In fact, some persons would object to adding
dihydrogen monoxide to their drinking water. Dihydrogen monoxide is
merely water expressed in chemical terms.

This reader desires more convincing evidence as to why flourine should
not be added to our drinking water.
[End excerpt]


On Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 7:20 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: dihydrogen monoxide
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Some students of Northwestern University used the phrase "drank
> dihydrogen monoxide" in their 1910 yearbook in a humorous piece that
> recounted the comical tale of a bacillus and a microbe travelling in a
> human body.
> The following excerpt probably contains OCR errors. It was difficult
> to double-check because it contained deliberately misspelled words (or
> typos from the printer).
> Year: 1910
> Title: The Syllabus - Northwestern Year Book
> Volume 25
> Publisher: T. R. Johnston for the Class of 1910 of Northwestern
> University, Evanston, Illinois
> Article Title: An Explanation of a Natural Phenomenon
> Start Page 533, Quote Page 533
> Database: HathiTrust Full View
> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uiuo.ark:/13960/t2w39dk0f
> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uiuo.ark:/13960/t2w39dk0f?urlappend=%3Bseq=537
> [Begin excerpt]
> To reach their destination they went by way of the Eustachion tube
> which landed them close to the desired place. Before proceeding they
> took time to elutriate the dust from their integument and to take
> refreshments. In the shade of an arbor vitae cerebelli, they sat down,
> one on a synonial fat pad and the other on an endocardial cushion.
> From optic cups they drank dihydrogen monoxide, and from ethmoidal
> plates they ate fried Stenson's ducts and Adam's apples until their
> tate huds refused to respond to the reflex centers in the midulla
> oblongati. While seated hear music was heard and a debate was held as
> to whether it was the Band of Baillanger or the Band of Meckel which
> played.
> [End excerpt]
> In 1959 the term appeared in a textbook called "Modern Chemistry". It
> was used without humor as an alternative chemical name for H2O.
> Year: 1959
> Title: Modern Chemistry
> Authors: John F. Baxter and Luke E. Steiner
> Volume 1
> Note: Especially prepared for Continental classroom (television course)
> Publisher: Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
> Quote Page 43 and 44
> Database: HathiTrust Full View
> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015065704788
> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015065704788?urlappend=%3Bseq=55
> [Begin excerpt]
> The advantage of a systematic name is that it indicates the formula of
> a compound. Some names, such as water and sugar, which were in common
> use before the composition of their compounds was known, are called
> "trivial" names. The terms "hydrogen oxide," "dihydrogen oxide," or
> "dihydrogen monoxide" are corresponding systematic names for water.
> [End excerpt]
> There is a match in Google books with a GB year if 1962 that shows the
> phrase "crystals of dihydrogen monoxide" being used with humor.
> Year: 1962 according to GB
> Journal: National Safety Congress Transactions
> Volume 1
> Publisher: National Safety Congress (U.S.)
> Quote Page GB 13
> Database: Google Books Snippet View; data may be inaccurate and should
> be verified on paper; searching for 1962 and 1963 yields snippets that
> are compatible with the year 1962.
> [Begin extracted text]
> Also, proposed for inclusion is Cyclohexane, a -- 40 [degree] F flash
> point liquid; Ethyl Alcohol, the hazards of which are well known to
> many; they say it is somewhat hazardous with crystals of dihydrogen
> monoxide and a little tonic water or vermouth, but then I'm not here
> to repeat hearsay evidence.
> [End extracted text]
> Garson
> On Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 12:21 AM, Clai Rice <cxr1086 at louisiana.edu> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Clai Rice <cxr1086 at LOUISIANA.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: dihydrogen monoxide
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Memories can be tricky, but I'm pretty sure I remember "be careful, this dihydrogen monoxide burns" as a middle school joke exactly on par with "your epidermis is showing." That would have been between 1974-77.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Benjamin Barrett" <mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Sent: Saturday, March 5, 2016 10:04:05 PM
>>> Subject: dihydrogen monoxide
>>> I learned in chemistry that water is never referred to by its chemical name,
>>> dihydrogen monoxide, but for some time now, people have been making spoof
>>> warnings of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide and posting them on social
>>> media. Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dihydrogen_monoxide
>>> <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dihydrogen_monoxide>) has this as a word and
>>> Wikipedia has it as a hoax
>>> (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihydrogen_monoxide_hoax), dating it to 1983,
>>> which is before I took chemistry. The Oxford Dictionary site does not have
>>> this word.
>>> Benjamin Barrett
>>> Formerly of Seattle, WA
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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