[Ads-l] "Oxford secret" origin?

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 21 18:16:31 UTC 2019

Google has a snippet from The Oxford Magazine, Vol. 30, which looks
like it is 1912, and which implies the phrase already exists, since it
refers to the first instance of an Oxford secret.

On Wed, Aug 21, 2019 at 7:34 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
>  An article on the discovery of papyrus fragments of poetry by Sappho in the Feb. 5, 2014 TLS by Dirk Obbink begins as follows:
> "An 'Oxford secret' is supposed to be a secret you tell one person at a time. Add social media and it's across the world within hours, often in garbled form. In this case the 'secret' was the discovery of a fragment of papyrus...."
> The Sappho discovery is real but the provenance is less clear. I wondered about the origin of the collocation "Oxford secret."
> Provisionally, it *may* have been coined, or popularized, by Oliver Franks (1905-1992), Oxford philosopher, and Secretary of Supply during WWII, and Ambassador to the US, and diplomat involved in birth of the Marshall Plan, and also of NATO,** among other things. Remarkable man.
> Stephen Goranson
> http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
> **My Dad (in the USN) was assigned as an assistant to Averell Harriman at the time.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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