[Ads-l] Antedating (by the OED) of "Gay" (Homosexual)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 6 20:14:23 UTC 2019

I just noticed that the OED has recently pushed back its longstanding 1941 first use of the word "gay" meaning homosexual.  There is now (not counting the several square-bracketed citations from the 1920s and 1930s) the following first-use citation:

?1937   Typescript (anon., ‘I was twenty years at the time’) (Univ. of Chicago Libr.: Ernest W. Burgess Papers, Box 98, Folder 11) 1   Al had told me that Kenneth was not gay but jam [i.e. heterosexual], and so I acted very manly.

Fred Shapiro

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list