[Ads-l] "blimp" antedating

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 8 22:31:17 UTC 2019

This gives me the chance to observe that the celebrated British balloon
that depicts Donald Trump as a squalling infant is generally described on
cable news as "the Trump baby blimp."

Despite its tubbiness, it is not a "blimp" at all.  It is a "captive
balloon" or "aerostat."


On Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 11:32 AM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> My latest Wall Street Journal column is on the history of the word "blimp."
> https://www.wsj.com/articles/blimp-a-world-war-i-term-thats-taken-on-a-weighted-meaning-11559918882
> The OED and various other references give as their earliest citation of
> "blimp" a letter written by Royal Naval Air Service pilot Harold Rosher
> dated Feb. 11, 1916, collected posthumously in "With the Flying Squadron"
> (also titled "In the Royal Naval Air Service"). By searching on the British
> Newspaper Archive I was able to make a small but important antedating.
> "This Morning's Gossip," Daily Mirror, Jan. 25, 1916, p. 12, col. 2
> I was amused to hear what the Air Service call the lighter-than-air
> machines, i.e., the airships and balloons. They call them "blimps,"
> "submarine searchers" and "babies." But why "blimps," I wonder.
> https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000560/19160125/100/0012
> Even pushing back the earliest print date a few weeks is significant, since
> the most widely accepted origin story for "blimp" is that it was coined on
> Dec. 5, 1915 (by Lt. A.D. Cunningham, commanding officer at the
> Capel-le-Ferne air base, where Rosher encountered the term).
> You can see a page image of the Daily Mirror item here:
> https://twitter.com/bgzimmer/status/1137014809814286338
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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