[Ads-l] Antedating of "Snafu" by Barry Popik

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC AVMC (USA) 0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Mon Nov 23 20:41:45 UTC 2020

I know I've submitted to the ADS-L on this term, but the search linked here:


does not reveal those posts.  (Likewise I've posted on "hillbilly", about which Fred quoted Barry a couple of days ago, but can't find those posts either.)  I may have antedated Barry's discoveries, or maybe not.  I've never been confident that Google returns all results, and this tends to confirm that.

Related term:

Fubar.  OED has 7 Jan 1944.  Barry has 24 Nov 1943.

1942  Greensboro NC _Daily News_ 20 Sep sec 4 p 5 col 8
[letter to editor signed by] "PVT. ROGER FUBAR, Camp Davis"

The "hill billy" cite I found was an attributive one:
1883 Paris KY _Bourbon News_ 28 Sep 4/2
"It is an old fashioned 'Hill Billy' custom which is very nauseating to the strictly refined."


I cannot overstate the riches that are contained in Barry Popik's wonderful website barrypopik.com.  Here is an antedating he has for "snafu."  This is a slight antedating in terms of chronology, but I think it is worth highlighting because "snafu" is such an important term.

snafu (OED 1941 [Sept.])

5 June 1941, Daily Times (Chicago, IL), pg. 10, col. 2:
Army’s all snafu
Snakes, bugs halt ‘battle march
(TIMES Staff Correspondent)
Bell Buckle, Tenn., June 5.—“Everything, said 1st. Lieut. Robert G. Anderson, executive officer of company G. 2d battalion, (New York) infantry, 27th division “is turning out snafu.”
What,” The Times asked, “does snafu means?”

Fred Shapiro

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

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