[Ads-l] earlier evidence for 'implicature', adj. and n.

James Eric Lawson jel at NVENTURE.COM
Wed Nov 23 05:08:05 UTC 2022

I find isolated instances of 'implicature' adj. and n., with senses not
in OEDO, earlier than Grice's adoption and refinement of the term.

Nothing serves to distinguish the sense of the earliest uses of
'implicature' as adjective (not in OEDO) from the sense of the earlier
'implied', adj., attested from a1535 in OEDO: "Contained or stated by
implication; involved in what is expressed; necessarily intended though
not expressed...Often in legal phrases..."

1629  Sir John Doddridge _The lawyers light_ 102 (EEBO) And forasmuch as
a man may be convinced of an offence as well by confession, as by
verdict; and that as well, by implicature confession, as by expresse
confession: Therefore every of the said former Cases may be concluded
and comprehended under the amplenesse of this last remembred Ground.


The 1629 work is reprinted in an expanded 1631 treatise (EEBO2), _The
English lawyer_. Note from the printers to the reader: "The later part
of this Volume was heretofore obscurely printed by an imperfect Copie
from a then unknowne Authour, under the Title of The Lawyers light".


The noun first appears in a religious context (1604?), then legal
(1853), then (perhaps) medical (1856), and finally in a quasi-religious
political context (1924). These isolated examples are enough to suggest
that at least the noun was used more broadly than the evidence readily
available to me establishes.

1604?  Christopher Sutton _*Disce Vivere*: Learn to Live_ 255 (EEBO) Be
pure, and at inward libertie, without the implicatures of the worlde, if
thou wilt bare thy heart to Iesus, and see how swéete the Lord is.


1853  _The Placer Herald_ (Rocklin, California) 8 Oct 3/2
(newspapers.com) With this the enquiry is frequently made, what becomes
of the large amount of money that is collected thus at implicature
charging our county officers with dereliction or violation of duty.


1856  _The London Lancet_ II. 4. Oct 343/1  (HathiTrust) The case is
interesting from the unusual site of the tumour, and its great
resemblance to a malignant growth, both as regards previous history and
its general appearance, more especially the ulcerated points arising
from the implicature of the integuments, although these, again, were
somwhat nullified by its great mobility and evident limitation to the
true skin.


1924  _Madison (Nebraska) Star-Mail_ 2 Oct 2/1 As the preacher would
say, an adjective defining a more advanced degree of implicature might
have been interjected before the w[o]rd defining the editors [sic]
mental status.


James Eric Lawson

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

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