[Ads-l] "Birther" Not in OED

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 7 02:55:26 UTC 2023

I posted about "birther" here in Mar. 2009:


In the Winter 2010 installment of "Among the New Words" in _American
Speech_ 85(4), Charles Carson took "birther" back to Dec. 2008.


Here's the earliest cite:

Jay Bookman (Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog), Dec. 11, 2008
Birthers, speak up now or forever hold your piece
Patrick Ruffini, a Republican media and Internet strategist (and parttime
blogger) has this to say to the birthers:
"The Obama citizenship smear hasn't gained traction in mainstream
conservative circles, but this is exactly the kind of stunt the left will
use to tar all conservatives and silence legitimate criticism of Obama and
his policies."

Archived link:


On Sun, Aug 6, 2023 at 6:07 PM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> The word "birther" is not in OED, but it seems important enough in U.S.
> politics that it should be included.  The earliest printed occurrence I see
> is the following:
> 2009 _Times Record News_ (Wichita Falls, Tex.) 30 June A6 (Lexis Nexis)  A
> North Texas Congressman in among three Texans cosponsoring the so-called
> "birther bill" requiring presidential candidates produce a birth
> certificate to prove they meet constitutional requirements to be president.
> There are some nonprint occurrences earlier in 2009 in LexisNexis.

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

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