O'Reilly logo

Much Ado About English: Up and Down the Bizarre Byways of a Fascinating Language by Richard W Todd

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

How old is an earthling?

The number of new words appearing in English is so great that several dictionary producers publish a whole supplement every year. Many of these inventions fade away quickly, but some stay around to become part of generally accepted English.

Sometimes we can guess the date at which the word was introduced into English quite accurately. For example, the title Ms (as opposed to Miss or Mrs) originates in the feminist movement following the Second World War. An educated guess might therefore put its first use in the 1960s. This is fairly close for its widespread adoption, although the title was first used in print in 1949.

Similarly, is it possible to make an educated guess about when the 1914–18 world war was first termed ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required