HD: 1917 Words
Posted: 27 June 2011 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A truly eventful year

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Posted: 27 June 2011 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve seen earlier cites for “Aussie” than that.

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Posted: 27 June 2011 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Many of these terms can be antedated. I’m just going with the OED first citations. Otherwise it would be a mammoth project.

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Posted: 27 June 2011 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Quibbles, I got ‘em!

“Russia was still using the Julian Calendar and therefore was running a few days behind”: I’m not sure 13 can be described as “a few.” How about “almost two weeks behind,” or just give the actual number?

“OMG, int. And you thought this initialism didn’t appear until the Al Gore invented the internet.” Is the first “the” unintentional?

Bolshevik, n. and adj. This Russian word literally means “member of the majority,” and was the name taken by Lenin’s supporters in the 1917 revolutions. In later use it would come to be synonymous with Marxist or used for anyone with subversive views.

The general idea is correct, but the dating is wrong.  The word goes back (in Russian) to the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, held in Brussels and London during August 1903, when Lenin (using his mastery of tactics and infighting) managed to get a majority (bolshinstvo) on a vote about who should be on the editorial board of Iskra and promptly started calling his faction the majority of the party (which they were very far from being), leaving the less hard-nosed faction run by Julius Martov to be stuck with the name “Menshevik” (from menshinstvo, “minority"), a term they were foolish to adopt, since it falsely implied they did not represent the views of most party members.  The term “Bolshevik” (большевик) was current in Russian (among the small minority of the population involved in radical politics, of course) from shortly after the Congress.  Now, the question is when it came into use in English; I have a hard time believing it was not mentioned once before 1917 considering the interest people in America and the UK took in happenings in Russia, but I’m having trouble finding cites thanks to the horrible metadata at Google Books.  It’s true that the term Maximalist was used as a translation in those early days, but I’d think someone would have mentioned the Russian term Bolshevik.  At any rate, “the name taken by Lenin’s supporters in the 1917 revolutions” is wrong, whenever the English word is first attested.

Leninist, adj. and n. In 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by his revolutionary nom de guerre Lenin, made his triumphant return to St. Petersburg from exile in Switzerland. Those who followed his particular brand of Marxist thought were quickly labeled Leninists.

Again, the idea is fine but the implication that people were not called “Leninists” until then is incorrect.  I have found a cite for the Russian term from 1906.  Regardless of whether the English word was used before 1917 (again, I can’t find it in Google Books), the phrasing should be altered to eliminate the implication that the term was first applied after his return from exile.

Soviet, n. and adj, The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was founded in 1917 in the wake of the October Revolution. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would be formed in 1922. The Russian sovet means “council.”

Similar problem with dating: the first Soviet in the relevant sense (after which the Soviet Union was named) was set up in 1905, and the term shouldn’t be tied to the later derivatives “Soviet Socialist Republic” etc.  Again, I’ve given up on trying to disentangle Google’s metadata; the term may or may not have been used in English before 1917.

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Posted: 27 June 2011 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Nice work, Dave - entertaining and engrossing as usual!

Aussie:
(from the 1940’s BBC radio comedy show Take It From Here):
Jimmy Edwards (speaking of his Australian co-star, Dick Bentley): Dick’s French isn’t very good. He thinks moi aussi means “I am an Australian”.

Cootie:
There are three species of lice which infest humans. Head lice are relatively easily dealt with by shaving and washing the head. Lots of soldiers in WW1 had shaven heads. Body lice were what chiefly bothered soldiers.  My father (who spent 1915-1918 as an artilleryman, mostly in Flanders, and lived, against all odds, to tell the tale), told me that “cooties” were primarily body lice, which caused terrible itching. He said that he and his mates used regularly to run the seams of their clothes over a candle flame, to kill the eggs and keep the numbers down. Pubic lice (not easy to acquire under front-line conditions ;-) are “crabs” - never “cooties"*. (Graffito remembered from a toilet door in the Liverpool University Student’s Union on Brownlow Hill, almost certainly posted by a WW2 veteran: “It’s no use standing on the seat / The crabs in here can jump six feet")

* I am reliably informed that in Mexico, pubic lice are popularly referred to as mariposas de amor - “love butterflies”. Those Latins are so romantic.....

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Posted: 27 June 2011 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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He said that he and his mates used regularly to run the seams of their clothes over a candle flame, to kill the eggs and keep the numbers down.

You learn something every day.  I’m reading a WWII novel (Vasily Grossman’s great Life and Fate), and at one point the author talks about a soldier “pulling his shirt off and examining a seam with the attentive and unfriendly eye with which soldiers the world over examine the seams of their shirts and underpants”; I assumed they were just worried about their clothes disintegrating, but now I know better.

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Posted: 27 June 2011 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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From the entry for Immelmann:

A diving half-loop followed by a half-roll is known as a split-S.

It’s the other way around: in a split-S, the half-roll comes first, followed by the half-loop.  Doing the half-loop first would cause exceedingly unpleasant negative G forces.

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Posted: 27 June 2011 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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NotThatGuy - 27 June 2011 12:40 PM

From the entry for Immelmann:

...Doing the half-loop first would cause exceedingly unpleasant negative G forces.

I needed to see this to understand why:

“...Negative Gs have a very different effect on you than positive Gs. If you are flying straight and level and push the nose of the plane down, you will experience your weight lessning. The harder you push the nose down, the more “weightless” you will feel. You are experiencing negative Gs. The effect of negative Gs is to push the blood up into the head, just the opposite of positive Gs. However, while the body can stand up to 9 positive Gs without severe consequences, blood vessels in your eyes will start to rupture when you apply as little as 2 to 3 negative Gs. This is known as redout. A pilot who pushes too many negative Gs will be seeing the world through bloodshot eyes. ...”

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Posted: 27 June 2011 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks all.

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