HD: 1901 Words
Posted: 07 January 2012 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The next crop.

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Posted: 07 January 2012 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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President Roosevelt officially names the U. S. presidential mansion “The White House,” it had been called that informally since 1811.

Dave, are you sure about that date? I had always thought The White House was so-called because of having to be painted following its burning by the British in 1814.

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Posted: 07 January 2012 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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reference frame, n. Albert Einstein wouldn’t publish his theory of relativity until 1905, but in 1901 British physicist Andrew Gray was writing about reference frames. The term is a neat example of how genius, like Einstein’s, does not spring from a vacuum.

So of course I wondered in what context Gray was using the phrase, and two seconds’ worth of googling got me the answer:
books?id=qAmgAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA189&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U20U0RkP2owgngo1OaKDGGV-HaC0w&ci=57,102,933,355&edge=0

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Posted: 08 January 2012 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I had always thought The White House was so-called because of having to be painted following its burning by the British in 1814.

So had I. It’s what we were taught in school. But the OED has a citation from 1811:

1811 F. J. Jackson Let. 24 Apr. in H. Adams Documents New-Eng. Federalism (1877) 385 [Foster] goes‥to act as a sort of political conductor to attract the lightning that may issue from the clouds round the Capitol and the White House at Washington.

My one caveat is the usual one about later editorial intervention in reprinted letters, but I assume the OED editors verified it.

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Posted: 08 January 2012 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wikipedia sez:

The building was originally referred to variously as the “President’s Palace”, “Presidential Mansion”, or “President’s House”. The earliest evidence of the public calling it the “White House” was recorded in 1811. A myth emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure after the Burning of Washington, white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. [...]

Although it was not completed until some years after the presidency of George Washington, it is also speculated that the name of the traditional residence of the President of the United States may have derived from Martha Custis Washington’s home, White House Plantation in Virginia, where the nation’s first President had courted the First Lady in the mid 18th century.

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Posted: 08 January 2012 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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A stimulating post, as always, Dave.

Ms

This surprised me - I thought it was at least half a century more recent (I suppose Poe’s Ms. Found in a Bottle doesn’t count ;-)

Pink slip

There are three distinct senses for pink slip.

what my Auntie Ethel wore under her dress makes four ........;-)

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