HD: 1904 Words
Posted: 17 January 2012 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The next batch

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Posted: 17 January 2012 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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composer Anton Dvorak dies.

More commonly known as Antonin Dvorak.

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Posted: 17 January 2012 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Corrected. Thanks.

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Posted: 17 January 2012 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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empathy, n. I would have guessed empathy to be a very old word, but it doesn’t appear before the twentieth century.

But it does; I found it in The Philosophical Review, Volume 4, 1895 (p. 673):

books?id=_5FJAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA673&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U2fRBr9rr2KUgcWKDj1mCOfD0tgKw&ci=131,320,818,415&edge=0

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Posted: 18 January 2012 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I love sentences like ”in psychophysics we experience directly the psychical side of the energy factors”. To me, they are signals that someone has a bill of goods for sale - possibly even a new religion. To quote from A.P.Herbert’s ”Fat King Melon”:

Mumbo-jumbo, fiddle-de-dee,
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

(I think the second line is originally from the mouth of Puck, or Ariel, or someone similar)

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Posted: 18 January 2012 11:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Everywoman, n. The OED says this term is modeled after Everyman, but doesn’t record the latter until 1906.

Everyman has been around for hundreds of years; what prompted the OED to mention the word in 1906? Could we see the reference, please?

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Posted: 18 January 2012 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The one that surprised me the most was “touche”.  I would have thought this was much older, given that fencing is rather old and the “French School” of fencing was one of the oldest.

I think I have antedated the 1904 citation, although not by much.

The Irish Monthly Gazette, volume 22, has a story about a sword fight (or fencing match, its hard to tell), which contains this quote: “Ah ! “ “ Touche ! “ For Count Grisoni’s sword had grazed his opponent’s cheek, and the blood spouted forth.”

I also found a use of “touche” in an 1873 publication, “The overland monthly.” It includes a short story about an argument between two fencers, one of whom insists that he has scored a “touche” while the other insists that no valid hit was made.  Again, this seems to be a usage clearly consistent with the fencing term.  But I suppose it is a debatable as to whether this “counts” as adoption of the word into English, because “touche” is put in italics everywhere except in the first word of the story, and other “foreign” phrases, like “en garde”, are also put in italics.  So one might argue that this was simply a use of the “French” word in the story to give it a certain flare, rather than a use of it as an “English” word.  But the character who said “touche” in the tale was not French.  It is debatable, but I think this usage suggests that touche was well-grained enough in English to “count” as an “English” word.  (I seem to recall in prior threads some discussion of the difficulty of determining when use of a foreign word in an English-language publication counts as usage/adoption of the word as an “English” word, and when it doesn’t count as such.  Touche seems like a word that lends itself to precisely this type of controversy and ambiguity.)

I found some even older uses of the word in English publications (one from 1840, one from 1817), but the term was put in the mouth of a French and/or Spanish character as foreign language dialogue.  So, I don’t think those count as “English” uses of the word. But the authors didn’t bother to explain what touche meant in either of those writings, suggesting the term was well known to English audiences as far back as 1817 if not earlier. 

As a side note, the difficulty of finding old usages of touche is compounded by the fact that Touche is apparently a common French (and not uncommon English) surname, and, furthermore, there was at least one famous French fencer named “La Touche”.  It is also complicated by the fact that some older English works spelled touch as “touche”.

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Posted: 19 January 2012 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The point of the “touche” entry was not the use in fencing, but the metaphorical use beyond the sport.

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Posted: 19 January 2012 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Geo-politics from Swedish geopolitisk (which strictly means geoplitical) is a surprising back-formation since both geo and politisk are probably borrowed from English. Seems a long way round to form the compound from Swedish.

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Posted: 19 January 2012 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It happens all the time. My favorite example is anime.

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Posted: 19 January 2012 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dave Wilton - 19 January 2012 04:12 AM

The point of the “touche” entry was not the use in fencing, but the metaphorical use beyond the sport.

The word “touche” appears in John Dryden’s play, Sir Martin Mar-all, or The Feign’d Innocence, first performed on August 15, 1667. [wikipedia link]

In this instance, it seems to be merely the French word, used in the same way we now use “salute” or “cheers” during a toast. Etymonline suggests (in part):

“from Fr. touché, pp. of toucher “to hit,” from O.Fr. touchier “to hit"”

From The Works of John Dryden: Dramatic works by John Dryden, Sir Walter Scott, 1883

.

books?id=oroVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA92&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U2Vy-0ZTIQV1WwWxA45XBfJJHdwqQ&ci=314,394,552,236&edge=0

.

books?id=oroVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA92&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U2Vy-0ZTIQV1WwWxA45XBfJJHdwqQ&ci=315,1149,549,70&edge=0

.

I couldn’t make sense of “A Lou’s” and the footnote in the edition linked to says that this is “unintelligable.” This could mean it was smudged or blotted in the original ms. It appears in other books containing the play; this is the only one I saw with explanatory footnotes for this passage.

.

“Toast” appears to come later, in 1700, per etymonline (in part):

“originally referring to the beautiful or popular woman whose health is proposed and drunk, from the use of spiced toast to flavor drink, the lady regarded as figuratively adding piquancy to the wine in which her health was drunk. The verb meaning “to propose or drink a toast” also is first recorded 1700.”

.

[Please note: the images above are links]

[ Edited: 19 January 2012 08:56 AM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 20 January 2012 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I also found a use of “touche” in an 1873 publication, “The overland monthly.” It includes a short story about an argument between two fencers, one of whom insists that he has scored a “touche” while the other insists that no valid hit was made.  Again, this seems to be a usage clearly consistent with the fencing term.  But I suppose it is a debatable as to whether this “counts” as adoption of the word into English, because “touche” is put in italics everywhere except in the first word of the story, and other “foreign” phrases, like “en garde”, are also put in italics.  So one might argue that this was simply a use of the “French” word in the story to give it a certain flare, rather than a use of it as an “English” word.  But the character who said “touche” in the tale was not French.  It is debatable, but I think this usage suggests that touche was well-grained enough in English to “count” as an “English” word.  (I seem to recall in prior threads some discussion of the difficulty of determining when use of a foreign word in an English-language publication counts as usage/adoption of the word as an “English” word, and when it doesn’t count as such.  Touche seems like a word that lends itself to precisely this type of controversy and ambiguity.)

I found some even older uses of the word in English publications (one from 1840, one from 1817), but the term was put in the mouth of a French and/or Spanish character as foreign language dialogue.  So, I don’t think those count as “English” uses of the word. But the authors didn’t bother to explain what touche meant in either of those writings, suggesting the term was well known to English audiences as far back as 1817 if not earlier. 

As a side note, the difficulty of finding old usages of touche is compounded by the fact that Touche is apparently a common French (and not uncommon English) surname, and, furthermore, there was at least one famous French fencer named “La Touche”.  It is also complicated by the fact that some older English works spelled touch as “touche”.

The problem with all of these is that there is a French noun touche meaning, among other things, a ‘hit’ in the fencing sense (‘A hit, a palpable hit’). That’s certainly the word used in the Overland Monthly story - you can’t ‘score a touché’. As for the other sightings you mention, unless the word is actually spelt with an acute accent on the E it would be hard to identify it conclusively as touché rather than touche.

Prince,demande à Dieu pardon !
Je quarte du pied, j’escarmouche,
Je coupe, je feinte…
Hé ! là, donc !
A la fin de l’envoi, je touche!

(The envoi of Cyrano de Bergerac’s ‘duel in verse’ by Edmond Rostand)

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Posted: 20 January 2012 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The biggest problem with my post (and my clumsy attempts at antedating touché) was that I completely missed the point, which was that this was the date, per the OED, that it was used in a non-fencing sense.  The usages I found were all examples where somebody used the word to indicate that contact with a sword (or foil, or what have you) was made.  In overland monthly the usage was overtly to it as a noun (a touché).  Others were in the nature of an “interjection”.  I think they are still “noun” usages, though, and clearly closely related to the fencing term, even if not “technically” correct usage under the formal rules of fencing.  (if I hit somebody with a blade and shout “touché”, i am clearly drawing on the fencing term even if the type of contact i made doesn’t count as a touche under the rules of fencing).  when I said score a touché I was not purporting to be giving a direct quote: I was paraphrasing, and thus mixing in a perhaps modern usage ("score a") with touché.  I realize that is not correct usage: I was just trying to give a shorthand description of how touché was being used.  But it probably wasn’t a happy phrase, even as shorthand.

As a side note, it occurs to me that there are at least three usages of touché: the technical fencing usage (a hit under the rules of fencing), the loose use of “I hit you with my sword” (whether it would count under the rules of fencing or not), and the purely figurative sense of scoring a point or making a hit in any contest, such as a debate.  The reference to “a loo’s touché” mentioned in a prior post seems to be n unrelated usage.  In context, it seems to mean something like “cheers” and presumably has nothing to do with fencing, figuratively or otherwise. I am just speculating, but the origin may be something like “touch your lips to the wine glass”.  So it may be “related” in the VERY broad sense that it and the fencing term each come from the french word for touch, but a loo’s touché doesn’t seem to be related to fencing itself.  (but I may have missed the point of “a loo’s touché").

As for the little symbol over the e, I haven’t found an easy way to get my iPhone to display it.  Sometimes auto-correct supplies it, other times it doesn’t.  In any event, in the examples I found, the writer sometimes put in the symbol over the e and sometimes didn’t, but I think they all “count” because in each instance it was clear, in context, that what was meant was “I hit you with my sword”, and it wasn’t simply the word “touch” with the older spelling.  In fact, I think that, if anything, anglicizing the word by dropping the symbol makes it “more” of a “British” usage of it, i.e., as a “now English” word..

The point I was trying to make was that my search of google books was complicated by the fact that I sometimes ran across a very old usage of touche, only to find that the writer simply meant “touch” in the very broad use of the word, and the usage had nothing to do with fencing at all, figuratively or otherwise.  Of course, coincidentally,as you and others noted, the fencing term touch comes from the French word for “touch” in that broad sense, which is also presumably where the english word “touch” in the broad sense comes as well.  There is perhaps an amusing irony in all of this, but it still was a big irritation to me when I attempted, pointlessly as it turns out, to antedate the fencing use of the word “touché”.

[ Edited: 20 January 2012 04:41 PM by Svinyard118 ]
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Posted: 21 January 2012 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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A list full of interest, as always. I had never thought of Henry Ford as a world speed record holder, but there you are.
Parabellum

I was under the impression that Parabellum was the name of a cartridge, which was later applied to one of Luger’s handguns which used them. Thanks for the correction.

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