HD: 1910 Words
Posted: 11 February 2012 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The next installment will jump back to 1951.

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Posted: 11 February 2012 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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January: The New York Metropolitan Opera makes the first radio broadcast of a live musical performance

That may be the most astonishing thing I’ve read in this series.  A Met radio broadcast in 1910??  How did that happen?

flivver, n. Not much heard nowadays

And surely only from octogenarians.

qwertyuiop, n. and adj. Christopher Sholes patented a keyboard in 1878 that arranged its keys in this sequence of letters, but it isn’t until 1910 that people began using the sequence as a discreet entity. It is later clipped to qwerty.

I’m not sure if this counts as an antedate, but here’s an interesting usage from 1905:

books?id=98YpAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA359&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1PyK-dCgBctFRwZamysVzla22dig&ci=636,156,312,206&edge=0

Also, “discreet” should be “discrete.”

S. O. S., n.

S. O. S. should be bold, not ital.

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Posted: 11 February 2012 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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languagehat - 11 February 2012 06:14 AM

January: The New York Metropolitan Opera makes the first radio broadcast of a live musical performance

That may be the most astonishing thing I’ve read in this series.  A Met radio broadcast in 1910??  How did that happen?

Shouldn’t be that astonishing. This was some four years after reasonable audio-radio was developed.
(Though I doubt there would have been many receivers out there tuning in ... perhaps this was merely an experiment.)

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Posted: 11 February 2012 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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busywork, n. Primarily found in educational circles, busywork is intended to keep the tykes out of trouble.

In The antiquities of England and Wales, by Francis Grose, Vol. 1, 2ed, 1783, on page 116, there is an instance of architectural “busy work”:

books?id=EvwRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA416&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1MXg65ro6QmFUavga6-I5RLRo4Sg&ci=521,1196,410,347&edge=0

I doubt that this instance is much related to the 1951 word, “busywork” because of lack of the educational “keep the tykes out of trouble” sense. I thought an earlier form might be “make-work” but I only saw two instances, both from 1888 in volume 21 of Canadian House of Commons debates that were locked behind a snippet view.

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[edited to add:]

Education By Doing: Or Occupations And Busy Work, For Primary Classes, by Anna Johnson, 1884, page i [?], there are many instances of “busy-work”:

“… “Busy-work” has now become a necessity in all primary teaching. Teachers who have not had opportunity to visit those schools whence busy-work took its form and name, nor to attend the few normal [Schools that make it] an adjunct of [their] methods in [primary] work, will find the chapters devoted to...”

(This is poorly digitized with a number of scanning errors.)

.

In The Torch and colonial book circular, Volume 2, edited by Edward Augustus Petherick, 1888-89, on page 39, there is a reference to the title of a book or work called, Script Busywork:

books?id=FQ4SAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA39&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1gH3-ySDOcUFutd2l-uYIdT5FVMA&ci=463,1150,416,101&edge=0

.

From The Dial, a semi-monthly journal of literary criticism,..., by Marianne Moore, No. 178, Volume XV, Nov. 16th, 1893, page 296, there are two instances of “busywork”:

books?id=LBWh5D5gdsEC&pg=PA296&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U0jSYlnX3DSJllCLlfyRVBjLXBgBg&ci=133,466,382,312&edge=0

[ Edited: 11 February 2012 10:21 AM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 11 February 2012 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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prankster, n. The combination of prank and -ster was probably inevitable. 1890 saw the word pranker, but 1910’s prankster overtook the earlier word and left it in the dust.

In Blackwood’s Edinburgh magazine, Volume 15, No. 86, March, 1824, on page 313, “prankster” makes a curious appearance:

books?id=etx7vXMxLEYC&pg=PA313&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1xsq3ULwWVz5tDe7MA_WZFV6fWKg&ci=528,655,409,317&edge=0

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Posted: 11 February 2012 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks all.

The 1910 Met radio broadcast was indeed experimental. There were relatively few receivers set up to hear it, and evidently the sound quality was awful.

The eighteenth-century architectural use of busywork appears to be in the sense of “overly decorative facade.” But the 1884 educational citation is a definite antedating.

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