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HD: 1952 Words
Posted: 18 February 2012 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]
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What always gets me are the multiple cultural currents that are creating words, like beat generation, information technology, and R and R.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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the Treaty of San Francisco officially ends the war with and occupation of Japan

This took me a couple of passes to parse correctly.  I wonder if a couple of commas might help:

the Treaty of San Francisco officially ends the war with, and occupation of, Japan

or maybe a rewrite:

the Treaty of San Francisco officially ends the war with Japan and its occupation

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Posted: 18 February 2012 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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No antedates this time.  I agree with Faldage that “and occupation of” needs commas fore and aft.

Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap debuts and becomes the longest, continuously running play in history, it is still being performed

Similarly, here the final clause ("it is still being performed") should be in parentheses, or this section should be rewritten to avoid the glaring comma splice.

Anzus, n. The Cold War would create a booming business for acronyms. Anzus stands for the Australia, New Zealand, and United States defense alliance.

The OED spells it “Anzus” because that is British style, but I think you should use ANZUS in your own sentence ("stands for..."), because the British style looks very weird to Yanks.

What is the 1952 cite for dystopia?  I’d like to add it to my Oxford Dictionary of SF, which only takes it back to 1955.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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1952 G. Negley & J. N. Patrick Quest for Utopia xvii. 298 The Mundus Alter et Idem [of Joseph Hall] is‥the opposite of eutopia, the ideal society: it is a dystopia, if it is permissible to coin a word.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Edit: Pipped to the post by Dave.

[ Edited: 18 February 2012 09:39 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 18 February 2012 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Another great list!  A few comments:

I didn’t find the reference to the treaty of San Francisco, or its effect on the war and japan’s occupation, to be particularly confusing (but agree that the sentence is improved by the addition of the commas).

I did, however, find the first sentence in the bafflegab entry confusing (bafflegab is unclear, official jargon).  I was probably just being unusually dense, but at first I thought the idea was that the meaning of bafflegab is unclear, but we know it is officially-recognized jargon (for something).  I wondered, really, we don’t know what it means?  And wondered, in what sense can a jargon term be “official”?  And, what profession uses bafflegab as jargon?  The quote from Smith, ironically, made the meaning of the term perfectly clear, and then I re-read the first sentence, realized what it meant (a statement by an official which is so jargon-ridden that its meaning is unclear), and felt rather foolish.

Re droid: I’ve always assumed this is a clipping of “android”, but don’t really “know” if that is true.  I have read it in more than one book/magazine about sci-fi, but I don’t believe those materials gave any support for their claim. If it is true, it night be worth mentioning this in the “droid” entry.  It might be a bit of a tangent, but it is (if true) part of the etymology of the word (a central part, in fact).  Also, the connection between android (Andr + oid) and a man-like robot seems rather clear, but the connection between droid and man-like robot is unclear unless you know that it is a clipping of android (assuming that it is indeed a clipping).

[ Edited: 18 February 2012 10:32 AM by Svinyard118 ]
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Posted: 18 February 2012 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Here we go again. Three cheers for Dave!

December: The New York Daily News carries the story that Christine née George Jorgensen is the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery (the claim is not correct, she was not the first);

Sporus???  ;-)

biocomputer

I was born (not the only one) before 1952, with a digital biocomputer (it has five digits) on the end of my left arm ;-)

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Posted: 19 February 2012 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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ANZUS is in all-caps in all three signatory nations.

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Posted: 19 February 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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"The Oxford English Dictionary has 366 words with first citations from 1952.”

I for one am surprised by how low that number is.

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Posted: 20 February 2012 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The count is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. For all the years I’ve done so far (1900–53), the low is 259 (1944), and the high is 665 (1900). The mean is 449, and the median is 447. The counts form a nice bell curve. So while 1952 is on the low side, it’s in line with what you’d expect with a random distribution.

You might be perceiving it as especially low because I’ve just finished the first decade of the century where the counts were unusually high (all three years with counts in the 600s come from that decade). In comparison, the 1940s was particularly low (both years with counts in the 200s are in that decade). So the 366 count for 1952 is actually just a slight dip in an otherwise rising trend. I suspect decadal trends like this would correlate with publishing output—the more new titles published in a given year will mean more new words. The war years of the 1940s were probably nadirs for publishing output. Also, events like the publication of a major dictionary or new slang dictionary, might give a boost to the number of words credited to a particular year.

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Posted: 20 February 2012 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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DW: actually I hadn’t, up til now, been noticing the counts.

My reasoning was that the OED has definitions for some 600000 words, now, and I would have guessed (and I can’t emphasize that word enough) that most of them (ie, at least half) came about in the last 100 years, what with the rapid acceleration in the discovery or invention of things to describe… so I would have fancied that the average number of words per year in the past century would have been something north of 3000.

I’ll be interested to see how they ramp up as you get closer to the present.

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Posted: 20 February 2012 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I can’t remember exactly what year has the most new coinages, but it’s around the year 1600. (1600 itself has over 1,000.) The reason for that is the explosion of printed material, that captured so many words that hadn’t been published earlier.

Also, years with round numbers tend to get more because they sweep all the citations marked with ante; hence 1900 has the highest count of the century.

And they will drop off as we get closer to the present. (There are only 35 for the period 2000-2012.) That reflects a number of things like the conservatism of editors in including very recent words and the OED update schedule that includes only a portion of the alphabet (mainly G–S).

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Posted: 20 February 2012 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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lionello - 18 February 2012 01:12 PM

Here we go again. Three cheers for Dave!

biocomputer

I was born (not the only one) before 1952, with a digital biocomputer (it has five digits) on the end of my left arm ;-)

Me too, but my digital biocomputer is analog - the state of each digit can be varied over a continuum :)

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Posted: 26 February 2012 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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“butler Reginald Jeeves”

Jeeves was employed by Bertie Wooster as a valet or gentleman’s gentleman, though occasionally he was loaned out as a butler: to quote from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, chapter I, “… if the call comes, he can buttle with the best of them.”

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Posted: 26 February 2012 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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What is the difference?
EDIT: ie between a butler and a valet or gentleman’s gentleman.

[ Edited: 26 February 2012 06:27 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 26 February 2012 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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A butler was originally the chief servant in charge of wine or other drink, and the title later came to denote the head servant of a household, though his duties still included being in charge of the serving of wine at meals and generally organising mealtime service (the online OED says it comes from late Latin buticula, diminutive of late Latin butis, buttis, vessel, from which also comes butt, cask, and buttery, place where the butts, or casks for wine etc, are kept - in other words the butler gets his name from being in charge of the butts in the buttery.)

A valet was a gentleman’s personal manservant “performing duties chiefly relating to the person of his master” (OED), originally a French word “probably related to vassal” (OED again), which comes from medieval Latin vassallus man-servant, domestic, retainer, a word, the OED says, of Celtic origin. So the Duke of Omnium would have a butler in charge of his household, and a personal valet who looked after his wardrobe, shaved him, ran his bath and so on, while the duke’s sons would all have valets of their own when they became old enough.

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