goosebumps/goose bumps
Posted: 22 September 2018 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Today on a sports website I posted the first response to an aritcle about an American football game I will be watching tonight. My post was merely, “GOOSEBUMPS!”. I found only one thread referencing goosebumps here. There was no time period mentioned about its origin. Has that ever been determined?

http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/3687/

Also, dictionaries do not seem to agree how it should be written. Collins English Dictionary has it as two separate words and Oxford Dictionaries shows it as one word. Which is most acceptable?

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Posted: 22 September 2018 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Merriam-Webster and American Heritage spell it as two words.

Merriam-Webster dates it to 1933, but I’ve found an antedating. “Tales by the Tramp: At the Wooden Wedding,” Dry Goods Reporter, vol. 34, no. 2, 28 May 1904, 55:

I could feel drops of perspiration on my brow, while cold chills were chasing each other up and down my spine and goosebumps were coming out all over me.

Goosebumps is hyphenated here, but its at a line break, so I think it’s meant to be one word.

It’s not in the OED, but that dictionary has goose-flesh from before 1834:

a1834 S. T. Coleridge Lit. Remains (1839) IV. 342 The very term by which the German New-Birthites express it is enough to give one goose-flesh.

And it has goose-skin from 1785.

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Posted: 22 September 2018 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, Dave. The free dictionaries don’t always get it right, and I was surprised that not one of them offered any origination time.

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Posted: 22 September 2018 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It was always goose-pimples in my childhood; I only encountered goosebumps much later in American writing. What do other Rightpondians call it? (My family’s speech was basically London-&-SE with a streak of West Country.)

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Posted: 23 September 2018 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The free dictionaries don’t always get it right, and I was surprised that not one of them offered any origination time.

Merriam-Webster is free and gives an origination date. I antedated it via Google Books, but that just means they haven’t edited that entry recently. It takes time to do things right, and the best dictionaries will inherently suffer from certain entries being out of date.

Merriam-Webster gives a date of 1862 for goose pimples. It’s not in the OED, but oxforddictionaries.com marks it as “British,” no date.

[ Edited: 23 September 2018 05:07 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 24 September 2018 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Merriam-Webster gives a date of 1862 for goose pimples. It’s not in the OED, but oxforddictionaries.com marks it as “British,” no date.

That’s funny.  I’m familiar with the term “goose pimples” from my childhood in New Jersey, USA and I wouldn’t consider it British.  OTOH, “goose flesh” and “goose skin” are terms that Google has heard of but I haven’t.

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Posted: 24 September 2018 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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From “Abe Huff’s Story” by the (presumably pseudonymous) “Cream O’Tarter, M.D.” published in the Jasper (Indiana) Weekly Courier of February 11, 1876:

“‘Wall, then, boys,’ resumed Abe Huff, ‘none of you can have any idee of my feelin’s just then!  Gracious alive!  I could feel the cold goose bumps arisin’ an’ every har’ on my head astandin’ straight up!’”

This is clearly aiming at generic rural dialect, which seems relevant to the expression’s origin.

As for space or no space, the trend for compounds to start with the space and become joined together, with an intermediate stage of being hyphenated, is so general as to be utterly unremarkable.  Discussions of early baseball get unduly breathless over “base ball.” The only question in any given case is where we are at at the moment.  If some dictionaries give the single word form, that is always safe.  The other versions may or may not be current, but the single word form is the wave of the future.

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Posted: 24 September 2018 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 22 September 2018 10:39 PM

It was always goose-pimples in my childhood; I only encountered goosebumps much later in American writing. What do other Rightpondians call it? (My family’s speech was basically London-&-SE with a streak of West Country.)

Goose-pimples. Yorkshire, plain and simple.

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