time travel, lexicon-style

Now this is what I call a stone wall.

Merriam-Webster’s website has a feature I just discovered, called Time Traveler.  

They promote it as a way to see all the words used for the first time in a given year. So for example, in 1880.   I stumbled across this because I wondered when the verb stonewall first came into use. 

Before you dissolve into puddles of delight, there are some issues to consider.  A word may be widely used in a community before it ever finds its way into print, so this kind of dating is restricted in its usefulness.  Example: On the 1880 page you’ll find the word handwoven.  I can guarantee that this was not a new usage in 1880. How they should come to this conclusion is hard to imagine.

The bigger problem: there’s no detailed information on the etymology.  In fact the Etymology Dictionary disagrees with Merriam-Webster on the verb stonewall:

Still, a great place to procrastinate. Had me going for far longer than I intended.

 

Comments via Facebook

Your two cents