[Milton-L] John Milton, wordsmith

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Sat Nov 25 15:57:56 EST 2017


Just to follow up on Jameela's comment, EEBO is an enormously useful tool
for qualifying OED first citations and claims based on them. So ...

didactic

Used in 1623 by Archibald Simson in *A sacred septenarie, or, A godly and
fruitful exposition on the seven Psalmes of repentance viz. the VI. XXV.
XXXII. XXXVIII. LI. CXXX. CXLIII. the 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. of the
penitentials.*

fragrance

Used in 1566 (twice) by Thomas Heskyns, *The parliament of Chryste
auouching and declaring the enacted and receaued trueth of the presence of
his bodie and bloode in the blessed Sacrament.*

terrific

Used by Samuel Daniel in his 1599 *poeticall essayes*. (In the sense of
"terrifying," as Milton uses it in PL.)

complacency

Used in 1605 by I.M. in his translation of Alonso de Madrid, *A breefe
methode or way teachinge all sortes of Christian people, how to serue God
in a moste perfect manner*.

The OED really needs to revise its citations by consulting EEBO, ECCO, and
perhaps other dbases (the Old English Dictionary? GoogleBooks?). Does
anyone involved in the dictionary care much about earlier usage, or is the
focus on catching up with the present? In any case, Milton is obviously not
by any means the first to use any of these words, and it would be
interesting to check the rest of the OED first citations. Same goes for
Shakespeare too, of course, since he's the one usually credited with
inventing hundreds of words (anchovy, eyeball, etc.).

Hannibal





On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 12:23 PM, Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>
wrote:

> I am always a little nervous about claims that an author has introduced a
> word, since the *OED *is not a corpus of the language but just an
> extensive compilation of what readers have noticed. Gavin Alexander admits
> that “The OED does tend to privilege famous writers with first usage.”
>
>
>
> Jameela Lares
>
> Professor of English
>
> Charles W. Moorman Distinguished Professor, 2017-2019
>
> The University of Southern Mississippi
>
> 108 College Drive #5037
>
> Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces@
> richmond.edu] *On Behalf Of *Stephen B Dobranski
> *Sent:* Tuesday, November 21, 2017 8:58 AM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at richmond.edu>
> *Subject:* [Milton-L] John Milton, wordsmith
>
>
>
> What do “didactic,” “fragrance,” “terrific,” and “complacency” have in
> common?
>
> They were all introduced by JM (according to the OED).
>
> The article is here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/jan/28/
> britishidentity.johncrace
> <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fuk%2F2008%2Fjan%2F28%2Fbritishidentity.johncrace&data=02%7C01%7Csbdobranski%40gsu.edu%7C3fe6edc73eb84ca7cf1708d530e97721%7C515ad73d8d5e4169895c9789dc742a70%7C0%7C0%7C636468701639658391&sdata=fBtMbjsecXk0Em52mWa5hPkjBbtbIb3M1fsa9V%2FyYp0%3D&reserved=0>
>
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-- 
Hannibal Hamlin
Professor of English
The Ohio State University
Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all good
bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
164 Annie & John Glenn Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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