A Fig for Dates

"early 14c., ..."

is not the birth of a word.

It is a splat of brown ink on a datable piece of a dead sheep's ass lucky enough to have endured centuries.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.etymonline.com/columns/post/test

Etymology would be even more interesting, and certainly more accurate and authentic, if there was a way to include all of the everyday speech of previous centuries. Writing has several kinds of “filters” applied as the writer decides what to write, and after that more filters as others later decide to discard some writing, or it is lost by accident or neglect. (And, prior to all that, the “social filter” of what kind of person is capable of writing.)


“Attested” doesn’t mean that any statistics are known regarding a word’s usage during a particular era - just that, as scatalogically and superverbosely suggested in a previous comment, that word was written at least once during a specified period on a surface which managed to survive reasonably intact to the present day.


Yes - I was firmly in the realm of thinkful wishing (not even up to the level of wishful thinking) when I said it would really change everything if what I described was possible.

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I share your wishing, but we will need some kind of time machine to make it come true. Preferably one that just lets us snoop, and is limited to times over 100 years in the past. Might as well dream big…