Monday 11 June 2012

On first recorded usages in Dickens

A correspondent writes, having heard my talk on the language of Dickens at this week’s Hay Festival, to ask if it is to be published. No. My Hay talks – I’ve been doing them for about fifteen years now - are always very informal, and they don’t ‘translate’ well into published prose. (Hay does sometimes make recordings of events available in their Archive .) But a blog post is the perfect medium to enable the data of the talk to be made available, so this and the subsequent two posts will do just that.

For my first theme, I talked about the lexical items which have their first recorded use in Dickens, as established by the OED. I wasn’t sure what to expect, when I began my search. I thought perhaps 50 or so. In fact, there are an amazing 252. I presented a small sample in the talk, but here is the complete list. They are a mixture of genuine Dickensian linguistic creations and items which reflect the world in which he lived, and the language he heard in the streets around him, and where he is simply the first person we know to have written them down. Of course, it’s always possible that further lexicological survey will find earlier instances, but this is how things stand at the moment. I’ve given them a very rough-and-ready classification, and paraphrased the entries as they appear in the OED, giving glosses for the less transparent items. The dates and locators are as used by the OED. I haven’t checked the examples for typographical accuracy, so there may be the occasional transcriptional error.

I was asked which surprised me most: I think it was probably Guinness, though I'm sure it's only a matter of time before earlier instances are found, given that the brew had been around for quite some time; failing that, dustbin. And I was asked for my favourite: I don't usually have favourites, but I love the noun use of unsoaped (see below) most of all.

Nouns turned into verbs

allowance, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxxiv. 323, I have made up my mind‥. to allowance him.‥

apron, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, II. iii. iv. 25, I mean to apron it and towel it.

beeswax, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 17, The table-covers are never taken off, except when the leaves are turpentined and beeswaxed.

cab, 1835, Letters, ?29 Oct, Worth your while to walk or Cab so far East.

charcoal, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxxvii. 364, Because she wouldn't shut herself up in an air-tight three-pair-of stairs and charcoal herself to death.

corkscrew, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxiv. 380, Mr. Bantam corkscrewed his way through the crowd.

counter, furnish with a counter, 1843, Martin Chuzzlewit, xxvii. 324, The offices were‥. newly countered.

flannel, 1834, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 189, The second-floor front was scrubbed, and washed, and flannelled.

manslaughter, 1843, Martin Chuzzlewit, iv. 46, Those who hooked and crooked themselves into this family by getting on the blind side of some of its members before marriage, and manslaughtering them afterwards by crowing over them to that strong pitch that they were glad to die.

mantrap, 1851, Mr Nightingale’s Diary, i. 82, Which the blessed innocent has been invaygled of, and man-trapped—leastways boy-trapped.

mother-in-law, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xiv. 443, I will not‥. submit to be mother-in-lawed by Mrs. General.

mustard-poultice, 1858, Letters, 18 Aug, I got home at ½ past 10, and mustard-poulticed and barley-watered myself, tremendously.

nutcracker, 1861, Great Expectations, xxiii, Are infants to be nutcrackered into their tombs?

odd-job, 1859, Tale of Two Cities, iii. ix. 206, A gentleman like yourself wot I've had the honour of odd jobbing till I'm grey at it.

oh, 1837, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 241, All of them talking, laughing, lounging, coughing, o-ing, questioning, or groaning.

patroness, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, I. ii. xiv. 297, Why am I to be Patroned and Patronessed as if the Patrons and Patronesses treated me?

polka, 1846, Letters, 5 July, The common people waltzed and polka'd, without cessation, to the music of a band.

pompey, 1860, Great Expectations, vii, When I was old enough, I was to be apprenticed to Joe, and until I could assume that dignity I was not to be what Mrs. Joe called ‘Pompeyed’, or (as I render it) pampered.

rough-dry, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xvii. 173, The process of being washed in the night air, and rough-dried in a close closet.

ruler, 1849, David Copperfield, vii. 66, I think he was caned every day that half-year, except one holiday Monday when he was only ruler'd on both hands.

turpentine, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 17, The table-covers are never taken off, except when the leaves are turpentined and beeswaxed.

water-cart, 1851, Our Watering Place in Household Words, 2 Aug. 433/1, The great metropolis is‥so much more water-carted‥than it usually is.

whoosh, 1856, Letters, VIII. 162, The boys‥.whooshing, and crying, (after Tigerish Cat No. 2) ‘French! Here she comes!’

There are a few other examples below.

Verb turned into a noun

sell, act of betraying, 1838, Oliver Twist, II. xxvi. 100, I say,‥. what a time this would be for a sell!

Words created with suffixes

admonitorial, 1848, Dombey and Son, li. 511, Miss Tox‥.in her instruction of the Toodle family, has acquired an admonitorial tone.

apronless, bibless, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, II. iii. iv. 27, Bibless and apronless.

bandiness, being bandy-legged, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, i. xxxvi. 298, If‥. any moral twist or bandiness could be found, Miss Sally Brass's nurse was alone to blame.

beadlehood, 1838, Oliver Twist, I. xvii. 273, Mr. Bumble‥. was in the full bloom and pride of beadleism. [Later edd. read ‘beadledom,’ and ‘beadlehood.’]

beamer, one who beams, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xxxii. 603, The form of words which that benevolent beamer generally employed‥.

boredom, 1853, Bleak House, xxviii. 277, [Her] chronic malady of boredom.

cannibalic, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxviii. 294, The fat youth gave a semi-cannibalic leer at Mr. Weller.

cellarous, like a cellar, 1856, Little Dorrit, i. xx. 173, He‥. crept forth by some underground way which emitted a cellarous smell.

cheesiness, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, ii. l. 75, ‘How's the cream of clerkship, eh?’ ‘Why, rather sour, Sir.‥ Beginning to border upon cheesiness, in fact.’

coachfulness/coachlessness, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 1 Aug. 540/2, The Dolphin's Head, which everywhere expressed past coachfulness and present coachlessness.

complexionless, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 12 Sept. 64/2 , Four male personages‥. complexionless and eyebrowless.

conductorial, of a conductor, 1853, Letters, 17 Nov, Keep ‘Household Words’ imaginative! is the solemn and continual Conductorial Injunction.

confusingly, 1863, Letters, 17 May, He feels the school to be confusingly large for him.

connubiality, characteristic of marriage, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xx. 207, ‘Think, Sir!’ replied Mr. Weller; ‘why, I think he's the wictim o' connubiality’.

conspiratorial, 1856, Little Dorrit, i. xxv. 221, To unite [glasses] in a general conspiratorial clink.

consularity, consulship, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xv. 458, The British Consul hadn't had such a marriage in the whole of his Consularity.

convulsing, 1843, Martin Chuzzlewit, ix. 113, Gander, in a convulsing speech, gives them the health of Bailey junior.

copying, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 198, Low copying-clerks in attorneys' offices.

dissective, of dissecting, 1860, Letters, 7 Jan, The three people who write the narratives in these proofs, have a dissective property in common.

distributionist, one who advocates a system of distribution, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 76, The distributionists trembled, for their popularity was at stake.

divulgence, 1851, Our School in Household Words, 11 Oct. 51/2, The Chief ‘knew something bad of him’, and on pain of divulgence enforced Phil to be his bondsman.

drabbish, 1842, American Notes, II. ii. 56, Dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured suit.

earthquaky, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xliv. 486, Legs shaky—head queer—round and round—earthquaky sort of feeling—very.

economizer, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, ii. lxii. 149, Sarah's as good an economizer as any going.

effaceable, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, vi. 42, Washed off all effaceable marks of the late accident.

embowerment, 1846, Dombey and Son, viii. 72, Plants‥. of a kind peculiarly adapted to the embowerment of Mrs. Pipchin.

emetically, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 2 May 229/2, Sneaking Calais, prone behind its bar, invites emetically to despair.

essayical, like an essay, 1860, Letters, 25 Sept, Remarks‥. a little too essayical for this purpose.

fingerless, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxxi. 303, After putting on his fingerless gloves with great precision.

fluey, covered with flue, 1861, Great Expectations, xxii, I went upon 'Change, and I saw fluey men sitting there under the bills about shipping.

fluffiness, 1860, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 24 Mar. 514/1, An air of mingled fluffiness and heeltaps.

fretty, 1844, Letters, ?15–16 Sept, O'Connell's speeches are the old thing: fretty, boastful, frothy.

galvanizing, 1854, Hard Times, i. ii. 5, He seemed a galvanising apparatus, too.

gardenful, 1859, Tale of Two Cities, ii. v. 56, Like a great sunflower pushing its way at the sun from among a rank garden-full of flaring companions.

gasper, person who gasps, 1845, Letters, 27 Sept, When I think of the possible consequences—of little gaspers like Papa—‥. a chill runs through my blood.

gingerous, ginger-coloured, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. i. x. 93, Mr. Lammle takes his gingerous whiskers in his left hand, and‥. frowns furtively at his beloved, out of a thick gingerous bush.

gingery, 1853, Bleak House, xix. 184, The very learned gentleman who has cooled the natural heat of his gingery complexion in pools and fountains of law.

hunchy, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, i. v. 105, I'm a little hunchy villain and a monster, am I?

jostlement, 1859, Tale of Two Cities, ii. xii. 94, To the jostlement of all weaker people.

invalided, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xliv. 486, Mr. Pickwick cut the matter short by drawing the invalided stroller's arm through his, and leading him away.

jowled, 1861, Great Expectations, xliii, Drummle glanced at me, with an insolent triumph on his great-jowled face.

jungled, 1842, American Notes, II. iii. 84, Primeval forests‥. where the jungled ground was never trodden by a human foot.

knifer, one who uses a knife as a weapon, 1870, Edwin Drood, xxiii. 188, Jacks. And Chayner men. And hother Knifers.

meltability, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, II. iv. vii. 225, The brittleness and meltability of wax.

melodramatically, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xiii. 129, The honourable Samuel Slumkey‥. melo-dramatically testified by gestures to the crowd, his ineffaceable obligations to the Eatanswill Gazette.

Mephistophelean, 1847, Dombey and Son, xxix. 294, The Major['s]‥. face and figure were dilated with Mephistophelean joy.

messiness, 1836, Letters, 5 Feb, I shall consequently be in great confusion and messiness.

metropolitaneously , 1852, Letters, 19 Oct, Are you never coming to town any more? Never going to drink port again, metropolitaneously, but always with Fielden?

mildewy, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 205, The damp, mildewy smell which pervades the places.

millinerial, relating to millinery, 1844, Letters, 29 Mar, Ask her to save the dress.‥ Let it never grow old, fade, shrink, or undergo millinerial alteration.

monomaniacally, obsessively, 1856, Little Dorrit, i. xxi. 186, Young Sparkler hovering about the rooms, monomaniacally seeking any sufficiently ineligible young lady.

Mormonist, 1842, American Notes, I. v. 181, I should like to try the experiment on a Mormonist or two to begin with.

narratable, 1852, Letters, 22 Nov, If you should think of any other idea, narratable by an old man.

newspapered, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xvi. 462, Mr. Dorrit, dressing-gowned and newspapered, was at his breakfast.

panner, one who pans for gold, 1853, Household Words, 3 Dec. 322/1, Here is a pan half-full of gold. As the soil and small pebbles are skilfully washed out, and the yellow metal appears glistening beneath, the panner's eyes flash back upon it.

panspermist, advocate of panspermia (germs are everywhere), 1868, All Year Round, 7 Mar. 301/1, M. Pouchet, the zealous opponent of those he calls the panspermists.

oystery, 1844, Letters, 2 Jan, I‥. opened the despatch, with a moist and oystery twinkle in my eye.

perruquerian, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 160, The shining locks of those chef-d'œuvres of perruquerian art.

petful, peevish, 1852, First Fruits in Household Words, 15 May 190/2, Sitting with petful impatience in the parlour.

Pickwickian, 1836, Letters, 18 Feb, Believe me (in Pickwickian haste) Faithfully Yours Charles Dickens.

Podsnappery, blinkered self-satisfaction, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. i. xi. 98, These may be said to have been the articles of a faith and school which the present chapter takes the liberty of calling, after its representative man, Podsnappery.

polygamically, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 4 July 448/1, To suppose the family groups of whom the majority of emigrants were composed, polygamically possessed, would be to suppose an absurdity.

ponging, projecting, 1854, Hard Times vi, Missed his tip at the banners, too, and was loose in his ponging.

prisonous, streety, 1856, Little Dorrit, i. vi. 47, His son began‥. to be of the prison prisonous and of the street streety.

prodding, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. ii. vii. 231, Whether I gave myself up to prodding, or whether I gave myself up to scooping, I couldn't do it with that delicate touch so as not to show that I was disturbing the mounds.

prosily, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xiv. 134, The Peacock presented attractions which enabled the two friends to resist, even the invitations of the talented, though prosily inclined, Mr. Pott.

pruney, prim, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xix. 486, Notwithstanding what may be called in these pages the Pruney and Prismatic nature of the family banquet, Mr. Dorrit several times fell asleep while it was in progress.

punchy, 1843, Letters, 2 Mar, A complication of Punchy smells.

pupil-less, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, II. iii. x. 95, Sometimes accompanied by his hopeful pupil; oftener, pupil-less.

rampacious, rampageous, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xxii. 228, A stone statue of some rampacious animal with flowing mane and tail, distantly resembling an insane cart-horse.

rulering, 1849, David Copperfield, vii. 77, Tear-blotted copy-books, canings, rulerings.

saucepanful, 1868, Holiday Romance ii, in All Year Round, 8 Feb. 206/2, The other Princes and Princesses were squeezed into a‥. corner to look at the Princess Alicia turning out the saucepan-full of broth...

seediness, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xlii. 457, A casual visitor might suppose this place to be a temple dedicated to the Genius of Seediness.

shriven, 1846, Pictures from Italy, 114, I had my foot upon the spot, where‥. the shriven prisoner was strangled.

slinking, 1841, Barnaby Rudge, xxxv. 137, His manner was smooth and humble, but very sly and slinking.

sniggerer, 1860 Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 5 May 87/1, The sniggerers tempt him to secular thoughts of marbles.

snobbish, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, ii. lvi. 112, This form of inquiry.‥ he held to be of a disrespectful and snobbish tendency.

soupy, 1869, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 2 Jan. 109/1, The dirty table-cloths, the stuffy soupy airless atmosphere.

spectacularly, 1859, Tale of Two Cities, ii. i. 34, Then only was he permitted to be seen, spectacularly poring over large books.

spoffish, fussy, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 124, As a little spoffish man‥. entered the room.

spongeless, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 12 Sept. 62/1, My sponge being left behind at the last Hotel,‥I went, spongeless.

squashed, 1856, Little Dorrit, i. ix. 66, Such squashed hats and bonnets‥never were seen in Rag Fair.

stoutish, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 314, A stoutish man of about forty.

Suffolker, 1849, David Copperfield, xi. 117, The men generally spoke of me as.‥ ‘the young Suffolker’.

swarmer, 1844, Martin Chuzzlewit, lii. 598, ‘Oh, vermin!’ said Mr. Pecksniff. ‘Oh, bloodsuckers!‥. vermin and swarmers.’

tousled, 1847, Dombey and Son, xxv. 250 Rob the Grinder‥stood then, panting at the Captain, with a flushed and touzled air of Bed about him.

trembly, 1846, Dombey and Son, i. 5, So trembly and shakey from head to foot.

trucker, labourer who uses a truck, 1853, Down with Tide in Household Words, 5 Feb. 484/2, The Truckers‥. whose business it was to land more considerable parcels of goods than the Lumpers could manage.

wagonful, 1846, Pictures from Italy, 179, A waggon-full of madmen, screaming and tearing to the life.

waxy, angry, 1853, Bleak House, xxiv. 250, It would cheer him up more than anything, if I could make him a little waxy with me.

well-cured, 1838, Oliver Twist, I. xvii. 271, A side of streaky, well-cured bacon.

well-housed, 1838, Oliver Twist, II. xxiii. 48, It was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire and thank God they were at home.

willed, disposed of by will, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, II. iii. ix. 80, I am the willed-away girl.

Words coined using prefixes

aglitter, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, I. ii. xvi. 312, Mr. Lammle, all a-glitter.

a-smear, 1861, Great Expectations, xx, All asmear with filth and fat.

out-sharpen, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. ii. i. 168, She would glance at the visitors‥with a look that out-sharpened all her other sharpness.

retelegraph, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, vii. 62, ‘Ale, Squeery?’ inquired the lady, winking and frowning to give him to understand that the question propounded was, whether Nicholas should have ale, and not whether he (Squeers) would take any. ‘Certainly,’ said Squeers, re-telegraphing in the same manner. ‘A glassful.’

unassertive, 1861, Great Expectations, lvii, He would sit and talk to me‥in the old unassertive protecting way.

unbear, free a horse from the bearing-rein, 1853, Bleak House, lvi. 543, Unbear him half a moment to freshen him up.

uncertificated, 1836, Bleak House, 1st Ser. II. 199, A disappointed eighth-rate actor,.‥ a retired smuggler, or an uncertificated bankrupt.

uncolonial, 1861, Great Expectations, xlv, A certain person not altogether of uncolonial pursuits.

under-sawyer, subordinate, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. i. xii. 109, There were no top-sawyers; every passenger was an under-sawyer.

undiscussible, 1860, Great Expectations, viii, She said it so finally, and in such an undiscussible way.

undistinctive, 1851, On Duty with Inspector Field, in Household Words, 14 June 270/2, As undistinctive Death will come here, one day, sleep comes now.

unhooped, 1860, Bleak House, i, Like an unhooped cask upon a pole.

unmunched, 1870, Edwin Drood, xii. 90, Even Durdles pauses‥and looks at him, with an unmunched something in his cheek.

unpensioning, 1853, Bleak House, xl. 399, An ungrateful and unpensioning country.

unprisoned, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, ii. lii. 88, Perhaps not one of the unprisoned souls had been able...

unpromisingly, 1847, Dombey and Son, xiii. 125, Looking over his white cravat, as unpromisingly as Mr. Dombey himself could have looked.

unruffable, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxii. 339, Sam‥. obeyed all his master's behests with‥unruffable composure.

unscavengered , 1846, Pictures from Italy, 18, The undrained, unscavengered, qualities of a foreign town.

unshiplike , 1842, American Notes, I. v. 185 A sullen, cumbrous, ungraceful, unshiplike leviathan.

unsnap , 1862, Somebody’s Luggage: His Boots in All Year Round, 4 Dec. 7/1, As if nothing should ever tempt her to unsnap that snap [of the fingers].

unsoaped, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxiv. 253, The unsoaped of lpswich brought up the rear.

unsoftening, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xxx. 588, She.‥ with an unsoftening face, looked at the worked letters within.

un-swanlike, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxix. 311 Mr. Winkle.‥ was being assisted over the ice by Mr. Weller, in a very singular and un-swan-like manner.

unyielding, 1847, Dombey and Son, xl. 402, Looking upon him with neither yielding nor unyielding, liking nor hatred.

Playful coinages

deadlong, 1843, Martin Chuzzlewit, xxiv. 297, Through half the deadlong night.

-ization, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. i. xi. 107, He was not aware‥that he was driving at any ization.

ological, 1854, Hard Times, i. xv. 120, I hope you may now turn all your ological studies to good account.

red tapeworm, red tape, 1851, Dickens in Househ. Words 15 Feb. 484/1 A similar Museum could be established, for the destruction and exhibition of the Red-Tape-Worms.

spiflication, total destruction, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxvii. 262, Conjecturing‥. that smifligation and bloodshed must be‥one and the same thing.

Unexpected (i.e. I'd never have guessed these would be first recorded in Dickens)

bulgy, 1847, Dombey and Son, xxix. 290, A man with bulgy legs.

butter-fingers, 1836, Pickwick Papers, vii. 69, At every bad attempt at a catch, and every failure to stop the ball, he launched his personal displeasure at the head of the devoted individual in such denunciations as.‥ ‘Now, butter-fingers’—‘Muff’—‘Humbug’—and so forth.

clod-hopping, 1843, Martin Chuzzlewit, vii. 79, A common, paltry, low-minded, clodhopping, pipe-smoking alehouse.

devil-may-care, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xlviii. 525, He was a mighty, free and easy, roving, devil-may-care sort of person.

dolly, 1853, Bleak House, xxviii. 276, A dolly sort of beauty perhaps.

dustbin, 1847, Dombey and Son, xvii. 161, The Captain's nosegay.‥ was swept into the dust-binn next morning.

egg-box, 1854, Hard Times, i. iv. 20 That was the cot of my infancy; an old egg-box.

fairy story, 1849, David Copperfield, xix. 193, Life was more like a great fairy story, which I was just about to begin to read, than anything else.

flummox, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxii. 345, He'll be what the Italians call reg'larly flummoxed.

footlights, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 205, The foot-lights have just made their appearance.

funky, nervous, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxx. 326, [The nervous junior counsel in Bardell v. Pickwick is named ‘Mr. Phunky’.]

gran, 1863, Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings in All Year Round, 3 Dec. 11/2, And now dear Gran let me kneel down here where I have been used to say my prayers.

Guinness, 1834, Monthly Magazine, Aug. 180, A large hamper of Guinness's stout.

kibosh, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 149, ‘Hoo-roa,’ ejaculates a pot-boy in a parenthesis, ‘put the kye-bosh [later edd. read kye-bosk] on her, Mary.’

lace-up, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 98, To fit a pair of lace-up half-boots on an ideal personage.

paperchase, 1856, Scapegrace in Household Words, 26 Jan. 28/2, What leapers of brooks, what runners in paper chases!

pay-off, 1864, Our Mutual Friend, I. i. ii. 32, Twemlow received an invitation to dine at Veneerings, expressly to meet the Member, the Engineer, the Pay-off of the National Debt...

prima ballerina, 1868, All Year Round, 23 May 565/2, The prima ballerina‥. raises her left leg in the air at right angles with her body, and gently waves her arms to and fro.

rampage, 1860, Great Expectations, ii, She's been on the Ram-page this last spell, about five minutes.

ringing up, of a theatre curtain, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 205, Let us take a peep ‘behind,’ previous to the ringing up.

round the clock, 1852, Bleak House, xxv. 251, The complete equipage whirls through the Law Stationery business at wild speed, all round the clock.

scrunched, crushed, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 304, He had compromised with the parents of three scrunched children, and just ‘worked out’ his fine, for knocking down an old lady.

sharp practice, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xx. 209, ‘Dodson and Fogg—sharp practice their's—capital men of business is Dodson and Fogg, Sir.’ Mr. Pickwick admitted the sharp practice of Dodson and Fogg.

sit-down, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 264, Jemima thought we'd better have a regular sit-down supper, in the front parlour.

slow-coach, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxiii. 359, What does this allusion to the slow coach mean?‥ It may be a reference to Pickwick himself, who has‥. been a criminally slow coach during the whole of this transaction.

strop, sharpen, 1841, Barnaby Rudge, xxv. 80, The raven‥. after a long inspection of an epitaph‥would strop his beak upon the grave to which it referred.

tin-tack, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxxv. 346, A‥. parcel of tin tacks and a very large hammer.

Compound words

all-over, a feeling of nervousness from head to foot, 1870, Edwin Drood, xxiii. 180, But we're out of sorts for want of a smoke. We've got the all-overs, haven't us, deary? But this is the place to cure 'em in; this is the place where the all-overs is smoked off!

allwork, domestic work of all kinds, 1838, Oliver Twist, II. xxviii. 140, Brittles was a lad of all-work.

draggle-haired, with wet and untidy hair, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, II. iii. x. 96, Draggle-haired, seamed with jealousy and anger.

half-baptize, baptise privately, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 14, He got out of bed‥. to half-baptize a washerwoman's child in a slop-basin.

head-voice, 1850, David Copperfield, xxxvi. 377, He has a remarkable head-voice.

head-work, brainwork, 1837, Pickwick Papers, liv. 587, How the blazes you can stand the head-work you do, is a mystery to me.

looking-forward, 1837, Letters, 3 Nov, Anxious lookings-forward to the pleasure of your society.

natural-looking, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 328, Plaid tulips, and other equally natural-looking flowers.

new boy, 1847, Dombey and Son, xli. 410, Here is the table upon which he sat forlorn and strange, the ‘new boy’ of the school.

offsetting, 1857, Perils Eng. Prisoners in Household Words, 7 Dec. 30/2, The off-settings and point-currents of the stream.

off time, off duty, 1866, Mugby Junction in All Year Round, 10 Dec. 6/1, The answer to his inquiry, ‘Where's Lamps?’ was.‥ that it was his off-time.

old dear, 1836, Pickwick Papers, xiii. 126, She did no hesitate to inform him‥. that Mr. Pickwick was ‘a delightful old dear’.

party-like, suited to a party, 1832, Letters, 30 July (1965) I. 7, I give you this early notice not because there is anything formal or party like in the arrangements.

petticoat-governed, henpecked, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 175, Mr. Calton seized the hand of the petticoat-governed little man.

poll-parrot, chatter incessantly, 1865, Our Mutual Friend, I. ii. xii. 271, What are you Poll Parroting at now? Ain't you got nothing to do but‥. stand a Poll Parroting all night?

rose-pink, make up, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 208, ‘Where's that bloody officer?’ ‘Here!’ replies the officer, who has been rose-pinking for the character.

sea-going, 1848, Dombey and Son, lxii. 623, Released from sea-going, after that first long voyage with his young bride.

set piece, painting of a group, 1846, Pictures from Italy, 190, The hollow-cheeked monk‥. went down on his knees, in a corner, before this set-piece.

short-timer, child allowed to attend school less than full time, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 20 June 400/2, The Short-Timers, in a writing competition, beat the Long-Timers of a first-class National School.

Words reflecting the culture of the time

Blondin, tightrope, 1863, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 15 Aug. 588/2, An appalling accident happened at the People's Park near Birmingham‥. the enterprising Directors‥. hanging the Blondin rope as high as they possibly could hang it.

bowie-knife, 1842, American Notes, I. iii. 110, A sewing society‥. which‥. never comes to fisty cuffs or bowie-knives as sane assemblies have been known to do elsewhere.

Bramah, machine inventor, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 46, Testing the influence of their patent Bramahs over the street-door locks to which they respectively belonged.

cavatina, type of song, 1836, Library of Fiction,I. 15, The popular cavatina of ‘Bid me discourse’.

cheval-glass, type of long swinging mirror, 1836, Pickwick Papers, ii. 14, The stranger surveyed himself.‥ in a cheval glass.

clobber, type of cobbler paste, 1853, St. Crispin in Household Words, 26 Mar. 79/1, If there are crevices and breaks in an old pair of shoes‥. he insinuates into them a dose of clobber, which seems to be a mixture of ground cinders and paste.

coach-horser, one who provides horses for stagecoaches, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xlii. 463, The embarrassed coach-horser was ordered to be discharged forthwith.

coal-whipper, one who lifts coal out of a ship, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 299, At the appearance of the coal-whippers, and ballast-heavers.

commoney, type of marble, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxiii. 358, Whether he had won any alley tors or commoneys lately.

crush hat, hat that can be crushed flat, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xix. 180, Folding his crush hat to lay his elbow on.

Cuba, type of cigar, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxix. 308, He‥. emitted a fragrant odour of full-flavoured Cubas.

Denmark, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 2nd Ser. 107, A pair of Denmark satin shoes.

drysaltery, drysalter’s store, 1847, Dombey and Son, xxiii. 234, The smell of which dry-saltery impregnated the air.

hopping, hop-picking, 1860, Uncommercial Traveller in All Year Round, 16 June 234/2, The whole country-side‥. will swarm with hopping tramps.

Kensal Green, type of cemetery, 1842, Letters, 26 Apr, What would I give if the dear girl whose ashes lie in Kensal-green, had lived.

key-bugle, bugle with keys, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. II. 212, The loud notes of a key-bugle broke the monotonous stillness of the street.

Loddon, type of lily, 1882, Dickens’s Dict. Thames, 28/3, It [sc. the summer snowflake] is very abundant in the meadows by the Loddon, and hence called ‘Loddon lilies’.

mairie, town hall, 1864, Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy in All Year Round, 1 Dec. 8/2, The Major went down to the Mairie.

manty-making, dressmaking, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxi. 195, This here's the mantie-making con-sarn, a'nt it?

monkey-nut, coconut, 1857, Household Words, 17 Jan. 67/1, The tree of the monkey-nut is a palm. The rude resemblance to the face of a monkey having given a name to the nut, the likeness of the leaf to the palm of the hand gives a name to the tree.

paybox, box office, 1851, Flight in Household Words, 30 Aug. 531/2, He darts upon my luggage‥. pays certain francs for it, to a certain functionary behind a Pigeon Hole, like a pay-box at a Theatre.

psychographer, type of medium, 1854, Letters, 7 Mar, A thing called a Psycho-grapher, which writes at the dictation of spirits.

railway time, standard time used by a railway system, 1847, Dombey and Son, xv. 155, There was even railway time observed in clocks, as if the sun itself had given in.

saveloy, type of sausage, 1837, Pickwick Papers, liv. 587, Mr. Solomon Pell‥regaling himself‥. with a cold collation of an Abernethy biscuit and a saveloy.

Scheherazade, 1851, Letters, 25 Nov, My Dear Scheherazade—for I am sure your powers of narrative‥. must be good for at least a thousand nights and one.

tagliarini, egg noodles, 1846, Pictures from Italy, 49, Real Genoese dishes, such as Tagliarini...

tip-cheese, type of game, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxiii. 360, He forgets the long familiar cry of ‘knuckle down’, and at tip-cheese, or odd and even, his hand is out.

utilitarianism, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xxxvi. 347, But knockers may be muffled for other purposes than those of mere utilitarianism.

Colloquialisms and slang

allus, always, 1853, Bleak House, xlvi. 447, He wos allus willin fur to give me somethink he wos.

demnition, damnation, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, lxiv. 617, It is all up with its handsome friend, he has gone to the demnition bow-wows.

’ere, here, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xliv. 489, I'm wery much mistaken if that 'ere Jingle worn't a doin' somethin' in the vater-cart vay!

gonoph, pickpocket, 1853, Bleak House, xix. 188, He's as obstinate a young gonoph as I know.

gorm, God damn, 1849, David Copperfield, xxi. 220, Gorm the t'other one.

halloa, 1841, Barnaby Rudge, x. 290, ‘Halloa there! Hugh!’ roared John.

heavens, very, 1858, House to Let in Household Words, 7 Dec. 21/1, A shy company through its raining Heavens hard.

ickle, little, 1846, Dombey and Son, i. 5, I came down from seeing dear Fanny, and that tiddy ickle sing.

jeff, circus slang for rope, 1854, Hard Times, i. vi. 37, Tight-Jeff or Slack-Jeff, it don't much signify: it's only tight-rope and slack-rope.

lor’, Lord, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 1st Ser. I. 81, ‘Lor! how nice!’ said the youngest Miss Ivins.

lummy, first-rate, 1838, Oliver Twist, III. xlii. 122, Jack Dawkins—lummy Jack—the Dodger—the Artful Dodger.

missis, 1839, Nicholas Nickleby, xlii. 414, ‘Don't Missis me, ma'am’‥. returned Miss Squeers.

m’lud, 1853, Bleak House, i. 4, ‘Mr. Tangle,’ says the Lord High Chancellor.‥ ‘Mlud,’ says Mr. Tangle.

mo, month, 1836, Letters, ?24 Aug, 25£ per mo: after Nov. 8th.

nohows, nohow, 1848, Dombey and Son, lvi. 566, I'm gone about and adrift. Pay out a word or two respecting them adwenturs, will you! Can't I bring up, nohows?

oner, an expert, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, ii. lviii. 121, Miss Sally's such a one-er for that.

oo, who, 1857, Little Dorrit, ii. xiii. 433, ‘I have seen some one,’ returned Baptist, ‘I have rincontrato him.’ ‘Im? Oo him?’ asked Mrs. Plornish.

participled, damned, 1862, Somebody’s Luggage in All Year Round, 4 Dec. 8 11/1, ‘But these people are’, he insisted‥. ‘so,’ Participled, ‘sentimental!’

prop, piece of jewellery, 1850, Three ‘Detective’ Anec. in Household Words, 14 Sept. 579/1, In his shirt-front there's a beautiful diamond prop,‥. a very handsome pin indeed.

puff-puff, 1856, Household Words, 28 June 559/1, The word Puff-puff, which I now apply to a train or a railway, is borrowed from my eldest daughter,‥. eighteen months of age.

sawbones, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxix. 307, ‘What! don't you know what a Sawbones is, Sir?’ enquired Mr. Weller; ‘I thought every body know'd as a Sawbones was a Surgeon.’

swarry, soiree, 1837, Pickwick Papers, xxxvi. 393, A friendly swarry, consisting of a boiled leg of mutton with the usual trimmings.

tcha, 1844, Martin Chuzzlewit, xxxvii. 435, ‘Tcha, Mr. Pinch!’ cried Charity, with sharp impatience.

toke, bread, 1843, Letters, 7 June, Now, we don't want none of your sarse—and if you bung any of them tokes of yours in this direction, you'll find your shuttlecock sent back as heavy as it came.

way, 1836, Sketches by Boz, 370, Away went the donkey‥. ‘Way-way! Wo-o-o-o-!’ cried Mr. Cymon Tuggs.

whizz-bang, 1836, Pickwick Papers, ii. 9, Fired a musket‥. rushed into wine shop‥. back again—whiz, bang.

wimick, 1850, David Copperfield, li. 518 ‘Wen Mrs. Gummidge takes to wimicking,’—our old county word for crying,—‘she's liable to be considered to be‥. peevish-like.’

woa, 1841, Old Curiosity Shop, ii. xxxviii. 3, Woa-a-a then, will you?

yaw-yaw, 1854, Hard Times, ii. ii. 147, They liked fine gentlemen.‥ They became exhausted in imitation of them; and they yaw-yawed in their speech like them.


As a footnote, here is a summary of the distribution of these items:

Pickwick Papers: 31

Sketches by Boz: 27

Letters: 24

Our Mutual Friend: 17

Household Words: 15

Dombey and Son: 15

Little Dorrit: 13

Uncommercial Traveller: 12

Nicholas Nickleby: 12

Great Expectations: 10

Bleak House: 10

Old Curiosity Shop: 8

All Year Round: 8

Martin Chuzzlewit: 7

David Copperfield: 7

Oliver Twist: 6

Hard Times: 6

Pictures from Italy: 5

American Notes: 5

Tale of Two Cities: 4

Edwin Drood: 3

Barnaby Rudge: 3

Others: 4


Barrie England said...

I use the online OED almost every day, but hadn’t realized it had this great facility. However, there seems to be some inconsistency in the figures. The summary page
gives the figure of 255, not 252, for ‘Quotations providing first evidence of a word’. When we click on ‘Find quotations’ we are presented with 262 entries.

DC said...

You can't take search figures without doing some further editorial work, going through the list and weeding out the irrelevant ones. In 'First Quotation', there are other people called Dickens who have to be ignored, as well as the occasional mention of Charles Dickens in a book by someone else.

Barrie England said...

Thank you. I’ve just used the same OED facility to find that Jane Austen was responsible for a mere 44, but they include the verb ‘chaperon’, ‘door-bell’, ‘irrepressible’, ‘outsider’ and ‘sponge-cake’.

DC said...

Yes, it's really interesting what this facility can bring to light.

And just to make sure readers know what we're talking about: the facility is to be found under 'Advanced Search' in the OED online. You enter the name of the person you're interested in in the search box and then scroll down to 'First Quotation'. But beware: some authors are named in different ways, so there's always a risk that your search underestimates the total. These inconsistencies are gradually being ironed out as revision proceeds.

Marc Leavitt said...

It's interesting that "gonoph" is included. It comes from Hebrew through Yiddish.

Andrew Shields said...

I was wondering about the comparison with other authors myself: does he have an unusually high rate of "first quotations"? Austen's "mere 44" does not seem as "mere" when you consider that she wrote quite a bit less than Dickens!

DC said...

I don't have any points of comparison, other than Shakespeare, who is in a separate league. It would be an interesting exercise to carry out - but quite a tricky one, as any comparison would have to take into account all sorts of variables, as you point out, such as size of the corpus, period of time, and so on. Also, there's the Great Unknown: how much of the author's work did the OED team actually include? Results of the kind I reported are suggestive only.

DC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martyn Cornell said...

"Guinness" is easily antedated as an adjective, as in that first Dickens quote from 1834, "A large hamper of Guinness's stout", but the noun usage, as in the second quote from the same source, "Taking … a draught of Guinness", does appear to be the first of its kind so far. I wouldn't be surprised if there WERE no earlier uses of "Guinness" as a straightforward noun, simply because the brewery made several different grades of porter/stout, and so to refer just to "Guinness" without specifying what sort you meant would probably have been rare.

Here are some antedates, showing the different sorts of product:

"Guinness's West India Porter 3s 6d" - Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin), Wednesday, May 24, 1820;

"To Porter Dealers &c. Henry Antisell, Agent for the sale of Guinness and Go's Dublin Porter, is constantly supplied with best DOUBLE BROWN STOUT in cask" Liverpool Mercury, Friday, July 19, 1822; Issue 581.

"Guinness's superior brown stout" The Standard (London), Thursday, September 20, 1827; Issue 106.

"Guinness's Superior Dublin Porter" Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc (Portsmouth,) Monday, May 12, 1828; Issue 1492.

"Guinness' Dublin Stout. – This article is confidently recommended for home consumption and for export" The Times, Friday, Jun 19, 1829; pg. 1; Issue 13944; col A

DC said...

Lovely examples. Many thanks.

Sarai Pahla said...

Thanks for this well-constructed post - very informative.