'good vibrations'

Posted by R. Berg on August 27, 2002

In Reply to: 'good vibrations' posted by ESC on August 26, 2002

: : I see J Kerouac used it in letter 1957.

: This sounds like "vibrations" is pre-Kerouac.

: VIBES - "n. instinctive feelings, atmosphere. Slang. Short for 'vibrations' in the same sense, a usage which can be traced back to the late 19th century." From 20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).

The Oxford English Dictionary (1st ed., which contains quotations up through the early 20th c.) has several meanings for "vibration" but not that sense. I wouldn't be surprised to find it used that way by 19th-c spiritualists; I also wouldn't be surprised if Kerouac's were the earliest documented use of "good vibrations."