The search for 1st useage documentation

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 10, 2005

In Reply to: The search for 1st useage documentation posted by James Briggs on June 10, 2005

: The Times today published details of the OED's search for documentation of the first use of 'new' words and phrases.

I have a quarrel with certain explanations, or non-explanations, for some newish words that probably puts me into the "riding a hobby-horse" camp, and thus not worth considering. I complained more than once on this site about the failure to recognize Mortimer Snerd as the source of "Duh!" and also told the editors of OED of my opinion. But the OED is fixated on published documentation, and would rather hear some third-hand, but published, guess than try to dig up scripts or tapes of the Charlie McCarthy show. They have re-written their article on "Duh!" but assign it to a cartoon show of 1943 because someone mentioned it in print in 1994.
I suggested to them what I believe is the syntax of "As if!" but to no avail. They list it, with their version of the meaning, but not the syntax, which would be so easy to do. While recognizing that I am not a source, reliable or not, I sort of dislike being treated with contempt. And I don't believe in the sincerity of the editors about finding first use, if they refuse to consider anything but printed or written sources. SS