46 - Hunting for words

The BBC needs your help!

250 years after Samuel Johnson (see also post 23/May 13 of this blog) wrote his dictionary of the English language the BBC and the Oxford English Dictionary want to solve some of the most intriguing recent word mysteries in the language.They seek to find the earliest verifiable usage of every single word in the English language—currently 600,000 in the OED and counting—and of every separate meaning of every word.

There's a Wordhunt Appeal List, containing 50 words, such as "moony" "minger" "ska" "nit nurse" "codswallop" - all of them with a date that corresponds to the earliest evidence of that word in the dictionary. Should you be able to trump that - the BBC is eagerly waiting for you! Also, if you have convincing theories about the origin of words.

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