View OED entry

FAQ noun earlier than 1989

Patrick of Boston has now provided evidence from 28 Dec. 1987.

FAQ is an initialism from Frequently Asked Questions, used as the name for a list of questions and answers. The term was originally associated with the Usenet discussion system, and has been attributed to Eugene N. Miya, a researcher at NASA, who is said to have coined it around 1983 in documents relating to the history of the space programme. The OED’s entry from 2001 has an earliest date of 1991, but we’ve recently found even earlier evidence, 1989, in the Usenet archives on Google Groups:

1989 Re: Frequently asked Questions in these Groups deserve Monthly Posting in comp.unix.questions (Usenet newsgroup) 5 June, It is quite easy to accidentally skip a note, and never see the FAQ list at all.

However, we still haven’t found any evidence to verify the story of the 1983 coinage. Can you help?

Watch OED editor Fiona McPherson explain this appeal below:

Posted by OED_Editor on 1 October 2012 19.05
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