Contribute to our latest appeals

Do you have an earlier record of a word which our editors are currently researching? Browse our latest appeals below and help us record the English language.

You can also find out more about the OED appeals and read about our previous appeals on the OED blog.

Contribute to our latest appeals

Do you have an earlier record of a word which our editors are currently researching? Browse our latest appeals below and help us record the English language.

You can also find out more about the OED appeals and read about our previous appeals on the OED blog.

trench foot/mouth earlier than 1915/1917

Hugo provided evidence of ‘trench mouth’ from 1916.

The appalling conditions of the trenches caused various painful medical conditions, including trench foot (swelling and pain in the feet caused by prolonged exposure to damp and cold) and trench mouth (severe inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth). The earliest […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 29 January 2014 16.33
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Comments: 4

conchie earlier than Oct. 1917

Bryn provided an example from one day earlier.

The term ‘conscientious objector’, referring to a person who refuses to do something on the grounds of conscience, has been used since the 19th century, but it was not until 1916, with the introduction of conscription in the U.K., that it was used specifically […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 29 January 2014 15.39
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Comments: 1

streetcar (‘a shell’) any evidence

In 1950, the novelist Raymond Chandler wrote in a letter to Hamish Hamilton: ‘Doesn’t he [i.e. Eric Partridge, the author of many slang dictionaries] overlook some of the most commonly used words of soldier-slang? E.g…”street cars” or “tram cars” for heavy long range shells.’ […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 29 January 2014 11.49
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Comments: 4

demob earlier than 1919

Fred Shapiro and Hugo provided evidence from earlier dates in 1919.

The term ‘demobilization’, referring to the release of troops from military service at the end of a war, has been in use since the 19th century, but the abbreviated form demob seems to have been used only since the end of the […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 29 January 2014 8.44
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Comments: 11

jusqu’auboutiste earlier than Sept. 1917

Bryn provided evidence from 1916.

The term jusqu’auboutiste, referring to a person who advocates carrying on a conflict ‘jusqu’au bout’, or until the bitter end, was used […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 28 January 2014 19.42
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Comments: 2

shell shock earlier than Feb. 1915

Hugo provided evidence from January 1915.

The first study of shell shock was written in 1915 by Charles Samuel Myers, a psychologist who was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps during […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 27 January 2014 16.31
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Comments: 7

camouflage earlier than July 1916

Bryn provided evidence from 1915; Ammon Shea provided evidence in an earlier sense from 1885.

The development of aerial warfare and accurate long-range artillery in the First World War meant that weapons, vehicles, and troops needed to be concealed from enemy view; hence the need for […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 27 January 2014 15.08
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Comments: 7

jolly hockey sticks before 1960

Martin J. Pitt supplied verifiable evidence from 1953.

‘Jolly hockey sticks!’ is a phrase used in humorous representations or imitations of a manner of speech associated with English public schools, expressing (or mocking) boisterous […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 16 October 2013 16.52
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Comments: 7

backwash earlier than 1988

‘Bryn’ has supplied a verifiable example in this sense from 1985.

‘Backwash’ is a chiefly American, colloquial term referring to the mixture of saliva and beverage that flows back into the beverage container after one takes a drink. It’s relatively recent; the earliest evidence OED researchers have found thus far dates to […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 18 September 2013 14.56
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Comments: 11

oojamaflip earlier than 1969

‘Bryn’ supplied verifiable evidence from earlier in 1969.

Like ‘thingamabob’ or ‘whatchamacallit’, ‘oojamaflip’ is a word used to refer to something a person doesn’t know the name of, or doesn’t wish to specify precisely. The earliest […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 29 August 2013 11.34
Tags:
Comments: 3