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.

DIY earlier than 1955

‘Bryn_OED’ provided verifiable evidence from 1953.

‘DIY’ is of course an abbreviation of ‘do it yourself’, and both terms refer to the carrying out of a task by oneself, especially around the home. The entries […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 7 November 2012 14.46
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Comments: 3

baked Alaska earlier than 1882

Ammon Shea provided evidence of ‘baked Alaska’ from 1891.

‘Alaska’, or ‘baked Alaska’, is a dessert made of ice cream topped with meringue, baked in a hot oven so that the meringue cooks before the ice cream melts. There are earlier examples of similar desserts, but […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 1 November 2012 2.19
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Comments: 21

email earlier than 1979

Before email was ‘email’ it was ‘electronic mail’. Although the shorter form is by far the more common name today, the full form ‘electronic mail’ of course came first […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 25 October 2012 6.37
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Comments: 14

headhunter earlier than 1960

Bryn has provided verifiable evidence from 1918.

The tribal practice of decapitating enemies and preserving their heads gave us the first sense of ‘headhunter’ in 1800. Nowadays we’re more likely to think of the less gruesome recruitment practice […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 22 October 2012 7.36
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Comments: 5

bimble earlier than 1983

Bill S provided a verifiable example of ‘bimble’ as a noun from 1980.

The word ‘bimble’, meaning ‘to move at a leisurely pace’, is sometimes said to have originated amongst British soldiers serving in the Falklands […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 18 October 2012 6.30
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Comments: 9

header earlier than 1891

Lmcginlay has supplied a verifiable example from 1875.

OED’s researchers have traced the history of ‘header’ in the football (soccer) sense of ‘a shot, pass, or clearance made by heading the ball’ back to 1891 […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 15 October 2012 9.00
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Comments: 6

Earl Grey earlier than 1929

Bryn supplied evidence from 1914 and Glyn Hughes provided evidence of “Earl Grey’s mixture” from 1884.

This blend of tea flavoured with bergamot is said to have been popularized by Charles, the second Earl Grey (1764–1845). OED editors have found evidence for […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 11 October 2012 6.13
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Comments: 18

Ironman earlier than 1979

An OED library researcher has uncovered evidence from April 1978, following a lead from Dr John Bailiff

We are looking for earlier evidence of ‘Ironman’ in the sense ‘a triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile cycle race and a full marathon’. The first example found so far is […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 8 October 2012 6.26
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Comments: 6

Bellini earlier than 1965

Garson O’Toole has supplied an example from 1955.

The famous cocktail of peach juice mixed with Prosecco or champagne is said to have been invented in Venice at Harry’s Bar in the 1930s, but named only in 1948 (in honour of the painter Giovanni Bellini, c1430–1516). Our earliest evidence […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 2 October 2012 17.38
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Comments: 10

FAQ 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, researcher at NASA, […]

Posted by OED_Editor on 1 October 2012 19.05
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Comments: 14