What "Twitter" meant in 1874

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14 Responses to “What "Twitter" meant in 1874”

  1. Bradley Robinson says:

    You mean to tell me that I’ve been using these terms incorrectly all this time?

    The mere notion has me in such a twitter that I feel the urge to pull out the pin.     

  2. Crashproof says:

    Seems appropriate.  Twitter is still pretty much a kind of fidgeting.

    • jandrese says:

      Yeah, certainly people have heard a construction like “The ladies were all in a twitter.” before?  It’s not an everyday usage, but it’s one most people should know I think.

      • chgoliz says:

        Totally agree.  It was still very much in use in the 1960′s, as I recall, so anyone around 50 or older would certainly know it.

        Slightly OT: one time in the 1980′s I made a reference to myself as a “geek” to my parents, who both looked at me with the most quizzical expression.  Turns out, they only knew the old definition — someone in a circus sideshow who bites the heads off chickens — and I only knew the contemporary one.

  3. It also meant that in, oh, say, 1974. And 2004, 2005, and for at least a good part of 2006.

    • xzzy says:

      Still means that here in 2013.

      Not that Twitter users would enjoy having their use of the service described in that manner. But it is pretty accurate.

  4. C W says:

    Also of interest is the “cantphrases” portion of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of crowds.

    Archaic memes!

  5. shay simmons says:

    I saw that book and downloaded it yesterday. Gutenberg has at least two more slang dictionaries online.

  6. I didn’t know “slang” was a word that far back. Now i do.

  7. timquinn says:

    “cool: to look” 

    Okay, how do we know what “look” means?

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