I subscribe to Oxford Dictionaries' (OD) word of the day and today's word is 'herstory'.
The OD's definition is 'history viewed from a female or specifically feminist perspective'.
The OED's entry for 'herstory' has yet to be updated (it dates back to 1993) but the entry is fascinating. The entry advises that 'herstory' occurs between 0.01 and 0.10 times per million words in typical modern English usage and that the word's etymology is a punning alteration of 'history' (fancifully reinterpreted as 'his story', implying that history has in the past been viewed predominantly from the male perspective), with his- replaced by her. The OED's earliest recorded use of the word is 1970 by R. Morgan in Sisterhood is Powerful.
My library offers all members access to the OED for free.
Sorry to be picky, but "history" with "his" replaced by "her" is "hertory".
I think we as those who communicate in the English language (I doubt that stuff like this occurs in any other language, at least not with this frequency) should be careful not to put a band-aid on society's problems by making up different words for things. Too often what happens is someone comes up with a more "politically correct" name for something, or a group of people, or whatever, and then eventually that word starts being used in an offensive way, and then the cycle begins again when another new politically correct term is invented.
All these new words would not be needed if people treated others with respect by default instead of of being forced into it by laws and rules. The problem is that the natural human reaction is to treat people who are perceived as different less favourably than those who are perceived to belong to the same "group". People use the excuse that they are "protecting their own" far too often.
If people could value differences instead of feeling threatened by them then maybe women in previous centuries would have been given a chance to make history themselves, and that goes for others who are referred to by carefully-chosen politically correct terms as well.
I love neologisms. I regard language as plasticine to be used and adjusted to my needs :-)
DragonCat16 said:Sorry to be picky, but "history" with "his" replaced by "her" is "hertory".
You have not read my post carefully:"the word's etymology is a punning alteration of 'history' (fancifully reinterpreted as 'his story'..." [my emphasis].
I believe you are trying to read too much into my posting. New words have always been made up in English (as have new senses) for various reasons. During the period 1750 to 1799, for example, the OED reports 46,484 new words and senses.
The modern sense of 'feminism' dates back to at least 1895 (that surprised me) and the OED's first recorded use of the word (in a different sense) is 1841.
Checking that (so-called) modern phrase 'politically correct', I find recorded usage dating back to 1936:"H. V. Morton In Steps of St. Paul vi. 211 ‘Galatians’, a term that was politically correct, embraced everyone under Roman rule."
Procrastinator said:I love neologisms.
And the OED shows the word 'neologism' dates back to ... 1772!
The word neologism?? :-) ?
Sorry, it seems the signals from my brain do not reach my fingers!
Yes. I shall edit my earlier post to make my meaning clear.
I'm very curious now who coined this word. I can imagine someone with a goose feather in the hand surrounded by leather backed books - who was just as originally brained and word loving as us :-)
OED gives the origin of 'neologism' as "formed within English, by derivation; modelled on a French lexical item."
The etymology is:"neology n. + -ism suffix, after French néologisme (1731 denoting the coining or use of new words or phrases, 1787 denoting a new word or phrase, 1892 in psychiatry). Compare Italian neologismo new word or phrase (1785), German Neologismus (mid 18th cent. in sense ‘new linguistic formation’)."
The OED's first recorded use is by J.-N. de Sauseuil in An analysis of the French orthography: or The true principles of the French pronunciation, exhibited in several easy schemes and tables:"Observations on this Neologism... I thought indeed I was intirely done with this Canon when I came to the explication of the last word Hecaterogenosem."
Given your interest in words, I would recommend checking if membership of your local library allows access to the OED online. My library requires membership to be active in terms of borrowing books but that is no hardship.
PS I should really decide whether to use single or double quotation marks!
brilliant. I am feeling nervous for other reasons - and reading this kind of entry kind of relaxes me :-)
This is really interesting caretwo, thanks for posting. I have a fascination with words, their meanings, why and when they enter into society and their impact. It’s fascinating to see how powerful even tiny words can have on people. You might be interested in the book ‘plastic words’. It’s not easy to read but it’s fascinating and gives you a very clear insight into how society is shaped by words.