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JenNipps
02-06-2007, 07:54 AM
Does anyone know of a website that not only lists definitions but also the year, approximately, the word came into usage?

rugcat
02-06-2007, 08:04 AM
There's one here, (http://www.etymonline.com/) not too complete, but could be useful.

kikazaru
02-06-2007, 08:05 AM
This is a good one.

http://www.etymonline.com/

kikazaru
02-06-2007, 08:06 AM
Beat by rugcat!:)

There may be more on this list if you care to browse.

http://www.onelook.com/?d=all_gen

JenNipps
02-06-2007, 08:08 AM
Thanks.

Great minds think alike, huh? :)

That tells me what I need to know.

I'm wanting to use the word about 1000 years too early. *sigh* Hmmm... Well... Either I move the storyline time -- lol -- which really won't have too much impact though I doubt they'd still be calling Christianity the "new religion" in Ireland by then, or try to find a different word for "convulsions."

Medievalist
02-06-2007, 08:42 AM
You really want the OED. It's the best. Honest. Give me the word and I'll look it up for you. Or give me the time and geographic area and I'll find out what was being used.

JenNipps
02-06-2007, 09:10 AM
I'm trying to describe seizures without using seizures. I thought I'd be safe with "convulsions." But that didn't come about until the 1500s. "Seizures" in the medical sense didn't come around until the 1700s.

Well, from what I've been able to find so far. "Convulsions" was the original word I was looking up.

Medievalist
02-06-2007, 09:56 AM
I suspect you want "fit." Here's the bit from the OED:

3. a. A paroxysm, or one of the recurrent attacks, of a periodic or constitutional ailment. In later use also with wider sense: A sudden and somewhat severe but transitory attack (of illness, or of some specified ailment).
a1547 SURREY Faithf. Louer declareth, Songs & S. (1585) 15b, As sick men in their shaking fits procure them selues to sweat. 1601 SHAKES. Jul. C. I. ii. 120 He had a Feauer..And when the Fit was on him, I did marke How he did shake. 1667 D. ALLSOPP in 12th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. v. 8 Taken with a fit of the collicke. 1691 BLAIR in W. S. Perry Hist. Coll. Amer. Col. Ch. (1860) I. 6 The Bishop of London..was..taken..with a fit of the stone. 1725 N. ROBINSON Th. Physick 146 The Fits of Intermittent Fevers. 1771 SMOLLETT Humph. Cl. (1815) 3, I expect to be laid up with another fit of the gout. 1806-7 J. BERESFORD Miseries Hum. Life (1826) IV. xvi, A violent fit of coughing. 1855 BAIN Senses & Int. II. ii. §3 (1864) 123 A cut or a scald is different from a fit of rheumatism or gout.
fig. 1567 DRANT Horace's Art Poet. Cjb, Sawes there be to cure thy greedie care: To master thyne assaltynge fyttes.

{dag}b. spec. A paroxysm of lunacy (formerly viewed as a periodic disease). Obs.
1588 SHAKES. Tit. A. IV. i. 17 Vnlesse some fit or frenzie do possesse her. 1590 {emem} Com. Err. IV. iii. 91 Belike his wife acquainted with his fits On purpose shut the doores against his way. 1697 DRYDEN Æneid III. 565 In her frantick Fitts. 1722 WOLLASTON Relig. Nat. ix. 201 Cruel tyrants..who (at least in their fits) divert themselves with the pangs and convulsions of their fellow-creatures.

c. A sudden seizure of any malady attended with loss of consciousness and power of motion, or with convulsions, as fainting, hysteria, apoplexy, paralysis, or epilepsy. In 18th c. often used spec. without defining word = ‘fainting-fit’ or ‘fit of the mother’ (i.e. of hysteria: see MOTHER); in recent use it suggests primarily the notion of an epileptic or convulsive fit.
1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. III. iii. III. 689 A iealous woman that by this meanes had many fits of the Mother. 1650 BULWER Anthropomet. 141 Who..fell straightway into a Convulsion and Epileptical fits. 1681 OTWAY Soldier's Fort. I. i, One Kiss of him were enough to cure Fits of the Mother. 1702 STEELE Funeral I. (1734) 20 Fits are a mighty help in the Government of a good-natured Man. 1762 GOLDSM. Cit. W. xxi. §15 Observe the art of the poet..When the queen can say no more, she falls into a fit..take my word for it, that fits are the true aposiopesis of modern tragedy. 1789 W. BUCHAN Dom. Med. (1790) 629 Convulsion fits often constitute the last scene of acute or chronic disorders. 1833 H. MARTINEAU Loom & Lugger I. v. 76 When the fainting fit came on in which she died. Mod. ‘Has she fainted?’ ‘No, I fear it is a fit.’

d. Hence colloq. in various hyperbolical phrases, as to scream oneself into fits, to throw (a person) into fits. Also, to beat (a person, a thing) into fits: to defeat or excel thoroughly, ‘beat hollow’; to give (a person) fits: to inflict humiliating defeat on; in U.S. to rate or scold vigorously.
1839 HOOD Tale Trumpet xxix, It beats all others into fits. 1848 THACKERAY Bk. Snobs xx, Till the little wretch screams herself into fits. 1859 FARRAR Jul. Home i, He beat you to fits in the Latin verse. 1860 L. V. HARCOURT Diaries G. Rose II. 104 Such a proposal..would have thrown him into fits. 1861 DICKENS Gt. Expect. I. iv, If you could only give him his head, he would read the clergy~man to fits. 1861 J. BLACKWOOD Let. 23 Dec. in Geo. Eliot Lett. (1954) III. 474 Your account of Caliban's exploit..has put me into fits. Archie is in an extasy with it. 1872 E. EGGLESTON Hoosier Schoolm. xii. 66, I rather guess as how the old man..will give particular fits to our folks to-day. 1877 S. O. JEWETT Deephaven iii. 53 She used to take a notion to set in the dark... I should have forty fits, if I undertook it. 1885 J. RUNCIMAN Skippers & Sh., Old Pirate 87 We goes out and tackles a East Indiaman..and he gives us fits. 1906 J. LONDON Let. 20 Oct. (1966) 213 Bailey Millard is throwing fits all around the shop..because of the way you worded your announcement. 1924 C. BEATON Diary 12 Apr. (1961) II. 44, I had fits at the back of the car because Papa kept shouting.

JenNipps
02-06-2007, 07:18 PM
c. A sudden seizure of any malady attended with loss of consciousness and power of motion, or with convulsions, as fainting, hysteria, apoplexy, paralysis, or epilepsy. In 18th c. often used spec. without defining word = ‘fainting-fit’ or ‘fit of the mother’ (i.e. of hysteria: see MOTHER); in recent use it suggests primarily the notion of an epileptic or convulsive fit.
1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. III. iii. III. 689 A iealous woman that by this meanes had many fits of the Mother. 1650 BULWER Anthropomet. 141 Who..fell straightway into a Convulsion and Epileptical fits. 1681 OTWAY Soldier's Fort. I. i, One Kiss of him were enough to cure Fits of the Mother. 1702 STEELE Funeral I. (1734) 20 Fits are a mighty help in the Government of a good-natured Man. 1762 GOLDSM. Cit. W. xxi. §15 Observe the art of the poet..When the queen can say no more, she falls into a fit..take my word for it, that fits are the true aposiopesis of modern tragedy. 1789 W. BUCHAN Dom. Med. (1790) 629 Convulsion fits often constitute the last scene of acute or chronic disorders. 1833 H. MARTINEAU Loom & Lugger I. v. 76 When the fainting fit came on in which she died. Mod. ‘Has she fainted?’ ‘No, I fear it is a fit.’

This part of the definitions seems to be the best bet for what I'm needing. Thanks so much. :)

Marlys
02-06-2007, 07:51 PM
The OED Online is invaluable to me. Check with your local library (or university, if you're a student or work there) to see if they subscribe.

ideagirl
02-08-2007, 09:34 PM
Does anyone know of a website that not only lists definitions but also the year, approximately, the word came into usage?

The Oxford English Dictionary does that. I seem to recall that it not only says when the word came into usage but, where applicable, what the source is (e.g. it will quote some book from 1526, as the first example of the word in print).

Marlys suggests looking for the online version at your local library, which is a great idea. But if you don't want to have to leave home to look stuff up, I've seen used editions of the compact version of the OED available online for around $130. Look on Alibris.com or Amazon.com. The compact version is the entire 20-volume dictionary reproduced in very small print, which I am capable of reading with the naked eye, but it comes with a magnifying glass, for those who can't or don't want to read such tiny print. And you can get a brand new copy for around $200 on Amazon.com. Or, there are more concise versions of the OED for much less money--concise compared to the 20-volume set, but still extremely thorough. It's a worthwhile investment.

If you're really into word origins, also look at the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. You should be able to buy that online for somewhere between $40 and $100, depending on whether it's new or used, what condition it's in and so on.

Marlys
02-08-2007, 09:43 PM
The Oxford English Dictionary does that. I seem to recall that it not only says when the word came into usage but, where applicable, what the source is (e.g. it will quote some book from 1526, as the first example of the word in print).

Marlys suggests looking for the online version at your local library, which is a great idea. But if you don't want to have to leave home to look stuff up, I've seen used editions of the compact version of the OED available online for around $130. Look on Alibris.com or Amazon.com. The compact version is the entire 20-volume dictionary reproduced in very small print, which I am capable of reading with the naked eye, but it comes with a magnifying glass, for those who can't or don't want to read such tiny print. And you can get a brand new copy for around $200 on Amazon.com. Or, there are more concise versions of the OED for much less money--concise compared to the 20-volume set, but still extremely thorough. It's a worthwhile investment.

If you're really into word origins, also look at the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. You should be able to buy that online for somewhere between $40 and $100, depending on whether it's new or used, what condition it's in and so on.
Just to clarify, if your library subscribes to OED Online, you don't need to leave home to use it--just sign in through your access site. I also have one of the compact editions around the house, but it's much easier to go to the web page and search there. Especially since I'm writing at the computer anyway.