Neologism

The full online Oxford English Dictionary contains definitions for 600,000 words, almost all with an example of usage from their first occurrence in print. Many entries have dozens of quotations covering a variety of uses of the word, so not all quotations can be credited as neologisms to their authors.

Will Shakespeare heads the list with 35,000 quotations from his work and there are an estimated 2,000 neologisms attributed to him. Edward De Vere, sadly for the thesis that he was a polymath and a literary prodigy has neither a quotation nor a nelogism to his name.

Whist very suggestive, this would mean nothing were it not for the fact that Oxfordians try to credit Oxford with more literary kudos than he actually earned. Hank Whittemore's 100 reasons why Oxford wrote the plays blog argues that Oxford uses the words 'murder' and 'persuade' in a totally new and unusual way in his prose and then detects the same original use in Shakespeare's work. With an Oxfordian flourish, Hank shouts 'Voilà, Oxford was Shakespeare.'

Except, of course, like so much Oxfordian scrutiny, if you look at the claim with your eyes open, one penny's worth of elementary scholarship can dispense with it completely. The OED robs Oxford of any credit for the usage of these words in the sense that Hank is ascribing to Oxford with quotations dating back hundreds of years before he was born.

“He maynteniþ his men to murþre myne hynen.” Langland, Piers Plowman c1376
Thoffice of an oratour that he owith to do be Rethorik is to say wele..that is to say suche thynges þe whiche bien convenient and sufficient to persuade. Seven Liberal Arts c1484
  

Neologisms attributed by OED to De Vere = 0

Neologisms attributed by OED to Shakespeare = c 2,000
(though no use of ‘murdered’ or ‘persuade’ is on the list)

 

 

Share this post