Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 11:07:37 -0500 From: Jesse T Sheidlower Subject: Re: "Beg the question": NYT 2-fer > Thanks for adding the latest quotes (an interesting shortening of > -- any time-depth of cites () on that?: I ask only > because it has lately troubled me in formal contexts). The earliest in OED2 is from 1888: Stodgy "quotes" from the ancients? Next is T.S. Eliot, 1922: Do you mean not use the Conrad quote or simply not put Conrad's name to it? > Howsomever, I think the examples are perhaps ambiguously open to > the first interpretation I would automatically assign to them: viz, "IGNORES > the question", i.e., presupposes an understanding or awareness of what the > questioned item is, thus leaving it unexamined or unquestioned, through > failure to raise it as an issue or term to be questioned. In this sense, I > do not find this a new meaning, but one that has been around quite a while. I agree that this sense is not new, and you're probably right to say that it should be the first sense one thinks of. But looking over the cites, I think the sports one is unambiguous in the sense I suggest, 'raise or prompt the question'. (Forgive my typo on "above," obviously.) The second does in retrospect seem ambiguous, but a good case could be made either way. I'd suggest though that esp. among younger speakers, the sense 'raise or prompt the question' is likely to be the only one. Jesse Sheidlower