Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 11:38:19 -0500 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Re: Beetle At 08:56 AM 1/7/98 -0500, you (baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] wrote: >A recent NYT article said that the Times was the first to describe the >Volkswagen as a "beetle." RHD doesn't list "Beetle" as a car, and I >don't have access to OED2 here at the moment. Could someone with access >to Lexis confirm whether "Beetle" as a name for the car predates the >Times reference? And if there isn't one in print, is there any >indication from the Times whether it was coining the term or reflecting >usage in speech at the time? > >Alan B. > OED2 beetle n.2, meaning 2c has a 1960 _Motor_ cite using the phrase "the familiar `beetle'" about the 1961 model of the vehicle. In car circles, it was apparently already seen as a somewhat well-known phrase at that date, but still needing (so to speak) "neologism quotation-marks." There is also a 1958 cite from _American Mercury_, and a still earlier cite that is in brackets (from a 1946 issue of _Motor_) because the cite says "rather like a beetle on stilts," indicating the author does not see "beetle" in this sense as a common noun yet. OED also cites the German noun K"afer, but does not say whether this is a parallel usage, or on the other hand the ancestor of the English "beetle" usage. Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]