In an article for the University of Melbourne, Dr David McInnis, a Shakespeare lecturer at the institution, accuses the Oxford English Dictionary of “bias” over its citation of Shakespeare as the originator of hundreds of words in English. The OED, which saw its original volumes published between 1884 and 1928, includes more than 33,000 Shakespeare quotations, according to McInnis, with around 1,500 of those “the first evidence of a word’s existence in English”, and around 7,500 “the first evidence of a particular usage of meaning”.
“But the OED is biased: especially in the early days, it preferred literary examples, and famous ones at that,” writes McInnis. “The Complete Works of Shakespeare was frequently raided for early examples of word use, even though words or phrases might have been used earlier, by less famous or less literary people.”
Shakespeare himself, according to...
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