Tuesday, January 06, 2015



The OED Online Word of the Day for today is nuppence, defined as "No money; nothing." The earliest citations are both from Andrew Lang, dated 1883 and 1886, which might lead one to conclude that Lang coined the word. But it can be found in print nearly twenty years earlier. See D'Arcy W. Thompson (1829-1902), Day Dreams of a Schoolmaster, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1864), p. 199:
What could a man do with no pennies or nuppence?
Lang was one of Thompson's pupils. He might have heard the word from his schoolmaster's lips, or read it in this book, or both.


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