[PW] who first thought that reticent meant reluctant?

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at yale.edu
Sat Mar 26 05:58:29 PDT 2022

Is "to be survive" a solecism?

Fred Shapiro

From: Project-wombat <project-wombat-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org> on behalf of solomons1pal at aol.com <solomons1pal at aol.com>
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2022 1:41 PM
To: list at project-wombat.org <list at project-wombat.org>
Subject: [PW] who first thought that reticent meant reluctant?

 At some time in the 20th century a number of strange solecisms appeared: writers started using "reticent" to mean "reluctant", and "prevaricate" to mean "procrastinate", to mention only the chief examples. (The phenomenon was noted by Burchfield in his edition (1996)  of Fowler as a small but growing thing.) I have collected many instances of these solecisms from both fiction and non-fiction books, and I want to know how they started --  who was the first to utter them, and how was he misled?  The OED is of no help here, but perhaps the Wombats can help.  What is the earliest example you know of such solecisms? Have you any idea of how they originated, and why they seem to be survive?                         Mark Halpern
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