Letter: Rich vintage of a bodaciously good word

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: John Windsor (10 September) regrets the inclusion of 'bodacious' in the Chambers Encyclopedic English Dictionary, but it is certanly not a 'made-up word'. The 1993 citation is misleading.

Twenty years ago the word was in common use by American truckers, and was listed in the glossary of my book, The Cult of the Big Rigs (1977), as trucker talk for a good, clear CB signal (outstanding). More authoritatively, H. L. Mencken's The American Language shows that the word was used in the Twenties in the Ozark form of Appalachian dialect which, as etymologists know, was based primarily on southern English of the late 17th century.

Yours faithfully,

GRAEME EWENS

London, W11

Comments