Jane Austen the apt Nomenclator

This is the first of my series of blogs, Five things you might not know about Jane Austen.

Like many writers Jane Austen was a nomenclator, in that she is the first recorded user of particular words or phrases. In her case the Oxford English Dictionary credits her with four neologisms.

This would not be unusual, however what is unusual is that all of the terms she pioneered are very apt for the ‘domestic’ nature of her works. In most cases the nature of the authors work has nothing to do with the type of word they used for the first time. For example one of the words credited to Johnathon Swift in Gulliver’s Travels is a term for the measurement of agricultural land.

The four words or phrases credited to Jane Austen are;

Double-bedded 1798 In a letter dated 24th October. ‘We have one double-bedded and one single-bedded room.’

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Illustration to Emma by Hugh Thompson

Sponge-cake, 1808 In a letter dated 17th June. ‘You know how interesting the purchase of a sponge-cake is to me.’

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Illustration to Sense and Sensibility by Hugh Thompson

Dinner-party, 1816 In Emma ‘He was much out of humour at not being able to come even to Hartfield for forty-eight hours without falling in with a dinner-party.’

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Illustration to Sense and Sensibility by Hugh Thompson

Door-bell, 1817 In Persuasion ‘Lady Russell could not hear the door-bell.’

So if you ever leave your double bedded room, ring the doorbell to be admitted to a dinner party, where you enjoy a sponge cake. You can thank Jane Austen.

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6 Comments

Filed under Georgian, Jane Austen, Regency

6 responses to “Jane Austen the apt Nomenclator

  1. leopold1904

    Loved this tychy thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such simple words. How did the world get by without them?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I always thank Jane Austen, but now I have another reason to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paulandruss

    Thanks for the great Christmas present!

    Liked by 1 person

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