Tuesday 3rd January 1899
An editorial in The New York Times made a reference to an ‘automobile’ – the first known written use of the word. In a scathing editorial (which is given below), the Times does an 1890s style smackdown on someone who suggested they use the word “autowain” as their word for cars. In an incredibly formal — and condescending — tone, The Times explains how to form words and why this correspondent is incorrect.They even use the phrase “new fangled,” which makes me feel all warm and tingly inside because, boy oh boy is that fun to say. After explaining why they won’t use “autotruck” or “autowain,” The Times settles on “automobile,” as the French, “who are usually orthodox in their etymology if in nothing else” use it.