The History Of Information

More

Info

Jennifer Schuessler checks the word's origins:

The use of the word “information” itself certainly seems to have exploded since its earliest recorded appearance in 1387. (“Fyve bookes com doun from heven for informacioun of mankynde.”) As Michael Proffitt, the managing editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, notes in an essay written for the recent relaunch of the O.E.D.’s digital edition, “information” is the 486th most frequently occurring word in Project Gutenberg’s searchable corpus of mostly pre-1900 literature. A 1967 survey of contemporary American English ranked it 346th. And the rise of digital technology seems only to have speeded its ascent. One recent survey of online usage lists “information” as the 22nd most common word.

“This is an old word with a new lease on life,” Proffitt writes.

(Chart showing the usage of "information" in books 1700-2008 from Google Ngram)

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down