The History Of Information

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)

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

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 Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

Just In