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)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


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

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down