Darwin and Einstein

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Darwin and Einstein

Postby anders » Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:39 pm

You might have noticed that Ph.D. Henri M. Day is rather silent these days. I don't think I break any confidence in telling you that he has problems with Internet access, having recently moved to Stockholm, still waiting for his own connections to be established, and he is, together with a Czech professor, very busy on a project on not too modern Chinese dictionaries.

I'm quite busy as well, although with far less prestigious things, so I can't devote much time to searching the Net (if the answers are there).

Here is what he would like to know (in my translation/interpretation):

The main question is, when are, for the first time, the terms "Darwin" and "evolution" found as main entries in major English dictionaries, or, to reduce the search scope, when do they first appear in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (and in which edition)?

A second level priority is the same data on "Einstein" and "theory of relativity".

The reason is that he wants to know how up to date those dictionaries were.

He will surely appreciate any input on these matters.
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Postby Slava » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:31 pm

It's been some 4.5 years since this post, and the posters are silent, though Henri did perk up one day a while ago, so answering is rather odd, however...

Doesn't the OED often cover this kind of information? It would, at the very least, indicate when the term "Darwinism" first entered the language.

Have search engines evolved enough in the last 4 years to make this information easy to find?


Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:38 am

I managed to find on-line copies of Webster's 1828 and 1913 editions.

The word "Darwin" does not appear to be in either.
The 1913 edition had this under "evolution"
6. (Biol.) (a) A general name for the history of the steps by which any living organism has acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish it; a gradual unfolding of successive phases of growth or development. (b) That theory of generation which supposes the germ to preëxist in the parent, and its parts to be developed, but not actually formed, by the procreative act; -- opposed to epigenesis.

The 1828 edition does not have a definition of "evolution" related to biology.

"Einstein" does not appear in either edition.
"relativity" does not appear in the 1828 edition
"relativity" appears in the 1912 edition, but has nothing to do with physics, which is not too surprising when you consider Einstein was developed his theory in the period between 1907 and 1915, and the epoch-making early confirmation of the theory didn't occur until the total eclipse of the sun in 1919.

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