BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

Do you know who first used the word boredom and when?

boredomNo, it wasn’t a teenager.
It was a 40 year old Portsmouth man in the year King’s Cross station opened.
I’ll stop teasing…the first recorded use of the word boredom is in they very long (and very good) novel Bleak House published in serial form in 1852. Charles Dickens used the word six times. The phrase being a bore in the sense we mean it (being tedious, dull) had been around for probably 100 years before that but this was the first time boredom was seen in print.
Source: QI and Wikiepedia (so that’s foolproof, isn’t it?)
By the way, while researching this I’ve just discovered that QI has never been broadcast on US TV and the team at QI have organised a petition demanding that the BBC do something about it. They have 14647 signatures so far.
I’ve just added my name to the petition in the spirit of neighbourliness — America you deserve QI!

photo credit: arbyreed via photopin cc

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2 comments on “Do you know who first used the word boredom and when?

  1. The Silver Voice
    August 3, 2013

    And what is QI??????

  2. bridget whelan
    August 3, 2013

    I thought someone would ask (but not from Ireland. I guess your chances of knowing anything about this programme depend on a) whether you can receive the BBC and b) whether you want to watch it.)
    OK – here goes. It’s a long running panel show chaired by Stephen Fry who is generally regarded as a national treasure.I’ve just checked and it has been going for 10 years which is longer than I realised. It deals in obscure knowledge (like who first used the word boredom…). Panelists are major comediennes like Rich Hall (one of my favourites), Jo Brand and Rob Brydon. They are not expected to know the answer. They get points for being witty about it or going off on a tangent taht Fry regards as being mildly interesting. points are deducted for saying something obvious.
    Have I said enough to tempt you? Do you think it would go down well in America?

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This entry was posted on August 3, 2013 by in Did you know... and tagged , , , , .
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