Before 1958, There Was No Way to Say That Something Was Stackable



While I wait patiently for someone to send a bomb into my doorway,¹ I were distracted once again by somebody pointing me into Merriam Webster’s listing of phrases which first appeared in a given year. I’ve looked at it before, but it must have been a while ago since I didn’t notice one word specifically that’s been living in my mind rent-free for the past four years:

Dexamethasone: a synthetic glucocorticoid C22H29FO5 utilized especially as an anti-inflammatory agent

The evil dex turned 60 this year, just like me! Well, 61, anyway, in accordance with Wikipedia. But nobody wrote about it before 1958.

Merriam Webster also claims that 1958 was the very first time that many mathematical phrases were observed in print: Cartesian product, linear regression, multiplicative identity, multiplicative inverse, percent point, and two’s match. I am able to buy the previous one, but others seem improbable to have first been written down in 1958.

Allegedly, my birth also lays claim to sex kitty, applications, tesla, prequel, and stackable. I wonder what prequel was composed in 1958 which gave rise to this neologism? I guess that these days it takes less time to research it up than it will to actually ask the question. And this is:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term “prequel” first appeared in print in 1958 in an article by Anthony Boucher at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, used to explain James Blish’s 1956 story They Shall Have Stars, which expanded in the story printed in his previous 1955 work, Earthman Come Home.

And there you have it.

¹Marian does not enjoy this joke, incidentally.

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