Friday, August 14, 2015


Another Mencken footnote, this one from a discussion of abbreviations:

Under date of March 29, 1935 I received the following from Mr. P. B. Merry of the B.V.D. Company, Inc.: “From the standpoint of business psychology and because of the great public curiosity as to the meaning of our trademark, we would not care to have you publish any information regarding its origin, but for your personal use, if you request it, we will be glad to tell you the history of B.V.D. ” I did not request it.

H. L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States , 4th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936).
Says Wikipedia: “The brand was founded in 1876 and named after the three founders of the New York City firm Bradley, Voorhees & Day (thus ‘B.V.D.’).” End of mystery.

Also from The American Language
The American v. the Englishman
“[N]o faculty so weak as the English faculty”
“There are words enough already”
The -thon , dancing and walking
The verb to contact

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