Fanboy! [A history]

I didn’t know, however, just how “fanboy” entered the language in the first place. It’s an interesting story, but you won’t find it in the dictionary. The word is there–in fact, when Merriam-Webster added it in 2008, numerous celebratory news stories marked the fact.

But everybody was so tickled that they failed to notice that Merriam-Webster’s definition stunk. A fanboy, that dictionary says, is “a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies).” As anyone who’s either been called a fanboy or called someone else one knows, the boy part isn’t a reference to youth. More often, it’s a taunt, suggesting that the person in question is goofy and childish. Fanboys come in all ages, and fanboyism isn’t the exclusive preserve of males.

Merriam-Webster’s entry says that “fanboy” dates to 1919–the same year specified by the Oxford English Dictionary, which quotes a newspaper’s reference to baseball “fan boys.” The second reference to fanboys identified by the OED occurred in 1985.

(read the rest of this fascinating lexographical usage at the link below)


via Fanboy! | Technologizer


 

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