While we use it everyday now, the word "automobile" had to start somewhere.

And on January 3, 1899, the word first appeared in the New York Times, which was, and apparently still is, a newspaper.

In a scathing editorial (which is to the right), the Times does an 1890s style smackdown on someone who suggested they use the word "autowain" as their word for cars. In an incredibly formal ‚ÄĒ and condescending ‚ÄĒ tone, The Times explains how to form words and why this correspondent is incorrect.

They even use the phrase "new fangled," which makes me feel all warm and tingly inside because, boy oh boy is that fun to say.


After explaining why they won't use "autotruck" or "autowain," The Times settles on "automobile," as the French, "who are usually orthodox in their etymology if in nothing else" use it.

As Justin Hyde points out, this isn't the first use of the word in an American publication, but it is the event that solidified it in the common lexicon.

(Hat Tip to Joe!)

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