I got an e-mail from Christian Purdy, Director of Publicity at Oxford University Press USA, with an appeal for the public to help find cites for an iinteresting class of words:
To commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War, the OED is revising a set of vocabulary related to, or coined during, the war. Part of the revision process involves searching for earlier or additional evidence, and for this we need the help of the US public.
Our first quotations are often from newspapers and magazines, and we know that there may well be earlier evidence in less-easily-accessible sources such as personal letters, soldiers’ diaries, and government records, many of which are now being made available in digital form for the first time. We are hopeful the public can help find earlier evidence for the use of some wartime words? We are gathering all contributions on the OED appeals website.
The top item at the website now is skive, meaning ‘to avoid work’; their first quotation is from a 1919 magazine article, and they’d like to antedate it. Give ‘em a hand!