John G (gavroche42) wrote in prouvaire,
John G


It's been over a year since someone posted the reference to the OED citing Hugo's origination of the word coleslaw.

I discovered I do have access to the online OED through my local library, here's the direct quote:

Sliced cabbage dressed with salt, pepper, vinegar, etc., eaten either raw or slightly cooked. 1794 Massachusetts Spy 12 Nov. (Th.), A piece of sliced cabbage, by Dutchmen ycleped cold slaw. 1822 J. F. COOPER Spy II. ii. 32 Potatoes, onions, beets, cold-slaw, rice, and all the other minutiæ of a goodly dinner. 1862 tr. Hugo's Misérables III. 499 To leave my whole plateful without touching it! My coleslaugh which was so good. 1871 Lippincott's Mag. Feb. (De Vere), Coldslaw apparently cut with a harrow.  1886 MRS. RORER Philad. Cook Bk. 241 Cold Slaw, 1 quart of cut cabbage, etc... Serve when very cold.

So it appears, while not the first usage, that Wilbour's translation of Hugo was the first to spell it 'cole' instead of 'cold'.  Though, as someone pointed out in the earlier thread, it was probably a mistranslation.

I found two words that can be credited to Hugo in a way, in that they are derived from his characters

1) Gavroche
[Fr., f. the name of a gamin in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.] 

    A street urchin or gamin, esp. in Paris.

1876 Times 2 Nov. 4/4 A Norwegian gavroche is balancing himself by a miracle of adroitness on the dorsal extremities of the slender shafts. 1882 Pall Mall Gaz. 8 Dec. 4/1 ‘Mo-sieu’ as ‘m'sieu’ in 1882, or, if one wishes to talk as a real gavroche, ‘m'seu’. 1921 Blackw. Mag. Feb. 251/1 Beneath the demure exterior the Parisian gavroche lurked. 1964 Guardian 16 June 9/2 Paris..adopted her as a gavroche of the theatrical boulevards.

2) Quasimodo
[the name of the hunchback in Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris (1831 ) (usually translated as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame); the surfing position is so called on account of the hunched position adopted by the surfer.

A position in which the surfer rides hunched at the front of the board with head down, one arm forward and one arm back; a manoeuvre in which the surfer adopts this position.

1960 Surfer 13 (caption) First the ‘Mysteriouso’..And then the ‘El Telephono’..And Now Micky Munoz Proudly Presents the Forward-Squatting-Left Arm ‘Quasimoto’. 1965 J. POLLARD Surfrider ii. 18 If you are a ‘hot dogger’, you're an expert, you can perform quick turns, head dips, quasimodos. 1970 Stud. in Eng. (Univ. of Cape Town) 1 31 Another form of crouch is the Quasimodo. 2006 Manly Daily (Austral.) (Nexis) 11 Nov. 97 It ended with the American lifeguards putting on a show of cutbacks, plank walking, quasimodos and every other bewildering movement imaginable.

However, the OED likes to quote Hugo (or at least translations of Les Miserables, and Notre Dame de Paris) for secondary or tertiary examples.  A sampling below

Other OED references to Hugo


The fact of being bedazzled; the action of bedazzling. 1806 KNOX & JEBB Corr. I. 295 To the bepuzzlement of the ignorant, and the bedazzlement of the superficial. 1877 V. Hugo's Miserables II. lxxix, All the other historians suffer with a certain bedazzlement in which they grope about.


 trans. To deck with feathers. Hence befeathered ppl. a.  1611 COTGR., dresse with feathers. 1635 QUARLES Emblems III. i. 33 (D.) Her dove-befeathered prison. c1850 tr. V. Hugo's Hunchback I i. 1 Some bedizened and befeathered embassy.


That begirds or encloses all round. 1877 F. C. L. WRAXALL Hugo's Miserables V. xviii. 11 The masonry of the begirding drain.


55. carry through. trans. To conduct or bring safely through difficulties, or a crisis; to prosecute to the natural end.
1605 SHAKES. Lear I. iv. 3 My good intent May carry through it selfe to that full issue For which I raiz'd my likenesse. 1832 Blackw. Mag. Jan. 67/2 It is by similar means that conservative meetings..may be carried through in every part of the country. 1863 tr. V. Hugo's Miserables viii. (ed. 7) 163 Impudence had carried him through before now. 1874 Act 37 & 38 Vic. xciv. §10 Such petition shall be presented, published and carried through.


Hence Edenic (i{lm}{sm}d{ope}n{shti}k), a., of or pertaining to Eden; {sm}Edenize v. trans., to make like Eden; to admit into Eden or Paradise; {sm}Edenized ppl. a., {smm}Edeni{sm}zation.

a1618 J. DAVIES Wit's Pilgrim. Niv. (T.) For pure saints edeniz'd unfit. 1850 MRS. BROWNING Poems I. 75 By the memory of Edenic joys Forfeit and lost. 1862 D. WILSON Preh. Man iii. (1865) 22 The moral contrast which the savage presents to our conceptions of Edenic life. 1877 WRAXALL tr. V. Hugo's Miserables IV. v. 4 The Edenization of the world.

However, I think it's great that the first figurative usage of the word, 'genuflect' is the following:

1881 A. AUSTIN in Macm. Mag. XLIII. 406 The poet before whom Mr. Swinburne..bows and bobs and genuflects an almost countless number of times in the course of the paper on which I am commenting{em}to wit, M. Victor Hugo.

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