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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 175

  A glance through the Congressional Record is sufficient to show how small is the minority of purists among the chosen leaders of the nation. Within half an hour, turning at random the pages of the war issues, when all Washington was on its best behavior, I find scores of locutions that would paralyze the stenographers in the House of Commons, and they are in the speeches, not of wild mavericks from the West, but of some of the chief men of the two Houses. Surely no Senator occupied a more conspicuous position during the first year of the war than “Hon.” Lee S. Overman, of North Carolina, chairman of the Committee on Rules, and commander of the administration forces on the floor. Well, I find Senator Overman using to enthuse in a speech of the utmost seriousness and importance, and not once, but over and over again.  4 I turn back a few pages and encounter it again—this time in the mouth of General Sherwood, of Ohio. A few more, and I find a fit match for it, to wit, to biograph. 5 The speaker here is Senator L. Y. Sherman, of Illinois. In the same speech he uses to resolute. 6 A few more, and various other characteristic verbs are unearthed; to demagogue, 7to dope out, 8 to fall down 9 (in the sense of to fail), to jack up, 10 to phone, 11 to peeve, 12 to come across, 13 to hike, to butt in, 14 to back pedal, to get solid with, to hospitalize, 15 to hooverize, to propaganda, 16 to trustify, to feature, to insurge, to haze, to reminisce, to camouflage, to play for a sucker, and so on almost ad infinitum. And with them, a large number of highly American nouns, chiefly compounds, all pressing upward for recognition: tin-Lizzie, brain-storm, come-down, pin-head, trustification,