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

Page 64

quo ante. Lumber, in eighteenth century English, meant disused furniture, and this is its common meaning in England today, as is shown by lumber-room. But the colonists early employed it to designate cut timber, and that use of it is now universal in America. Its familiar derivatives, e. g., lumber-yard, lumberman, lumberjack, greatly reinforce this usage. Dry-goods, in England, means, “nonliquid goods, as corn” (i. e., wheat); in the United States the term means “textile fabrics or wares.” 37 The difference had appeared before 1725. Rock, in English, always means a large mass; in America it may mean a small stone, as in rock-pile and to throw a rock. The Puritans were putting rocks into the foundations of their meeting-houses so early as 1712. 38Cracker began to be used for biscuit before the Revolution. Tavern displaced inn at the same time. As for partridge, it is cited by a late authority 39 as a salient example of changed meaning, along with corn and store. In England the term is applied only to the true partridge (Perdix perdix) and its nearly related varieties, but in the United States it is also used to designate the ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), the common quail (Colinus virginianus) and various other tetraonoid birds. This confusion goes back to Colonial times. So with rabbit. Zoologically speaking, there are no native rabbits in the United States; they are all hares. But the early colonists, for some unknown reason, dropped the word hare out of their vocabulary, and it is rarely heard in American speech to this day. When it appears it is almost always applied to the so-called Belgian hare, which, curiously enough, is not a hare at all, but a true rabbit. Bay and bayberry have also acquired special American meanings. In England bay is used to designate the bay-tree (Laurus nobilis); in America it designates a shrub, the wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera). Both the tree and the shrub have berries. Those of the latter are used to make the well-known bayberry candles.
  To haul, in English, means to move by force or violence; in the colonies it came to mean to transport in a vehicle, and this meaning