He used it in A Tramp Abroad and Life on the Mississippi, and in a letter in
1875. OED cites earliest use as 1883.
See Ramsay & Emberson, A MARK TWAIN LEXICON (1938, rep 1963).
They list 7,802 words, of which 4,342 are apparently new words invented by
They checked their entries against OED, Webster, etc. It's a complicated
subject but you can read their 119pp. introduction to get a good idea of
their approach and how to treat their results.
With so many new Mark Twain works appearing since 1938, it's time for a
revised edition of this extremely useful but outdated work, and it seems to
me the perfect sort of project for an online database. Any lexicographers
lurking out there?
Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
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----- Original Message -----
From: "David Davis" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:02 AM
Subject: M-W WOTD: "galley-west"
> The Word of the Day for March 17 is:=20
> galley-west \gal-ee-WEST\ adverb
> : into destruction or confusion
> "American author Mark Twain is on record as one of the first to use
> "galley-west" in his writing. Etymologists believe the word is a
> corruption of dialectal English "colleywest" or "collyweston." The
> earliest appearance of those words, used with the meaning "askew or
> awry," dates from the late 16th century. The ultimate source of
> "colleywest" and "collyweston" is not known but is suspected to be from
> a personal name. When "galley-west" is used in speech or writing, the
> verb "knock" usually precedes it."
> [Interesting. I don't know that he made-up many words - Shakespeare a
> far greater coiners of neologisms than our boy. Does anyone recall where
> he used this one? /DDD ]
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