Discussion:
Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
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Dingbat
2018-02-05 00:36:31 UTC
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Origin of the epithet "egghead"?

One opinion, from a posting:
The reason that people really seem to hate academics is because of their
ability to study and learn that allows them to use critical thinking to
deflate well-loved myths and prejudices. Such dislike is exemplified by
use of the epithet "egghead, a term in common use by right-wingers in
the 50s to denigrate the intellectuals and academics supporting Adlai
Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential campaign.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egghead
In the American English slang, egghead is an anti-elitist epithet used to
refer to intellectuals or people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary
people and too lacking in realism, common sense, sexual interests, etc. on
account of their intellectual interests. It was part of a widespread
anti-elitist social movement that insisted that credentialed intellectuals
were not the only smart people, but that serious human intelligence could
be found widespread among ordinary people regardless of class, race or
gender.
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-02-05 01:38:13 UTC
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On Monday, 5 February 2018 00:36:34 UTC, Dingbat wrote:
> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
>
> One opinion, from a posting:
> The reason that people really seem to hate academics is because of their
> ability to study and learn that allows them to use critical thinking to
> deflate well-loved myths and prejudices. Such dislike is exemplified by
> use of the epithet "egghead, a term in common use by right-wingers in
> the 50s to denigrate the intellectuals and academics supporting Adlai
> Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential campaign.
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egghead
> In the American English slang, egghead is an anti-elitist epithet used to
> refer to intellectuals or people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary
> people and too lacking in realism, common sense, sexual interests, etc. on
> account of their intellectual interests. It was part of a widespread
> anti-elitist social movement that insisted that credentialed intellectuals
> were not the only smart people, but that serious human intelligence could
> be found widespread among ordinary people regardless of class, race or
> gender.

Well it's a nice theory but it does rather collapse when you discover that
the origins of the term appear to be the 1900s rather than the 1950s. Its
roots would appear to be visual primarily, the stereoptypical genius having
a brain so large that the head is too big for hair and, at least in its earliest
days a term of affection often used by eggheads themselves.
David Kleinecke
2018-02-05 02:44:07 UTC
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On Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 5:38:16 PM UTC-8, Madrigal Gurneyhalt wrote:
> On Monday, 5 February 2018 00:36:34 UTC, Dingbat wrote:
> > Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
> >
> > One opinion, from a posting:
> > The reason that people really seem to hate academics is because of their
> > ability to study and learn that allows them to use critical thinking to
> > deflate well-loved myths and prejudices. Such dislike is exemplified by
> > use of the epithet "egghead, a term in common use by right-wingers in
> > the 50s to denigrate the intellectuals and academics supporting Adlai
> > Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential campaign.
> >
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egghead
> > In the American English slang, egghead is an anti-elitist epithet used to
> > refer to intellectuals or people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary
> > people and too lacking in realism, common sense, sexual interests, etc. on
> > account of their intellectual interests. It was part of a widespread
> > anti-elitist social movement that insisted that credentialed intellectuals
> > were not the only smart people, but that serious human intelligence could
> > be found widespread among ordinary people regardless of class, race or
> > gender.
>
> Well it's a nice theory but it does rather collapse when you discover that
> the origins of the term appear to be the 1900s rather than the 1950s. Its
> roots would appear to be visual primarily, the stereoptypical genius having
> a brain so large that the head is too big for hair and, at least in its earliest
> days a term of affection often used by eggheads themselves.

Perhaps the cartoons of William Jennings Bryan with birds
nesting in his hair played apart.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2018-02-05 11:16:20 UTC
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On Sun, 4 Feb 2018 17:38:13 -0800 (PST), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
<***@googlemail.com> wrote:

>On Monday, 5 February 2018 00:36:34 UTC, Dingbat wrote:
>> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
>>
>> One opinion, from a posting:
>> The reason that people really seem to hate academics is because of their
>> ability to study and learn that allows them to use critical thinking to
>> deflate well-loved myths and prejudices. Such dislike is exemplified by
>> use of the epithet "egghead, a term in common use by right-wingers in
>> the 50s to denigrate the intellectuals and academics supporting Adlai
>> Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential campaign.
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egghead
>> In the American English slang, egghead is an anti-elitist epithet used to
>> refer to intellectuals or people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary
>> people and too lacking in realism, common sense, sexual interests, etc. on
>> account of their intellectual interests. It was part of a widespread
>> anti-elitist social movement that insisted that credentialed intellectuals
>> were not the only smart people, but that serious human intelligence could
>> be found widespread among ordinary people regardless of class, race or
>> gender.
>
>Well it's a nice theory but it does rather collapse when you discover that
>the origins of the term appear to be the 1900s rather than the 1950s. Its
>roots would appear to be visual primarily, the stereoptypical genius having
>a brain so large that the head is too big for hair and, at least in its earliest
>days a term of affection often used by eggheads themselves.

There is the similar, earlier, "high-brow" which started as
"high-browed". "Egghead" is just a descriptive term for a person with a
"high-brow".
OED:
high-browed, adj.

Etymology: < high adj. + browed adj.
Sense A. 2 is probably based on the belief that a high forehead
indicates greater than average intellect: compare, for example,
quot. 1828 at high adj. 5a and contrast earlier low-browed adj. 2.

A. adj.

2. fig. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.). = highbrow adj.
Cf. low-browed adj. 2.

1876 B. Taylor Echo Club 88 No marvel of much wisdom Eustace
was,—You know him, Hal,—no high-browed intellect.

low-browed, adj. and n.

2.
a. Of a person or (in later use) a hominid or skull of a hominid:
that has a low brow.
Frequently depreciatively, with the implication of a small brain
or primitive evolutionary status, and therefore a lack of
intelligence, breeding, or cultured and civilized behaviour (cf.
lowbrow adj. 1).

1734 London Mag. Jan. 39/2 The low-brow'd Muse, that gives
malignance birth, As oft excites our anger, as our mirth.
a1748 C. Pitt tr. Æneid (1753) III. vi. 249 From that celestial
energy began The low-brow'd brute; th'imperial race of man; The
painted birds, [etc.].

high, adj. and n.2

5.
a. Of a person's forehead: large in distance from the eyes or
eyebrows to the hairline or top of the head.
Cf. high-browed adj. 1.

?c1450 tr. Bk. Knight of La Tour Landry (1906) 22 (MED) Whanne
the pie sawe a balled or a pilled man, or a woman with an high
forhede.
1597 Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet ii. i. 18 I coniure thee by
Rosalindes bright eye, high forehead, and scarlet lip.

egg-head | egghead, n.

Etymology: < egg n. + head n.1
colloq. (orig. U.S.).

An intellectual, a ‘highbrow’. Also attrib.

1907 O. Johnson in Sat. Evening Post 16 Nov. 9/1 His genius
lived in the nicknames of the Egghead,..Morning Glory, [etc.].
c1918 C. Sandburg Let. (deposited in Toledo-Lucas County Public
Library, Toledo, Ohio) Dear N. D...‘Egg heads’ is the slang here
for editorial writers.

--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Rich Ulrich
2018-02-05 22:32:27 UTC
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On Mon, 05 Feb 2018 11:16:20 +0000, "Peter Duncanson [BrE]"
<***@peterduncanson.net> wrote:

>
>There is the similar, earlier, "high-brow" which started as
>"high-browed". "Egghead" is just a descriptive term for a person with a
>"high-brow".
>OED:
> high-browed, adj.
>
> Etymology: < high adj. + browed adj.
> Sense A. 2 is probably based on the belief that a high forehead
> indicates greater than average intellect: compare, for example,
> quot. 1828 at high adj. 5a and contrast earlier low-browed adj. 2.

They should mention the science of phrenology, shouldn't they?

Wiki tells me it bloomed from 1810 to 1840, and stayed around after
that.

--
Rich Ulrich
Paul Carmichael
2018-02-07 16:27:34 UTC
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On 05/02/18 12:16, Peter Duncanson [BrE] wrote:

> There is the similar, earlier, "high-brow" which started as
> "high-browed". "Egghead" is just a descriptive term for a person with a
> "high-brow".
> OED:
> high-browed, adj.
>
> Etymology: < high adj. + browed adj.
> Sense A. 2 is probably based on the belief that a high forehead
> indicates greater than average intellect

It would seem to be international. Here they say "cualquiera con dos dedos de frente..."
(two fingers of forehead) where we might say "anyone with half an ounce of sense...".


--
Paul.

https://paulc.es/
https://asetrad.org
Stefan Ram
2018-02-05 03:00:33 UTC
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Dingbat <***@yahoo.com> writes:
>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egghead

I have found an information in the World-Wide Web:

»Egg-head (aka Egghead and “the Triumphant Egghead") is
a recurring character in a series of boys' stories
written by Owen Johnson« ... »published in 1909.«

The World-Wide Web

One can reportedly read some of Johnson's books in
book-archive sites in the World-Wide We.
J. J. Lodder
2018-02-05 12:10:16 UTC
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Stefan Ram <***@zedat.fu-berlin.de> wrote:

> Dingbat <***@yahoo.com> writes:
> >https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egghead
>
> I have found an information in the World-Wide Web:
>
> »Egg-head (aka Egghead and "the Triumphant Egghead") is
> a recurring character in a series of boys' stories
> written by Owen Johnson« ... »published in 1909.«
>
> The World-Wide Web
>
> One can reportedly read some of Johnson's books in
> book-archive sites in the World-Wide We.

Of course the first egghead is Humpty-Dumpty,
who is all egg even,

Jan
Quinn C
2018-02-05 23:30:00 UTC
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* Stefan Ram:

> One can reportedly read some of Johnson's books in
> book-archive sites in the World-Wide We.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Thanks for this modern alternative to outdated terms like
"brotherhood of man".

--
All folks shall become siblings,
wherever your gentle webs hover.
Colonel Edmund J. Burke
2018-02-07 16:31:23 UTC
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On 2/4/2018 4:36 PM, Dingbat wrote:
> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?

Look in a mirror, limey prick.
Steve Hayes
2018-02-22 04:25:45 UTC
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On Sun, 04 Feb 2018 16:36:31 -0800, Dingbat wrote:

> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?

Any guesses about origin the related epithet "boffin"?

--
Steve Hayes http://khanya.wordpress.com
Jerry Friedman
2018-02-22 05:15:12 UTC
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On 2/21/18 9:25 PM, Steve Hayes wrote:
> On Sun, 04 Feb 2018 16:36:31 -0800, Dingbat wrote:
>
>> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
>
> Any guesses about origin the related epithet "boffin"?

Not from the OED. "Origin unknown. Numerous conjectures have been made
about the origin of the word but all lack foundation."

--
Jerry Friedman
b***@shaw.ca
2018-02-22 07:33:11 UTC
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On Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 9:15:16 PM UTC-8, Jerry Friedman wrote:
> On 2/21/18 9:25 PM, Steve Hayes wrote:
> > On Sun, 04 Feb 2018 16:36:31 -0800, Dingbat wrote:
> >
> >> Origin of the epithet "egghead"?
> >
> > Any guesses about origin the related epithet "boffin"?
>
> Not from the OED. "Origin unknown. Numerous conjectures have been made
> about the origin of the word but all lack foundation."
>
See also "wonk".

bill
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