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Of course it was really *John *Adams who said "Facts are stubborn things." Misquoting the Founders can be found everywhere. (No criticism meant of Professor Berson; simply pointing out an error in his source.) James Kabala www.pickeringandchatto/churchstate On Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 9:02 AM, John Saillant <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > The earliest quotation for "brush-fire/brushfire" in the OED is 1850. > > > > The earliest quotation for "irate" in the OED is 1838. (Surprised me.) > > > > 'Nuff said? > > ---------- > > I imagine the researchers have already found this passage from William > > Bunch, "The backlash : right-wing radicals, hi-def hucksters, and paranoid > > politics in the age of Obama" (2010); preview from Google Books: > > > > "The quote is also completely bogus---apparently an indirect effort at a > > paraphrase from a 1987 article in Parade magazine that somehow wrongly > > morphed into a direct quotation from Adams over the years, even though the > > source, tellingly, is never cited. (In fact, the word "irate" was not > > common usage in the 1770s', and the term "brush fire" was not popularized > > until the twentieth century.) Now here's something that Adams really did > > say: "Facts are stubborn things." > > ---------- > > "Keen on" seems possible, although "on" specifically perhaps is unusual > > (see below for "keen upon"). > > > > The OED has "keen, adj." in sense 6.a., "a. Of persons: Eager, ardent, > > fervid; full of, or manifesting, intense desire, interest, excitement, etc. > > Also, of desire, feeling, etc.: Intense." dating from the late 1300s. A > > quotation close to Adams' time: > > 1776 A. Smith Inq. Wealth of Nations I. i. i. 11 When he first begins the > > new work he is seldom very keen and hearty. > > > > The OED also has 6.b, "Const. about, against, at, for, ćof, or with inf.; > > also colloq. on (upon): interested in; also, sweet on, in love with". No > > quotations specifically with "on" until 1889, but the following from the > > early 18th century: > > > > 1711 E. Budgell Spectator No. 116. 4 Sir Roger is so keen at this Sport. > > 1714 Swift Some Free Thoughts upon Present State Affairs (1741) 12 Men > > were not so keen upon coming in themselves. > > > > Joel Berson --