Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hollywood, n.

I'm signed up with the OED (Oxford-English Dictionary) to receive a word of the day.
Yesterday's word was Hollywood.
The OED offers the history of each word and the first time it appeared in print so I was rather surprised at this

Hollywood, n.
Etymology: < the name of Hollywood, a region near Los Angeles in California, the chief production centre of the U.S. cinema business.
  Generally, the American type of moving picture, its characteristics and background. Also attrib. or as adj. and Comb.
1926  A. Huxley Jesting Pilate ii. 198 What is this famous civilisation of the white man which Hollywood reveals?
1928  H. Crane Let. 27 Apr. (1965) 325 She ought to be a little different than the typical Hollywood hostess.
1929  E. Wallace Red Aces i. 218 A high-class school at Brighton, where girls are taught to‥use lipstick and adore the heroes of Hollywood.
What?  Where's the etymology?


noun, plural et·y·mol·o·gies.
the derivation of a word.  word origin, word source, derivation, origin.
Hollywood was intended to be a housing development by H.J. Whitley in the 1880's.  The name was coined by H.H. Wilcox's wife, Daeida, who got the idea from a friend who lived nearby in Holly Canyon.  Some say she was remembering the holly at their home in Kansas.  You choose which version you prefer.  Hurd ran with the ball and filed a deed and property map.  Hollywoodland was born.  Although the sign was originally at Highland and Vine.
It took well into the 1910's before the streets were paved and people routinely rode horses down the main thoroughfares. 
The sign deteriorated and Peg Entwhistle jumped off the H to her death in 1932.  The LAND section fell off.
And as is normal in Los Angeles where they don't give a hang for history, it took Alice Cooper (yes the rocker)
to encourage the restoration of the sign in 1978 where it now stands in Griffin Park north of Mulholland.

What does this have to do with writing?

Everything.  It's about a word.

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