Americanisms in England
More than once, during our original days, we encountered Americanisms that had gone over into English, and English locutions that had begun to get a foothold in the United States. Such exchanges are made frequently and often very quickly, and though the guardians of English, still attack every new Americanism vigorously, even when, as in the case of scientist, it is obviously sound, or, as in the case of joy-ride, it is irresistibly picturesque, they are often routed by public pressure, and have to submit in the end with the best grace possible.
For example, consider caucus. It originated in Boston at some indeterminate time before 1750, and remained so peculiarly American for more than a century following that most of the English visitors before the Civil War remarked its use. But, according to J. Redding Ware, 1 it began to creep into English political slang about 1870, and in the 80's it was lifted to good usage by the late Joseph Chamberlain.
Ware, writing in the first years of the present century, said that the word had become "very important" in England, but was "not admitted into dictionaries." But in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, dated 1914, and in Cassell's New English Dictionary, published five years later, it is given as a sound English word, though its American origin is noted. The English, however, use it in a sense that has become archaic in America, thus preserving an abandoned American meaning in the same way that many abandoned British meanings have been preserved on this side. In the United States the word means, and has meant for years, a meeting of some division, large or small, of a political or legislative body for the purpose of agreeing upon a united course of action in the...