***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Alvin Wolfe wrote: > The first published definition of "network" was, I believe, Samuel > Johnson's, in his Dictionary of the English Language (1755): "Any > thing reticulated or decussated, at equal distances, with interstices > between the intersections." > > In his own Dictionary of Quotations, 20th Century philologist Bergen > Evans said of this definition: "This remains one of the best definitions > of network we have.... Of all Johnson's definitions, this excited most > ridicule. But the obvious is not easy to define; of necessity, the > simplest must be defined in terms less simple" (1968:483). Just in case anyone cares, I'm going to guess that Johnson's is unlikely to be the first definition of network. It is true that few early dictionaries included words that were considered to be simple and obvious to the English speaking public (by lexicographers). However, I don't think it was never included before Johnson did his comprehensive dictionary. Years before Johnson, Nathanael Bailey attempted the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language and that's where I'd look. I don't have access to the dictionary or I would check. However, its apparent "plain-ness" was likely the reason that Johnson defined it as he did. Johnson is well-known for including many definitions that are intentionally funny. I believe that the "network" definition is simply one of these. (I used to keep on my office door (before moving to a cube farm and eschewing office doors).) Consider these definitions: Cough: A convulsion of the lungs, vellicated by some sharp serosity. Distiller: One who makes and sells pernicious and inflammatory spirits. Lexicographer: A writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words. (this last one infuriated Noah Webster so much that he made an ink splotch over the definition) Oats: A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people. To worm: To deprive a dog of something, nobody knows what, under his tongue, which is said to prevent him, nobody knows why, from running mad. Or more to the point of this group: Reticulated: Made of network; formed with interstitial vacuities. (for more of same, see: http://www.samueljohnson.com/definitions.html) In short, I think that his "network" definition was meant to be funny. I'm not sure the same can be said for the wikipedia. Richard _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.