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The first leak?

December 3, 2010

Trace the origin of words in the news, including wiki and leak, for which the OED’s first reference as a noun—‘an improper or deliberate disclosure of information’—may be traced to early 1950s America. Elsewhere, NASA has caused a stir with its report on ‘life as we don’t know it’, forms of alien life a long way from the traditional little green man . English is rich with names for imaginary creatures or persons over hundreds of years. Use the Historical Thesaurus of the OED to trace figures ranging from the man in the moon (1596) and splacknuck (1726), to the catawumpus (1843) and boojum (1904).