An article in today’s Journal looks at the evolution of the dictionary definition of inflation from “flatulence” to “rising prices,” here’s a collection of the entries throughout the years.
Samuel Johnson’s famous A Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755, had just one definition for inflation:
The state of being swelled with wind; flatulence.Webster’ American Dictionary of the English Language, published by G&C Merriam Co. in 1864, was the first to formally define inflation as an economic term:
undue expansion or increase, from over-issue; — said of currency.Century Dictionary, a well-regarded American dictionary published from 1889 to 1891, defined inflation this way:
Undue expansion of elevation; increase beyond the proper or just amount of value: as, inflation of trade, currency, or prices; inflation of stocks (that is, the price of stocks)....MORE