Re: Sea Change & etymological sources

karl h schwerin (schwerin@UNM.EDU)
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 09:47:46 -0700

Hi Cat - A very interesting commentary on this phrase. Just exactly
where in 'The Tempest' does the phrase occur?

On Mon, 20 Nov 1995, Dorothy J.
Cattle wrote:

> One answer to Doug Hanson's query about the origin of the phrase "sea
> change": We tracked down at least an important "origin" for the phrase;
> it comes from Shakespeare - The Tempest - Full fathom five ... If one
> looks it up in The Tempest, one'll understand the kind of
> "transformation" it started out to mean -- probably not what Bill Gates
> or Newt have in mind when they use it. A former Navy person hadn't a
> clue about the phrase but thought it plausible to come out of a past
> century's mariners observations/lore, etc. I do not believe it is a
> "new" phrase in American usage although it may be undergoing a resurgence
> now until overuse or misuse kills it back once again. Someone can look
> it up in an Oxford English dictionary. We tracked the Tempest ref down
> through an online Bartlett's Fam. Quotations. Not aware of the Oxford
> English dictionary being online but it wouldn't surprise me.

I don't know that the OED is online, but it is available on CD-Rom
(Windows and Macintosh versions) from Oxford Univ. Press for a mere $895
(discounted to $795 until 31 January 1996)

Karl Schwerin SnailMail: Dept. of Anthropology
Univ. of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131

Much charitable endeavor is motivated by an unconscious
desire to peer into lives that one is glad to be unable
to share. . . . . Edward Sapir