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March 19, 2012

Blast from the past: The origin of "going forward"


On November 5, 2007, I featured the results of a great effort to unearth the origin of this ubiquitous idiotstick phrase by my (then) Crack Research Team®™©.

Alas, all those individuals have long been scattered to the four winds, only to be replaced by a succession of soon-to-be-burnt-out cases willing to work for little money and no benefits beyond an open-all-doors entry in their resumès.

But I digress.

Here, then, is the origin of "going forward," as published in 2007. Not one word has been omitted.

It took less than five minutes drilling down in Google to bring back the news that no less a wordsmith than William Wordsworth (1770-1850) used it in an autobiographical 1805 poem, which follows.

    The Prelude

    O pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
    For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
    Upon our side, we who were strong in love;
    Bliss was it that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very Heaven: O times,
    In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
    Of custom, law, and statute took at once
    The attraction of a Country in Romance;
    When Reason seem'd the most to assert her rights
    When most intent on making of herself
    A prime enchantress—to assist the work,
    Which then was going forward in her name.
    Not favor'd spots alone, but the whole Earth!


Background on the poem may be found here.

So there you have it.

March 19, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Thankfully Wordsworth used it in a meaningful way though.

Posted by: Graeme | Mar 21, 2012 11:33:05 PM

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