Useful Notes Plagiarism Discussion

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06:15:40 PM Jul 23rd 2016
edited by MasoTey
Use of the word "cribbed" comes from the fact that plagiarism literally means baby stealing.

I've removed the above text, which appeared under note markup after the first occurrence of "cribbed." I find it doubtful for two reasons:
  1. "Plagiarism" literally means the abduction of any child or slave — not necessarily a baby.
  2. At the time "to crib" was first recorded in the sense of to steal or to plagiarize, "crib" was used only secondarily in the sense of a baby's cot. Its main uses had to do with the feeding and/or confinement of livestock. (OED suggests that "to crib" comes, via thieves' cant, from "crib" in the sense of wicker basket.)

(Not relevant to the above, but I was surprised to learn that "crib sheet" dates from the twentieth century. I had originally thought that "to crib" came from "crib sheet," and that "crib sheet" was named for its appearance — a large piece of paper suggesting a sheet that might be used in a crib. Another folk etymology bites the dust!)
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