Talk:narrow-minded

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Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

could someone help me track down the origin of this phrase. How far back does it go and what was the original context in which it was used. I know what it means, but the phrase had to be new at one point and wondered if anyone had the history of this phrases

Google Book Search isn't very good with dates, and anyway isn't a very complete index, but is still useful for such questions. Using it, the earliest quotation I can get a clear date for is 1723, by which point the term already seemed to have its modern meaning:
  • 1723, Sir Richard Blackmore, A True and Impartial History of the Conspiracy Against the Perſon and Government of King William III, Of Glorious Memory, In the Year 1695,[1] James Knapton, page 61,
    The King knows he is the common Father of the Country, and, as ſuch, is to conſult, procure and advance the Good of his People, that is, their Good in general, with regard to their Affairs Abroad, as well as thoſe at Home, and reſpecting Time to come, as well as the preſent, and this he has been hitherto, and is ſtill doing, notwithſtanding the Cenſures of ſome, that are partial, narrow-minded, and of ſhort Sight.
RuakhTALK 02:39, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The Online Etymology Dictionary puts the first attested use in 1625. DCDuring TALK 03:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
That use is in Ben Jonson's The Staple of News, available online here: "A narrow-minded Man! My Thoughts do dwell / All in a Lane, or Line indeed: No Turning, / Nor scarce Obliquity in them." This was performed in 1625, but the OED conservatively dates this quote to 1631, the date of actual publication. -- Visviva 12:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Interesting -- for first attested use of the hyphenated compound term "narrow-minded". However, it would also be interesting to further address the original question and find when and where this particular metaphor was first expounded. Perhaps older cites proclaiming someone "of narrow mind" or something. I'd love to know who first put this metaphor into our language. Chaucer? The Greeks? The Chinese? -- Thisis0 18:55, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it was orginally a deliberate play on the opposite "broad-minded", which seems to be rather earlier. Widsith 19:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)