I’m back to inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent research.
In Francisco D’Anconia‘s “money speech” in Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged (the full speech is online at Capitalism Magazine), the following statement occurs: “If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.'” Is that a fact? That is, was “to make money,”presumably rather than earning it or acquiring it or all the other phrases for the accumulation of wealth, actually coined by an American?
Fascinating question. I will resist the temptation to make a crack about Ayn Rand being about as good a historical lexicographer as she was a philosopher, but the fact is that the Oxford English Dictionary documents the expression “to make money” back to 1457. It was probably not Americans who were using it in 1457.
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?