21 votes
Accepted

Was "their" a singular pronoun in English before the 16th century?

Yes, from the OED blog: The Oxford English Dictionary traces singular they back to 1375, where it appears in the medieval romance William and the Werewolf. Except for the old-style language of that ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 31.6k
17 votes
Accepted

Is the use of X for unknown quantities taken from the Arabic word "shay"?

Most likely no. X is one of many symbols used for unknowns throughout the history of mathematics, and comes from a notation in the 1600's that used several other letters alongside X. Some Arab ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 11.4k
7 votes
Accepted

Is it true that "One-Eyed Willy" means "penis"?

The earliest references I see for the exact term "One Eyed Willy" meaning penis are from 1996: According to Do We Really Know what Love Is? A Guide for Improving Love Relationships (1996): ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
3 votes

Was "their" a singular pronoun in English before the 16th century?

I'm afraid I can't give you a peer-reviewed answer. However, the use of the singular "they" by Shakespeare is well documented. NYUlocal's discussion of the Swedish "hen", also ...
hdhondt's user avatar
  • 5,846
2 votes

Was "their" a singular pronoun in English before the 16th century?

The question could be answered by comparison of the King James Bible (1611 version) with the Wycliffe Bible (1382) but would require some considerable research. Here are two examples I found myself, ...
Nigel J's user avatar
  • 1,572

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible