Etymology (220)

We’ll talk a bit about this on Monday.


From the Oxford English Dictionary, available online via the SFSU library:


d. orig. U.S. In pl. (frequently collectively). The principles or moral standards held by a person or social group; the generally accepted or personally held judgement of what is valuable and important in life. Also occasionally in sing.: any one of these principles or standards.

1844    R. W. Emerson in  Dial Apr. 496   Trade..tends to convert Government into a bureau of intelligence, an Intelligence-Office, where every man may find what he wishes to buy, and expose what he has to sell, not only produce and manufactures, but art, skill, and intellectual and moral values.
1870    R. W. Emerson Society & Solitude (1871) 219   People..who sink trifles, and know solid values.
1874    S. E. Wishard Hist. Half Cent. Celebration First Presbyterian Church Franklin Indiana 226   The loss of the moral values, which the proper observance of the Sabbath had given them, left them a prey to all the vices of the surrounding nations.
1899    W. A. Haussmann & J. Gray tr. Nietzsche Geneal. Morals i. 33   The slave-revolt in morality begins by resentment itself becoming creative and giving birth to values.
1918    W. I. Thomas & F. Znaniecki Polish Peasant I. 21   By a social value we understand any datum having an empirical content accessible to the members of some social group and a meaning with regard to which it is or may be an object of activity.
1921    Times Lit. Suppl. 3 Nov. 705/4   The novelist..cannot avoid revealing..his spiritual and philosophical bias, his views of society, of religion, his ‘values’.
1938    E. Bowen Death of Heart  iii. iv. 394   You’ve got a completely lunatic set of values.
1955    Times 10 May 8/3   Restoring to Germany the basic values of democratic civilization.
1970    N. Chomsky At War with Asia vi. 299   By their willingness to die, the Asian hordes..exploit our basic weakness—our Christian values which make us reluctant to bear the burden of genocide, the final conclusion of our strategic logic.
2009    I. Thomson Dead Yard i. 17   But America ruled now, and with American values had come Burger King outlets and air-conditioned shopping malls.