"conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman," 1923, from the name of the title character of Sinclair Lewis' novel (1922).
His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt," 1922]
Earlier the name was used in metallurgy (1857) in reference to a type of soft alloy (1875).
1910, in reference to the set of Bohemian writers, artists, and intellectuals (including E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Vanessa and Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes) centered on Lytton Strachey; so called from the London neighborhood where several lived and worked.
Women in love with buggers and buggers in love with womanizers, I don't know what the world is coming to. [Lytton Strachey]
The place name is recorded 1291 as Blemondesberi "manor held by the Blemond family," from Blémont in France. It was laid out for housing in 17c., fashionable from 18c.
"characteristic or suggestive of the writings of George Orwell," 1950 (first attested in Mary McCarthy), from English author George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair, 1903-1950), especially in reference to his novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1949). It has come to be used in reference to the totalitarian systems he satirized and inveighed against.
It is as if George Orwell had conceived the nightmare instead of analyzed it, helped to create it instead of helping to dispel its euphemistic thrall. [Clive James, "The All of Orwell," 2001]
The surname is attested from late Old English, from place names, either "spring by the point" (of land), or "stream of the (river) Orwe," a variant form ofarrow.
1610s, "a beast" (as distinguished from a man), especially one of the higher quadrupeds, from brute (adj.). From 1660s as "a brutal person, a savage in disposition or manners."
Don't object "Why call him friend, then?" Power is power, my boy, and still
Marks a man,—God's gift magnific, exercised for good or ill.
You've your boot now on my hearth-rug, tread what was a tiger's skin:
Rarely such a royal monster as I lodged the bullet in!
True, he murdered half a village, so his own death came to pass;
Still, for size and beauty, cunning, courage—ah, the brute he was!
[Browning, from "Clive"]
"principal street of a (U.S.) town," 1810, from main (adj.) + street. Used allusively to indicate "mediocrity, small-town materialism" from late 19c., a sense reinforced by the publication of Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" (1920).
But a village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to dominate the earth, to drain the hills and sea of color, to set Dante at boosting Gopher Prairie, and to dress the high gods in Klassy Kollege Klothes. Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicate to the sayings of Confucius. ["Main Street"]
OED points out that "the context shows that [Aschenwall] did not regard the term as novel," but current use of it seems to trace to him. Sir John Sinclair is credited with introducing it in English use. Meaning "numerical data collected and classified" is from 1829; hence the study of any subject by means of extensive enumeration. Abbreviated form stats first recorded 1961.
Television is not impossible in theory. In practice it would be very costly without being capable of serious application. But we do not want that. On that day when it will be possible to accelerate our methods of telephotography by at least ten times, which does not appear to be impossible in the future, we shall arrive at television with a hundred telegraph wires. Then the problem of sight at a distance will without doubt cease to be a chimera. ["Telegraphing Pictures" in Windsor Magazine, vol. xxvi, June-November 1907]
Other proposals for the name of a then-hypothetical technology for sending pictures over distance were telephote (1880) and televista (1904). The technology was developed in the 1920s and '30s. Nativized in German as Fernsehen. Shortened form TV is from 1948. Meaning "a television set" is from 1941. Meaning "television as a medium" is from 1927.
Television is the first truly democratic culture — the first culture available to everyone and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want. [Clive Barnes, New York Times, Dec. 30, 1969]