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In the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera 'The Mikado' (mid-late nineteenth Century) - the words 'Yes, I knew the bird intimately' appear the circumstances which point to a pun meaning a young lady, this predates the 1915 supposed 'new' use of the word in this context by 50 years is it not fair then to assume this can be said to be a possible contender for the first use in modern times?

marked as duplicate by user067531, marcellothearcane, Jason Bassford Supports Monica, Spagirl, Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Sep 16 at 14:18

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  • I've voted your question up, since it is a reasonable and well-worded one. I've also voted as a duplicate. If that question is different, please edit to explain how! – marcellothearcane Sep 15 at 21:25
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    I don’t think that “bird” is used as a punning reference to a young woman in _The Mikado”. The speaker (Koko) is referring to an actual bird (a titwillow) who died of a – Dilip Sarwate Sep 16 at 0:19
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    @marcellothearcane Is it well-worded? – Old Brixtonian Sep 16 at 0:20
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    @DilipSarwate I'm sure you are correct. Koko has just been singing about a little bird (male) which supposedly died for love, and Katisha expresses sympathy (as he had intended). – Kate Bunting Sep 16 at 8:12
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is based on a misunderstanding of the original text. – Spagirl Sep 16 at 11:36

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