The attributive use of "quality", as in "quality workmanship", is sometimes questioned. The alternative that nobody will object to is "high-quality" (for which OED's first citation is from 1910). OED's first citation of "quality" in the sense "high quality, excellence" is from Shakespeare (1606): "The Grecian youths are full of qualitie, Their loving well composed, with guift of nature." (Troilus and Cressida, IV iv). It seems to have been in steady use since then. The proverb "Quality is better than quantity" is first recorded in 1604 in the form "The gravest wits [...] The qualitie, not quantitie, respect." The attributive use of "quality" is another matter. OED has a citation of "quality air" from 1701; but there is only scattered evidence between then and the following note in _A Manual for Writers_, by John Matthews Manly and John Arthur Powell (University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1915): "~Quality~ is grossly misused as an adjective; fortunately the misuse is confined almost entirely to advertisements, where all sorts of violence are done to the language: 'Quality clothes! Built (!) from the most exclusive (!) designs.'" The next dictionary evidence after the OED's citation is the listing in Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1934), which labels it "colloquial, chiefly U.S.". Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1959 edition, calls it "vulgar". Modern dictionaries do not give it a usage label. It is attacked by Morton S. Freeman (_A Handbook of Problem Words and Phrases_, ISI, 1987) and by James Kilpatrick (_Fine Print: Reflections on the Writing Art_, Andrews and McMeel, 1993), and prohibited by _The Globe and Mail Style Book_ (Penguin, 1995). It is defended by Theodore Bernstein (_Dos, Don'ts, and Maybes of English Usage_, Barnes & Noble, 1977). _Bloomsbury Good Word Guide_ (Bloomsbury, 1988) and _Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage_ (Harper & Row, 1975 & 1985) note that some people object to it. The term "quality time", meaning "time spent in social interaction with another person, especially one's young child", dates from 1980. It is widely derided as faddish. "High-quality time" is not used. In England, up-market, broadsheet newspapers have been called "the quality papers" since 1961. Other words that have acquired similarly specialized meanings are: "fortune" meaning "good fortune" (dates from 1390, and had precedent in Latin); "luck" meaning "good luck" (1480); "behave" meaning "to behave properly" (1691); "criticize" meaning "to criticize unfavourably" (1704); "temper" meaning "ill-temper, short temper" (1828); "class" meaning "high class, elegance" (1874; informal; originally a sports term; the term "class act" dates from 1976); "temperature" meaning "feverish temperature" (1898; informal; an ironic development, since "temperature" once meant to be in temper, to be free from the distemper that fever indicates); and "attitude" meaning "hostile attitude" (1962; U.S. informal; probably from such phrases as "You'd better change your attitude" and "I don't like your attitude"). Context usually indicates the specialized meaning, e.g., in "He has a temper"; one would have no occasion to want to say, "He has a temper, but I'm not going to tell you whether it's long or short or anything else about it."
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