Saunders Mac Lane reports that the contents of his 1942 paper (joint with Samuel Eilenberg), that first introduced categories, were then referred to (in the words of prominent representatives of the mathematical community of that time?) as "general abstract nonsense''. While today the term is mostly used, especially by practitioners, as an implicit recognition of deep mathematical perspectives (rather than in a derogatory sense), is it correct that the tone was actually sarcastic, to say the least, in the early days of the subject? Or is it a falsehood? Could you point me out some references (more focused on this than Mac Lane's article from the above link) in support of one or other of the two versions? Thanks in advance for any help.

**Added later.** According to the bibliography included in the Wiki article linked by Robert Israel in his answer below, the term *general abstract nonsense* is believed to have been coined by Norman Steenrod - and surely it was *not* intended by him as a putdown (in spite of what happens today, in some fringes of the mathematical community). On the other hand, I'm now particularly intrigued (and, I must really confess, a little bit puzzled) by P.A. Smith's, let's say, warm comments about Eilenberg and Mac Lane's *General Theory of Natural Equivalences*, as they are reported by Michael Barr in an old thread from the Category Theory mailing list (dating back to May 1998).

Does anybody know if Smith's comments are taken from a letter, review, or anything else appearing in a journal, book, etc.? If so, have they ever been "revised" by Smith?