News, views and insight for the professional and corporate community
June 3, 2009
Many of us in the professional sector will today bemoan the deadlines that govern our every move. Whether we’re working in marketing, legal services, PR or even good old journalism, it’s as likely as not that we’re on deadline – and that we’re probably a little stressed in the process of hitting whatever deadline we’ve been given.
But how many of us know where the term “deadline” comes from?
To find out, spare a few minutes – if you can – and consult I Love It When You Talk Retro by Ralph Keyes, an analysis of all kinds of “retroterms” that survive, unexplained, in the English language. The book explains the origin of muckraking, scoop, cut and run and – one for the MPs – show me the money, among a myriad of other terms.
It transpires that a deadline would be delineated in American prisons. “Any prisoner crossing it was liable to be shot”, writes Keyes.