something's IN THE DETAILS

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 2 18:40:24 UTC 1999

On Sun, 28 Nov 1999, Stephen Harper wrote:

> My wife came downstairs yesterday morning saying a fragment of a phrase was
> running through her mind which ended "in the details."  I think the
> expression is "The Devil is in the details," but I have not been able to
> find it documented anywhere.

The earliest known occurrence of this expression seems to be in the
Washington Post, 8 July 1978:

"There is an old German saying," an experienced hand here reminded, "that
the devil is in the details."

Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro at               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

More information about the Ads-l mailing list