murderers' row (1860)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Mon Jan 3 20:50:03 UTC 2005

murderers' row

* row of pictures in a rogues' gallery (sense not yet in OED):

1860 _New York Times_ 5 Sep. 8/2 In a line with "murderers' row," which
contains the portraits of Stephens, Straub, Mrs. Hartung, and others, is
the likeness of quite a good looking youth, No. 468, known as the "Goat

* row of prison cells (OED3 1873):

1866 _New York Times_ 18 Jun. 8/3 It appears that he had these luxuries
furnished to him when he was in a cell on the first tier, but since he was
brought down to "Murderers'-row" he has been denied these articles.

These are still later than the purported 1858 citation referring to a
baseball team, about which see:

--Ben Zimmer

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