"Shoot the lights out" (1968, golf?)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Jun 26 01:59:59 UTC 2006

On 6/25/06, Bapopik at aol.com <Bapopik at aol.com> wrote:
> I like Rutgers' Quincy Douby for the NBA draft. It's said that he can  "shoot
> the lights out." We did "lights out" before, but not "shoot the lights  out."
> ...
> I thought this might come from basketball, but the early citations appear  to
> come from golf.

Here's a 1964 cite in a bowling column, with a usage I assume is metaphorical:

Chicago Defender, Feb 29, 1964. p. 20/1 [HNP Doc ID 740681932]
Last week I missed going over to see the Cascade Majors in action and
naturally someone shot the lights out!

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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