Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Nov 29 12:13:14 UTC 2010

Technically no. "Cable" is diplomatic jargon for a message between an embassy and the capital. It once referred to submarine telegraphic traffic, but now it's done via internet, satellite, and other means, but the outdated term remains, like "dialing a phone."

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Paul Frank
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 6:00 AM
Subject: cables

The OED defines "cable" as "cablegram" and "cablegram" as "A message
sent by submarine telegraph cable." The New Oxford American Dictionary
defines cable and cablegram as "a telegraph message sent by cable."

Is that what the cables and diplomatic cables Wikileaks has been publishing are?


Paul Frank
Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
Espace de l'Europe 16
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at
paulfrank at

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