Silver bullet (figurative 1945)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jan 10 17:39:26 UTC 2011

These are the literal sense, "1.a. A bullet made of silver. Freq.
with reference to the folk tradition that such a bullet can harm a
werewolf (or other supernatural being) whereas an ordinary bullet
cannot."  Scott is one of the OED quotations, but the earliest is:

1678    Trials Ireland 23   They had Silver Bullets to shoot with,
and Grove would have had the Bullets to be Champt, for fear that if
he should Shoot, if the Bullets were Round, the Wound that might be
given might be Cured.


At 1/10/2011 11:10 AM, Michael Quinion wrote:
>Charles Doyle wrote:
> > It is somewhat commonly reported--as in a novel I've been reading
> > (Elizabeth Kostova'a _The Historian_)--that Stoker's _Dracula_ mentions the
> > silver bullet among several vampire repellants.  As far as my memory
> > serves, however, (often not very far) that information is incorrect.
>Indeed. Surely you must use a sharp wooden stake for a vampire. Silver
>bullets are effective against werewolves, witches and the devil. Sir
>Walter Scott, for example, several times mentions silver bullets used to
>counter such.
>Michael Quinion
>Editor, World Wide Words
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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