Silver bullet (figurative 1945)

Mon Jan 10 18:23:58 UTC 2011


        But no, Wikipedia is not wrong, or at least has not been shown
to be.  Wikipedia is talking about the modern belief that silver bullets
are needed to kill a werewolf.  The belief in silver bullets as a
sovereign remedy against evil kings, witches, and perhaps vampires is
much older.  The examples found by Joel and me both refer to the same
incident:  Allegations by the perjurer Titus Oates that Catholic
plotters sought to kill the king with a silver bullet in 1678.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: Silver bullet (figurative 1945)

So Wikipedia is wrong????


On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 12:39 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Silver bullet (figurative 1945)
> 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.
> Joel
> 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_
> the
> > > silver bullet among several vampire repellants.  As far as my
> > > serves, however, (often not very far) that information is
> >
> >Indeed. Surely you must use a sharp wooden stake for a vampire.
> >bullets are effective against werewolves, witches and the devil. Sir
> >Walter Scott, for example, several times mentions silver bullets used
> >counter such.
> >
> >--
> >Michael Quinion
> >Editor, World Wide Words
> >Web:
> >

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