to vet

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 12 15:17:00 UTC 2012

I've always found this verb a little curious and even annoying.  I
first encountered it in 1981. OED has it from Kipling in its current
sense and it's apparently been in British use steadily since then.  All the
cites are British or (evidently in one case ) Canadian.  The documentation
ends in 1978 and none are from the U.S.

Since I first heard it, it's become part of the core political vocabulary.
Is it true that to "vet" (candidates, for example, or news reports, or
documents) only entered U.S. English around 1980?  Was there a particlular
"vet vector"?  (Presumably not "Lex Luthor," whose name I had to work in


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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