spycraft; tradecraft

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Tue Feb 11 04:47:07 UTC 2014

They do have one more citation from 1979:

    1979 /Observer/ <javascript:void(0)>30 Dec. 7/7 At every juncture of
    the break-in he made decisions that proved catastrophic, applied
    'trade craft' that was ludicrous, and misled his accomplices about
    matters that were either incriminating to himself or strategic to
    the break-in's failure.

I've also found some attestations via Google Books and ProQuest from the
1970s, all with the word in quotation marks, as in the above example.

I haven't found any earlier attestations than 1961, but one that I
recorded because it got me interested in this topic was this one from
/Zero Dark Thirty/ (2012):

    Over the course of two months he's called home from six different
    pay phones, from two different cities, never using the same phone
    twice. And when his mother asked him where he was, he lied. He said
    that he was in a place in the country with bad cell reception -
    implying he was in the Tribals - but he was in Peshawar. I'm sorry,
    but that's not normal guy behavior. That's tradecraft.

My first encounter with "tradecraft" was in reading Tim Powers'
one-sentence summary of his low-fantasy novel /Declare,/ published in
the early 2000s, which combines genies with early Cold War spying;
Powers said it's "tradecraft meets Lovecraft."


On 2/10/2014 10:43 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      spycraft; tradecraft
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Can you believe OED doesn't have an entry for "spycraft"? (455,000 raw
> hits.)
> And its treatment of the now synonymous "tradecraft" (one cite from 1961)
> is inadequate.
> In fact, the latter is now virtually synonymous with "spying."  Lo:
> http://www.upi.com/blog/2014/02/06/State-Department-calls-leaked-diplomatic-conversation-a-new-low-in-Russian-tradecraft/2281391726555/#ixzz2svyy9kVh
> "WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A private conversation between U.S. Ambassador
> to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland
> was recorded and posted to YouTube on Tuesday, a leak that the State
> Department seemed to attribute to Russia and referred to as 'a new low in
> Russian tradecraft' at a daily press briefing on Thursday."
> Observe the lack of antecedent, a strong indicator of lexicalization.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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