Lisa Galvin lisagal23 at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 21 02:10:50 UTC 2014

In software development and testing, "showstopper" is an official term for a priority-one defect/bug, needing immediate attention.
Lisa Galvin
Shoreline WA USA


> Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:43:56 -0400
> From: adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
> Subject: showstopper
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      showstopper
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> JL wrote:
> > 'An unsurmountable obstacle; dealbreaker.'
> >
> > 2011: This problem is not going to be a showstopper for my project.
> >
> > (Chosen at random from many online.)
> I have also heard "showstopper" used in the manner mentioned by JL for
> several years. Below is a relevant instance in 1982 in a set of
> questions submitted for a Congressional Committee Hearing. The
> questions were submitted by Chairman Bouquard of the Committee on
> Science and Technology. The term "show-stopper" was present in
> question 11 in the desired (or undesired) sense. Chairman Bouquard
> apparently referred to Marilyn Lloyd Bouquard.
> Volume Title: Fiscal year 1983 Department of Energy budget review
> [microform] : hearing before the Committee on Science and Technology,
> U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh Congress, second
> session.
> Questions and Answers Submitted for the Record
> Date: June 7, 1982
> Start Page 501, Quote Page 502
> Database: HathiTrust
> [Begin excerpt]
> ...
> 11. Dr. Leiss, the PEB made four recommendations regarding a PSP R&D
> program. Should these activities be carried on in parallel, and if so,
> at what level of effort? Is one of these technical issues a
> "show-stopper" in the sense that the process would not be viable if
> the issue were not resolved?
> [End excerpt]
> Here is an example of "show stopper" in the desired sense in 2005 via
> the Wayback Machine in March 31, 2005. A similar passage was later
> published in the 2006 book "The World Record Paper Airplane Book"
> [Begin excerpt]
> Outside it was raining, and with no events planned and the ventilation
> turned off, the humidity from outdoors had filtered indoors as well.
> Humidity is the mortal enemy of paper airplanes, making their wings
> limp, and turning record setting planes into worthless lumps of paper.
> The humidity was not a complete show stopper, but I could tell it was
> affecting my planes.  After an hour of intensive testing, only two
> planes had flown beyond the existing record, and both by less than a
> second.
> [End excerpt]
> Here is a complaint/observation about the semantic shift in a
> curmudgeon-style language book in 2013.
> 2013, Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without
> Being a Jerk by Bill Walsh Showstopper, Quote Page 256, 1st St
> Martin's Griffin Edition: St. Martin's Press, New York. (Google Books
> Preview)
> [Begin excerpt]
> A showstopper is something impressive, spectacular, awesome, as in a
> musical number in a play that brings audience members to their feet in
> applause, thereby stopping the show for a bit. In yet another sign
> that the theater may be dead, people are using the term to mean
> something like dealbreaker=E2=80=94an event that breaks off negotiations or
> otherwise pre-empts matters.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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