[Ads-l] Go postal

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 30 20:05:44 UTC 2015

Not to impugn anyone's recollection, but I didn't encounter "go postal"
until the ca.1993 IIRC. (The relevant cards in the secret files seem to
have been misplaced.)

Nor did my students report it to me before then.  It doesn't appear in
various early 1990-1995 slang dictionaries or in NewspaperArchive in the
'80s or very early '90s.

My Connie Eble and Pamela Munro books have submerged under several fathoms
of clutter, but I doubt the phrase appeared before ca1994 in those places

If Wilson and Victor are correct, this demonstrates once again that even in
the world of pre-Twitter mass media, it could still take a few years for
even a virtually transparent expression to catch on.


On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 10:54 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       victor steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Go postal
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Seeing that the qualifying event was in 1986, it seems doubtful that the
> phrase would take five years to take root. Following the shooting of 14
> people in 1986, there were two other incidents of "workplace violence" with
> several months, so I'd expect the coinage to have occurred some time in
> 1987, which matches my recollection, relative to my timeline (I graduated
> in 1987, followed by a year in Columbus, OH, then two more years in
> Cambridge, MA, and I would have heard the expression prior to return to MA,
> but unclear if it might have been even earlier, still at MIT--given who I
> heard this expression from, it seems very likely and I would  date my first
> exposure to early spring 1987).
> VS-)
> On 2:19pm, Sat, May 23, 2015 Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 1:31 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > I remember the expression as being much earlier
> My memory is in complete accord with yours, Victor. Therefore, the only
> reasonable conclusion is that we are correct. ;-)
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list