[Ads-l] to kneecap

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Thu Jun 7 16:57:53 EDT 2018


> 
> That's an unusual oversight from the major dictionaries. (Merriam-Webster and American Heritage are similarly literal in their definitions.)
> Figurative "kneecapping" has been around since at least 1978:
> 
> Arizona Republic, May 21, 1978, p. A6
> [Syndicated columnist Victor Reisel:] Jerry Wurf, a street orator himself and now the head of the AFL-CIO's biggest union, the American
> Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in effect the administration had knee-capped the public employees.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/20762017/kneecapped/
> 

This cite can be found a few days earlier:

Jackson MS _Clarion-Ledger_ 16 May 1978 p 5B col 2

OED has 8 Jun 1975 for the non-figurative form of the verb, and it can be antedated:

London _Observer_ 2 Sep 1973 p 2 col 4
"The Provisionals insist that none of their men was shot, but it is believed at least one of the 10 recent cases of 'knee-capping' involved a Provisional IRA man."

Baltimore MD _Evening Sun_ 8 Apr 1974 p A3 col 1
[Headline] "3 Men 'Kneecapped' in Ulster"
[later in article] ""Kneecapping" is generally meted out by the IRA to suspected informers."

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