"to spin"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 8 10:31:15 UTC 1999

On Mon, 7 Jun 1999, Gerald Cohen wrote:

>       In reply to  Paul McFedries'  query today about "spin,' I have a lead:
>      "The term 'spin' was coined by Time magazine in 1988, and it referred
> then to the ability of politicians to position themselves cleverly on
> complex and controversial issues.  In today's parlance, spin stands for
> fabrication:  Spin doctors try to alter the facts through a deliberate and
> reckless disregard for the truth."   [etc. etc. etc. ]

But not a very good lead, since the term was in use well before 1988.
The OED Additions Series, volume 1, has citations for this use of _spin_
back to 1978.  _Spin doctor_ is documented by the OEDAS beginning in 1984.

Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

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