Shotgun wedding

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Nov 12 20:15:10 UTC 2001

The Australian National Dictionary gives dated citations, but doesn't
have "shotgun wedding".

The Australian Oxford and the Macquarie have "shotgun wedding", but
dont't give citations.

Bobst also has a couple of small Aussie slang dictonaries that don't

It's not in the Oxford New Zealand Dict.

The Oxford Canadian dictionary has "shotgun wedding", but doesnt't give

It's not in the Dictionary of South African English on Historical


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jonathon Green <slang at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK>
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2001 7:10 am
Subject: Shotgun wedding

> Can anyone help?
> The first citation I have been able to find for the term shotgun
> wedding(var. shotgun marriage) is
> 1927 Sinclair Lewis _Elmer Gantry_ 156: There were, in those parts
> and those
> days, not infrequent ceremonies known as 'shotgun weddings'
> 'Those days' refer to the context of Lewis' story: the 1900s. I
> have yet to
> find any earlier citation than this and the (online) OED has the
> same first
> cite.
> I am currently reading Miles Franklin's _All That Swagger_, set in
> Australiafrom appx. 1830-70. Franklin uses a great deal of
> Australian slang,
> purportedly that of the story's period. On p.163 of the UK 1st
> edn. (1936) I
> find\:
> He paid his debts and withdrew to prepare for a shotgun marriage.
> This is supposed to refer to a date around 1860. Sidney Baker, in his
> _Australian Language_ (1945) notes Franklin's book as a good
> source of
> Australian slang, but warns that there it contains 'anachronisms'.
> He does
> not, unfortunately specify 'shotgun weding' among them.
> Does anyone know of a pre-1927 citation or indeed usage prior to
> Lewis'fictional 1900s? Or should I assume, as at the moment I do,
> that this is
> indeed one of Franklin's anachronisms?
> Jonathon Green

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