Shotgun wedding

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Nov 12 20:39:08 UTC 2001

yOn Sat, 10 Nov 2001, Jonathon Green wrote:

> 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.

Here is an antedating:

1903 _South Western Reporter_ 75: 985  That was a shotgun wedding, and you
will read something a good deal worse than that.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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