Ground Zero (September 11, 2001)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Dec 8 04:25:29 UTC 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Jesse Sheidlower
> Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 8:01 PM
> Subject: Re: Ground Zero (September 11, 2001)
> On Tue, Dec 07, 2004 at 10:52:20PM -0500, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
> > I just got this and don't know what to make of it. Maybe Grant knows?
> You can tell her that there are Usenet quotes referring to the
> attack site as "ground zero" by 8:57 a.m. on September 11, so
> she's over a day late.
> Jesse Sheidlower

This is a good example of multiple, nearly simultaneous coinages. The
extension of the nuclear "ground zero" to the WTC site is a natural one and
the term was so widely used in the hours immediately after the attack that a
single source is simply impossible.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

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