Smoking Gun (July 1974)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Mar 22 16:17:13 UTC 2007

OED2 has October 1974.

A couple of cites from the New York Times that use the term. Besides
antedating the OED by a few months, they are significant in that they show
the term was in general use by the time Barber Conable, who is widely
credited with first use, used the term on 5 August 1974.

NYT, 14 July 1974, p. 169: The big question asked over the last few weeks in
and around the House Judiciary Committee's hearing room by committee members
who are uncertain about how they felt about impeachment was, "Where's the
smoking gun?"

NYT, 21 July 1974, p. 1: Representative Robert F. Drinan, a Massachusetts
Democrat who is among the president's outspoken critics, said that the
section of the summary that focused on alleged abuses of Presidential power
contained "the smoking gun" tying Mr. Nixon directly to wrongdoing in the
Ellsberg case.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

The American Dialect Society -

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