Loose cannon (1889)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu May 17 15:11:24 UTC 2007

OED3 and HDAS have 1946.

>From the _Galveston Daily News_ (Texas), 19 December 1889

"It would in no event become, as Mr. Grady once said, "a loose cannon in a
storm-tossed ship," for the very reason that it has not intelligence enough
to voluntarily stand alone as a class and vote as a political unit.

The metaphor may also be credited to Victor Hugo, who in his 1874 novel
_Ninety Three_, included an incident about a cannon loose on the deck of
ship during a storm.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at wilton.net

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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