cocktail = deadly mixture

Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Thu May 13 11:33:57 UTC 2010

I take it that we're all supposed to top-post. For what it's worth
(not much), the phrase "cocktail for disaster" was once used in a
British parliamentary debate in 1990:


What I love about the internets is that even regular Joe Blows like me
get to make contributions to scholarship, not matter how insignificant
and ephemeral. I get to be famous for a d-second, to coin a word, the
time it takes you hit the delete key and forget this post.


Paul Frank
German, French, Chinese > English
Rue du Midi 1, Aigle, Switzerland
cellphone: +41 (0)77 409 6132
paulfrank at

On 13 May 2010 13:13, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â cocktail = deadly mixture
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> For years TV and radio news have liked to use the word  _cocktail_ as the
> default metaphor for almost any kind of
> mixture, especially if threatening.
> CNN had provided an unusually good ex. this morning. Â As an undersea video
> showed clouds of oil and natural gas belching forth from the severed BP
> pipeline, the combination was described as "a cocktail for disaster."
> Note the syntactical blend with "recipe for disaster."
> JL

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