New political tone in America

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sun May 1 00:13:05 UTC 2011

On Apr 30, 2011, at 4:49 PM, victor steinbok wrote on the noun "reveal": ...

my files:

AMZ to ADS-L  2/15/09:

On Feb 15, 2009, at 7:36 AM, i cited:

 There was insufficient lead-up to the reveal at the end and the perpetual name-droppingness of all the references was supremely annoying.

note the nouning of "reveal" here.  fair number of relevant hits, including this one from a site of tv tropes:

  The pivot in any plotline is often The Reveal. A character is revealed as another character's mother, a god, or secret suitor or arch nemesis in disguise. More broadly, the audience is given new information which had been withheld to create suspense. The Reveal changes the nature of the plot, often pushing it from suspense towards action. A good reveal will also create a new set of questions and further suspense.

later the site names some related tropes, including two with un- + N names:

  If you're set up for this but it's then subverted by not revealing it, it's The Unreveal. When made too obvious ahead of time, it's The Untwist. If it comes out of nowhere and serves no purpose other than to be a twist, it's a Shocking Swerve.

and goes back to Aristotle:

  Aristotle referred to it as anagnorisis (generally translated as "discovery" or "recognition") in his Poetics ... He considered it one of the hallmarks of a superior play.


Ben Zimmer to ADS-L 2/15/09:

This sense has been around for a while, and it will surely be included in the soon-to-be-revised OED entry for "reveal". Earliest I'm finding at the moment is this 1975 description of Allen Funt's "Candid Camera" (snippet view on Google Book Search, but looks legit:


1975 _New Times_ 4 (Jan-Jun) 52 But now the final coup, Allen's trademark-- the "reveal. "Madame, did you know that at this moment you are on nationwide TV?"


OED2 has reveal ‘a revealing, revelation, disclosure’, marked as “rare”, with cites from 1629, 1646, 1858


ML, 5/19/04: Knowledge her last reveal:

The American Dialect Society -

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