antedating "Mexican standoff" (OED/HDAS 1891)

sclements at NEO.RR.COM sclements at NEO.RR.COM
Fri Jul 26 13:49:26 UTC 2013

Using Genealogy Bank, I may have found the source, a story in the 19 March 1876 _Sunday Mercury_ (New York), p. 2/col. 5
(and yes, I viewed the masthead--very necessary)

Headline for a story by an "F. Harvey Smith" --"Mexican Stand-Off."  The term was used more than once in the body of the story.

The gist was that the writer was employed by a mining company in Mexico for some months, was riding to a town and was joined by a Mexican heading the same way.  The next day the Mexican National pulled a gun and said that he was sorry but he'd have to take the American's watch, purse and jewels.  The writer asked for mercy and the Mexican thought and said "we will call it a stand-off," but asked again for the writers valuables.  He was planning to kill the American, but relented on that point.

The best exerpt I can provide is in the ending to the story and spoken by the Mexican bandit--

  "Go-!" said he sternly then.  "We will call it a stand-off, a Mexican stand-off, you lose you money, but you save your life!"

Sam Clements

The American Dialect Society -

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