The whole shooting match [1880]

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 7 03:54:25 UTC 2013

Sorry, I've probably just missed earlier posts (or discussions
elsewhere) devoted to early examples of "the whole shooting match,"
but here are at least a few that predate that offered by the OED
(1896).  I'm assuming that the 1880 usage isn't just a case of "the
whole shooting match" = fireworks display (in the sense that fireworks
are shot), but I could be wrong about that.  In any event, I at least
feel that the 1882 usage as an indicator of an idiom is pretty solid.

-- Bonnie


The reservoir is recommended as the boss place to have the display of
fire works on the 4th of July.  The level of the ground there is
fifty-two feet higher than the "down town" part of the city, and
parties could sit right at their south windows and take in the whole
shooting match.  [From "Happenings," The Daily News (Fort Wayne,
Indiana), 18 May 1880, p. 1, col. 4, via]

If when everything goes wrong and you are tempted to sell out the
whole "shooting match," it is time nature was assisted, and you will
find no better invigorator than the renowned Pacific Liver Pills.
Even the name signifies calm, hence they calm all troubles that the
human flesh is heir to.  [Logansport (Indiana) Daily Journal, 29
December 1881, p. 9, col. 3, via  This
advertisement was published in a lot of newspapers in the 1880s.]

The elections last Tuesday indicate that the people are as tired of
the republican party as they are of the bosses.  The whole shooting
match must go.  [The Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daily Sentinel, 13 November
1882, p. 2, col. 2, via]

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list