[Ads-l] “Set the world on fire”?

Tue Aug 1 16:29:09 UTC 2017

The earliest I can find "quote magnet" in print is in a 2006 newspaper article by Cristina Rouvalis on the occasion of the release of Ralph Keyes's book _The Quote Verifier_.  But using Google Books and Amazon to search Keyes's book does not reveal the presence of the word "magnet".  Nor can I find it in Nigel Rees's 2006 book "Brewer's Famous Quotations"  (although this does not rule out his having used it on the air in his BBC radio show).

_Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_ 11 Jun 2006 p e-9 col 3
"Some famous dead people, especially Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, are quote magnets."

A 1999 exchange in alt.urban.folklore includes the phrase, but the sentence structure is so stilted that I'm not confident in what is being said:
">It's interesting seeing mutation and reattribution in action (I like
>'the magnet effect') - especially when you consider that there's no
>way to re-establish a canonical True Version of the quote.

I believe that Stephen Fry suggested that British weatherman Ian McAskill be
the Oscar Wilde of the late twentieth century, granting him the quote
magnet.  "

Fred, even if you didn't coin "quote magnet", I think we all can agree that you are the quote magnate.

> I like the idea of everybody paying homage to me, but I'm pretty sure that the writer's claim that I coined the term "quote magnet" is
> wrong.  It was probably used by Ralph Keyes or Nigel Rees.
> Fred Shapiro
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Monday, July 31, 2017 11:27 PM
> Subject: “Set the world on fire”?
> Sorry, St. Ignatius [of Loyola] never said that (or these other famous Jesuit quotes)
> goo.gl/jVfJLM
> Not especially interesting, though the author does - as should we all - pay
> homage* to Fred.
> *As is the the case with "spade" and "shovel," the distinction between "homage" and "hommage" has also pretty much disappeared.
> --

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

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