[Ads-l] circular firing squad

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 12 13:14:19 UTC 2017

Not yet in OED.

GB claims a 1983 ex., but I can't verify it.

[1983 Allan Fotheringham _Look Ma - No Hands: An Affectionate Look at Our
Wonderful Tories__ [Toronto: Key Porter] 89: There is no discipline, no
cohesion, merely a collection of individuals who march (out-of-step) to
drummers hidden in the hills, beckoning the faithful to form a firing squad
in a circle.]

1984 David G. Broder, in _Plain Dealer_ [Cleveland] (Jan. 19) 38: Democrats
form circular firing squad....Up here, it looked like the Democrats were
going back to their old habit of lining up the firing squad in a circle.

The first time I encountered the concept was ca1977-78, during the fad for
"Polish jokes." It was something like, "Where does a Polish firing squad
put the condemned man? In the middle of the circle."

GB has a similar joke (with "Polish firing squad") from 1979.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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