[Ads-l] Earliest Use of "Cook the Books"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 4 03:46:24 UTC 2019

Useless info, I know, but, in 1963, I was accused - rightly, i blush to
admit - of "cooking the books," in 1963, by a colleague. Having never heard
the expression, before, I asked him what he meant. He explained that he
meant that I was entering false data into the record of tests supposedly
carried out by me in the work of testing the so-called "routine waters,
fuel oils, and lubrication oils" used in the Sunday operation of the
now-defunct Harbor Steam(-Electric Generating) Plant of the Los Angeles
Department of Water & Power.
Since we're still friends, I'll just email him and ask him how and when he
learned the term. Of course, that's still not a cite, but WTF? At the time,
I assumed that he had learned the term in the military, since he had just
returned to work after getting out of the Army.

On Sun, Feb 3, 2019 at 5:48 PM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> I am trying to push back the use of the phrase "cook the books" (to
> falsify accounting records in order to conceal actual financial activities
> or condition of a business) as far as I can.  Any suggestions of early
> citations would be welcome.
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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