[Ads-l] Antedating of "Weapon of Mass Destruction"

Bill Mullins amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 5 00:34:11 UTC 2023

I don't think I would count this.  The general definition (and the OED one) of WMD is that class of weapons, specifically including atomic/nuclear, biological, and  chemical weapons, that indiscriminately target masses of people.  It looks to me, from context, that the cite below only refers to armaments in general.  I think that some WW2 uses of the phrase include mass aerial bombardment, but the modern usage does not.

(It's not clear that the OED's 1937 cite should be included, either.)

> 1934 _Cincinnati Enquirer_ 16 Oct. 4/2 (Newspapers.com)  It may be that something effective
> can be done to regulate the international traffic in arms, and thus to modify the evils of an
> unrestricted trade in the weapons of mass destruction.
> Fred Shapiro

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

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