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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 5 15:50:28 UTC 2023

As Victor pointed out a decade ago, the "charge against Jahar Tsarnaev is
'using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction,'" viz. a bomb
made from a pressure cooker.


On Sun, Jun 4, 2023 at 8:34 PM Bill Mullins <amcombill at hotmail.com> wrote:

> 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

"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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