Monday, September 04, 2006

All in the Definitions

Ever have a deadline that really isn't? Deadline: Make sure you supply feedback by Friday, the memo may say. Then the next Monday, you get a followup saying; Final Final Deadline, cob today! With these, I could probably wait till Wednesday, send in some comments, and still make it into the final edits.

But I think we do the word 'deadline' an injustice. Remembering back to my high school English class days, I can distinctly remember that I got this question wrong because the sweat made the ink on the palm of my hand illegible.

From the Random House Dictionary:

"The word deadline first appeared as an American coinage that referred to the line around a military prison beyond which soldiers were authorized to shoot escaping prisoners. According to Lossing's History of the Civil War (1868): "Seventeen feet from the inner stockade was the 'dead-line', over which no man could pass and live."

Be that as it may be, I see the need for a new taxonomy to describe the modern, soft, not-so-dead deadline. Henceforth, dates that can be pushed aside will be referred to as "Hurtlines" (British spelling "Pokeline").

1 comment:

Marika said...

My god, I never knew that. How horrible. Perhaps if modern companies went back to roots and adopted more rigorous methods of punishments more reports would be in on time?


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