Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Where Did We Get the Phrase "Don't Miss the Deadline?"

Part 5 of a 5-part series on the origin of popular phrases

When your boss insists you finish a project on time, she says, "Don't miss the deadline."

The phrase originated in Civil War prison camps.

The camps were often makeshift, without fences or walls. So to define a camp's boundaries, the commander would surround it with wooden rails laid on the ground.

If a prisoner of war stepped past the rails, he would be shot on sight.

The rails became known as the "deadline."

The phrase "Don't miss the deadline" was adopted after the war by American newspaper publishers; in the 20th century, by all business people.
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