I’m back to inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent research.
Who first used the term “silver bullet” to mean an ideal solution to a difficult problem?
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the term “silver bullet” back to 1678, with the definition “A bullet made of silver. Frequently with reference to the folk tradition that such a bullet can harm a werewolf (or other supernatural being) whereas an ordinary bullet cannot.” In the figurative sense “A simple, miraculous solution to a complex and difficult problem,” the OED‘s earliest citation is from the Bedford (Pennsylvania) Gazette, Sept. 19, 1951: “There are those who warn against viewing the atom as a magic weapon. I agree. This is not a silver bullet which can deliver itself or otherwise work military miracles.”
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?