Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Quick, what first comes to mind when I say “silent but deadly”?
Is it farts?
Around 1960, I was hanging out in St. Joseph, Michigan with my buddy Danny Bingham, who was well-known for his farting prowess, in which he took great pride. Suddenly, much to Danny’s amusement, I was overcome with the horrible stench of a fart which had not been announced with the usual warning sound. After I caught a few breaths of fresh air and Danny stopped laughing, I labeled such farts “silent but deadly” and, before that conversation ended, I also came up with the abbreviation “SBD”.
Over the years since then, I’ve often heard both the term and the abbreviation used in reference to silent farts. It’s sort of hard to believe, but I think I coined a term that passed into common usage! Of course, the term “silent but deadly” predates 1960 by many years, but I don’t think I ever heard it (nor SBD) in reference to farts before then. So I guess I couldn’t say I coined a term, but I may have coined a usage that became popular, spreading slowly like a sort of gas from 1960 St. Joseph Michigan to gradually cover the world. It would be nice to know I made a lasting contribution to the language.
Does anyone here have any evidence of “silent but deadly” or “SBD” being used to describe a fart before about 1960?