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Cake day: Jun 28, 2020


Etymology From red +‎ handed, likening to a murderer with their hands red with the victim’s blood. The phrase to be taken with red hand originally meant “to be caught in the act”. The use of red hand in this sense goes back to 15th-century Scotland and Scottish law. Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819) contains the first recorded use of taken red-handed for someone apprehended in the act of committing a crime. The expression subsequently became more common as caught red-handed.[1]

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/red-handed#:~:text=Etymology,century Scotland and Scottish law.


ORIGIN OF GYP 1885–90, Americanism; back formation from Gypsy USAGE NOTE FOR GYP Gyp in the meanings “to swindle” or “a person who swindles” is sometimes perceived as insulting to or by Gypsies, since it stereotypes them as swindlers. However, gyp has apparently never been used as a deliberate ethnic slur, and many people are unaware that it is derived from Gypsy.

https://choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/12/30/242429836/why-being-gypped-hurts-the-roma-more-than-it-hurts-you#:~:text=According to the Oxford English,1914%2C in Louis Jackson %26 C. R.


Isn’t it the Dark Web because it operates in the shadows !

The OED notes that the first known use of the term “Blacklist” appears to be in The true peace-maker: laid forth in a sermon before his Majesty at Theobalds written by the Bishop of Norwich, Joseph Hall, in 1624:

“Ye secret oppressors,…ye kind drunkards, and who euer come within this blacke list of wickednesse.”

The word black when used in this context refers to negative connotations, and is attested as such way before 1624. The term blackball, which is first attested in 1550, describes the act of placing a black ball into a container as a means of recording a negative vote (and vice-versa using a white ball to record a positive vote).

Even though the term was thus attested and know well before the 20th century, popular usage was nevertheless strictly limited. Use of the term blacklist first gained credence and popularity in the United States not by way of McCarthy, but rather from British blockade efforts during World War I. Over the course of 1915 and 1916 British government agencies gradually developed an implemented a system whereby neutral firms and individuals suspected of trading with or otherwise aiding the Central Powers would be denied access to Entente infrastructure such as ship bunker, financial services and communications. Cargoes or merchant vessels belonging to such firms or individuals could also be confiscated by Entente naval patrols if encountered in transit to Europe.

British government agencies and departments maintained several such lists, but only one of these were public. Officially called the Statutory List, but much more commonly known simply as the British blacklist, it became a prominent focus of hatred, not only among those American firms actually listed, but also by many members of the American media and general public which resented what was seen as illegal British interference with neutral trade. This resentment ran so deep that when the United States adopted similar trade control measures after joining the war in April 1917, the US government was careful never to officially endorse the British list, as well as avoiding referring to their own efforts by the same name.

edit: A quick Google Ngram search illustrates the trend nicely. Use of the term blacklist is extant before the Great War, but experiences a massive surge in popularity during the conflict itself. The subsequent upswing during the Second World War represents wide usage during that conflict to describe all manners of restrictions and proscriptions, many of which built on the experiences from the previous war.

The term whitelist is of much more recent origin, first being attested in 1842, and is then explicitly used to refer to the opposite of a blacklist (i.e. a list of approved or favored items).

Am I alone in thinking this is silly, the was no racist intent when the terms were coined, so why change them, other than as a cynical ploy