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I notice that the word “phrasedick” is a favorite of yours.
If you want to join the phrasedick fellowship, send along an earlier usage and get an effusive accolade.
But the key task of the phrasedick is to find earliest uses of the current sense of “a course that leads inexorably to disaster.”
The phrasedick Fred Shapiro at Yale tracked it back in its current sense to a 1961 usage by Thomas Schelling in Operations Research magazine: “Measures to locate and design our strategic forces so as to minimize collateral damage.”
However, the indefatigable legal phrasedick Fred Shapiro, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations, searched the Westlaw database and found a 1922 decision by Illinois chief justice Floyd E.
He is a superb phrasedick, advertising for and reporting on origins of current slang expressions.