With the Early Decision and Early Action deadline looming, Pomona College sent out a fun email that taught its recipients the etymology of the word ‘deadline.’ Thank you Pomona. As it’s a light college admissions news day, we figured we’d share what Pomona’s admissions office has to say about deadlines. We know we have our readers in suspense. The anticipation.
Reads the email from Pomona, “Most etymologists (those who study words, not insects—those are entomologists) agree that ‘deadline’ was coined during the American Civil War. Its first appearance may have been in an inspection report describing the horrific conditions of the Andersonville, GA prison camp: ‘On the inside of the stockade and twenty feet from it there is a dead-line established, over which no prisoner is allowed to go, day or night, under penalty of being shot.’ (Confederate Captain Walter Bowie, May 10, 1864).”
So, as we approach the Early Decision and Early Action deadline (which for most schools isn’t, we should add, until 11:59 PM in the student’s time zone on November 1st — so a minute before November 2nd), knowing the etymology of the word deadline does absolutely nothing to relieve your stress. But maybe it was a bit interesting? Maybe not. Probably not. But thanks Pomona for the root of the word?