The word "deadline" was first used in a journalistic sense around 1920 and most people assumed it meant that "if you missed your time line the editer might kill you."
But the word really goes back to "Andersonville", a civil war prison of hell ran by the Confederate Army. The "deadline" was a line 19 feet from the stockade wall and any prisoner crossing that line was assumed to be escaping and was shot on the spot. The conditions were bad at Andersonville. I found the following quote.
July 9, 1864, Sgt. David Kennedy of the 9th Ohio Cavalry wrote in his diary;
"Wuld that I was an artist & had the material to paint this camp & all its horors or the tounge of some eloquent Statesman and had the privleage of expresing my mind to our hon. rulers at Washington, I should gloery to describe this hell on earth where it takes 7 of its ocupiants to make a shadow."
A "deadline" at Andersonville seems to have a much deadlier meaning than a journalistic "deadline".
It seems that over the years not too much has changed. Journalists still think their "deadlines" are more important than a soldiers "deadline". Maybe that is true if they are war correspondents. Sometimes their "deadlines" are the same as a soldiers
If I am ever in the position that requires getting something written on time I am going to call it my "lifeline". Afterall, a timeline requirement should mean I will get paid for it.
posted for "Sunday Scribblings"