Deadlines, Suspenses, and Dates Due

crime silhouette

From Rolig Loon:  “My 1889 Century Dictionary has only one definition for DEADLINE: “A line drawn around the inside or outside of a military prison, which no prisoner can cross without incurring the immediate penalty of being shot down. Used during the American Civil War with reference to open-air enclosures or stockades.” I remember learning the word, and that definition, as a child from my grandmother, whose own father had been imprisoned at Andersonville during the Civil War.”

How did a line drawn on the ground meaning that if you crossed it you’d be shot immediately, become much less lethal term meaning that something was due?  Merriam Webster traces the “Bloody History of Deadlines.”

For many years, I worked for the U.S.  Army as a librarian.   Deadlines were called suspenses and usually appeared at the top of a document highlighted in red or yellow.

S:  3 November 2020, at 2000

The term “Suspense Date” is one I heard frequently while I was in the Army. Any time someone wanted something to be DONE no later than a specific DAY and TIME, they would simply issue the order with a Suspense date.

In libraries,date dues are when your materials are due or need to be returned to the library.overdue-images

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