Again, following up on a Mark Liberman post
, "The thing thing", this morning, I went looking for early instances of the dismissive use of thing,
as in I'm not too keen on that vision thing
. The first clear instance I found was from a 1914 playscript by Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, The Movie Man
. Referring to the planned execution of Fernandez, Devlin says, "Don’t forget to have Gomez postpone that shooting thing.
I also searched the COCA and COHA for [th* NOUN thing], which obviously has other uses, and came up with the following time and genre distributions, which are, I suppose, pretty much what you'd expect.
I've also added an entry
for this meaning in the English Wiktionary.
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