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Friday, November 29, 2013

The True Origin Of The Term ‘Black Friday’

Linguist Ben Zimmer says that the term "Black Friday" has more to do with Philadelphia Police than retailers. (Damon Green/Flickr)

Linguist Ben Zimmer says that the term “Black Friday” has more to do with Philadelphia Police than retailers. (Damon Green/Flickr)

Many people assume the term “Black Friday” comes from the massive shopping day, the day after Thanksgiving, that puts retailers back in the black.

But as linguist Ben Zimmer tells Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti, the term can be traced to the frustration of factory managers in the 1950s, and the frustration of Philadelphia traffic police in the 1960s.

Zimmer says the rebranded term referring to retailers turning a profit didn’t appear until the 1980s.

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