Talk­back

New Zealand Listener - - MERV SMITH, 1933-2018 - Merv Smith (Al­bany, Auck­land)

PINNED DOWN

Neil Keat­ing ( Talk­back, Septem­ber 22) is very wrong about the ori­gin of “pulling the pin”. It has noth­ing to do with hand grenades.

The say­ing dates from the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury, and to “pull the pin” was to sep­a­rate two rail­way cars that were con­nected by the in­fa­mously dan­ger­ous link-and-pin cou­plers then in use in the US.

Soon, dis­en­gag­ing from a sit­u­a­tion or re­la­tion­ship was also re­ferred to as “pulling the pin” in wider so­ci­ety. A cliché, maybe, but ex­actly apt in the con­text of the Morn­ing Re­port story.

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