Posted by Ward on November 18, 2004
In Reply to: Pearl Harbor phrase posted by ESC on November 18, 2004
: Today someone was quoted in the paper as saying something was "no big deal." My coworkers and I think the incident in question was a big deal. Or, at least, a deal.
: One coworker said it reminded him of a Pearl Harbor-era person who said the gathering threat from Japan was "no big deal." It may have been in reference to a spotting of planes headed our way. Does that ring a bell with anyone? I have googled without finding anything like that.
There is a cycle to use and popularity of words, and your thought about the pre WWI period makes sense. In that era there were a lot of 'deals'. The New Deal, the Fair Deal, etc., and many of the Roosevelt era programs were aspects of one or another of these 'deals'. So it wouldn't surprise me if the expression 'no big deal' became popular in that era.