Bad news

Posted by Masakim on March 18, 2003

In Reply to: Bad news posted by R. Berg on March 18, 2003

: : Can you please tell me the origin and/or meaning of the phrase, "Bad news travels fast?" Thank you, much...Saxon

: I've heard "Good news travels fast." The saying means that favorable (or unfavorable) information spreads quickly because people readily transmit it in a chain of speakers and listeners.

: "Bad news travels fast": 2340 hits on Google
: "Good news travels fast": 1650 hits on Google

Sad and heuy tydynges be easly blowen abroade be they neuer so vaine and false and they be also sone beleued. (R. Taverner, tr., _Erasmus' Adages_, 1539)
Euill news neuer commeth to late. (E. Hellowes, _Guevara's Epistles_, 1574)
Euill news flie faster still than good. (T. Kyd, _The Spanish Tragedy_, 1592)
Ill news, madam, Are swallow-wing'd, but what's good walks on crutches. (P. Massinger, _Picture_, 1629)
All these bills . brought . this morning. Ill news travels fast. (T. Holcroft, _The Road to Ruin_, 1792)
There's a true saying that nothing travels so fast as ill news. (C. Dickens, _Martin Chuzzlewit_, 1843-44)
"Where'd you get it [a knife]?" "On the Plains of Philippi." "Bad news travels fast," said Hercules. (W. Irwin, _Julius Caesar Murder Case_, 1935)