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Black market

Posted by ESC on June 16, 2003

In Reply to: Origin of term black market posted by Frances Dujon-Reynolds on June 16, 2003

: Do you know the origins of the term black market?

BLACK MARKET - "as originally used during World War II meant the market in buying and selling stolen military supplies, such as clothing, blankets, food, and truck tires.The term had also seen some use in World War I, when it entered English as a translation of the German 'Schwarzmarkt.'" From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). Another source says the phrase got its start in 1931 and meant "unauthorized dealing in commodities that are rationed or of which the supply is otherwise restricted. After a slow start in the 1930s, mainly in the area of currency dealing, the term really took off in the disrupted economic circumstances of World War II." From "20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years" by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).