Posted by ESC on October 08, 2004

In Reply to: Spin posted by HENRY on October 08, 2004

: : Is it a set expression? Or is it just more than "spin (as in the meaning of a special interpretation)"?

: Spin is the favourable appearance given to matters - often political - by spin doctors. Something more than spin would require something substantial - a record of achievement or commitment.

From Word Spy:
spin verb and noun. To convey information or cast another person's remarks or actions in a biased or slanted way so as to favorably influence public opinion; information provided in such a fashion.

Example Citation:
"Spin is the perspective that newsmakers and their minions put on a story to minimize any damage it might cause. As defined by political columnist and word maven William Safire in his New Political Dictionary, spin is 'deliberate shading of news perception; attempted control of political reaction.' "
-Jill Lawrence, "Spin: Behind the walkout that wasn't," USA Today

This stalwart member of the political lexicon probably came from phrases such as "putting a positive (or negative) spin on" something. In turn, this notion of influencing direction almost certainly came from sports such as baseball and billiards where players impart spin on a ball to change its course.

Earliest Citation:
"What Pertschuk is accused of is being too ardent a consumer advocate, of 'lobbying' members of the committee on behalf of things he thinks are good, of putting his own philosophical 'spin' on options, of having excessive influence on Magnuson; in short of acting like the '101st senator.'"
-Spencer Rich, "An Invisible Network of Hill Power," The Washington Post, March 20, 1977