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Beyond the shadow of a doubt

Posted by RRC on May 20, 2008 at 07:38

In Reply to: Beyond the shadow of a doubt posted by Alex Skylark on May 20, 2008 at 07:09:

: Regarding the phrase "beyond the shadow of a doubt", in which Bob in 2000 wanted to know the origin. It appears in Robert Frost's brilliant poem "Trials by Existence". Not sure if that is the first usage, but Frost does not typically use common phrases so I must assume that it originated from him.

"The Trial by Existence" is from around 1915. For one earlier cite, the phrase appears in Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 "The Scarlet Letter".

A quick search of Google News Archive shows hits back to at least 1819 which is about as far back as the Archive goes. There are even earlier hits for "shadow of a doubt" without beyond - no shadow of a doubt, without the shadow of a doubt, etc.