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Nowadays, the word "spoilers" is frequently used to describe a twist, major plot point, or anything which, if known beforehand, might spoil the experience of reading a story. This whole concept hasn't always been much of a thing, and I'd assume that the word "spoiler" itself in this meaning is an even more recent invention. EtymOnline says this meaning of the word "spoiler" goes back to (at least?) 1982, but it doesn't provide any citation for this claim nor say where "spoiler" was used in 1982.

When and where was the term "spoiler" in this meaning first used/introduced?


Not a duplicate of History of Spoilers which is about the history of the concept; this question is about the history of the term.

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  • I would guess it comes from spoilsport which has origins between 1795 and 1820 dictionary.com/browse/spoilsport – rosends Feb 3 at 16:38
  • Just like spoiled food ruins the dining experience, spoiled plot points ruin the entertainment experience (YMMV of course). – Skooba Feb 3 at 20:17
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    From the online OED: colloquial (originally U.S.). A description of a significant plot point or other aspect of a movie, book, etc., which if previously known may spoil a person's first experience of the work. Esp. in written contexts, warning the reader of an impending revelation of this type. 1971 D. C. Kenney in National Lampoon Apr. 33/1 On the following pages, the National Lampoon presents, as a public service, a selection of ‘spoilers’ guaranteed to reduce the risk of unsettling and possibly dangerous suspense... Psycho: The movie's multiple murders are committed by Anthony Perkins – user14111 Feb 3 at 23:51
  • disguised as his long-dead mother [etc.]. 1981 SF-Lovers Digest V3 #120 in fa.sf-lovers (Usenet newsgroup) 13 May Spoiler..Spoiler..Spoiler... The island of the High-tech civilization is Krakatoa. 1993 E. S. Raymond New Hacker's Dict. (ed. 2) 392 Spoiler, a remark which reveals important plot elements from books or movies. 2001 Premiere Feb. 45/1 It [sc. this article] contains several plot ‘spoilers’ and should not be read until after you have seen the movie. – user14111 Feb 3 at 23:52
  • This article seems helpful: visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/… – David Anson Feb 7 at 16:32

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