Up before the murder board

This blog is semi-closed for flu, but I must mention this. The term murder board is apparently entrenched in the USA. From Encarta:

bq. 1. communication rehearsal for press conference: a rehearsal to prepare a public figure for a press conference during which staff members put difficult questions to him or her in a rapid-fire manner

bq. 2. military military selection board: a military selection, examination, or promotion board

It’s been used particularly for the grilling of Supreme Court nominees.

But it seems unlikely to have come from the German term Mordkommission (murder squad), apparently, according to William Safire, once so translated:

bq. The phrase has a literal base in German criminology: In 1916, The Fitchburg Daily Sentinel in Massachusetts reported, “Germany’s Police: How the ‘Murder Board’ Works to Solve a Mystery.” The current Justice Ministry in Berlin confirms that the term used was Mordkommission.

(Thanks to Derek)

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