Monthly Archives: March 2014

From Slate: From whence “the plot thickens”?


A reader (also an academic, teacher and top-selling author) pointed us to this article exploring the history of “the plot thickens.” Because it comes from Slate, the article must contain some hipster hook, in this case a Wes Anderson film. But what is most intriguing is how this seemingly unintuitive turn of phrase spread. Just as today, when one boss uses leverage incorrectly or talks of a mute point, and others carry the banner without question, so it was in the 17th century.

And I said seemingly unintuitive — because once the article makes it clear¬†plot refers to both “scheme” and “patch of ground,” the plot thickens makes perfect sense.