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Overview

whodunit

Subject: Literature

Informal term for a story or play about a murder in which the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the end; the term is recorded from 1930.

Whodunit

Whodunit   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,259 words

... . The term “whodunit”—as in “Who done it?” “Who committed the murder?”—was coined in 1930 by D. Jordan in American News of Books . It refers to the form of writing invented by Edgar Allan Poe in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” ( 1841 ), one governed by a set of conventions requiring fair play in the telling of the murder and presentation of clues and the withholding of the identity of the murderer until the end. Because of the completeness of Poe's invention in its first appearance and the strictness with which writers obeyed the conventions...

whodunit

whodunit   Reference library

Garner’s Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

... (= a book, film, game, etc. about a murder case in which the culprit isn't revealed until the end) is an altered form of the dialectal question Who done it? Dating from the 1920s, this Americanism has always been predominantly spelled whodunit in AmE. When the term caught on in BrE, it was originally spelled the AmE way, but in the 1970s and 1980s the variant spelling ✳whodunnit vied for predominance in BrE. Today in World English generally, including BrE, the settled spelling is whodunit . Current ratio:...

whodunnit

whodunnit   Quick reference

New Oxford Rhyming Dictionary (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
146 words

... • dammit , Hammett, Mamet • emmet , semmit • helmet , pelmet • remit • limit • kismet • climate • comet , grommet, vomit • Goldschmidt • plummet , summit • Hindemith • hermit , Kermit, permit • gannet , granite, Janet, planet • magnet • Hamnett • pomegranate • Barnet , garnet • Bennett , genet, jennet, rennet, senate, sennet, sennit, tenet • innit , linnet, minute, sinnet • cygnet , signet • cabinet • definite • Plantagenet • bonnet , sonnet • cornet , hornet • unit • punnet , whodunnit ( US whodunit) • bayonet •...

whodunnit

whodunnit   Reference library

Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...whodunnit , whodunit /huː'dʌnɪt/ is a humorous formation, from a ‘phonetic’ respelling of who done it? , a non-standard form of who did it? (For similar deliberate misspellings that have become words, compare bovver, eejit, yoof ). First recorded in 1930 , it is still widely used as an informal term for a story, play, etc., about the detection of a crime, especially a murder. The spelling with a single letter n is about twice as common as that with two, whodunnit , which is more popular in BrE than...

whodunnit

whodunnit n. (UK prison)   Reference library

Green's Dictionary of Slang

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
40 words

... n. [SE whodunnit , a murder mystery; the ‘murder victim’ is the prison cat] ( UK prison ) meat pie. 1950 P. Tempest Lag's Lex. 230: ‘ who dunnit ’ […] A meat pie. ‘Who killed the prison cat?’ 1989 J. Morton Lowspeak...

whodunnit

whodunnit   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... informal term for a story or play about a murder in which the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the end; the term is recorded from 1930...

whodunnit

whodunnit noun   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of English (3 ed.)

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
72 words
whodunnit

whodunnit n   Quick reference

Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary: English-Italian (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Bilingual Dictionary
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Bilingual dictionaries
Length:
8 words
whodunit

whodunit   Quick reference

New Oxford Rhyming Dictionary (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
146 words

... • dammit , Hammett, Mamet • emmet , semmit • helmet , pelmet • remit • limit • kismet • climate • comet , grommet, vomit • Goldschmidt • plummet , summit • Hindemith • hermit , Kermit, permit • gannet , granite, Janet, planet • magnet • Hamnett • pomegranate • Barnet , garnet • Bennett , genet, jennet, rennet, senate, sennet, sennit, tenet • innit , linnet, minute, sinnet • cygnet , signet • cabinet • definite • Plantagenet • bonnet , sonnet • cornet , hornet • unit • punnet , whodunnit ( US whodunit) • bayonet •...

Whodunit

Whodunit   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011

... . A colloquialism originating in the United States for a detective story. The word is said to have been coined by Donald Gordon in the American News of Books of 10 July 1930 , in which he described Milward Kennedy 's novel Half-Mast Murder as ‘a satisfactory whodunit ’. See also Whydunit . The detective story is easily identifiable, because despite the ingenuity of writers who prevent the reader from guessing ‘Whodunit’, it has only one plot, basically: the solution of a mystery, usually murder. jerry palmer : in H.R.F. Keating (ed.), ...

whodunit,

whodunit, n   Quick reference

Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary: English-Spanish (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Bilingual Dictionary
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Bilingual dictionaries
Length:
10 words
whodunit

whodunit noun   Quick reference

New Oxford American Dictionary (3 ed.)

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
72 words
whodunit

whodunit noun   Reference library

The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
30 words
whodunit

whodunit noun   Reference library

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2 ed.)

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
31 words
whodunit

whodunit noun   Reference library

Australian Oxford Dictionary (2 ed.)

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
30 words
whodunit

whodunit  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
Informal term for a story or play about a murder in which the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the end; the term is recorded from 1930.
whodun(n)it

whodun(n)it n   Quick reference

Pocket Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary: English-French (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Bilingual Dictionary
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Bilingual dictionaries
Length:
10 words
28 The History of the Book in Italy

28 The History of the Book in Italy   Reference library

Neil Harris

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
10,132 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...self-published in Florence ( 1928 ), and Pasternak’s * Dr Zhivago ( 1957 ), which Feltrinelli had smuggled out of the USSR. Third on the list is another triumphant Feltrinelli intuition, Il Gattopardo by Tomasi di Lampedusa ( 1958 ); fourth place goes to Eco’s medieval whodunnit Il Nome della Rosa ( 1980 ). Further places are occupied by a string of 1960 bestsellers all’italiana , including Cassola’s La Ragazza di Bube ( 1960 ), Sciascia’s Il Giorno della Civetta ( 1961 ), and Bassani’s Il Giardino dei Finzi Contini ( 1962 ). Several of these...

Whydunit

Whydunit  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
In contrast with the whodunit, which is concerned with establishing the identity of a criminal, the whydunit has the mission to answer the question of why a crime has been ...
Leo Bruce

Leo Bruce  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
Pseudonym of Rupert Croft-Cooke (1903–1979), English author.A prolific writer in his own name, he is now more celebrated for his pseudonymous works, all traditional detective novels written within ...

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