bad news travels fast

Cf. 1539 R. TAVERNER tr. Erasmus’ Adages II. A4 Sad and heuy tydynges be easly blowen abroade be they neuer so vaine and false and they be also sone beleued. In quots. 1592 and 1694 news is construed as a plural noun, as was usual at this period.

1592 KYD Spanish Tragedy i. B2v Euill newes flie faster still than good.

1694 Terence’s Comedies made English 46 Bad News always fly faster than good.

1792 T. HOLCROFT Road to Ruin II. i. All these bills..brought..this morning. Ill news travels fast.

1935 W. IRWIN Julius Caesar Murder Case xxv. ‘Where’d you get it [a knife]?’ ‘On the Plains of Philippi.’ ‘Bad news travels fast,’ said Hercules.

1991 L. SANDERS McNally’s Secret (1992) iv. 38 ‘I’ve already had a dozen phony sympathy calls—including one from a cousin in Sarasota. Bad news certainly travels fast.’

2002 Times 1 Feb. 22 Media processes are not forensic but sensational. Their light shines uncertainly. It often distorts and can be unfair. ‘Ill news hath wings.’

Proverbs new dictionary.

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