Words: Watershed, n.

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The Independent Culture
BONG! BONG! Yawn. Distress over the shifting of News at Ten mistakes time for units rather than forever flowing. Inevitably, reference is also made to the watershed, nowadays a synonym for 9pm.

It can mean a shack for laundry, but, of rivers, it has been used in Germany (wasserscheide) for 600 years, and reached England around 1800 for the divide where they meet. To T.H. Huxley, however, it was the slope down which it flows. If Longfellow (1878) were in charge, one would wait even longer for Tarantino movies: "Midnight! . . . the watershed of Time." The OED has no such use between 1893 and 1962, when the BBC referred to a "new 9.30pm watershed policy." In America, it is an area drained of water: most telly, then, is a watershed.

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