Chekhov's gun

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The principle was articulated by Russian playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (in Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов Antón Pávlovič Čéxov) and reported in various forms.

Proper noun[edit]

Chekhov's gun

  1. (literature) An element that is introduced early in the story whose significance to the plot does not become clear until later.
    • 2005, John Miles Foley, A companion to ancient epic[1], ISBN 9781405105248, page 324:
      The episode of the sun-god's island is the Odyssey's equivalent of Chekhov's gun, announced in the poem's earliest lines as the occasion of the companions' downfall and anticipated ever since.
    • 2007, John Updike, Due considerations: essays and criticism[2], ISBN 9780307266408, page 336:
      He is Chekhov's gun on the wall, destined to go off at the crucial moment.

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