The principle was articulated by Russian playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (in Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов Antón Pávlovič Čéxov) and reported in various forms.
- (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, 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, ISBN 9780307266408, page 336:
- He is Chekhov's gun on the wall, destined to go off at the crucial moment.