From cornfield and meet: early collisions often occurred out in the country alongside a cornfield, rather than the trains passing safely in a station or siding. Originated in the U.S., in use since at least the 19th century. The term also comes from the staging of events where two old steam locomotives would be purposely run head on to each other, often in a open field.
- (US, rail transport) The accidental head-on collision of two trains.
- 2007: [A 1899 man discovering ragtime:] Now they're writing music that sounds like a cornfield meet. — Eddie Campbell, The Black Diamond Detective Agency, p. 137
- (US, rail transport) Sometimes also used for a near-collision in the same situation.
- (1) head-on collision (all vehicles)
- (1) prairie meet (hobo slang)
- (2) Mexican standoff (railroad jargon)
- CHAPMAN, Robert L., 1986; New Dictionary of American Slang, 3rd edition; Harper & Row, p. 83.
- IRWIN, Godfrey (ed.), 1931; American Tramp and Underworld Slang; London: Scholartis, quoted in "Hobo Terminology", HoboNickels.org: Original Hobo Nickel Society.
- McINTYRE, Terry L., 1969; "The Language of Railroading"; American Speech 44: 243-62.