It is quite possible "deadline" has two separate origins. There's the unquestioned Civil War usage, but the phrase dropped out of use for 50 years before showing up again as the time a newspaper had to be "dead" in order for the presses to start printing it.

So in both cases, it's a line (literal or figurative) you can't cross without horrible consequences, but it isn't clear the first usage led to the second one.

Freelance writer and data scientist in Metro Detroit. Covered pro sports for and the Associated Press before COVID-19. Mentally ill and not ashamed.

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