Spoiler (n.) is a very old term, but its usage referring to movie plots is quite recent:
- 1530s, "one who robs or plunders," agent noun from spoil (v.)......meaning "information about the plot of a movie, etc., which might 'spoil' it for one who has not seen it" is attested by 1982. (Etymonline)
According to Wikipedia this usage can be found earlier, at least from the '70s:
- One of the first print uses of the terms was in the April 1971 issue of National Lampoon. An article entitled "Spoilers," by Doug Kenney, lists spoilers for famous films and movies.
The advent and the growing popularity of the Internet has certainly contributed to the spread of its usage, especially with the expression Spoiler Alert:
- The Usenet archives compiled on the Google Groups page reveals that nerds were bandying about the phrase as early as June 8 1982, when a commenter placed “(SPOILER ALERT)” before mentioning a detail about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The movie had been released just four days earlier, so he assumed many had not yet seen it.
Was the above mentioned usage of spoiler first used by Doug Kenny, or did he just employ an expression which was already in use at that time?
What term or expression was previously used, given that movies and TV series had become very popolar well before the '70s?