6. “Friendly fire”
“Friendly fire” is a term coined to describe accidental attacks on troops by their own side. The Poynter Institute credits Ben Zimmer of Language Log for finding the first citation of the phrase in the New York Times on Oct. 18, 1918, during World War I.
7. “Going AWOL”
“AWOL” stands for “absent without leave,” and began as a way of describing members of the military who left their base or their post for extended periods without permission as early as 1767 in Britain. It was first used by the U.S. military during World War I, pronounced as four separate letters. During World War II, it was first pronounced as a single word .
8. “Gung ho”
“Gung ho” entered English as the motto of a U.S. Marine unit operating in the Pacific during World War II. It comes from a Chinese phrase meaning “work together” or “work in harmony” and was originally the slogan of a Chinese industrial company.
“Hooah” (and its variants, “hooyah” and “oohrah”), used as a battle cry by members of various branches of the American armed forces, may date all the way back to a phrase uttered by a Seminole chief in the early 1800s. It might also be a World War II coinage – a pronunciation of the acronym “HUA,” meaning “heard, understood, and acknowledged” – an acknowledgement by soldiers that they’d received an officer’s orders.
10. “Hurry up and wait”
A phrase that detractors would say sums up military life, “Hurry up and wait” is a reference to the practice of rushing soldiers to the front lines, only to make them wait for extended periods before they see action. It is probably a U.S. Army term from the 1940s.
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