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  #46  
Old 06 Oct 04, 20:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogdriver
If you have not done so, Read John Davies' "A History of Wales" - it is superb!!
Hog, thanks for the "heads up". Are you of Welsh decent?
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  #47  
Old 06 Oct 04, 20:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogdriver
Wow, much more interest in this than I would have thought.
I have had an interest in word origins for some time. I must have 6-8 books on the subject. I just haven't had the time recently to peruse them.
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  #48  
Old 06 Oct 04, 20:46
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Originally Posted by Lance Williams
I have had an interest in word origins for some time. I must have 6-8 books on the subject. I just haven't had the time recently to peruse them.
And I can't find mine.


:flag:
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Old 06 Oct 04, 22:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17poundr
Does the word' Battalion', come from the medieval english formation of bowmen known as a 'battle?'...

Or has it have another kind of relationship to the word 'to do battle'?...
mr poundr
Battalion in French is bataillon, which comes from bataille or "battle."
It simply means a group of fighters.
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Old 06 Oct 04, 22:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17poundr
Does the word' Battalion', come from the medieval english formation of bowmen known as a 'battle?'...

Or has it have another kind of relationship to the word 'to do battle'?...
mr poundr
Battalion in French is bataillon, which comes from bataille or "battle."
It simply means a group of fighters.
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  #51  
Old 07 Oct 04, 12:51
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Sinister - meaning "left side" from the Latin, IIRC: It's like the Michael Moore thing - for every claim of knowledge of origin, there is an equal and opposite disclaimer.

The P&O Line? The phrase is attributed to British service in India, with transport aboard merchant vessels operated By the British East India Company during the Age of Sail, long, long before the advent of the Pacific and Orient Steamship Company.

Not to worry - Harland and Wolfe claim to have no knowledge whatsoever of the gates that locked the Third Class passengers away from the uppercrust on the TITANIC, even though they designed the vessel and the gates were photographed by Nautile's ROV. Memory, like history, is subject to convenient editing.
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  #52  
Old 07 Oct 04, 12:51
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Sinister - meaning "left side" from the Latin, IIRC: It's like the Michael Moore thing - for every claim of knowledge of origin, there is an equal and opposite disclaimer.

The P&O Line? The phrase is attributed to British service in India, with transport aboard merchant vessels operated By the British East India Company during the Age of Sail, long, long before the advent of the Pacific and Orient Steamship Company.

Not to worry - Harland and Wolfe claim to have no knowledge whatsoever of the gates that locked the Third Class passengers away from the uppercrust on the TITANIC, even though they designed the vessel and the gates were photographed by Nautile's ROV. And George "Duct Tape" Bush can't remember anything he's ever done or heard or said, despite several billion written records. Memory, like history, is subject to convenient editing.
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  #53  
Old 07 Oct 04, 14:41
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Originally Posted by MountainMan
The P&O Line? The phrase is attributed to British service in India, with transport aboard merchant vessels operated By the British East India Company during the Age of Sail, long, long before the advent of the Pacific and Orient Steamship Company.
Aside from the fact that it's unlikely that an "upper-class" passenger would be able to dictate this sort of thing to the Captain of a merchant ship, let alone a sailing ship with limited capacity to start with, the phrase just isn't that old.

Besides which, I don't see how a merchant ship could even offer that kind of facility - given that they were ruled by the winds and given the typical hull-form of such a vessel, surely this sort of thing would only have become possible with the advent of the steamship in the first place?

According to the studies I've read, the earliest use of the word POSH dates from 1830 where it was a London slang term for money. However, it was not until 1860 that the word was first written, where it's used as a dialect term for mud or slush. In 1892, a character in a novel appears with the name surname of Posh.

There are no earlier written occurrences of the word.

It was around 1918 that the word first came into common useage as meaning something "upper class". It appears, from the evidence available, that this is not in fact a word deriving from the "Port Out, Starboard Home" myth, but is in fact a military slang term from the First World War. It's first appearance in its current form was in Punch magazine in September 1918, but legends about the actual origin of the word appeared only decades after that - and this is the era where the "Port Out, Starboard Home" myth first appears. The P&O line allegedly used to stamp POSH on their tickets, but nobody has yet been able to find an example of one.

Having said all of this, your final point is well-made and until one of these tickets turns up, I suppose we will never know for sure...

Dr. S.
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  #54  
Old 07 Oct 04, 16:21
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Khaki: Uniform color first introduced by the British Indian Army's Fronter Force Regiment while campaigning in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan at the turn of the 19th century. Tired of sticking out like sore thumbs in their bright regalia, the commander got his troops to rub dirt on their uniforms. Dirt or "khaak" in the local language gave the color its name: Khaaki in local dialect, "khaki" for the west.

Incidentally the uniforms were so successful, within a decade it became the standard color for all British and Colonial forces.
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Old 07 Oct 04, 16:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17poundr
Dear sinsiter, I visited the fifth sinister battalion, and was somewhat confused, I could not find discussions, I managaged to register, and hopefully post a question to the guy in charge of air games (I need to know about ubi soft's Sturmovik and multiplay on the Finnish fast connection ASDL)...
Otherwise, I couldnt find a forum even to suck up to you for rank!!!
According to the Forums there, you have definitely signed up...so I don't know what the problem is.

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  #56  
Old 07 Oct 04, 17:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMan
tank: originally a deception term used by the British to conceal the introduction of the first AFV's in WWI. Their manufacture was attributed to water tank works, and the finished product shipped to the front as "tanks". Now used universally as a term for AFV's.

Petard: an early form of satchel charge which was carried up to and deposited in front of a wall or gate to blast an opening. Notorious for unreliable and often early detonation, hence the origin of the expression "hoist by his own petard," meaning "blew himself up".

STRAC: an Army acronym for the revised forces in the early 50's meaning Skilled, Tough, Ready Around the Clock. Modified in the field to Stupid Trooper Running Around in Circles or Scram! The Russians Are Coming!

The salute: one version has it that was originated by a British soldier who threw his hand up to his brow to avoid being dazzled by the beauty of Queen victoria during a review. Another version is that it derived from the practice of British naval ratings to tug their forelocks as a sign of respect and obedience. another traces it to the practice of knights in armor of raising their helm to show their face and thus identify themselves to others.

Throwing down the gauntlet: an expression meaning to issue a challenge, derived from the ancient knightly custom of throwing the gauntlet from a knight's armor onto the ground in front of the one he was challenging. The obverse, "taking up the gauntlet", meant accepting a challenge and still does.

POSH: currently used to describe something classy or well appointed. The term originated during British rule in India, when the wise travelers knew that the best cabins to take advantage of shade and comfort on British Indiamen were Port Outbound and Starboard Home.

Shaking hands: this practice originated as a means of showing the one you were meeting that your right hand, your weapon hand, was empty and thus your intention was peaceful. The other clasped your right hand in his, thus insuring that weapons were safely stowed and no malice intended by either party.

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey: According to naval historians, this expression originated from the days of sail and cannons, when ready rounds were kept next to guns by means of a brass plate with depressions in it to hold the cannonballs which was known as a "monkey". Extreme cold weather caused the brass to contract slightly, which pushed the cannon balls off the plate.

knot: A naval measurement of speed, determined by tossing a log overbaord attached to a line knotted at regular intervals. Counting the knots passing through the hand while timing the passage of the log gave the ship's speed in "knots".

Weigh anchor: a naval term derived from early custom of waiting until the capstan had hauled the anchor into the vertical hanging position, free of the bottom at which time the seaman responsible would call out: "the anchor is aweigh", taken to mean "away from the bottom and any obstructions."

Going to the head: a naval term meaning to use the bathroom. Sailing ships had no toilets. Sailors went to the area of the bow which housed the bowsprit, supported by a structure on either side called a "cathead." There they could void into the sea. Hence: "Im' going to the 'head".
I could have sworn that STRAC came from the "STRategic Army Corps" that the U.S. Army had back in the cold war, who were supposed to be able to fight at a moment's notice. I had never heard of Skilled, Tough, Ready around the Clock. Also, note that most military members who use this word (or at least at the Air Force Academy) nowadays say "stract" and sometimes say something has been "stractified" after having been squared away. I just thought I'd through that in there.

As far as what the Air Force says- we really don't have anything Air Force specific like Huah! or Hoo-rah! or Aye-Aye! or Boo-yah! We sometimes use Huah, but only in moderation. Some upper leadership is trying to get "Air Power" to catch on, but I think there are too many syllables in that for it to catch on.
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  #57  
Old 08 Oct 04, 02:42
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Inasmuch as the British East India Company was a privately owned corporation and those shipping on it were paying passengers, often with a great deal of money, they could and did "dictate to the captain", as you put it. They were willing to pay extra, and the captain was happy to accomodate them. As for the weather, etc., the side of the ship in shade was dictated by the direction of travel which in turn was dictated by the trade winds, which maintain a fairly uniform direction. The cabin arrangement would not have been perfect, but infinitely better than the incredibly filthy conjditions of those forced to travel steerage. For a gritty, historically accurate account of the travel arrangements and conditions, I highly recommend Sharpe's Trafalgar by Cornwell, who is well known and highly respected for the research incorporated into his novels.

During this period, one might also note that even military officers were expected to pay their own passage when traveling on official orders. It is doubtful if, anywhere in the history or annals of militaries throughout the world, there was ever one so cheap and penurious as that fielded by Great Britain.

nabob: a term used by the British to denote a person who had gone to India, made his fortune and was returning to assume a place in society in Britain. Today's term would probably be noveau rich.

helmet: a metal head covering, term derived from the diminutive of the original knight's helm, which was all metal and covered his entire head and face and often the neck as well. The smaller version only covered the top and sides of the head, leaving the face and neck bare from the ears down. Thus a "little helm."

STRAC may well have originally been meant to convey Strategic Army Corps, as it arose with the implementation of the ROAD concept, i.e., Reorganization Of Army Divisions. I first encountered it in association with my father's unit in Germany in the early fifties, at which time the only words I ever heard associated with the acronym were those I posted. Very likely some enterprising officer's adaptation to improve morale or motivate the troops or some equally useless goal?

The Air Force isn't even close in the idiotic sayings department. As a so-called "morale boostter" in the Cold War Army in Europe, units each had a distinctive catch phrase, to be used when greeting someone, saluting or on any other occassion. Ours was "Black Lions" as the 2/28th Infantry Bn was awarded the appellation "The Black Lions of Cantigny" by the French in WWI for bravery in action along the Marne.

The slogan of the 4/69 Armor, on the other hand, was "Speed and Power". Obviously, there was a great deal of latitude for semi-official needling. We often used to return a salute to a colleague in the 4/69th with the counter-phrase "Rust and Dust!", and their rejoinder often contained the word "pussy" in some form or other. The military loves their silly little games, but it goes way back even to Roman times. I'm sure everyone recalls the words of Russell Crowe to his officers when they went into the initial battle: "Strength and Honor." Actually, one of the better unit mottoes I can recall.

I think the Air Force is currently more concerned in dealing with their Academy rape scandals, drug scandals and cheating scandals to worry too much about catchy phrases. I could maybe recommend "He's got real suction; he's a jet pilot?" A little wordy, but it kind of captures some of the more delicate nuances while retaining that all important essence of maculinity so critical to maintaining morale.

The French and Germans have a real language problem, as their languages do not evolve. Thus the French ended up having to adopt many foreign words, leading to a of all things a law forbidding the use of foreign words, and the Germans hold the Guiness World Record for joined-together word construction, so that a type of computer may end up being a "thinks-for-itself-with-a-little-help-from-electricity-and-softare-by-the-Americans-office-machine". The French now must refer to it as "beats-me-but-it-works", as computer is not a French word. What really chaps their cheeks is that neither is "nylon".

Latin, of course, is everywhere, as are many Anglo-Saxon terms, and America uis quick to adopt and adapt just about any word from anywhere into the american version of the English language. Thus we use "blitzkrieg" and schwerepunk" as readily as we do "mal de mere" any other term.

Glacis: now used to denote the sloping front armor of an AFV, originally meant the sloping front of a fortress which sloped smoothly down to the ground in order to allow cannon fire to sweep the entire approach and deny any dead ground to attackers.

Moat: almost universally considered the term for a water-filled ditch around a castle, the term actually derives from early English castle construction of a type known as "motte and bailey". The "motte" part was a surrounding dry ditch with the excavated earth used to build up the inside areas to provide superior height for the defenders. Only later did someone think to fill it with water, largely because water-filled moats bring with them a host of problems and inconveniences, not the least of which is keeping the water moving and thus the stench down.

cohort: a group or individual with whom you associate closely, from the Roman Legion usage which designated a unit of troops as a "cohort", growing to centuries of 100 men in the charge of a centurion and and finally into Legions. Today we may refer to someone's "cohorts in crime."

decimate: Likely the least understood word originating from the Roman Legions. As punishment for cowardice in battle or some high crime, the Legion commander could order a unit "decimated", i.e., every tenth man was executed. Even highly educated military commanders today say that a unit which has suffered heavy casualties has been "decimated", and sometimes "decimated to the last man". This is either nonsense or idiocy depending on your take - the maximum losses for a truly decimated unit are 10% - every tenth man, period. And nobody gets "decimated to the last man", a complete arithmetical impossibility.
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Old 08 Oct 04, 13:20
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"a group or individual with whom you associate closely, from the Roman Legion usage which designated a unit of troops as a "cohort", growing to centuries of 100 men in the charge of a centurion and and finally into Legions."

erratum: I believe a Roman cohort consisted of 6 centuries thus making it similar to a modern battalion. A legion would have about 10 cohorts or about 6000 infantry plus about 300 cavalry. Roman legions varied in strength from time to time but this appears to be a standard size around the 1st century AD or so.
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Old 08 Oct 04, 15:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMan
Sinister - meaning "left side" from the Latin, IIRC: It's like the Michael Moore thing - for every claim of knowledge of origin, there is an equal and opposite disclaimer.

The P&O Line? The phrase is attributed to British service in India, with transport aboard merchant vessels operated By the British East India Company during the Age of Sail, long, long before the advent of the Pacific and Orient Steamship Company.

Not to worry - Harland and Wolfe claim to have no knowledge whatsoever of the gates that locked the Third Class passengers away from the uppercrust on the TITANIC, even though they designed the vessel and the gates were photographed by Nautile's ROV. And George "Duct Tape" Bush can't remember anything he's ever done or heard or said, despite several billion written records. Memory, like history, is subject to convenient editing.
Its interesting that to the ancients being left handed had an evil connotation, the opposite of that being....

dexter - Latin for right handed....hence dexterity and dexterous mean literally having the ability of the good (right hand)

ambidextrous - Latin literally both hands have the ability of the right (good) hand
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Old 08 Oct 04, 15:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMan
decimate: Likely the least understood word originating from the Roman Legions. As punishment for cowardice in battle or some high crime, the Legion commander could order a unit "decimated", i.e., every tenth man was executed. Even highly educated military commanders today say that a unit which has suffered heavy casualties has been "decimated", and sometimes "decimated to the last man". This is either nonsense or idiocy depending on your take - the maximum losses for a truly decimated unit are 10% - every tenth man, period. And nobody gets "decimated to the last man", a complete arithmetical impossibility.
Thanks for posting this one, misuse of this word has always annoyed me.

Dr. S.
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