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时间:2006-05-09 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:yeying0716   字体: [ ]


By Jerilyn Watson

Broadcast: Sunday, May 29, 2005

This is Feel Marvin with Words and their Stories, a program in Special English on the Voice of America. We tell about some common expressions in American English.

A leatherneck or a grunt1 do not sound like nice names to call someone. Yet men and women who serve in the United2 States armed forces are proud of those names. And if you think they sound strange, consider doughboy and GI Joe.

After the American Civil War in the 1860s, a writer in a publication3 called Beetles4 Monthly5 used the word "doughboy" to describe Civil War soldiers, but word expert Charles Funk says that early writer could not explain where the name started.

About 20 years later, someone did explain. She was the wife of the famous American General George Custer. Elizabeth Custer wrote that a doughboy was a sweet food served to navy6 men on ships. She also said the name was given to the large buttons on the clothes of soldiers. Elizabeth Custer believed the name changed over time to mean the soldiers themselves.

Now, we probably most often think of doughboys as the soldiers who fought for the allies7 in World War I. By World War II, soldiers were called other names. The one most often heard was GI or GI Joe. Most people say the letters "GI" were a short way to say general issue8, or government issue. The name came to mean several things. It could mean the solider himself. It could mean things given to soldiers when they joined the military9, such as weapons, equipment or clothes. And for some reason, it could mean to organize or clean. Soldiers often say we GI'd the place. And when an area looks good, soldiers may say the area is GI.

Strangely though, GI can also mean poor work, a job badly done. Some students of military words have another explanation of GI. They say that instead of government issue or general issue, GI came from the words galvanized iron10. The American soldier was said to be like galvanized iron, a material produced for special strength.

The dictionary of soldier talk says GI was used for the words galvanized iron in a publication about the vehicles11 of the early 20th century. Today a doughboy or GI may be called a grunt. Nobody is sure of the exact beginning of the word, but the best idea probably is that the name comes from the sound that troops12 make when ordered to march long distances carrying heavy equipment.

A member of the United States Marines also has a strange name---leatherneck. It is thought to have started in the 1800s. Some say the name comes from the thick collars13 of leather; early marines wore around their necks to protect them from cuts during battles. Others say the sun burned the marines' necks until their skin looked like leather.

This Special English program Words and their Stories was written by Jerilyn Watson. I am Feel Marvin.


1 grunt eeazI     
  • He lifted the heavy suitcase with a grunt.他咕噜着把沉重的提箱拎了起来。
  • I ask him what he think,but he just grunt.我问他在想什麽,他只哼了一声。
2 united Yfmz2c     
  • The whole nation is closely united.全国人民紧密团结。
  • The two men were united by community of interests.共同的利益使两个人结合在一起。
3 publication xScxx     
  • They don't think this article is suitable for publication.他们认为这篇文章不宜发表。
  • The government has delayed publication of the trade figures.政府已将贸易统计数字延后公布。
4 beetles e572d93f9d42d4fe5aa8171c39c86a16     
n.甲虫( beetle的名词复数 )
  • Beetles bury pellets of dung and lay their eggs within them. 甲壳虫把粪粒埋起来,然后在里面产卵。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • This kind of beetles have hard shell. 这类甲虫有坚硬的外壳。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
5 monthly 7EixE     
adj.每月的,持续一个月的,每月发生的;adv.每月,按月; n.月刊;(复数)monthlies:月经
  • The rent on his apartment was his biggest monthly expense.他的房租是每个月最大的开支。
  • The monthly rent is $15,inclusive of light and water.每月租金15美元,包括水电费在内。
6 navy oGTxs     
  • My brother is in the navy.我兄弟在海军服役。
  • He has transferred from the army to the navy.他从陆军转到海军。
7 allies 0315fa8e6410a54cc80a4eb2babcda27     
联盟国,同盟者; 同盟国,同盟者( ally的名词复数 ); 支持者; 盟军
  • The allies would fear that they were pawns in a superpower condominium. 这个联盟担心他们会成为超级大国共管的牺牲品。
  • A number of the United States' allies had urged him not to take a hasty decision. 美国的一些盟友已力劝他不要急于作决定。
8 issue r3dxs     
n.出版,发行,(报刊等)期、号,论点,问题,结果, (水,血等的)流出;vt.使流出,放出,发行(钞票等),发布(命令),出版(书等)发给;vi.发行,流出,造成...结果,进行辩护,传下
  • I bought the book the day after its issue.这书出版后的第一天,我就去买了它。
  • I'll support her down the line on that issue.在那个问题上我将全力支持她。
9 military RDbxh     
  • The area has been declared a closed military zone.这个地区已宣布为军事禁区。
  • The king was just the tool of the military government.国王只是军政府的一个傀儡。
10 iron raHzm     
n.铁,熨斗,坚强,烙铁,镣铐;vt.烫平,熨,用铁包;vi. 烫衣服
  • The iron has lost its magnetic force.这块铁已失去了磁力。
  • We need an electrician to mend the iron.我们要请电工修理熨斗。
11 vehicles NfEzUN     
n.运载工具;传播媒介;(为展露演员才华而)特意编写的一出戏(或电影等);[画]展色剂;交通工具( vehicle的名词复数 );车辆;传播媒介;手段
  • There is not much clearance for vehicles passing under this bridge. 车辆在这座桥下通过时没有多少余隙。
  • to carry out random spot checks on vehicles 对车辆进行抽检
12 troops jfjztM     
  • troops on active service 现役部队
  • The troops were ordered back to barracks . 士兵们被命令返回营房。
13 collars a83aa07301698996aefdcede7bc8ba7c     
衣领( collar的名词复数 ); 领子; (狗等的)项圈; (管子或机器部件的)圈
  • The best way to get stains off collars is to use liquid detergent at full strength. 去除领子上的污点最好的办法是使用未稀释的液体洗洁净。
  • Pedestrians had turned up collars, and trousers at the bottom. 行人们竖起了外套衣领,卷起了裤脚边。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
TAG标签:   word  story  soldier
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