"Mad Dog Killer"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Jun 11 22:42:16 UTC 2001

In a message dated 06/11/2001 5:57:48 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

>    One poster on a newsgroup insists that the term ["Mad Dog Killer"] came
from the military.

Actually, "Mad dog killer" is redundant, since a rabid dog inflicts bites
which may lead to a lethal case of rabies.  (Unless you mean a killer of
rabid dogs, which includes the "mild-mannered" Atticus Finch of _To Kill A

"Mad" is a fairly popular term in military history.  King George III (himself
a periodic sufferer from insanity, believed due to porphyria) once said,
about General Wolfe (who conquered Quebec), "Mad, is he?  Then I hope he will
bite some of my other generals."  A generation later George's generals had to
deal with "Mad Anthony" Wayne.  (My mother-in-law has psych degrees from
Wayne State University, which is named after Mad Anthony.)

Someone whose name slips my mind was known as "the mad dog of the Ardennes".

Somewhat far-fetched: "mad dog" spelled backwards is "God dam[n]" and during
the hundred-twenty-plus years of the Hundred Years' War the French referred
to the English soldiers as "Goddams" (rendered in French as "les godons")
after their favorite cuss phrase.

      - Jim Landau

       "There's a hole in my bit bucket"

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