Military industrial complex lays Pommy lexicographer low

Charles Wells charles at FREUDE.COM
Tue May 1 12:56:28 UTC 2001

This song has lexicographical interest.  "Wild blue yonder" is parsed by many
people as a noun phrase and used in conversation that way.  ("I lost my
wallet.  I guess it's gone into the wild blue yonder.")  I don't have any
citations for this, nor can I prove that the original intent of the first line
was that "blue" was the noun and "yonder" was an adverb ("wild blue, yonder").
I certainly never parsed it as an adverb as a child or when I was in the USAF.
However, I grew up in the south where we did in fact use "yonder" as an
adverb.  (Not as an adjective, though.)

(I learned this from Michael Barr.)

--Charles Wells
>U.S. Air Force Anthem
>(Off We Go)
>Off we go into the wild blue yonder
>Climbing high into the sun;
>Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
>At'em boys, giv'er the gun!
>Down we dive spouting our flames from under,
>Off with one hell-uv-a roar!
>We live in fame or go down in flame,
>Nothing'll stop the US Air Force!

Charles Wells,
Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Case Western Reserve University
Affiliate Scholar, Oberlin College
Send all mail to:
105 South Cedar St., Oberlin, Ohio 44074, USA.
email: charles at
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