E for Effort (1940)

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Wed May 5 11:16:29 UTC 2004

> It seems to me that the original "E for Effort" was a government award
> to defense contractors during WW II. On the other hand, my being old
> enough to remember that probably brings the accuracy of my memory into
> the equation.

"E for Excellence", according to the Gettysburg Times for 26 March
1943: "The suggestion was made that morale of agricultural workers
would be improved if worthy workers would be rewarded with some
recognition comparable to the Army or Navy "E" for excellence issued
to industrial workers."

There are examples from the previous year, too. But, according to the
Indianapolis Star for 11 August 1921, which mentions a US Navy ship
being awarded the battle efficiency pennant and so being "entitled to
paint a white E for excellence on her smoke pipe", the usage goes
back further.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at worldwidewords.org>
Web: <http://www.worldwidewords.org/>

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