Antedating of "Gung Ho"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 25 02:07:39 UTC 2008

And, by 1943, in its slogan form, "Gung-Ho" was the title of a movie.
Though I saw the movie, I can't recall enough of it to say what
meaning, other than a war-cry, "gung-ho" had in it.

By the late 'Fifties, when I was in the Army, the term was still in
everyday use as an adjective, but much pejorated, with a meaning
something like, "stupid enough to take this military shit seriously."
Some of the GI's who were too young to remember the movie reanalysed
the term as "gun-ho."


On Sat, May 24, 2008 at 9:04 PM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Antedating of "Gung Ho"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The putative etymon "gonghe" (Pinyin, tones omitted) would usually be
> written "kung-ho" in Wade-Giles transcription (I think the usual ca.
> 1940). Quick N'archive search turns up the following:
> ----------
> Ironwood [MI] Daily Globe_, 28 Aug. 1941: p. 9:
> <<The Chinese industrial co-operative movement, Indusco (or kung ho)
> produced more than a hundred different articles last year, and is
> expanding further.>>
> ----------
> Here "kung ho" is presumably the abbreviation noted earlier.
> But in the following it is taken as a slogan:
> ----------
> Hayward [CA] Daily Review_, 26 Sep. 1942: p. 3:
> <<So much do the Chinese mean to Colonel Carlson that he named his
> battalion the "Kung Ho." That means "Work Together," the slogan used by
> the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, who are supported in the United
> States by United China Relief through Indusco, the American Committee in
> Aid of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives.>>
> ----------
> -- Doug Wilson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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