Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 23 23:19:29 UTC 2009

OED has "A-team"  1964, restricted to "U.S. Special Forces."  It doesn't
have "B-team."  Both these cites refer to the British Army in World War I:

1921  David Ferguson _The History of the Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F._  109
: Before the relief, the "B" team from the 1st Battalion was sent back to
camp. _Ibid._ 218: The only experienced officers and other ranks who took
part in the attack were those who had been in the "B" team at Passchendaele.

1931 W. V. Tilsley _Other Ranks_ (London: Cobden-Sanderson) 3: Luckily I was
on the B Team and so missed it. _Ibid._ 29: The B Team...stayed in reserve.
_Ibid._ 34: The B Team - a skeleton of officers and other ranks on which a
new battalion could be formed if the existing one suffered extinction - had
been picked.

Oddly, neither Ferguson nor Tilsley seem to use "A-team."

Both "A-team" and "B-team" seem to have originated in sports prior to 1915.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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