antedating boondock (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 5 16:41:47 UTC 2010

See HDAS.  Bill antedates the verbal exx. there by six years.

As HDAS shows, the 1909 WNID offers a forerunner of "boondocks," deriving
it from Tagalog.  The word in its present form appears in the Jan., 1931,
issue of the USMC's _Leatherneck_ magazine, with reference not to the
Philippines, as might be expected, but to Haiti.

The magazine uses the word frequently after that date. Since the Army and
Navy also were based in the Philippines, it's another etymological mystery
why the word was so exclusively connected with the Marine Corps until well
after World War II.  (Cf. the decades it took "yips" to spread beyond golf.)


On Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 12:16 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC <
Bill.Mullins at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
> Subject:      antedating boondock (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
> OED has 1944 for "boondock"/"boondocks" as a noun.  No entry for verb.
> _Augusta [GA] Chronicle_, 2/7/1941 p 3 col 2
> "Several months there will be spent on the rifle range and devoted to
> "boondocking".  These important phases are not possible here.
> "Boondocking" is the fashion in which Marines fight in rough country.
> Ordinarily not a popular pastitme, "boondocking" at present would be a
> welcome relief to the well-grooved program followed here."
> _Cleveland [OH] Plain Dealer_ 4/12/1943 p 11 col 1 [advert for Camel
> cigarettes]
> "In the Marines they say:
> "Walkie-Talkie" ... for signalman with portable 2-way radio set
> "Boondocks" ... for wild country -- outposts" "
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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