"on the ground" = 'on the scene of interest'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 13 19:17:07 UTC 2011

OED has this mixed in with a bunch of "ground" phrs.,  you might miss
the fact that the earliest exx. ("on-the-ground investigations") is
from 1960.

1925 Channing Pollock in _N. Y. Times_ (Oct. 25) X4 [ProQuest]: As
aforesaid, most of my notes were made and much of my writing was done
on the ground [sc., in Vienna, the scene of his play].

TV news rarely says anything else. I can remember when "on the scene"
was normal, with "on the spot" for really dramatic news. Not any more.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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