[Ads-l] G.I.

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 10 06:46:53 UTC 2015

On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 7:43 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> apparently an abbreviation of Government Issue

In my Army years, I never heard *anything* referred to as either
"government issue," an  etymology that I've been familiar with since I
learned to read, or as "general issue," which is new to me, as of now.
Since a standard "GI can" is definitely made of galvanized metal, the GI
could very well stand for "galvanized iron."

FWIW, I couldn't find any reason to believe that "GI" in any of its uses is
from "government/general issue"when I was a GI and I don't have any reason
to believe it, now. Perhaps Dave could show me the error in my thinking,
but nothing else will.

You see, Wilson, what you have failed to grasp is that both "general issue"
and "government issue" were once in common use by all enlisted personnel -
or should that be, "enlisted human resources"? - throughout the military,
until ca. 19--. But these terms have since fallen so completely out of use,
leaving behind only the term, _GI_ that, even as far back as the late '50's
and early '60's, when you were "nervous in the service," these terms lived
on only in the fading memories of a few undying old soldiers in the Old
Soldiers' Home in Somewhere, USA.

Well, that's not impossible. After all, according to the New Yorker,
_boody/booty_ has its origin in standard "(pirate's) booty," as any fool
can plainly see. Cf. e.g. the brand-name, "My Sister's Booty." That would
be simply disgusting and not just a cute pun, otherwise.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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