[Ads-l] infantry (count noun)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue May 17 08:03:23 EDT 2016

Looks like a cut and paste error to me. The line may have originally read "by a Russian infantry unit," but when "unit" was cut, he forgot about the article.

It's definitely an odd use of ambush, which is attack by laying in wait. You can't ambush a fixed position.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2016 7:59 PM
Subject: [ADS-L] infantry (count noun)

OED has one ex., from 1605 - which it neglects to define or describe.

2014 Andrew D. Kaufman _Give War and Peace a Chance_  (N.Y.: Simon &
Schuster) 210  : A fortified French encampment being ambushed at dawn by a Russian infantry in the middle of war is not, and never will be, a magic kingdom.

Prof. Kaufman is "an internationally recognized Russian literature scholar at the University of Virginia...[and] a featured Tolstoy expert at Oprah.com."

P.S.: This use of _ambush_, v., isn't in OED at all. I confess I can't tell whether it sounds right or wrong: 'to attack by stealth, as under cover of darkness.'

P.P.S.: OED also lacks the popular journalistic  "ambush interview" (GB: 1981).


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

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