[Ads-l] troops

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 18 11:39:31 EDT 2016

The single-soldier sense, first attested in ref. to WWII, was slated to
appear in HDAS as "slang."

It became common during the Vietnam War.


On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 10:52 AM, Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net> wrote:

> "Troops" (with an s) is not ambiguous. It almost always refers to a number
> of soldiers. The one exception is when referring to the US Army cavalry,
> where "troop" is the term used to refer to a specific unit (a "company" in
> other branches of the service). So "three cavalry troops" could refer to
> three soldiers or three companies of cavalry. I'm not aware of any other
> armies that use "troop" as the name for a subunit.
> "Troop" (without an s) may be ambiguous if the context does not make it
> clear. It can refer to one soldier or a group of soldiers. Because it can
> be ambiguous some consider the use of "troop" to refer to a single soldier
> as a misuse. Most of the controversy, including the bulk of the linked
> Visual Thesaurus article, is about whether or not the single-soldier sense
> is an error.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Christopher Philippo
> Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2016 9:22 AM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] troops
> That “troops” may be used for both a number of people or a number of
> military subunits, and that both uses may be correct creates ambiguity - as
> stated repeatedly in the link I had shared in connection with my referring
> to the ambiguity, e.g.:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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