[Ads-l] troops

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 18 12:44:15 EDT 2016


See also Neal Whitman's "A Troop of One" (which references an old ADS-L
thread on the topic).

http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/dictionary/a-troop-of-one/


On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 11:39 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> 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.
>
>
> JL
>
> 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
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > 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.:
> >
> >
>

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