[Ads-l] locked and loaded, loaded and locked

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 11 09:06:53 EDT 2017


On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 9:05 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Trump said on Twitter this morning that "military solutions are now fully
> in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely."
>
> OED3 dates "lock and load" to 1940:
>
> 1940   N.Y. Times 19 Nov. 12/3   Lieut. Col. Joseph T. Hart, range
> officer, boomed through his microphone, ‘Lock and Load’.
>
> But there are numerous earlier cites for "load(ed) and lock(ed)" in the
> context of firearms, like this from 1898:
>
> ---
> Detroit Free Press, Dec. 18, 1898, p. 10, col. 5
> It was in its water proof covering and as he removed the covering, the
> rifle, which was loaded and locked, was discharged. ... Collins had let
> another soldier have his rifle to do guard duty, and latter had carelessly
> left it loaded and locked.
> ---
>
> Doesn't "load and lock" make more sense, since one locks the bolt before
> loading the ammunition? I wonder if it changed to "lock and load" because
> of the phonological constraints on "freezes," as Bill Cooper and Haj Ross
> called such "A + B" orderings in their classic 1975 paper:
>
> http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/haj/worldorder.pdf
>

Sorry, got it backwards! Meant to say:

Doesn't "load and lock" make more sense, since one loads the ammunition
before locking the bolt?

--bgz

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