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

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Fri Aug 11 09:09:54 EDT 2017


Yes. But HDAS has a quote from a (1982) military dictionary explaining that this refers to a firing-range command to lock the safety levers of weapons in the "safe" position before loading ammo. I leave it to those with more knowledge of weaponry to evaluate this suggestion....

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 09:06:53AM -0400, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> 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
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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