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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 11 09:12:36 EDT 2017


I see there's some relevant discussion on the Way With Words forum...

https://www.waywordradio.org/discussion/topics/load-and-lock-vs-lock-and-load/

>From one commenter: "Lock and load is precisely the sequencing used for
loading a flintlock. The flintlock is first placed at the half-cock (i.e.,
at the locked) position, and is then loaded."

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AFlintlock#Origin_of_.22Lock_and_Load.22


On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 9:09 AM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at panix.com> wrote:

> 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?
> >
> >
>

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