[Ads-l] USMC "boksok"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 18 14:40:50 EDT 2017

Back in 1999 Jim Rader of MW briefly discussed this uncommon term for
"crazy," saying that MW had only one cite in a running text (as opposed to
glossaries, which he and I agree copy from another). Jim did not present
the cite, however. The word was apparently most used in the Philippines, as
the 1942 HDAS cite from _Leatherneck_ magazine asserts a derivation from
"Tagalog."  Rader, however, noted that MW's Tagalog consultant did not
accept this claim.

Here is a little more on the subject.

In 1943 (acc. to GB) _Leatherneck_ printed the following comment from S/Sgt
Vernon Burns of the USMC Recruiting Station, Lexington, Ky:

"In a recent issue of The Leatherneck, your translator made a slight
mistake in the article titled 'Leatherneck Lingo.' He translated the word
'boksok' to be 'crazy' and that is an incorrect meaning. The correct
meaning of 'boksok' is 'fall down.' An idiom of the word is to be 'broke,
financially.'  The Tagalog word for 'crazy' is 'gago' although 'loco-loco'
is more widely used."

Burns seemingly attests to the existence (app. in English or
English-Tagalog pidgin) of "boksok," but he was evidently unaware of the
asserted meaning of "crazy."

Here is a running-text ex. The writer didn't feel it necessary to define
the word:

1944 *Marine Corps Chevron *(Apr. 1) (unp.): Another thing that will drive
a student boksok is his attempt to get the signal he wants when four or
five are coming over or near the same frequency.

It is certainly possible that the writer simply adopted the word from a



"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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