[Ads-l] "unass" = 'leave', 'cause to leave' (military)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 28 00:51:53 EDT 2017


_Unass_ has expanded since my day. When I first heard it as a recruit -
then the lowest grade (in those days - the summer of ’59 - only officers
had rank), even lower than (buck) private - it meant only “stand up to
attention,” shouted by drill sergeants at people who were sitting or
otherwise lounging, despite not having been given the commands, “REST!
Smoke ‘em, if you got ‘em!”: “UNASS that gravel! … those seats! …that wall,
you *dud(s)*!” Or, in the barracks, one guy might say to another, “Unass
that rack!” = “Get your ass off my bunk!” Or, perhaps, “Unass that king!”,
in a game of bridge, i.e. “You are now forced to play your king, even
though you know that I’m going to trump it,” or some such.

But, I’d already heard it as a civilian, in 1958. In those days, anybody
who could be drafted was drafted, “seem like,” unless he dodged the draft
by enlisting. So, nearly everybody that I knew was going to the military,
was in the military, or was ex-military. “Unass” and “cop a squat” were
brought back to the ‘hood from Fort Leonard Wood in ’58, by Harry, of
“What’s happening, blacker-than-me?” fame.

On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 9:54 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> New to (nonmilitary) me, but apparently well established for at least 50
> years.  Jon, do you have anything in the HDAS files for this that indicates
> how far back it goes? Wilson et al., can you push it back beyond Vietnam?
>
> Here’s Grant’s entry from 2004 (https://www.waywordradio.org/unass/):
>
> unass v. to dismount or disembark (a vehicle); to get off of (something);
> to unseat (someone); to leave (somewhere). Editorial Note: This term dates
> back to at least the 1960s and the Vietnam War. It is especially associated
> with the military, from where it has spread to politics and aeronautics.
>
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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