words of the year

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Nov 22 21:27:10 UTC 2003

At 1:12 PM -0800 11/22/03, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
>>Was the 1948 citation a literal usage or figurative?
>It's literal, though there's an idiomatic or specialized character to
>this use of "ground" (i.e., as opposed to air). The OED gives 'ground
>attack' from 1917. It gives 'ground troops" from 1941 but the NYT has
>this in a 1918 article about Billy Mitchell.
>The German army immediately grasped this new weapon [i.e., Russia's
>demonstration in 1936 of the mass tactical deployment of parachute
>units] and exended its scope, utilizing gliders... as well as
>parachutes and landed-transports for placing troops on the ground.
>"Past Airborne Employment," by James A. Bassett. Military Affairs,
>Vol. 12, No.4. (Winter, 1948)
--which is quite distinct from the use of "on the ground" noted by
Sally Donlon or earlier by me (as in "the facts on the ground" for
the facts in the actual situation vs. the ones bruited or projected
by the think tanks or bureaucrats).


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