soldier = sailor

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 4 16:37:14 UTC 2010

Weve already discussed whether or when marines are ever soldiers.  But the
following ex., obviously written by someone with professional-level
skills, shows that "soldier" now subsumes sailors too, at least for some

2007 _Moviefone_ []:
German director Wolfgang Petersen's U-boat drama realistically captures the
claustrophobia and uncertainty of a fighter sub and portrays the German
soldiers as real people, not Aryan monsters.

Perhaps, as skeptics will chuckle, this is merely a slip. Maybe. But if so,
it is a bizarre slip IMO. The writer obviously knows what the movie is

Consider too the peculiar phrase "fighter sub." That supports the idea that
the writer is not very familiar with even everyday military/naval usage, at
least as little boys grew up learning it in the '50s.  I've heard Fox News
refer to all combat aircraft as "fighter planes."

(If you don't understand my point, you may be proving it.)

The explanation (if one is needed) may be that over the past couple of
decades, all members of the armed forces have come to be described in
journalism as "warriors" generally. (There are several reasons for this.)
But if "warrior" can subsume "sailor," why can't "soldier"?

Inglish. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.


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

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list