Captured Same

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 17 03:34:23 UTC 2010

Just a guess, but in telegraphic language a word such as "it" would be
dropped (to save words, and thereby money) while "same" would be
included. Using "same"ensured the message made sense.

BTW, wasn't the original quote "Sighted Sub Sank Same"?


On 5/16/2010 11:11 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn<laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Captured Same
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 10:43 PM -0400 5/16/10, Neal Whitman wrote:
>> In a WWII-era Tom and Jerry cartoon (I think it's called "Yankee Doodle
>> Mouse," but I'm too lazy to go downstairs and find the DVD it's on and
>> check), at one point Jerry sends a telegram to his commanders to report that
>> his mission was accomplished. The wording went something like: "Found enemy
>> cat, captured same." I wondered if this was some kind of diction of a bygone
>> era, with "same" used where I'd've said "it". But here's a headline from the
>> website for Aviation Week, dated Sept. 23, 2008:
>> Sighted Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible Drug Runner, Captured Same
>> So is this a military thing instead? Why use "same", when "it" (or "him" or
>> "her") does the same job in an unstressed pronoun with (regarding telegrams)
>> fewer letters?
> One of the (real or apocryphal?) military examples that has become
> proverbial is the telegrammatic "SAW SUB SANK SAME".  Right up there
> with the Caesarean "Veni vidi vici", although Julius saved a few
> denarii with his three word wire.
> LH
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