get the snafu

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 30 23:02:14 UTC 2014

"To get the snafu" is evidently an idiom meaning "to be killed or put out
of action."

That's what makes it notable. (Unlike the alleged 1918 occurrence of
"snafu" at GB.)

My experience and my Spidey sense tell me it was not in common use.

BTW, the _Guardian_ and other nostalgic journalistic sources are touting a
recent book on WW1 lingo called "Trench Talk," written by a military
historian and someone at the British Library.

It claims, e.g., that "doughboy" originated in the "Spanish-American War"
and that Americans commonly said "to bum things up."  (I charitably suggest
that "bum up" is a bad-scan error for "ball up.")


On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 6:46 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: get the snafu
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jon,
> The sense seems a little off from the typical, e.g. OED C. n. "A
> confusion [etc.]"  Would snipers cause "confusion"?
> Joel
> At 4/29/2014 06:28 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >A new one on me. And note primitive spelling:
> >
> >1943 _Racine Journal-Times_ (Sept. 19) 4: "They probably got the snafoo
> >from a German patrol," said the driver. "These hills are full of Germans.
> >Particularly snipers."
> >
> >JL
> >
> >--
> >"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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

The American Dialect Society -

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