[Ads-l] ten-shun; ten-hut

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 5 15:19:53 UTC 2021

Not in OED or MW.


1872 _Vermont Journal_ (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) (June 8) 1 [ref. to 1830s]:
He...drew himself up and commanded, "Ten-shun comp'ny!"

1883 _Detroit Free Press_  (May 23) 2:  Lieut. Col.
Roudstep...Quartermaster Salthorse...Private Rankanfile...Surgeon
Greensash...Adj. Tenshun.

1893 _Belvidere [Ill.] Standard_ (July 19) 2: Tim yelled..."Ten-shun fer
the officer av the day."

Etc., etc.


1943 _News-Chronicle_ (Shippensburg, Pa.) (Dec. 3) 5: Camp Crowder,
Mo....The GI pronunciation is something like "Ten-HUT!" Almost every
command for execution of drill orders is made with the letter "h,"
regardless of what it may have been originally. "March" becomes "harch" and
"face" becomes "hace"and so on.  Believe it or not, there really is a
logical reason for it. The reason is that the "h" sound can be started out
with a powerful stab of the diaphram [sic]...which gives body and carrying
quality to the command. Any word used as a command of execution in drill
and which is not needed for understanding the order becomes simply "Hut" or
Hoo!" "Hut!" is a very powerful word.

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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list