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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 5 16:53:39 UTC 2021

On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 10:20 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> 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.

Slightly earlier for "atten-hut":

New York Times, Feb. 14, 1943, Sunday Magazine, p. 10, col. 1
Second Lieutenant George Bristol, Camp Rucker, Ala.
He's going up the barracks steps, that guy whose shoulders bear the bright
gold bars. He's entering the door. Inside some one yells, "Atten-HUT!"


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

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