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

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 5 16:58:12 UTC 2021

I see Barry Popik already has a page on "ten-hut" with examples going back
to Nov. 22, 1942.

22 November 1942, Boston (MA) Sunday Globe, “‘This Is The Army’ ‘Ladies’
Top Kick Tells All” by Marjory Adams, pg. 18, col. 4:
They forego their womanly ways while being roared at by the “top kick,”
Sergt. Anderson. They respond with manly vigor when “Ten-Hut,” which is the
new way of saying “Attention” and “Forward Harch,” which is the new way of
saying “Forward March,” is bawled at them. It appears that an “h” can be
barked out with more emphasis than an “s” or an “m.”

On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 11:53 AM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 10:20 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> 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":
> ---
> https://www.nytimes.com/1943/02/14/archives/shavetail-tells-all-he-describes-with-an-eye-on-the-sergeant-his.html
> 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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