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Military Charrette

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An Army veteran in Madison, Alabama, wonders about the use of the charrette (sometimes spelled with one R, charette) in the military to mean a gathering to workshop ideas and work through all potential solutions to a problem. The term seems to have migrated into the Army from the world of architecture, where a charrette is an intense period of work by students to meet a deadline, or a gathering to figure out ways to work through all of the outstanding issues that must be resolved before they move on to the next stage of a project. In French, charrette means “little cart,” and among architects, it came to mean the four-wheeled carts architects would use to transport bulky blueprints and drawings. Also spelled charette, this word goes back to Latin carrus, meaning “a kind of chariot,” the source also of carriage, carriageway, cart, car, and chariot. This is part of a complete episode.

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