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Yelling Geronimo

A man in Surprise, Arizona, wonders why people jumping into a pool sometimes yell “Geronimo!” The history of this exclamation goes back to an eponymous 1939 movie about the famed Apache warrior Geronimo. The film was popular on U.S...

Zonk!

A listener in Fort Rucker, Alabama, remembers a prank played on new Army recruits: when a sergeant barked the order “Zonk!,” all the seasoned soldiers would fall out of formation and run away, leaving the newbies to wonder what was going...

Jeep Name Origins

A listener in Ypsilanti, Michigan, wonders how the Army vehicle called a jeep got its name. Answer: It was associated with Eugene the Jeep, a strange creature from the 1930s comic strip, Popeye. Lexicographers and etymologists find no evidence to...

Battle Buddies

In the Army, a battle buddy is someone assigned to be your constant companion, and it’s often shortened to just “battle.” Other words, like Upstate and cell, as in a mobile phone, have dropped the nouns they modified. This is part...