tango uniform
 n.— «It comes with a standard V-6 engine, a new unibody chassis and independent rear suspension, and a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty in case all goes, as they say in the military, tango uniform.» —“Not grand, but good” by Dan Neil Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) Apr. 8, 2006. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Dan Neil says:

    “Tango” and “Uniform” are the military radio codewords for letters “T” and “U.” The expression is short for T.U., which itself is short for “tits up,” or non-functioning, deceased.

  2. Yes, that’s what my research found, too. However, no dictionary I have includes the expression so it was worth recording here.

  3. The more formal “toes up” is also cited and will never offend those who oppose “taudry” terms like “tits”.

  4. Al Banister says:

    The roots of this go back to the gyroscope in an airplane. Your artificial horizon can only show so much pitch, yaw, roll. When the gyroscope is at the end of its string, the ^^ symbol is shown. This is there the “tits up” comes from. If you are flying so badly that the ^^ symbol is shown, you are in REAL trouble! Take a look at the gyro markings. This goes back 50+ years…

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