Student Dictionary

One entry found for gung ho.
Main Entry: gung ho
Pronunciation: primarystressgschwaeng-primarystresshomacr
Function: adjective
Etymology: Gung ho! motto (thought to mean "work together") of a United States Marine battalion in World War II, from the Chinese (Beijing dialect) phrase Zhomacrngguó Gomacrngyè Hézuò Shè "Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society"
: extremely enthusiastic
Word History Since the war was not going well for the U.S. in 1942, Marine Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson needed something special to make his troops feel hopeful and excited. He was organizing the Marines' Second Raider Battalion in California and told his men their motto would be gung ho. This, he told them, was Chinese for "work together." Since there was a Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society known as Gomacrnghé and since gomacrng does mean "work," and does mean "join," what he said seemed to make sense. But gomacrng and cannot be put together in Chinese to mean "work together." The organization known as Gomacrnghé was, in full, Zhomacrngguó Gomacrngyè Hézuò Shè. The Chinese themselves shortened it to Gomacrnghé just as we abbreviate long names and titles in English. But in English gung ho stuck as a motto and went on to become an adjective meaning "extremely enthusiastic."

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