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gung hoor gung-ho (gŭng′hō′)
Extremely enthusiastic and dedicated.
[Earlier Gung Ho, motto of certain US Marine forces in Asia during World War II, from Mandarin gōnghé (short for gōngyè hézuòshè, Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society) : gōng, work (from Middle Chinese kəwŋ) + hé, to be joined together, combine (from Middle Chinese xɦap).]
Our Living Language Gung ho is one of many words that entered the English language as a result of World War II. It comes from Mandarin Chinese gōnghé, the slogan of the gōngyèhézuòshè, the Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society. (The gōng in gōnghé means "work," while hé means "combine, join.") Marine Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson (1896-1947) heard the expression and thought it was well-suited to the spirit he was trying to foster among his Marines, the famous "Carlson's Raiders." Carlson began to use it as a moniker for meetings in which problems were discussed and worked out, and his Marines began calling themselves the "Gung Ho Battalion." Gung ho soon began to be used to describe any person who shows eagerness, as it still is today. Other words and expressions that entered English during World War II include flak, gizmo, task force, black market, and hit the sack.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
wholeheartedly enthusiastic and loyal; eager; zealous: a gung-ho military outfit.
[introduced as a training slogan in 1942 by U.S. Marine officer Evans French. Carlson (1896–1947) < Chinese gōng hé, the abbreviated name of the Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society, taken by a literal translation as “work together”]
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