Origin of gung-hoChin, kung-ho, literally , work together: slogan of Lt. Colossians E. F. Carlson's Marine Raiders in World War II
Origin of gung hoEarlier 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 kəw&njlig; ) hé to be joined together, combine ( from Middle Chinese x&hhook;ap ) 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.
(comparative more gungho, superlative most gungho)
- Alternative spelling of gung ho.