Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Great War Remembered: Today's Language

If you've ever described your emotional state using any of these terms, you're drawing on the language of the Great War.  To see our ever-growing list of such examples, check out our website Words, Expressions & Terms Popularized, 1914 - 1918.


  1. Great post - thanks so much. Amazing list of words at that website. Never knew the origins of "cushy" - thought it meant "comfortable" and was a shorthand for "cushion" - though maybe that came from Indian sources as well!

  2. "Shell-shock" was used in the Spanish-American War, too.

  3. The term "U-boat" was not in regular usage by the British in referring to German submarines until WW2. For instance, I have a an original 1928 edition of Gordon Campbell's "My Mystery Ships": his account of the Q-ship operations for when he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He does not use the term U-boat once - he always referred to them as "Submarines". Possibly in later editions this was changed.

    1. Check out the OED etymology of U-boat at: