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Boots on the ground

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  • Boots on the ground is a relatively new military idiom that is slowly making its way into general use. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the phrase boots on the ground, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Boots on the ground refers to active ground troops in a military campaign, men or women who are physically present and fighting in a war zone. The term boots on the ground can be traced to a 1980 interview with General Volney F. Warner, concerning the Iranian Hostage Crisis and published in the Christian Science Monitor. Interestingly, the idiom boots on the ground has been embraced by people in politics, and is used to mean volunteers who do the day-to-day work of making phone calls, knocking on doors and handing out leaflets. More and more, the phrase boots on the ground is coming to mean a group of people who are doing the mundane but necessary work in a situation. When used as an adjective before a noun, the term is hyphenated, as in boots-on-the-ground.

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    Examples

    For many years the United States, with its “no boots on the ground” policy, focused on its air force and navy, but budgets are now growing for ground operations. (The Business Insider)

    In the meantime, it’s “boots on the ground,” said O’Connell as the new owners take it one day at a time, cleaning, rearranging, moving overflow inventory and making the aisles more accessible for those using wheelchairs “which has been a problem in the past,” O’Connell said. (The Quad City Herald)

    “What I love about this game is that anyone’s who’s looking forward to going back to the roots, the gritty, human-scale, boots-on-the-ground, militaristic, authentic experience that Call Of Duty is known for, this game delivers it in a big way,” Hirshberg said. (Newsweek Magazine)

     

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