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Geronimo!

Yelling Geronimo! when jumping from a high place is a well known tradition in the United States. From bungee-jumpers to Bugs Bunny, many have used the term Geronimo! enthusiastically for over sixty years. Geronimo! is an exclamation used by anyone jumping from a great height in order to show exhilaration and a lack of fear. Geronimo was an esteemed leader in the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe who fought against the U.S. Cavalry until he was captured. Eventually, Geronimo was allowed to attend various fairs and expositions, he even marched in Teddy Roosevelt’s inaugural parade.

The use of Geronimo! as an exclamation used when jumping from a great height dates back to World War II. The army was testing whether it was practical to transport whole platoons of soldiers through parachute jumping at Fort Benning, Georgia. A group of soldiers went to see a movie the night before their first jump, the movie was Geronimo. After the film, the soldiers got into a discussion about being fearful of their upcoming parachute jump. One soldier, Private Aubrey Eberhardt, claimed that he would not be frightened senseless when he jumped out of the airplane, and to prove it, he would yell Geronimo! After this, yelling Geronimo! when jumping out of a plane became a tradition. Note that Geronimo! is capitalized, as it is a proper name.


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Examples

Who was the first person to yell “Geronimo!” when he jumped from an airplane? (The Moultrie Observer)

If we’re jumping out of a helicopter, yell “Geronimo!” while doing it. Just jump! (Parade Magazine)

“Then he’d drop to the mats below, screaming ‘Geronimo!’ ” (The Washington Post)

The weekend is a celebration of all that is best in local country, but just down the road from the gala event one of Australia’s greatest pop exports of recent years, Sheppard, was screaming Geronimo at hundreds of fans, who perhaps felt they had a better thing to do than watch Amber Lawrence and Luke O’Shea pick up Golden Guitars. (The Australian)

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