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Gung-ho

Gung-ho is adapted from a Chinese phrase that means, literally, work together. Brought to English during World War II by the American Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Evans Fordyce Carlson, it was originally used to describe a cooperative spirit, but it soon became a Marine battle cry. From this it developed what is now its most common sense: zealously enthusiastic. It functions usually as an adjective (e.g., “he has a gung-ho spirit”) and less often as an adverb (“he always plays gung-ho”) or a noun (“he is the biggest gung-ho of them all”).

Examples


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Only two out of the 15 boys taking the poll this week expressed any yen to pursue the work that fathers toil with daily, and these two boys aren’t gung-ho over stepping into these ready-made posts. [The Robesonian (1957)]

Every pilot wanted to go. Our morale at that point was very high. Yes—you might say we were gung-ho. [Flying Magazine (1966)]

She is gung ho about tennis, however, and is the only partner who still makes time for it. [New York Magazine (1977)]

They were real gung-ho Americans, waving the flag, never questioning the government. [transcribed in American Dreams, Studs Terkel (1980)]

Pariahs of world finance they may be, but not all hedge funds are of the gung-ho, hugely leveraged type epitomised by Long-Term Capital Management. [Economist (1998)]

Reading between the lines, it seems that portion control is more the culprit than a gung-ho attitude with the butter and cream. [Guardian (2013)]

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