Showing posts with label US Army. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Army. Show all posts

Nov 20, 2015

Brownie Points

The term originated with the points earned for various achievements by the youngest group of the Girl Scouts, called Brownies. Brownie points are imaginary points earned by someone for doing a good deed, and lost by doing something bad.

The Girl Scout or Girl Guide Brownies took their name from the mythical creature, the brownie. The mythical brownies were known for being kind and helpful and performing household chores while a family slept. The girl-brownies are supposed to emulate this behavior, being quietly helpful without asking for much in return. (Historical Dictionary of American Slang argues that Brownie points, was US army slang from WWII.)

The slang brown-noser, seems to have first popped up around 1939. It is defined in the 1944 edition of American Speech, as: "A person who is always asking and answering questions in class to impress the instructor. Also a person who stays after class to try to insinuate himself into the teacher’s good graces." This hints at the brown-noser / brownie points connection and how the behavior of Brownies might have overlapped with that of brown-nosers. However, it is American military slang and alludes to the practice of 'brown nosing', or 'arse-licking'. The older term brown-nose is used for a person who curries favor to such an extent that his nose seems to be up his superior’s backside.

May 24, 2013


Taps is widely played on Memorial Day and this music is a variation of an earlier bugle call known as the Scott Tattoo, which was used in the US from 1835 until 1860 and was arranged in its present form by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield a Medal of Honor recipient. His bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, was the first to sound the new call. It was officially recognized by the United States Army in 1874.

The first notes in any bugle call tells the troops in a particular command to pay attention to it, and then tells them what to do, such as to go forward, stop and lie down, or, in this case to go to sleep. Taps also concludes many military funerals. Taps is played here LINK.

The term 'Taps' originates from the Dutch term taptoe, meaning close the beer taps and send the troops back to camp.

"Military tattoo" comes from the same origin. The original meaning of military tattoo was a military drum performance, but subsequently came to mean army displays. Drummers were sent out into the towns at 9:30PM each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks. Tattoo, tap-too, and taptoo are derived from the Dutch taptoe and have the same meaning.