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Joined: July 13, 2008
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The word troop comes from the French word troupe, which refers to a group of people, generally actors today. This from the original Latin: from the OED (free online edition):ORIGIN French troupe, from Latin troppus ‘flock’.
In addition, it later acquired the meaning "to move", as in "the marching band trooped along in the heat..."
I personally do not remember the word used for a single military individual until THIS war, but there are quite a few who recall it during Vietnam. I have yet to research that usage in the media. I know it has irritated me only lately.
It would appear the word trooper derived from the above, to mean a member of a troop, especially a cavalry soldier. It is probable that in military usage, trooper was again shortened to be "troop" and thus we have the word being simultaneously singular and plural!
July 13, 2008, 2:32pm
From the 1930 Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:
troop (troop), n [F. Troupe.] 1. A collection of people or, formerly, also, of things; a company; number. 2. Soldiers collectively; an armed force; - generally used in pl. 3. Mil. A division of a cavalry squadrom commanded by a captain and corresponding to the company in infantry; formerly, also, a battery. in the United States army, four troops of 107 (formerly 65-100) men each constitute a squadron. Syn. see company.
Trooper n. 1. A cavalryman or his hourse. 2. A troopership 3. A mounted policeman. Australia
troopership. n. A military transport.
1943 Webster's Dictionary
troop n. an assembly of people; a herd or flock; a unit of cavalry, generally about 60; a company of Boy Scouts; pl. a large body of soldiers; an army; vi.i to march in a body; collect in crowds; v.t. to form into a troop or troops; unite with a troop.
July 13, 2008, 2:18pm
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