military slang terms
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: ursidae-ga
List Price: $5.00
18 Feb 2005 11:03 PST
Expires: 20 Mar 2005 11:03 PST
Question ID: 476668
Looking for the origin and definition of the slang term "shave-tailed lieutenant". Probably military in origin.
Re: military slang terms
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 18 Feb 2005 11:26 PST
Hello ursidae and thank you for your question. The word "shavetail" refers to a Second Lieutenant who is not very experienced in Army matters. The saying comes from the practice in the army of shaving the tails of newly broken pack mules to distinguish them from seasoned ones. See: "Main Entry: shaveˇtail Pronunciation: 'shAv-"tAl Function: noun Etymology: from the practice of shaving the tails of newly broken mules to distinguish them from seasoned ones 1 : a pack mule especially when newly broken in 2 usually disparaging : SECOND LIEUTENANT" http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=shavetail Also see: "A ?shavetail,? Essin explains, was a new initiate, a rookie unproven in a pack train and designated by a roached mane and cropped tail, whereas the ?bell sharp? was an experienced mule who knew where to line up and could identify her saddle." http://www.etsu.edu/news/20000085.htm Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my answer, do not hesitate to ask prior to rating my answer. Very best regards THX1138 Search strategy included: shavetail mule ://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&as_qdr=all&q=shavetail++mule
rated this answer:
Good information. :) I have heard the term used disparagingly, but never knew its origin.
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