Roger That

In a previous publication we talked about the etymology of the word OK.

Now it is time to talk about another expression, well known to movie lovers, especially war movies, action, etc. Who has not ever heard a dialogue that includes a question, or where a character gives an indication, and the the other person, as a sign of acceptance or understanding of that message, answer with the words “Roger” or “Roger That”? At first, we find it very difficult to understand why that person answered the question with a proper name. What is meant by “Roger”? Why that name? Everything has an explanation.

In the distant past, before the invention of mass media, the army used Morse code to communicate. In Morse code, the letter “R” was used to say that something was “Received”. In short, that letter was used to communicate that the message was understood. When the media came along, the word “Roger” was used frequently, mostly because it was very difficult to pronounce only the letter “R”, as it was easily confused with other similar sounds. That’s why we began to associate a word for each letter.

Currently in the alphabet used by NATO, the word used to represent the letter R is Romeo. Today, in military parlance, Romeo replaces the previously known “Roger”, although this is used in some radio communications.

Just as Roger used the word for the letter “R”, the word “Apple” was used for “A”, “Charly” for “C” and so on, with one word corresponding to each letter of the alphabet.

The expression “Roger Wilco” also came into common usage. This phrase meant “Roger will comply.” In more words, this short phrase simply meant that the listener understood the instructions and would follow them.

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