Off Topic

deborah deborah at
Sat Nov 22 22:33:04 EST 2003

On Sat, 22 Nov 2003, Otter Perry wrote:

|For those of us who grew up on the other side of various
|ponds, why is 'gen' information?  I've run into the
|expression before -- mostly places like British movies
|about WWII.

>From the OED (pointer also found by genius friend last night):

Entry printed from Oxford English Dictionary Online
© Oxford University Press 2003

slang (orig. Services').

(dn)  [Perh. abbrev. of general in the official phrase .for the general
information of all ranks., or possibly from part of the words genuine or

    Information; facts. Also attrib.

       1940 MICHIE & GRAEBNER Their Finest Hour iv. 60 Operations room,
       where I got my .Gen. (R.A.F. slang for information, or
       instructions). 1943 C. H. WARD-JACKSON Piece of Cake 31 Gen book,
       note-book kept for jotting down useful bits of information.
       Ibid., Genwallah, orderly room sergeant, or anyone else
       well-couched in..King's Regulations and Air Council Instructions
       [etc.]. 1944 Penguin New Writing XXII. 41 My mate me
       the .gen. of the last nine days. 1950 M. KENNEDY Feast 46 He
       pretends to have the gen on the visitors, but no visitor would
       know so much as that. 1958 G. MITCHELL Spotted Hemlock ix. 84
       I'll get you a brochure... Last season's will give you all the
       gen you need. 1970 Daily Tel. 10 Dec. 8/6 A vast amount of .gen.
       is included, and this will be invaluable for settling arguments.

    Hence as v. intr. (see quot. 1943); also trans., to inform (const.
    up); so genned-up a., informed; well supplied with information or

       1943 C. H. WARD-JACKSON Piece of Cake 31 Gen-up, to, to learn
       quickly, to swotprior to a trade test board or some equally
       binding ordeal. 1945 PARTRIDGE Dict. R.A.F. Slang 29 Genned up,
       well supplied with information. 1958 E.  HYAMS Taking it Easy I.
       i. 5 He wanted information; I had it. I was in a position to, as
       we said then, gen him up.  I genned him up.

"Buffy, duck."
"What duck?  There's a duck?"
<gets hit on head>

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