: extremely or overly zealous or enthusiastic

Examples of gung ho in a Sentence

We were really gung ho about joining the team. he was gung ho about his accounting class
Recent Examples on the Web The government has often been gung ho in its health-education efforts: the U.S.D.A.’s nutritional guides and food pyramids, seventies Saturday-morning-cartoon P.S.A.s, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 Other researchers are less gung ho about such heady prospects. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, 10 Aug. 2023 There are merely people who are gung ho about it, and people who would prefer for various reasons to soft-pedal it. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 2 June 2023 Everybody’s just gung ho to do this. William E. Ketchum Iii, Rolling Stone, 6 Jan. 2023 Even financial firms, perhaps the most gung ho about return-to-office policies, have mostly caved, resigning themselves to a hybrid future that has, in many cases, stalled out at two-day-a-week callbacks. Curbed, 15 June 2022 To celebrate 30 hugely successful years in the busines, the company has picked out 10 films from its library that best represents its rise to , including multiple franchise-starters and one decidedly un-gung ho prestige moment. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Nov. 2022 But then there is Styles, cheerily gung ho, hidden behind a festive yellow bandana mask and a sweatshirt of his own design, surprisingly printed with three portraits of his intellectual pinup, the author Alain de Botton. Alice Newbold, Vogue, 11 Aug. 2021 Casterline urged his client to jump on the next flight, but Adams — who was always gung ho for football — was suddenly hesitant. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 See More

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Word History


Gung ho!, motto (interpreted as meaning "work together") adopted by certain U.S. marines, from Chinese (Beijing) gōnghé, short for Zhōngguó Gōngyè Hézuò Shè Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society

First Known Use

1941, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gung ho was in 1941

Dictionary Entries Near gung ho

Cite this Entry

“Gung ho.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gung%20ho. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

gung ho

: extremely enthusiastic

Gung ho! motto (thought to mean "work together") of a U.S. Marine battalion in World War II, from the Chinese (Beijing dialect) phrase Zhōngguó Gōngyè Hézuò Shè "Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society"

Word Origin
Since the war was not going well for the U.S. in 1942, Marine Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson needed something special to make his troops feel hopeful and excited. He was organizing the Marines' Second Raider Battalion in California and told his men their motto would be gung ho. This, he told them, was Chinese for "work together." Since there was a Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society known as Gōnghé and since gōng does mean "work," and does mean "join," what he said seemed to make sense. But gōng and cannot be put together in Chinese to mean "work together." The organization known as Gōnghé was, in full, Zhōngguó Gōngyè Hézuò Shè. The Chinese themselves shortened it to Gōnghé just as we abbreviate long names and titles in English. But in English gung ho stuck as a motto and went on to become an adjective meaning "extremely enthusiastic."
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