Trump: 'A Military Operation'

'Of or relating to soldiers or the armed forces'

Lookups for military spiked on February 23, 2017, after press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that when President Trump called deportations “a military operation,” he didn’t mean “an operation conducted by the military.” A reporter asked:

The president said today that deportations taking place under his watch are “a military operation.” Secretary Kelly said the military won’t be involved in deportations. Did the president misspeak?

Spicer’s reply:

The president was using that as an adjective. It’s happening with precision…The president was clearly describing the manner in which this was being done.

Military is indeed an adjective. It means “of or relating to soldiers or the armed forces” and traces back to Latin and French. It was first used in English in the 1400s. The use of military as a noun (as in “the military’s budget”) dates to the early 1700s.

Despite being used in the phrase military precision, military is not a synonym of precision.

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