Etymological Weaponry

Mar 10, 2011   //   by LouBu   //   military, photos, terms  //  1 Comment

Two rep­re­sen­ta­tive sym­bols of Afghanistan, grenades and pome­gran­ates, come from the same ety­mo­log­i­cal root. We dis­cov­ered yes­ter­day that the word “grenade” is tak­en from the French “pome-grenate.” French sol­diers gave the hand­held explo­sives their name because they looked like the seed­ed fruits, both in their round shape topped with a crown, and in their inner work­ings con­sist­ing of lots of small seeds, prepped for activation.  We keep a stock of both at the Taj.


Mean­while, “RPG” is usu­al­ly miss-trans­lat­ed as “rock­et pro­pelled grenade.” Its a mem­o­rable term that fits the let­ters and sounds like it could be right, but isn’t. Here the Sovi­ets can claim ori­gin as the let­ters actu­al­ly orig­i­nate from ручной противотанковый гранатомёт, mean­ing “hand-held, anti-tank, grenade launch­er.” It’s not quite as catchy in Eng­lish because “HHATGL” does­n’t have the same ring as “RPG”, so we’ve adopt­ed the acronym while mak­ing up a handy sub­sti­tute for the let­ters. Plus, “rock­et pro­pelled” sounds bad ass.