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A few answers

Posted by Bob on March 13, 2000

In Reply to: This is harder than it should be... posted by Barney on March 06, 2000

: : : : : : : : : : I can't find the derivation of this title for this type of missile. Any ideas? There's nothing that I can find in Britannica oe Encarta.

: : : : : : : : : Just an idea:
: : : : : : : : : Norwegian skudda to push
: : : : : : : : : Danish skyde to shoot, shove, push

: : : : : : : : : Sorta missilish??

: : : : : : : : I give up. "Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley..." by Stuart Berg Flexner & Anne H. Soukhanov has a "Scud" entry but it doesn't give the origin of the term. I thought it was an abbreviation (SCUD) but it is shown as "Scud." Maybe it's a Russian word. Here's what was in the book: "Scud, a ballistic missile used by the Iraqis against targets in both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Developed by the Russians in the 1950s, it was a direct descendant of the German V-2 used against allied cities in 1944-45. The Iraqis fired a total of 81 Scuds. The U.S. countered with the Patriot Missile, soon sorted to the Patriot."

: : : : : : : Well, this isn't Russian, but "scud" is "(meteorological slang) A low, fast-moving cloud." From "Slang: The Authoritative Topic-by- Topic Dictionary..." by Paul Dickson (Pocket Books, New York, 1990, 1998).

: : : : : : Checked my Russian dictionary and couldn't find it. The dictionary's 30 years old, though. It could be a Russian acronym, too. I'll keep checking.

: : : : : I think it's an acronym, but what? Possibly something like: Soviet Countries Unguided Deployed
: : : : : missile. There must be an answer somewhere!

: : : : 'Silent Controlled Undetectable Destructive' There's your SCUD.

: : : I've been through a few hours of on-line futility, and even a little bit of library futility. You'd think the origin of Scud would be easier to find. Anybody else?

: : It's on to the Pentagon. Who volunteers to call up the Pentagon's information office and pose this question?

: Don't they have a web presence - that'll be the place to go.

Well, I pestered the Pentagon, NATO, and a bunch of other sources. finally, some kindly folks at Janes, the military information epicenter, sent me waaaaay more than I need to know about the history of the Scud family of missiles. Now I know more than ever about propulsion and throwweight... but only a little more about the source of the name. It seems very likely that this is a NATO designation, not a Russian one. The Russians use SS-1, etc., alphanumeric names... while NATO assigns nicknames, most of which begin with S. So the English word scud, meaning a fast-moving low cloud has moved into the lead as a likely source.