Posted by Victoria S Dennis on November 30, 2006
In Reply to: An army travels on its stomach posted by Smokey Stover on November 29, 2006
: : : An army travels on its stomach
: : : What is the most common meaning of this phrase?
: : : As a non-native English speaker influenced very much by my national idioms I sense three meaning:
: : : 1. One must work hardly to get any result.
: : : 2. Any progress may be slow.
: : : 3. A good soldier is a soldier well fed.
: : : I will be grateful for any comments and explanations.
: : : Thank you.
: : : Valeriy
: : #3 is correct. It's a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte.
: A comment on your proposed answer no. 1. "One must work hardly..." While there is an adverb "hardly," the adverb to go with the adjective "hard"
: is the adverb "hard". "Hardly" has come to mean something else--barely, almost not, or even "not by a long shot." There's a big difference between "He's hardly working" and "He's working hard"--or "one must work hard."
Napoleon of course originally said this in French - "une armée marche à son estomac". It is normally translated into English as "An army *marches* on its stomach". He meant that an army's success depends on logistics; however brave and dedicated the soldiers are, if they have no food they cannot march or fight.(VSD)