phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Roger, Over and Out

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 03, 2007

In Reply to: Roger, Over and Out posted by The Duke of URL on June 03, 2007

: Roger has been answered. I can only add that since the communication was so unreliable it was necessary for the recipient to acknowledge that he HEARD the message by responding "Rodger". "I copy" might be used today in the same way.

: "Over" was used because the voice line was not "duplexed" I one person were talking it would cut off the other person. Today's voice lines basically have one line going and another line coming so that nothing gets cut off. Hence, "duplexed". You say, "over" it means to the other person that you are finished with your statement and now the other person can say something.

: Out meant "i am now hanging up" so over and out meant if you have nothing more to say, I am now going to end the transmission. There was no dial tone to tell the other side was dead air. These words are simply no longer necessary, today. We know you heard, that is the default. you can talk whenever you want, and a dial tone tells you that the other person is "out". :)))

Correct in every particular, except perhaps spelling, and except that for those used to radio communications, the explanation in terms of telephony might seem unnecessary and even misleading.

I really thought this bit of jargon had been explained in the archive, until I searched the archive myself. What will seem obvious to anyone who was an aficionado of World War II movies seems not to have been obvious to everyone else. The archives contain the desired explanations, but mixed in with much else, so what the Duke of URL has told us is, indeed, useful.

I want to remark on one thing said in the discussion in the archive. The search for brevity had and has its limits in terms of usefulness, and that's why the alphabetic letters, a, b, c, etc., were expanded to alpha, baker, charlie, etc. Two syllables are harder to misunderstand than one, a version of the redundancy principle. As for "roger" instead of "received," it's better to have a standard code word that could hardly mean anything else. Roger is easier to say than Romeo or received, and less likely to be misunderstood than received, although I'm only guessing that that was the thinking. Perhaps phonetics had a role as well.

In any case, the meanings of over and out suggested intuitively (and by Lord URL) are the correct ones.