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Down in the boondocks

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 30, 2008 at 19:22

In Reply to: Down in the boondocks posted by Smokey Stover on December 24, 2008 at 17:45:

: : : Where does the phrase 'down in the boondocks' originate?

: : It is Tagalog,and WWII dated and used by marines first in the Pacific. Noted WWII book with title.

: : Dictionary of American Regional Englishý - Page 338
: : by Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Joan Houston Hall - English language - 1985

: : ... 239, (Out or back) in the boondocks; MM 15, ...
: : Limited preview - About this book - Add to my library - More editions

: There is considerable discussion of boondock(s) in our Archive. Perhaps the best summary is that of "rb" at


: It was apparently brought back from the Philippines by U.S. soldiers in World War II, where "bundok" means mountain in Tagalog. It was originally used to mean specific areas, characterizeable as wild, rough regions. Now it is used more generically to mean an area relatively free of development or civilization, the backwoods (q.v.) or the sticks (q.v.). The plural is the normal form, even if the meaning is singular or general, as is the case with "backwoods" and "the sticks." The use of "down" with it is not particularly common. Just plain "in the boonies" (or boondocks) is more common than "down in the boonies," which I've never actually heard spoken.

: The word first appeared in print in 1944. In that year General Douglas MacArthur, touching shore on October 21, 1944, with the words "I have returned," led the reconquest of the Philippines, wresting them from the hands of the Japnanese, who had expelled MacArthur and his troops from the islands in 1941. As he was flown to safety, leaving his troops behind, MacArthur had snnounced, "I shall return."

Unfortunately I have made a gaffe in the previous paragraph. Aothough the Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1941, the Philippine and American forces did not surrender until April 1942. MacArthur left in March, 1942, as ordered by President Roosevelt.