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Urban guerrilla?

Posted by ESC on November 02, 2000

In Reply to: MEANING posted by sarah on November 01, 2000

: I need to know the meaning of the cliche "urban guerilla" for a school assignment.

"Guerrilla was originally a Spanish word, the diminutive word for 'guerra,' war," according to the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

"Fighting Words: From War, Rebellion, and other Combative Capers" by Christine Ammer (NTC Publishing Group, Chicago, Ill., 1989, 1999) has this entry: "guerrilla -- an individual or small group that carries on irregular warfare more or less independently, using such tactics as harassment and sabotage. The word is actually Spanish for 'little war,' and originally it referred to local resistance against Napoleon's invasion of Spain. The Spanish peasants took matters into their own hands, forming small bands to resist the French, and eventually, with British help, managed to expel them. The word guerrilla remained a permanent part of the English language. Armed opposition to invaders, such as that in Spain, or to an existing regime frequently takes the form of guerrilla warfare."

I couldn't find the first use of "urban guerrilla" or an exact meaning. My understanding of the term is that it simply means guerrilla warfare in an urban setting. In the words of an old rock song, "taking it to the streets."

I hope this helps some. If I find a more specific definition, I'll post it later. Does anyone have an origin or meaning of "urban guerrilla"?