Gung-ho, spelt with or without a hyphen, means enthusiastic, zealous or excessively eager. The OED precedes this definition with the word ‘unthinkingly’. The origin is Chinese but gung-ho was first adopted in America during the 1940s and has now spread across the English-speaking world. It derives from the Mandarin Chinese gong hé, an abbreviation of gonghe hezhoushe meaning an industrial co-operative. Starting in 1938, these industrial co-ops were set up throughout rural China by Chinese Communist guerrillas to replace the urban industrial centres taken over by the Japanese invaders. The abbreviation gong hé soon became a slogan which, translated from the Chinese, meant work together or work in harmony. Lt-Col Evans Carlson of the US Marine Corps was military attaché at the US Embassy in China at the time and was so impressed by the enthusiasm and spirit shown by these co-ops that he adopted gung-ho as the motto for his elite marine battalion in 1942 when he returned to active duty after America had entered the war. By the end of 1942, gung-ho had been adopted as the unofficial motto of the entire US Marine Corps because commanders were impressed by the spirit and ‘gung-ho’ attitude it helped promote. The expression soon passed into language, especially after the release of a movie titled Gung-Ho! (1943), which featured the exploits of Carlson’s marine battalion.