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    #1

    what is "niner"?

    In some movies military guys say "niner" when they read some numbers, is it military slang for "nine"?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: what is "niner"?

    It's not slang as you think of slang. When people are speaking on the radio, they say things differently to make it clear what was just said. "Niner" cannot be confused with "one" in a static-filled transmission. They don't say "A, B, C" either; it's Alpha, Bravo, Charlie.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: what is "niner"?

    it's fascinating, thanks!

    do they have special words for the whole alphabet and all numbers?

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    #4

    Re: what is "niner"?

    Yes, here: NATO phonetic alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (I've never really heard tree instead of three, though.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: what is "niner"?

    Quote Originally Posted by alikim View Post
    In some movies military guys say "niner" when they read some numbers, is it military slang for "nine"?
    Those of us who once wore a uniform and try to give the impression that we single-handedly beat the Nazis (or Commies or Terrorists or whatever) tend to throw in the occasional 'fower' (4) and 'fife' (5) as well as 'niner' (9)

    ps. sorry, Barb - I missed your post and its useful link. Even when I was saving the world, I never had to say 'tree' (3). In fact, though the site you link to is interesting and largely accurate, I am not sure about its total authority. It does not, for example, mention 'emma' for 'E'. Those of us (Brits) who grew up in the 1950s reading the already dated Biggles books knew that 'a.m'. was 'ack emma'
    Last edited by 5jj; 10-Jan-2011 at 17:59. Reason: ps added

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    #6

    Re: what is "niner"?

    I never talk that way for numbers. For letters, it comes in very handy. Except when I couldn't remember Kilo for K,so I said Potassium instead. True story.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: what is "niner"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I never talk that way for numbers. For letters, it comes in very handy. Except when I couldn't remember Kilo for K,so I said Potassium instead. True story.
    So, Barb, when you spell out 'thick', you say, "Tango, Hotel, India, Charlie, Potassium".

    Right.

    I will refrain from comments about 'Gracie Allen' logic, and quietly depart.....

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    #8

    Re: what is "niner"?

    Actually, it was "K as in... " and I couldn't think of "Kilo" so I said the first thing I associate with the letter K. Sadly, the person I was doing this with on the phone didn't even bat an eye.

    I'm not sure Gracie thought in terms of the periodic table much.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: what is "niner"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Actually, it was "K as in... " and I couldn't think of "Kilo" so I said the first thing I associate with the letter K. Sadly, the person I was doing this with on the phone didn't even bat an eye. .
    One question (and I am not being deliberately awkward here - for a change!).
    I know the expression only as 'bat an eyelid'. My ALD says that AmE is 'bat an eye'. Can you confirm this, please?

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    #10

    Re: what is "niner"?

    Yes, bat an eye, bat an eyelid, bat an eyelash -- all the same. Show no emotional response.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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