[ guhng-hoh ]
/ ˈgʌŋˈhoʊ /


wholeheartedly enthusiastic and loyal; eager; zealous: a gung-ho military outfit.


in a successful manner: The business is going gung-ho.

Nearby words

  1. gunfight,
  2. gunfighter,
  3. gunfire,
  4. gunflint,
  5. gung ho,
  6. gunge,
  7. gunite,
  8. gunk,
  9. gunk hole,
  10. gunky

Origin of gung-ho

introduced as a training slogan in 1942 by U.S. Marine officer Evans F. Carlson (1896–1947) < Chinese gōng hé, the abbreviated name of the Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society, taken by a literal translation as “work together” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for gung ho

gung ho

/ (ɡʌŋ həʊ) /


extremely enthusiastic and enterprising, sometimes to excess
extremely keen to participate in military combat

Word Origin for gung ho

C20: pidgin English, from Mandarin Chinese kung work + ho together

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gung ho

gung ho

also gung-ho, gungho, 1942, slang motto of Carlson's Raiders (2nd Marine Raider Battalion, under Lt. Col. Evans Carlson, 1896-1947), U.S. guerrilla unit operating in the Pacific in World War II, from Chinese kung ho "work together, cooperate." Widely adopted in American English c.1959.

Borrowing an idea from China, Carlson frequently has what he calls 'kung-hou' meetings .... Problems are threshed out and orders explained. ["New York Times Magazine," Nov. 8, 1942]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for gung ho


Extremely enthusiastic or zealous: “He was gung-ho about going on a vacation to the beach.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with gung ho

gung ho

Also, gung-ho. Extremely enthusiastic or dedicated, as in She was gung ho about her new job. This expression was introduced in 1942 as a training slogan for a U.S. Marine battalion, derived from what an American officer thought were Mandarin Chinese words for “work together.” It was actually an abbreviation for the name of Chinese industrial cooperatives.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.