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Origins of 'roger'
27.10.09 by Buffalo Bill

From the letters page of the Guardian, Saturday 24th October:

The word “Roger” to acknowledge a message received (Letters, 22 October) arose from the use in morse code times of the letters “RD” meaning “message received and decoded”. When radio-telephony came along, the same letters were used, this time spelled out in words, and in British usage, A was “ack”, B “beer”, C “Charlie”, D “Donald”, E “easy”, F “Freddie” … R “Roger”. So “RD” was “Roger Donald”. When the American army air force came along, they laconically rhymed this as “roger-dodger” as “message received and decoded”. Later the “decoded” bit was dropped, leaving us all with just “roger”.

Tony Cheney

So now you know! For anoraks, the full phonetics alphabet, as used by NATO, is here.

  1. so what the fuck is all this 10-4 business about??

    — london broil    29 October 2009, 05:03    #
  2. Some years ago I dealt with a female transport company that refused to say Roger, they insisted on Mabel Mabel instead.

    — Mick D    4 November 2009, 18:56    #
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