Where “frag” comes from

This headline on newsobserver.com this morning sent me to my dictionary: Defense in ‘fragging’ case asks for expert help

Fragging is military slang, the dictionary says, for intentionally killing or wounding a superior officer, especially with a hand grenade. The Online Etymology Dictionary reports that the term comes from the Vietnam War and derives from fragmentation grenade. An entry on Wikipedia says that grenades were preferred because they left no fingerprints. The Wikipedia entry also notes that the assassination could be of an officer or even an unpopular member of the unit.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.