Friday, November 28, 2008

Hard Target Search - Neologism

After spending the last hour with Google and every concievable search, I have come to the first conclusion that the term "Hard Target Search" is a neologism, first popularized when Tommy Lee Jones said it in the movie: The Fugitive

He stops and looks into the TV lights and starts moving downtrack. The media and State Police move with him like Israelites behind Moses.

Ladies and gentlemen... our fugitive's been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground - barring injury is approximately four miles an hour, giving us a radius of six miles. I want a hard-target search of any residence, gas station, farmhouse, henhouse, doghouse and outhouse in that area. Check-points go up at 15 miles.

(to media)

You got that? Good. Now, turn those damn things off and get out of our way.

Here's the definition of a hard target found on the internet:

  • any fortified, reinforced, armored, or protected object, mobile or stationary, which may require special ammunition or specific tactics (eg: sequence, approach, etc), and serves as a FORCE MULTIPLIER when attacked; see HARDEN, OBJ, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), RFZ, NFZ, FREE FIRE ZONE, BDA, IRONCLAD, SKIN; compare SOFT TARGET. 

Hard targets are hard to kill, thus not generally hard to find. This bit of dialog sounds very military, but doesn't actually mean anything.  It's a neologism, written by Hollywood.

If then entered the slang, and got used in a Seinfeld episode called "The Sponge":

ELAINE: Well, Kramer was right. My friend Kim told me the sponge is off the market.

JERRY: So what are you gonna do?

ELAINE: I'll tell you what I'm gonna do - I'm gonna do a hard-target search. Of every drug store, general store, health store and grocery store in a 25-block radius.

So, it's off to the races, and the neologism has hit critical mass.


Raven's Eye said...

Nice work Mike. I wondered about that damned term myself and mad up my own definition because of what it could infer, i.e. a moving target that doesn't wsh to be found could be a "hard target"! Total nonsense but it worked for me. Thanks for clearing that up.

Raven's Eye said...

Good work Mike! I've been wondering about that damned term since I heard it too. I even made up my own definition! That is: a target that is moving and doesn't want to be caught. It made sense to me! Total nonsense. Thanks for clearing that up!