"Monuments Men" clip: Use of "tasked" (verb) in WWII era. Anachronistic, don't you think?

I was watching a news segment tonight about the real “monuments men,” the guys who recovered the artwork looted by the Nazis in WWII. In the segment they showed a brief clip of the new movie Monuments Men that reenacted their work.

I have not seen the movie, but it does not appear to be retrospective – the movie takes place in the WWII era, or very shortly thereafter. The clip featured a line spoken by the narrator, George Clooney, that went something like this: “We were tasked with recovering the looted Nazi art.”

My brain went, “What – tasked?!?!?

I never heard the word “task” verbified (my term) until, like, the late-1980s or afterwards. As I remember it was a corporatespeak term that yuppies invented.

Am I right?

Not according to the OED:

Looks like it was particularly common in government and military circles in the first half of the 20[sup]th[/sup] Century. This Google book search from 1900-1955 offers numerous examples: https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=tasked&tbs=,cdr:1,cd_min:Jan+1_2+1900,cd_max:Jan+31_2+1955&num=10#q="tasked"&tbm=bks&tbs=cdr:1%2Ccd_min:Jan+1_2+1900%2Ccd_max:Jan+31_2+1955

Well what do you know? I guess the term was around longer than I thought. **Balance’s **examples seem to show that.

But Reality Chuck, I don’t think your examples make the case. To “task,” used in the sense of “to bother or annoy” – as Kahn used it to describe Capt. Kirk in Star Trek: Wrath of Kahn (“He tasks me!”) – is not what I’m talking about.

I mean to give an assignment or job.

That’s exactly the sense Chuck’s reference is about: “to impose a task on; to assign a definite amount of work to”. The examples are of that sense (though I can see how some of them might confuse the issue slightly).

I saw a sneak preview screening. Most of the movie takes place in the waning days of WWII. The narration is from a briefing/presentation Clooney’s character is giving to the president after he gets back.

Good movie.

I’m interested in seeing it. I believe part of this story was also the subject of the 1965 Burt Lancaster movie, The Train.

I read the book last year. I’m interested in seeing the movies. National Geographic channel had a special on the Monuments Men last night.

It sounds like a military or naval term, I would not be surprised if it became more popular due to migrating from service speak.

I’m surprised, too. I would’ve thought it anachronistic in WWII usage.

One of the many things wrong with the Lincoln-assassination movie The Conspirator was showing several U.S. Army officers in 1865 barking out “Stand down!” to others. Definitely a more recent phrase, I thought.

Webster’s dates the first known use to 1681.

In U.S. military usage, I’d never heard it before the late 1990s.

It was used in the US military at least since WWI, according to this NYT piece, and appears in a dictionary of military terms published in 1918.

You guys never heard of a Task Force?

The one thing from the trailer that puts me off the movie is the old trope about stepping on a land mine. Complete bullshit and it takes me right out of any movie I see.

Care to explain? What old trope?

This one.

According to the Wikipedia page for the S-Mine, aka Bouncing Betty (a mine commonly by the Germans in WWII), it was a common misconception that it did not explode until you released the pressure (a misconception the page vaguely says was reinforced by US propaganda).

In fact, the mine did explode regardless once pressure was applied, just with a delay to allow time for the explosives to be launched into the air (which presumably didn’t happen if you were still standing on it).

At least one of the clips has a glaring anachronism: the map of western europe they are studying shows parts of the Netherlands which were not created until long after the war.

Yes thank you.

The Germans did have a pressure release mine called the E.Z. 44 but that wasn’t an anti personnel mine. It was an anti-tampering device placed under anti-tank mines. When the weight of the mine was lifted off the 44 blew up. But that was not useful against people walking. It’s a bullshit overdone Hollywood crutch that annoys the crap outta me.