Leaping Lena

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Proper noun[edit]

Leaping Lena (plural Leaping Lenas)

  1. A nickname for a vehicle.
    • 1930 July, Cole, Dick, “An Outboard “Leaping Lena””, in Popular Mechanics, page 129:
      The outboard motor is forever performing new stunts. The illustrations depict its latest—driving a real “Leaping Lena”—....
    • 1941 October, Stearns, David M., “Leaping Lena Joins the Army”, in Popular Science, page 52:
      All branches of the service find jobs for the versatile quarter-ton liaison truck, a car of unlimited possibilities in war.
    • 1989, International Shrine Clowns Association, 25th Anniversary, Turner Publishing, page 38:
      With the motor racing and the horns blaring, “Leaping Lena” would go around in circles, to the delight of the spectators.
    • 2009, Munday, Sara F., Becoming Myself: A Passage of Grace, Dorrance Publishing, page 255:
      That dear car's name began as “Leaping Lena,” which was not an original name with us. Lots of old cars were called “Leaping Lena.” But when the radiator began to leak, the children appropriately changed her name to “Leaking Lena.”
  2. A nickname for someone or something that leaps.
    • 1932, “Levinsky v. Walker”, in Time, volume 19, number 19:
      Kingfish Levinsky's earning power is due partly to an engaging slapstick manner in the ring, an engaging entourage which includes his sister Mrs. Lena ("Leaping Lena") Levy, famed for her loud voice and strong talk.
    • 1954 January 17, “South Africa Claims Lead In World Frog Jumping”, in The New York Times[1], page 18:
      The press here today proclaimed that Leaping Lena, a Natal Province frog, had beaten the Americans and broken the world's frog-jumping record at the Frog Olympics at Capetown.
    • 2000, Welch, Sheila Kelly, Leaping Lena, Rigby:
    • 2012, Bromfield, Lez, Rednecks: There's a New Sheriff in Town, Dorrance Publishing, page 138:
      However, not to be outdone, Harry's frog “Leaping Lena” took the Frog Leaping Championship by jumping nearly two feet farther than Clancy Coughburn's “Cutie Pie.”
    • ... anyone who was Jewish and had any sense would put on Catholic habits in a thrice if they could get away with it, or twirl like a dervish, or leap like any Leaping Lena, if it would do the trick.
  3. The fictional name given to a B-52 bomber in the 1944 movie The Purple Heart.
    • 1944, “Movie of the Week: The Purple Heart”, in Life, page 121:
      Forced to bail out of Mrs. Murphy and Leaping Lena, their B-52s, they drop through a violent storm into Jap occupied China.
  4. The name given to a 1954 Cold War hero pigeon.
    • 2008, A History of Army Communications and Electronics at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, 1917–2007, Government Printing Office, page 26:
      During the Cold War Era, a German pigeon, Leaping Lena, made a fantastic flight through the Iron Curtain from Pilsen, Czechoslovakia in 1954.
  5. The name given to a 1964 Vietnam War counterinsurgency operation in Laos, later renamed Project DELTA.
    • 2000, Shultz, Jr., Richard H., The Secret War Against Hanoi, HarperCollins, page 212:
      In roughly thirty days, SOG had several teams ready to "cross the fence" in an operation code-named “Leaping Lena”.