high speed, low drag

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From aviation, where wings and other exterior aircraft parts are designed to minimize drag and thus maximize the craft's potential speed.

Adjective[edit]

high speed, low drag (not comparable)

  1. (informal) Highly efficient.
  2. (informal) Competent or reliable.
    • 2014, Tom Dalzell, Vietnam War Slang: A Dictionary on Historical Principles[1], Routledge, →ISBN, page 78:
      Competent, reliable, dependable ... "The 'Three' is likely to be the 'high speed, low drag' officer destined for great things."
    • 2009, Mark Greaney, The Gray Man[2], Penguin, →ISBN, page 40:
      "It was an ad hoc, special sanction tactical team, made up of what we call in the business 'high-speed, low-drag' operators. The very best of the very best."
    • 2003, Derek Hart, Shadows in Replay[3], iUniverse, →ISBN, page 109:
      "Captain O'Malley tells me you're all high speed, low drag people," Kinkaid began. "Capable and dependable, unlike most claymores."

Adverb[edit]

high-speed low-drag (not comparable)

  1. (informal) Highly efficiently or competently.

Usage notes[edit]

Often used as a standalone expression, suggesting a general philosophy of life: "High speed, low drag, man!"

Originated in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, among special forces troops who carried only that equipment absolutely essential to their mission. However, the phrase is used today primarily outside the military, by those who are seen as affecting a level of expertise that does not come from actual combat experience.

See also[edit]