Word Origin & History
Afrikaans, "a troop under a commander," from Port., lit. "party commanded," in use c.1809 during the Peninsula campaign, then from 1834, in a S.African sense, of military expeditions of the Boers against the natives; modern sense is from 1940, first attested in Winston Churchill's writings (originally
shock troops to repel threatened Ger. invasion of England), who may have picked it up during the Boer War. Phrase going commando "not wearing underwear" attested by 1996, U.S. slang.