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What is the origin of the word jeep?
The story is that this American English word was coined from the initials G.P., which stood for 'General Purpose', the designation given by the US Army for this type of vehicle c. 1941 during World War II. A popular character introduced in the Popeye comic strip in 1936 named "Eugene the Jeep" likely influenced the term's coinage, as Eugene's character traits of resourcefulness and power were linked to those of the vehicle - and the only sound that Eugene made was jeep. This connection made the new term stick and pushed it quickly into common usage. However, H.L. Mencken, in 1948, questioned the first assumption (that jeep comes from G.P.), saying that the vehicle was more commonly called half-ton or four-by-four command-reconnaissance car. There was also a theory that the word is a shortening of the exclamation "Jeepers creepers!", said to have been uttered by US Army Major General George Lynch when he rode in a prototype of this vehicle in 1939. According to this account - recorded in Brewer's Phrase and Fable (Room, Adrian, comp. London: Cassell, 2000) - the designer, Charles H. Payne, adopted Jeep as the name after this incident. Jeep is now a registered trademark of the Daimler-Chrysler Corporation.