Discussion in 'English Only' started by Gautier51, Apr 19, 2011.
Who could tell me difference between a marksman and a sharpshooter ?
Yup, at least as far as the US Army is concerned. Three ascending levels of skill in riflery as determined by target-shooting rounds: marksman, sharpshooter, expert. Thus, a sharpshooter would have had a better score than a marksman.
"Sharpshooter" implies more skill than "marksman" in general speech also. If someone is a really good shot, I'd have to say "he's an excellent marksman" to convey this, but "he's a sharpshooter" or (for emphasis) "he's a real sharpshooter" get the same idea across without the adjective.
Context, please. Where did you come across these terms?
Nowhere ! I just found "marksman" in a text and looking for its definition, I found "sharpshooter". And I wondered if there where a difference (Wiki says sharpshooter is a term of the early 19th century...)
I see from the above posts that technically a "sharpshooter" is better than a marskman, but in a literary context I'd say they're synonyms. Max Eastman in his translation of Trotsky's "History of the Russian Revolution" used the term "Lettish sharpshooters", but could just as easily have said "Latvian marksmen".
I agree with Einstein -- in general usage I would consider marksman and sharpshooter synonyms. It is only in specialist contexts that they are rankings with one being better than the other.
OK, thank's. It crystal clear.
I wonder if Wiki said that about sharpshooter because the preferred rifle for that era for long range marksmanship was a Sharps Rifle. I don't think Wiki was implyng that sharpshooter is now a dead word.
Either way, you've proven me it isn't !
Here is a source that suggests there's no connection. In fact, as I had never heard of the Sharps rifle, I assumed the derivation was the one given here.
To me, marksman is a much more familiar word than sharpshooter. Would this be an AE/BE difference?
Sharpshooter predates Sharps' rifle by at least 50 years. I suspect Wiki merely meant that the word has its origins in the early 1800s (although it must certainly have been around at least somewhat before then). I agree they can't be implying that the term is outdated, as it is common knowledge that it is not.
I agree that outside of its usage as a military term of art, or reference to such, that marksman and sharpshooter may be used synonymously, but even in general use, I think a sharpshooter might be regarded as a particularly accurate marksman.
Interesting!! At least it proves the question is not unique.
Is it a pond difference? I don't know. They both are used in the American lexicon, often interchangeably. I can tell you that I won my Expert ribon with the M-16, and never heard of a ribbon for anything less. I believe the Marines may have grades of riflery.
Sharpshooter has its origins in Europe, I believe, during the Napoleonic Wars (there is an exact transliteration in German, but I don't if this came first).
Perhaps it is more familiar in the US today because of its adoption as a specialist term in the US military; which it is not, to my knowledge, in the British armed forces. We know the term from movies and such, but neither word is one that comes up every day, and I'm not sure whether there is a huge difference in understanding between the US and the UK.
What would you call one who is an expert rifleman in hostage situations called in to 'take out' the bad guy?
I would call that a sniper. Sniper can be used for either a "good guy" or a "bad guy;" it's someone who can shoot very accurately at long range.
In the states that is obvious. We were discussing the difference in the UK. As a police officer we never called our shooters snipers because of the ugly connotation attached to it. It smacks of murderous. "Tower Sniper shoots 16 in Austin TX", kind of thing.
When I was in the Army (still then using the M-1), badges rather than ribbons were awarded in the three grades, marksman, shrpshooter, and expert, according to the scores achived in the "trainfire" target-shooting program then in use.
Sorry, I saw more Marines in Vietnam than Army. I only used them because I saw them more. I did figure the Army had a similar grading system. Air Force had no need for grades since there were no infantrymen then. What they have now is anyone's guess.
The U.S. Army and Marine Corps both have three levels of qualification: Expert, Sharpshooter and Marksman. Wiki reference.
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