Mutual Assured Destruction


Senior Member
Source: Ducksters Education site-The Cold War Arms Race

One of the major factors in the Cold War was termed Mutual Assured Destruction or MAD.

Can I say "Assured Mutual Destruction"?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    No. 1. It is a fixed phrase. 2. Mutually Assured Destruction is the more grammatical (but not more popular) version.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    You can if you like, but then you'd have to change the acronym to AMD. This wouldn't have the same effect as MAD.

    It's not usually a good idea to mess around with set expressions, or, as in this case, names of theories.

    So, in short, no.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Grammatically, it's fine. But it doesn't describe the specific idea that was common during the Cold War which was always referred to as MAD.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Mutually Assured Destruction is the more grammatical (but not more popular) version.
    I never knew it as "Mutual Assured Destruction", it was always "mutually". Nor did I ever hear it spoken as "MAD", except in expressions such as "Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, as it is known", and even then, "MAD" was often said twice ("em ay dee or 'mad'").

    It was a nice acronym, of course, and widely used in print (though rarely without the phrase also being written out in full at the first mention), but as I recall it was too confusing to incorporate into speech in most situations. Perhaps other people's recollections are different.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Of course the acronym played on the idea of this definition of "mad".

    extremely foolish: a mad scheme.[be + ~ + to + verb] You're mad to go out in such weather.

    A scheme that assured the destruction of the world was mad, in that sense.

    AMD would lose that meaning entirely.
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