What is a ‘hurt locker’?
“What is a hurt locker?” was the first question that popped into my mind as I watch the Oscars. It seems that I was not the only one baffled as I found a few articles about the meaning of the phrase.
A quick internet search has revealed the following facts on the meaning of this phrase:
- If someone inflicts pain on someone else, they are said to be putting them in the ‘hurt locker’.
- It is military slang that is thought to have been used in Vietnam for the first time.
- In Iraq the military slang has survived and it is typically said that explosions could send you to the ‘hurt locker’.
- The term does not only refer to physical injury, but also to mental or emotional suffering.
- The common denominator is that the pain, of whatever kind, is caused deliberately by someone else.
- “Hurt locker’ was used as the title of a poem by Brian Turner in 2004 on his return from Iraq.
- The award-winning film’s writer was an embedded journalist with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit in Baghdad in 2004, which is where he picked up the phrase.
- In the world of the bomb disposal squads the full phrase that is usually used is “any mistake could put you in the hurt locker’.
- In the time in between the two wars mentioned above, the term was often used as sporting terminology for inflicting loss on your opponents.
- The word ‘hurt’ speaks for itself, but ‘locker’ is not only where soldiers or sportsmen keep their kit, it is also a place that could be difficult to get out of, such as a prison.