Who ranked the ranks, and why?
October 23, 2006 5:41 AM   Subscribe

In the US army, majors outrank lieutenants, but lieutenant generals outrank major generals. How did this happen?
posted by IndigoJones to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Major General originally derives from Sergeat-Major General, and Sergeant-Major ranks below a Lieutenant.
posted by cardboard at 5:43 AM on October 23, 2006

Best answer: Wikipedia
posted by cardboard at 5:44 AM on October 23, 2006

You learn something interesting every day here.
posted by caddis at 7:31 AM on October 23, 2006

Think of it like this. Lieutenant pretty much means, “In place of.” Think of it as someone who stands in when the guy in charge is not around. A subordinate if you will. A 2nd Lieutenant (the lowest commissioned officer rank) is essentially a Lieutenant Lieutenant. General is the highest commissioned officer rank. (Well, it is now because there are no 5 stars at the moment) the guy below him is the Lieutenant General.

Incidentally, I always remembered Major General and Lieutenant General because Major has two syllables (and two stars) and Lieutenant has three syllables (and three stars). =)
posted by Chickenjack at 2:45 PM on October 23, 2006

Response by poster: Well, all right! This has bothered me for years, many thanks
posted by IndigoJones at 5:32 PM on October 23, 2006

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