- adjective excessively eager, enthusiastic and/or assertive, especially in the context of patriotism, jingoism and military aggression. This phrase was thought to be a Chinese rallying cry. (The words ‘gung ho’ were part of the Chinese title of an Industrial Cooperative and were assumed wrongly to mean ‘work together’.) It was adopted by the Marine Corps and later for general American military use in World War II. It became known outside the USA to a limited extent during the Korean war and more particularly during the Vietnam war, now being so well known as to constitute a colloquialism rather than a slang term.