English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In a game (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare), when a soldier (Gaz) asks his commander (Captain Price) about the "rules of engagement," he is answered "crew expendable."

As they are fighting on a ship, I have two translations in mind:

  1. The ship crew (the enemy) are expendable; i.e. you can kill whomever you want.
  2. The team crew are expendable; i.e. the team should fulfill their objective, even at the cost of their lives.

Which translation is right?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you read the wiki on Call of Duty, definitely the former: the ship crew can be engaged.

alt text

The trivia on that episode also include:

This mission contains many references to the Aliens series of films: These include the title, "Crew Expendable" (in reference to a line from the first film), and the lines "I like to keep this for close encounters", "Check those corners", "Stay Frosty" and "Soldier, we are leaving".

From imdb on Aliens

Ripley queries Mother for advice on destroying the alien, but in the process discovers that "the company" (unnamed in this film, but identified in the sequels as Weyland-Yutani) had recognized the signal as a warning and wanted one of the alien creatures brought back for study, considering the crew expendable.

share|improve this answer
Note the "Weapons free" in the picture: Weapons can fire at any target not positively identified as friendly. This is the least restrictive weapon control status. – VonC Nov 20 '10 at 12:37
Thanks a lot. Very informative; I learnt much more than I expected! – M.S. Dousti Nov 20 '10 at 15:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.