Dictionary says that "deploy" means to "move (troops) into position for military action".

But what does it mean exactly? Is "deploy" just about physically moving troops to a certain location? Or does it imply something more, like preparing for battle?

Could you explain what does it mean exactly to "deploy troops"? Could you provide some examples, or possibly links to pictures or videos to troops being deployed?

  • I'm sure it can or has been used metaphorically, in the sense that so many short, forceful phrases in English are used metaphorically. But I don't think it's achieved the status of a set phrase or idiom yet. – Dan Bron Jun 19 '16 at 20:58
  • Thanks for your comment @DanBron, but I'm actually interested in the literal meaning of "deploy", in the military context. I'm trying to understand the original meaning of this word to be able to understand it better. – Sergey Jun 19 '16 at 21:00
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    Well the technical, literal, meaning is as you have it: to move soldiers into position for military action. The physical realization of that activity where generals and other brass move little toy soldiers around on a map of the theatre. But from there it meant "prepare for battle generally", in a martial context, and then in more and more broadly. These days, it's used in familial disputes, business jargon, and so on. – Dan Bron Jun 19 '16 at 21:05
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    It means to "move (troops) into position for military action". That could be as little as having some guys drive a truck across the street, or as much as flying multiple planeloads of troops across the ocean, then having them line up on a border, poised for battle. – Hot Licks Jun 19 '16 at 22:07


  • 1786 as a military word, from French déployer "unroll, unfold," from Old French desploiier "unfold," from Latin displicare "unfold, scatter," from dis- (see dis-) + plicare "to fold" see ply (v.1)). "In its AFr. form regularly adopted in ME as desplay" [OED]. (Etymonline)

Military deployment refers to the movement and logistical support of troops:

  • is the movement of armed forces and their logistical support infrastructure around the world. (Wikipedia)

Deployment: An Overview:

  • Strictly speaking, "deployment" refers to activities required to move military personnel and materials from a home installation to a specified destination. For servicemembers and families, it has come to mean much more: the preparations and personal needs that need to be taken care of at home before, during and after deployment.(Military.com)
  • There is also a tactical sense, as in "The defending troops were deployed along the ridge line", or "As soon as they came under fire, the unit deployed in line and assaulted the enemy." – WhatRoughBeast Jun 20 '16 at 0:20

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