A friend is part of a "tiger team"; I read over Wikipedia to learn some examples of its usage.

The (albeit incomplete) Google Books snippet of the oldest wiki reference "Program Management in Design and Development" reference says "the term 'tiger team' ... has been described as", which implies this paper was not the source of the term.

What's the etymology of "tiger team"?

1 Answer 1


Apparently, the expression “tiger team” was originally a military expression popularized by NASA in the ‘70s.

(US military jargon) Originally, a team whose purpose is to penetrate security, and thus test security measures.

(The Free Dictionary)

The term “tiger team” originates from the military and was made famous by NASA who deployed a tiger team during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. During the Apollo 13 lunar landing mission, part of the Service Module malfunctioned and exploded. NASA formed a select technical team tasked with solving the issue and bringing the astronauts safely home. This “Tiger Team” later won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their work on that successful mission.


  • It might be useful to explain how the meaning shifted from the military sense to the NASA sense, which presumably wasn't trying to penetrate security or test security measures.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 14:06

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