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In radio communication, "Roger" means "message received," the code word for the letter "R." So why "Roger"? Also, I've heard the word "Roger" used with the word "Wilco," as in, "Roger, Wilco, over and out." Please tell me where this comes from.

-- Wondering, San Diego

Roger, wilco, Wondering. Although you've already answered part of your own question. Roger equals the letter R in the radio communications phonetic alphabet, which in turn stands for the word "received." Your message is received and understood. This bit of World War II jargon has been preserved in the present-day aviation and space industries. The now-archaic wilco is just a contracted form of "will comply." Ergo, "Roger, wilco" means, I hear, I understand, and I'll do it. The phrase "over and out," however is a non sequitur that probably comes from the script of some old war aces movie. "Over means I'm through talking and now it's your turn. "Out" means I'm signing off. So "over and out" could only mean that it's your turn to talk, but I'll have my radio off and won't be listening.

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