Dear Matthew Alice: A question and a puzzlement: What does the D in D-Day stand for? Why is the eggplant called an eggplant when it has neither the shape nor the color of any egg I'm aware of? — Michael Mahon, El Cajon
You’re not going to be happy with either answer. But that’s not covered by the Matthew Alice money-back guarantee on my free advice. The D stands for “day.” Day-day is what it means. Since at least World War I, D-day has been a general military term for the first day of any operation, just as H-hour stands for the time the operation begins. Using a general term like D-day allows you to plan a mission step by step before the date is set (D-day minus two, one, etc., D-day plus one, two, and so on), and it later helps keep the date top secret. The most celebrated D-day, June 6, 1944 — Operation Overlord, the Allied landing at Normandy — is by no means the only D-day before or since. (In France, June 6 is called J-Jour or le Jour /.)
Over the years, there have been rumors that the D stands for Deliverance, Disembarkation, Deployment, Decision, Destruction, Doom, or Death, or that there were three previous invasion plans (A-, B-, and C-day) that were scrapped before the Allied command devised the D-day scenario. But that’s bunk; the D just stands for plain old “day.”
As for the vegetable puzzlement, you gotta admit eggplant looks more like an egg than, say, asparagus does. And one common variety of eggplant is white. So the smooth, white, oval vegetable with one fat end and one tapered end looked very much like an egg to people with sharper imaginations than yours. Hence the name. Sorry. It’s the truth.