Evelyn wrote that she
heard this on CNN the other day: “Two NCIS agents assisted in the exfiltration
of the wounded officer.”
Exfiltration is the
opposite of infiltration. It was built from ex-, out of, and -filtr-, which basically meant a filter. Originally,
filter referred to felt, a cloth made of wool or wool plus hair. It was
compacted by rolling and pressure.
Liquids were poured
through a filter in order to remove impurities. It eventually picked up a
military application: to withdraw troops or spies from a dangerous position,
often surreptitiously. The U.S.
Department of Defense’s 1968 Dictionary of U.S.
Military Terms defined exfiltration as “the removal of personnel or units from
areas under enemy control.”
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