Why Do People Say "Mayday" In An Emergency?

Why Do People Say "Mayday" In An Emergency?

You've heard pilots in movies say "mayday!" when a plane is going down. But why don't they say "help!" or "emergency!" instead? The video below uncovers the history of this interesting term.

Why Do People On Planes Say "Mayday" In An Emergency?

"Help" doesn't sound like much on a radio.

Why Do People Say "Roger That"?

It comes down to the phonetic alphabet.


Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Astronauts and HAM radio communicators say "Roger" as voice procedure. (0:14)

  • 2

    People would type "R" to denote that a telegraph has been received. (0:42)

  • 3

    The American army and navy formed an alphabet that assigns a word to every letter. (1:04)

Why Do People Say "God Bless You"?

It was actually decreed by a pope.

See all


Social Sciences

History of the United States


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