In Evelyn Waugh's Loved Ones, there is a sentence: Mrs Komstock had...a nephew who was high in indoctrination:

Wars simply don’t interest me. Everyone’s like that now. Well, I was like that in ’43. So I went to the Beverly-Waldorf and worked in the beauty parlor, but you couldn’t really get away from the war even there. The ladies didn’t seem to have a mind for anything higher than pattern-bombing. There was one lady who was worse than any of them, called Mrs. Komstock. She came every Saturday morning for a blue rinse and set and I seemed to take her fancy; she always asked for me; no one else would do, but she never tipped me more than a quarter. Mrs. Komstock had one son in Washington and one in Delhi, a grand-daughter in Italy and a nephew who was high in indoctrination and I had to hear everything about them all until it got so I dreaded Saturday mornings more than any day in the week.

What's the meaning of "be high in indoctrination"?

  • 1
    Could you supply more of the context? I can think of a couple possible meanings.
    – Peter Flom
    Aug 31, 2013 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


Indoctrination is US military jargon for various kinds of introductory training.

The events in this passage occur during WW II; searches in Google Books for indoctrination in works of that period usually concern the US Navy's Officer Indoctrination School, but there are also references to indoctrination for airmen.

Since Mrs. Komstock was old enough to have a (presumably adult) granddaughter in Italy, it is unlikely that her nephew was undergoing his own “basic training”; more likely he was a highly-ranked instructor, or was perhaps even more highly placed, as designer of some aspect of indoctrination curricula for the War Department.

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