Das in der Funktelegrafie übliche Zeichen (· · · – – – · · ·) wurde als internationales Notsignal der Schiffe vereinbart, weil es sich auffallend von den übrigen Zeichen im immer stärker werdenden Funkverkehr unterschied. Daß es nach dem Morsealphabet gerade ›S-O-S‹ war, ergab sich rein zufällig. Die Buchstaben haben keine Bedeutung, sind also keine Abkürzung des englischen ›Save our souls!‹ (= Rettet unsere Seelen); diese Worte sind eine sekundäre Textunterlegung. Im Deutschen entstanden weitere scherzhafte Umdeutungen zu: So oder so! und Sauf oder stirb! oder Schlips, Oberhemd, Socken als Geschenklösung zu Weihnachten für den Mann.
   Im heute üblichen Funksprechverkehr lautet der Notruf ›Mayday‹.
• W. STAMMLER: Seemanns Brauch und Glaube, in: Deutsche Philologie im Aufriß, Bd. III (Berlin 1957), S. 1850.

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