American World War II Slang
Ack-Ack. - Anti-aircraft fire.
Admiral of the Swiss Navy. - A self-important person.
Ammo. - Ammunition.
All-Out. - With full vigor, determination, or enthusiasm.
Armed to the Teeth. - Well equipped with firearms; alert; fully prepared; awake to danger.
Armored Cow. - Canned milk. Variations: Armored Heifer; Canned Cow.
Army Banjo. - Shovel.
Army Chicken. - Franks and beans.
Army Strawberries. - Prunes.
Asparagus Stick. - A submarine’s periscope.
Asthma. - The company wit, so-called because he’s full of wheezes (jokes).
AWOL. - Absence without official leave.
Awkward Squad. - Men who require extra instruction at drill.
Axle Grease. - Butter.
BAM. - A “broad-assed Marine” (i.e., a female Marine).
Baby. - Mustard; from its resemblance to that which comes out of the hind end of an infant.
B-ache/bellyache. - To complain.
Bags of Mystery. - Sausages.
Bail Out. - Parachute jump from plane; by extension, to get out of a situation like a date.
Baptized by Fire. - To have been under enemy fire for the first time; to have received one’s first wounds.
Bath Tub. - Motorcycle sidecar.
Battery Acid. - Artificial lemonade powder included in K-rations — considered undrinkable and regularly discarded or used as cleaning solution.
Battle Breakfast. - A Navy term referring to the heavy breakfast of steak and eggs commonly given to sailors and Marines on the morning of a combat operation.
Battle Watch. - To do one’s best under difficult circumstances.
Bayonet Course. - Hospital treatment for venereal diseases. “Bayonet” refers to the male member.
Beachhead. - A beach where invading forces land; a fortified position on a beach.
Beat Your Gums. - To talk a lot about something. Variations: Gumming; Jawing; Chin Music.
Become a Gold Star in Mom’s Window. - A gentle way of saying killed in action.
Bedpan Commando. - Medical corpsman.
Behavior Report. - Letter to a girl back home.
Belly Cousin. - A man who has slept with a woman you slept with.
Bite the Dust. - Killed or wounded.
Blanket Drill. - A nap.
Blind Flying. - A date with a girl you have never seen.
Blister Foot. - Infantryman.
Blister Mechanic. - Hospital corpsman.
Blow It Out Your Barracks Bag! - Shut up! or Go to Hell!
Body Snatcher. - Stretcher bearer.
Bone. - To study.
Borrowed Brass. - False courage inspired by drugs or drink. Variations: Bought Guts; Drugstore Nerve.
Bottled Sunshine. - Beer.
Broad With a Heat Wave. - Passionate woman; women with a venereal disease.
Broad With a Load of Lettuce. - A woman of wealth.
Broad With Canned Goods. - A virgin.
Brown-noser. - Ass-kisser. To curry favor, or “boot-lick.” Variation: Brownie.
Brush-Off Club. - Men in the armed forces who have been dumped by their girlfriends. Variation: The Ex-Darling Club.
BTO. Big Time Operator — someone who thinks he’s important.
Buck Private. - The lowest rank in the Army.
Bug Juice. - Insect repellent.
Bunk Lizard. - A lazy solider with a sloth-like attraction to his bed. Variation: Sack Rat.
Burn and Turn. - Game of blackjack.
Canned Morale. - A movie.
Cash in One’s Chips. - To die.
Cast-Iron Bathtub. - Battleship.
Cast the Last Anchor. - To die.
Cat’s Beer. - Milk.
Chair-Borne Infantry. - Desk workers.
Chatterbox. - Machine gun.
Check Out. - To be killed; to die.
Chicken Berry. - An egg.
Chicken Shit. - The G.I.’s name for service regulations and the seemingly endless make-work chores. Sometimes abbreviated as C.S.
Chow Hound. - Men who always wind up at the head of the mess line.
Cit. - A civilian; from “citizen”
Civvies. - Civilian clothing.
Coffee Cooler. - One who seeks easy jobs; a loafer.
Collision Mats. - Pancakes or waffles.
Completely Cheesed. - Bored to an extreme.
Cooking With Gas. - Having become wise to something.
Cool as a Cucumber. - Alert and aware; self-possessed; calm.
Cool Hand. - One who is cool as a cucumber.
Corner Turner. - A deserter.
Cracked Egg. - A silly or stupid person.
Crumb Up. - To get a haircut, shoeshine, freshly pressed shirt, etc., in preparation for an inspection.
Cupid’s Itch. - Any venereal disease.
Dad. - The oldest member of a group.
Dead Battery. - An irritable or gloomy person; a pessimist.
Dead Nuts On. - Fond of; in love with.
Dear John. - A letter from one’s wife or sweetheart informing one that the relationship is over.
Devil Beater. - Chaplain.
Devil Dogs of the Sea. - The Marines.
Devil’s Piano. - A machine gun.
Devil’s Voice. - A bugle call.
Dirty Gertie of Bizerte. - A promiscuous woman.
Do a Hitch. - To serve an enlistment.
Do One’s Bit. - To serve in the military in time of war; to engage in war work.
Dogface. - Infantryman.
Dog Food. - Corned beef hash.
Dog Show. - Foot inspection.
Dog Tags. - Two metal identification tags worn around the neck, one to be collected and one to be left with the body after death.
Do-Re-Mi. - Money.
Downhill. - The second half of an army enlistment.
Duck Soup. - An easy task.
Dude Up. - To dress in one’s best uniform.
Eager Beaver. - A soldier is so anxious to impress his superiors that he volunteers for every job that’s offered, or otherwise displays unusual diligence.
Eagle Day. - Payday; also known as “the day the eagle shits.” A reference to the American eagle that appears on some coins.
Ear Beater. - A person who doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise.
Egg in Your Beer. - Too much of a good thing.
Eight Ball. - A solider who gets into trouble so much that he’s a liability to his unit; from the old notion that it is bad luck to be behind the eight ball in pocket billiards.
Eisenhower Jacket. - A short, fitted, belted jacket of the type made popular by General Dwight D. Eisenhower during the war.
Emily Posters. - Naval cadets; so-called because they were given a condensed edition of an etiquette book by Emily Post.
File 13. - Wastebasket.
Flak. - Abbreviated form of German word Fliegerabwehrkanone, or “pilot warding-off cannon” (anti-aircraft fire).
Flyboy. - A glamorous pilot (usually used ironically).
FUBAR. - Fouled (or fucked) up beyond all recognition.
Garbage Catcher. - A metal mess tray with eight depressions in which food is served.
Gasoline Cowboy. - Member of the armored division (usually a tank driver).
Gertrude. - An office clerk.
Get-Alongs. - Legs.
Get Cracking. - To get started; to get into the air. Borrowed from the British RAF.
G.I. Government Issue. - An enlisted soldier. “Being G.I.” means doing only what is authorized and not wishing to take any risks.
Gibson Girl. - A hand-cranked radio transmitter included in aircraft life rafts; so-called because of its wasp-waisted shape, reminiscent of the beautiful, idealized women drawn by Charles D. Gibson.
G.I. Jane. - A member of the Women’s Army Corps. Variations: G.I. Jill and G.I Josephine.
G.I. Jesus. - Chaplain.
G.I. Joe. - A soldier.
Gink. - A stupid person.
Ginkus. A contrivance; a thingumajig.
Give It the Deep Six. - Forget it; keep it a secret. From older naval slang for burial at sea, which was known as “the deep six,” probably from the custom of burying people six feet underground.
Good-Time Charley. - A person given to carousing; a generous person.
Grandma Gear. - Low gear.
Gravel Agitator. - Infantryman.
Guardhouse/Barracks Lawyer. - A person who knows little but talks much about regulations, military law, and “soldier’s rights.”
Ham That Didn’t Pass Its Physical. - Spam, the ubiquitous canned meat which was served to soldiers up to 2-3 times per day.
Hashburner. - Cook.
Hangar Warrior. - An airplane mechanic who boasts about what he would do if he were a pilot.
Haywire. - Used to describe a piece of equipment that was not behaving itself, or an event that took a bad turn. Derived from the use of haywire (baling wire) to make farm repairs.
Hubba, Hubba! - An exclamation of approbation, thrill, or enthusiasm by a man for a woman.
Jane. - A Woman.
Jane-Crazy. - Over fond of women.
Jap. - Japanese person; anything Japanese.
Jawbreakers. - Army biscuits.
Jeep. - A small, low, khaki-colored car in general use in the Army.
Jeepable. - Impassable except by a jeep (said of a rough road).
Jerry. - A German; anything German.
Joe. - Coffee.
“Joe Blow” Biography. - A short biographical article featuring a fighting man, written for publication in a hometown newspaper.
Juice. - Electricity.
Juice Jerker. - Electrician.
Just Sweating Member. - Pending or prospective member of the Brush-Off Club; he doesn’t know where the hell he stands but the mail doesn’t bring in “Sugar Reports” any longer.
Khaki-Whacky. - A woman overly fond of men in uniform.
Knucklebuster. - Crescent wrench.
Kraut. - A German; from “sauerkraut.”
Latrine Rumors. - Unfounded reports.
Lay an Egg. - Drop a bomb.
Looseners. - Prunes.
Low on Amps and Voltage. - Lacking ambition and ideas.
Mae West. - An inflatable life jacket that fit around the neck and down the chest, and bulged the chest when inflated. Named for the singer/comedienne who was known for her small waist and large bust.
Maggie’s Drawers. - Red flag used on the rifle range to indicate a miss; as in, “He fired a full clip but all he got was Maggie’s drawers.”
Mickey Mouse Movies. - Instructional films on personal hygiene.
Mickey Mouse Rules. - Petty rules, regulations, and red tape.
Million Dollar Wound. - A wound that took a soldier out of combat, and even perhaps back to the US for treatment, but did not permanently cripple or maim him.
Misery Pipe. - Bugle.
Moo Juice. - Milk.
Monkey Clothes. - Full dress uniform.
Mousetrap. - Submarine.
Mud Eater. - Infantryman.
Ninety-Day Wonder. - An officer who holds a commission by virtue of having attended a three-months course direct from civilian life.
Nip. - A Japanese person. Short for “Nippon” — a reading of the Japanese word for Japan.
Nut Buster. - Mechanic.
O.A.O. - One-and-only (as in “one-and-only-girl”).
Padre. - The chaplain.
Paragraph Trooper. - A member of the “Chair-Borne Infantry.”
Pecker Checker. - A medical person who checks for evidence of venereal disease.
Peep (Son of a Jeep). - Bantam car, used in organizations in which jeep is applied to larger vehicles.
Penguin. - Air Force service member who doesn’t fly.
Pep Tire. - A doughnut.Pig Snout. A gas mask.
Pineapple. - A hand grenade.
Pinup. - A picture of a woman for a soldier to pin up on the wall of his quarters.
Podunk. - A soldier’s hometown.
Pocket lettuce. - Paper money.
Popsey/Popsie. - Girlfriend.