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.