American World War II Slang



Popsicle. - Motorcycle.

P.S. Man. - One with previous military experience; one with a previous term of enlistment.

Put That in Your Mess Kit! - Think it over.


Ratzy. - A German; a blend of “rat” and “Nazi.”

Reg’lar. - Regular; first-rate; excellent; a regular soldier.

Retread. - A veteran of World War I fighting in World War II.

Ribbon Happy. - Dazzled by one’s own decorations.

Rock-Happy.  - Bored, especially on the rocky islands and atolls of the Pacific.

Roger! - Expression used instead of okay or right.

Rootin’, Tootin’ Son of a Gun.  - An energetic person.

Rookie. - A recruit.

Royal Order of Whale Bangers. - An “exclusive” club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales, supposing them to be enemy submarines.


Sandpaper the Anchor. - To do unnecessary work.

Saltwater Cowboy. - Marine.

Sea Dust. - Salt.

See the Chaplain. - Stop grousing; resign yourself to an unpleasant situation. In other words, I don’t care about your problem. Go tell someone who’s paid to care.

Serum. - Intoxicating beverages.

Shack Man. - Married man.

Shingles. - Toast.

Shit on a Shingle. - Chipped or creamed beef on toast. Abbreviated as S.O.S.

Short Arm. - Penis.

Short Circuit Between the Ear Phones. - Mental lapse.

Shrapnel. - Grape-Nuts.

Shutters. - Sleeping pills.

Side Arms. - Cream and sugar for coffee.

Sin Buster. - Chaplain.

Six-and-Twenty Tootsie. - A girl who makes a flying cadet so heedless of time that he returns late from weekend leave, thereby incurring six demerits and twenty punishment tours.

Sky Scout. - Chaplain.

Snafu. - Situation normal, all fouled (or fucked) up.

Snore Sack. - Sleeping Bag.

S.O.L. - Shit out of luck; often sanitized as “sure out of luck” or “soldier out of luck.”

Son of Mars. - A soldier.

Soul Aviator. - Chaplain.

Soup. - Clouds, rain, and most of all, fog.

Spud Duty. - Kitchen police (K.P.) assignment (i.e., peeling potatoes).

Spuds with the Bark On. - Unpeeled potatoes.

Stinkeroo. - Poor in quality; low grade.

Stripe-Happy. - A soldier too eager for promotion.

Sugar Report. - A letter from a girl.

Suicide Squad. - Those who operate a machine gun under fire.

Superman Drawers. - Woolen underwear.

Superman Suit. - Long, one-piece government-issue underwear.

Swacked. - Intoxicated.

Sweat Something Out. - Wait a long time for something.


Table Muscle. - Fat.

That’s All She Wrote. - That’s all; a customary cry of the company mail clerk at the end of the mail call.

That’s for the Birds. - Nonsense, drivel, irrelevant matter.

Thousand-Yard-Stare. - Name given to the look of a man with a combat-harrowed psyche.

Tiger Meat. - Beef.

Tin Pickle. - A torpedo or submarine.

T.N.T. - Today, not tomorrow.

Torpedo Figure. - A woman with a good figure.

Tough Row of Buttons to Shine. - Hard job.

T.S. - Tough situation! Tough shit! In other words, do

T.S. Slip. - When a soldier’s complaints become unbearable, his listeners frequently tell him to fill out a “T.S. Slip” and send it to the chaplain.


Uncle Sam’s Party. - Payday.

U.S.O. Commando. - Hometown hero.


Valley Forge. - Temporary tent city in cold weather.


Walkie-Talkie. - Portable radio receiving and sending apparatus. Variations: Handie-Talkie, and Spam Can Radio, after its similarity to a can of Spam.

Walrus. - One who cannot swim.

Wash Out. - To be eliminated from flight training.

Wilco. Will comply. - This radio code was used throughout the services and taken up by civilians. “Roger — wilco,” means “Okay — I’ll do it.”


Zombie. - A soldier falling in the lowest category in the Army classification test.



“Glossary of Army Slang,” American Speech, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Oct., 1941).

“G.I. Lingo,” American Speech, Vol. 20. No. 2 (Apr. 1945)

War Slang: American Fighting Words and Phrases Since the Civil War By Paul Dickson

FUBAR: Soldier Slang of WWII By Gordon L. Rottman