U.S W.W. Army Slang – Lenguaje coloquial del ejercito estadounidense durante las dos guerras mundiales

Algunas de las muchas palabras que se pudieron desarrollar dentro de la jerga coloquial del ejercito de los EE.UU durante la primera y segunda guerra mundial.


Encontrado en “Almanacs of American Life: Modern America 1914 to 1945” de Ross Gregory, (Ed.) Facts On File,Inc . 1995, libro interesante para todo aquel que esté interesado en conocer más a fondo la cultura e historia estadounidense entre estos años ya sea desde un punto de vista crítico o no. Está escrita en esta entrada algunas de las muchas  palabras que se pudieron desarrollar dentro de la jerga coloquial del ejercito de los EE.UU durante la primera y segunda guerra mundial.


Men in the army did indeed use the terms as publicized by ‘The army Almanac ‘, but it is only fair to add that these were the words considered suitable to print. Soldiers, and in fact members of al the military services, also had another vocabulary made up of coarser and more vulgar words and terms that hardly ever made it to the printed page.





The following slang terms were in general use in the army , or at least in the AEF (American Expeditionary Forces in Europe), in Worl War I.

AIRNAT: a member or flyer of the American Air Service.

ARCHIE: an antiaircraft gun; a term borrowed from the British.

BASKET CASE: a soldier who has lost both arms and both legs.

BEAUCOUP: the french Word for ”much” or “many”, adopted by the American soldier. (Also used in WWII)

BIG BERTHA: a famous German long- range rail road artillery piece; later, any large gun. (Supposedly named after Bertha Krupp, of the well-known family o german steel and munition makers)


BOCHE: a German or German soldier; originally French army slang.

COTTI : the ordinary body louse of man, wich was a constant irritation to soldiers living in the trenches.

CORN WILLIE: corned beef, issued as a standard ration.

DEVIL DOGS: the United States Marines; said to have been originated by a German soldier who had encountered them in action and called them ‘Teufel Hunde.’

DIDONK: a french soldier; from the common French exclmation, ‘Dis Donc!’

DOG ROBBER: a soldier who takes care of an oficcer’s personal equipment; also called a ‘striker.’

DOUGHBOY: an American soldier; especially, an infantry soldier.

GO WEST: to die; especially, to die in action or from wounds.

GOLDFISH: canned salmon, issued as a standard ration. (The American soldier placed i ton the ‘hated’ list , along with ‘CORN WILLIE’.

HUN: German or German soldier
IC: initial form of the words ‘inspected and condemned,’ the stamp put on Government equipment that has been worn out and is to be destroyed.

LIBERTY CABBAGE: the patriotic name of sauerkraut.

LIMEY: a British sailor; later broadened to include the British soldie. (Also used in WWII)

MONKEY MEAT: canned beef of the french ration, shipped in from Madagascar. Its a peculiar flavor caused it to be disliked.

SAUSAGE: an obserbation ballon, used in rear of the front line to see into enemy territory; also called ‘blimp’ (Dirigibles (zeppelín) de observación que se suelen llenar de helio, por aquel entonces se llenaban de hidrogeno lo cual, teniendo en cuenta que están cerca de un campo de batalla, nos da una idea del origen de la palabra ‘blimp’)

SLUM: meat stew. (This term is still in use in a variety of forms, such as ‘slum burner’ for army cook. Better rations are now causing the word to fade from use.)


YANK: the American soldier; a term used by the British, but generally disliked by our men.





AWOL: absent without leave.

BLITZ: to shine shoes, or brass, or equipment, so that they have a high polish.

BOLO: to fail to qualify, especially in weapons firing.

BRASS OR BRASS HAT: the commander of staff or higher echelon

BREAK: (1) to cease work for a short period of time (2) to reduce a soldier in grade or

BUCK: (1) to work hard to achieve a personal goal; (2) to work against

CHICKEN: (1) to be afraid; (2) to adhere strictly to regulations.

CLUE (HIM): to inform another person of some situation.

CHOW: food, a meal; used also as an adjective, as in ‘chow time’ ‘chow wagon’ (Palabra que tiene origen en la palabra ‘chow –chow’, verduras encurtidas en salsa amarilla, del idioma simplificado entre el chino y el inglés. Otra curiosidad, tal vez igualmente relacionada, es la comida Chifa de Perú, cuyo nombre tiene su origen en la palabra china chifan que significa cocina o cocinar)

C.O: (Esta no aparece pero la incluyo, es bastante utilizada) (1) Forma de denominar a
los oficiales estadounidenses, especialmente a los capitanes y tenientes, abreviatura de ‘commanding oficcer’ (2) Aquellos que no van o evitan ir a la guerra por ser objetores de conciencia, abreviatura de ‘conscientious objector’

CRASH (PROJECT): a project of extreme urgency and inmediacy, usually generated by pressure from above

DOG-FACE: an infantry soldier.

DOG IT: to lack efort in doing a job.

DOG TAG: the identification tag worn about the neck of a soldier.

DOUGH-FOOT: an infantry soldier

F.U.B.A.R: siglas de ‘fucked up beyond any/all repair/recognition’

FLAP: a situation requiring very rapid action to arrive at a solution to a problem.

FRUIT SALAD: the ribbons, representing awards and decorations, worn on the uniform coat or shirt.

GI: (1) ‘Government issue’ equipment,; (2) to scrub equipment clean; (3) to conduct oneself strictly according to regulations; (4) an intestinal upset; (5) an american soldier, especially a prívate.

GOOF OF: to avoid an assigned duty.

G2 (‘TO G2 SOMETHING’) : to evaluate a situation: to predict results; from the term ‘A.C of

S.G2’, meaning the assistant chief of staff of a command who collects information and disseminates military intlligence

HIGHBALL: to render the military hand salute.

JEEP: a small passenger – carrying military vehicle. (Tiene origen en la abreviación GP: ‘general purpose’)

KP: kitchen pólice, i.e., some task, other tan coocking, connected with preparing or clenaning
up after meals.

M.G: an machine gun

NAMBU: forma de denominar normalmente a cualquiera de las ametralladoras japonesas tipo 11,92, 1 y 3 que se suelen colocar en los nidos. Eran fabricadas por la ‘Compañía Manufacturera de Armas Nambu’ creada por el teniente general Kijirö Nambu a principios del siglo XX.

N.C.O: a noncommissioned officer. (¿Suboficiales?: Sargento, sargento primero, brigada, subteniente y suboficial mayor)

NO SWEAT: ability to get results without great effort.

OLD MAN: the comanding officer.


PANIC BUTTON: feverish activity to find a solution to a problem (‘push the panic button’)

POLICE: to tidy or to put in correct order.

POOP: information obtained from an authorative source.

POT: the steel helmet worn by a soldier for protection.

PX: post exchange,a store on an army post for the use of soldiers.

SACK: sleeping bag or bed; also used in combination with other words, such as ‘sack time’ to denote time for sleep.

‘SEE THE CHAPLAIN’: a phrase used to tell a complainant that his problem is of no concern to anyone except the espitirual adviser of his unit.

SHAVETAIL: a second lieutenant.

SHIP OUT: to leave one’s place of duty as the result of formal orders.

SHORT – STOP: to stop an action prior to its completion.

SIX – BY: an army truck, usually of 2½ – ton capacity, having six wheels all geared to the power train.

SKY PILOT: an army chaplain. (Capellan)

STAY LOOSE: to remain flexible in action; to be ready fo an unexpected turn of events.

STRAIGHT LEG: term used by airborne tropos to describe nonparachutist.

TROOPER: (1) an airborne soldier; (2) a horse cavalry soldier; (3) any soldier of the combat arms; (4) sometimes a general term for a soldier whose name is not know.

TWENTY – PER – CENT MAN: a soldier who loans other soldiers money at usurious rates.

WHITE SIDE – WALLS: a haircut extremely short on the sides, making a light skin contrast with the lower sunburned portion of the face.

Source: Young The Army Almanac, 398-399