Army Slang in WWII

AA - Anti-aircraft

A.B. - Area bird; cadet walking punishment tours in area of barracks

ACK-ACK - Machine gun

A.F. - Audio-frequencies (Signal Corps)


ARMORED COW - Canned milk


ARMY BRAT - Son or daughter of Army officer


AT - Anti-tank

AUGUSTINE - Cadet who enters Military Academy in August (West Point)

AWOL - Absence without official leave

B.A. - Busted aristocrat; cadet officer reduced to ranks (West Point)

BABY - Mustard

B-ACHE - Complaint, or to complain

BAD TIME - Time spent in guardhouse, which must be made up

BAIL OUT - Parachute jump from plane

BARKER - Heavy artillery gun

BARRACKS 13 - Guardhouse

BATH TUB - Motorcycle sidecar


B.C.L. - Broadcast listener (Signal Corps)

BEAM, FLYING THE IRON - Pilot following railroad track

BEAM, FLYING THE WET - Pilot following river

BEAM, RIDING THE - To pretend innocence; to look at ceiling (Flying Cadets)

BEAN GUN - Rolling kitchen

BEANS - Commissary officer

BEAST - New cadet (West Point)

BEAST BARRACKS - Period of elementary training for new cadets (West Point)

BEHAVIOR REPORT - Letter to a girl

BELLY ROBBER - Mess sergeant

BEND THE THROTTLE - To fly plane or drive vehicle above normal speed

BIBLE - Army regulations

BIG JOHN - Recruit

BIRD DOGGING - Lower classman dancing with upper classman’s girl (Flying Cadets)

BISCUIT GUN - Imaginary appliance for shooting food up to pilots who are having difficulty in landing (Flying Cadets)

B.J. - Before June; applied to ‘plebes’ lacking in respect for upperclassmen (West Point)


BLACK WEDNESDAY - Calisthenics with rifles (Flying Cadets)

BLASE - Fresh; indifferent to correction (West Point)

BLIND - A fine imposed by court-martial

BLIND FLYING - A date with girl you have never seen

BLISTERFOOT - Infantryman

BLITZ IT - Polish it

BLITZ WAGON, or BUGGY - Staff car

BLITZES - Air patrols

BLOW YOUR TOP, TO - Vocal loss of temper

BOARD FIGHT - Recitation in which problems are worked out at blackboards (West Point)

BOB-TAIL - Dishonorable discharge

BOG-POCKET - Tightwad

BONE - To study or strive for something

BOODLE - Candy, cake, ice-cream, etc (West Point). Boodle fight - any party at which boodle is served

BOOTLEG - Coffee

BOUDOIR - Squad tent

BOWLEGS - Cavalrymen

BRACE - Exaggerated position of attention

BRASS - Empty cartridge shells

BRASS HATS - GHQ officer; staff officer

BRASS POUNDER - Radio telegrapher (Signal Corps)

BREAD SERGEANT - Mine Planter dining-room orderly

BRUSS - An exaggerated brace (Flying Cadets)

B.S. - British Science; prolonged discussion (West Point)

BUBBLE DANCING - Dishwashing

BUCKING - Extra attention to personal appearance when competing for higher rank or favors

BUCKING FOR SECTION 8 - Seeking discharge for military ineptitude (not grounds for dishonorable discharge)

BUDDY SEAT - Motorcycle sidecar

BUG - Speed key on transmitter (Signal Corps)

BUG - Instrument recording performance in Link Trainer (Air Corps)

BUGLE - To avoid reciting by standing at blackboard until end of period (West Point)

BUGS - Any solids found in soup

BUILT-IN HEAD WIND - Implication that plane designer has intentionally lowered its cruising speed (Flying Cadets)

BULL PEN - Military prison yard

BULLY BEEF - Tinned Corned Beef

BUNK FATIGUE - To sleep or rest

BUNK FLYING - Talking aviation in barracks (Air Corps)

BUNKIE - Close friend, or one who shares same shelter

BURN AND TURN - Game of blackjack

BUSTED - Reduced in rank

BUTCH - Medical officer

BUTT - Cigarette

BUTT - Remainder; as ‘butt of the month.’ (West Point)


BUTTON UP - To close a tank (Armored Force)

BUTTONED UP - Orders carried out

BUZZING A TOWN - To do the town; in Air Corps, to fly over it

CANS - Headphones (Signal Corps)

CANTEEN SOLDIER - One who wears non-regulation clothing or insignia

CAPTAIN OF THE HEAD - Latrine orderly on Mine Planter

CARE BOY - Driver of tank (Armored Force)

CARRIER PIGEON - Officer’s messenger

CARRYING A HEAVY LOAD - Fatigued or melancholy

CATHEAD KID - Soldier guarding a mine cable over the cathead (Mine Planters)

CHINA CLIPPER - Dishwasher

CHINESE LANDING - One Wing Low (Air Corps)

CHOW HOUNDS - Men always at head of mess line

CLASS ‘A’ PASS - Reward for efficiency and good conduct; permits absence at all times when not on duty

CLASS ‘B’ PASS - Permits absence between retreat and reveille


CO (KO) - Commanding officer

COCK PIT FOG - Mentally lost

COFFEE COOLER - One who seeks easy jobs

COLD - Without error (West Point)

COMB IT - Detailed inspection of a tank


COMPANY PUNISHMENT - Punishment fixed by company commander

COMPANY STOOGE - Company clerk

CON - Confinement to quarters (West Point)

COPENHAGEN - Chewing snuff

COSMOLINES - Artillery

COUNTRY CLUB - Randolph Field

COUSIN - Close friend

COW - Member of Second Class, third year at Military Academy (West Point)

CP - Command post

CRAWL - To admonish


CROW TRACKS - Chevrons

CRUMB HUNT - Kitchen inspection

D - Deficient (West Point)

DAILY BULLETIN - Orders issued to regiment by regimental commander

DAILY DETAILS - Daily work schedule issued by 1st Sergeant

DAWN PATROLLING - To arise before reveille

DAY ROOM - Recreation room

DEADLINED - Vehicle laid up for repairs

DECK MONKEYS - Deck crew of Army Mine Planter

DECODE - To explain

DEMO (pronounced ‘deemo’) - A demerit (West Point)

DEVIL’S PIANO - Machine gun

DIDDIE BAG - Where soldier keeps valuables

DIHEDRAL OIL - Imaginary substance which recruits are sent to procure (Air Corps)

DING HOW - Everything O. K.

DIS - Discipline (West Point)

DIT DA ARTIST - Radio operator

DODO - Flying Cadet who has not yet made a solo flight

DOG ROBBER - Orderly

DOG TAGS - Identification disks

DOGFACE - Enlisted man

DOG SHOW - Foot inspection

DOODLE BUG - Reconnaissance car, or tank

DOPES OFF - Acts stupidly

DOUGHBOY - Infantryman

DOUGH PUNCHER - Army baker


DOOWILLIE - See Ducrot

DOWNHILL - Second half of enlistment

D.P. - Dining permit (West Point)

DRAG - Equivalent to date; also, to apply water and shoe polish to a newly appointed cadet officer (West Point)

DRIVE IT IN THE HANGAR - Stop bunk flying

DRIVE UP - Come here

DRY RUN - To practice; a dress rehearsal

DS - Detached service; away from organization

D.T. - Double time

DUAL - A flight with instructor; a date with chaperone (Flying Cadets)

DUCROT - Anything the name of which is not known; applied to all plebes, as ‘Mr. Ducrot.’ (West Point)

DUD - Unexploded shell

DUFF - Any sweet edible

DUFFLE BAG - Clothes bag


DUMBGUARD - See Ducrot

DUMBJOHN - See Ducrot

DX MAN - Radio operator interested in contacting amateurs in foreign countries and distant places

EGG IN YOUR BEER - Too much of a good thing

ELEPHANT - Cadet taking dancing lessons (West Point)

ENGINEER - Cadet in top academic sections (West Point)

ETHER - Radio telephone (Signal Corps)

FAT FRIENDS - Balloons

FATIGUE - Work detail

FATIGUES - Work clothes

F.D - Full dress

FESS - A failure (West Point)

FILE - Waste basket

FILEBONER - One striving to get ahead (West Point)

FIND - To discharge a cadet for failure in studies or conduct (West Point)

FIRST GRADER - Master Sergeant

FIRST MAN - First Sergeant

**FLANKER, A tall person (West Point)

FLASH GUN - Machine gun used for training

FLOWER POT - Plane Power Turret (Air Corps)


**FLYING CHINESE, One wing high-other wing low (Air Corps)

FOOT LOCKER - A barracks truck

FOOT SLOGGER - An Infantryman

FOUNDATION - Day on which list of those to be dismissed is published - See find (West Point)

FOUNDLING - A dismissed cadet (West Point)

FOXHOLE - Pit dug by a soldier, a one- man trench

FRENCH LEAVE - Unauthorized absence

FRESHMAN - A recruit

FRIED EGG - Insignia of U. S. Military Academy

FROG STICKER - A bayonet

FUNERAL GLIDE - Plane out of control (Flying Cadets)

G-2 - Inquisitiveness


GARRISON SHOES - Army dress shoes

GAS HOUSE - Saloon or beer garden

GAS HOUSE GANG - Chemical Warfare instructors

GASOLINE COW BOY - Member of Armored Force

GEAR - Radio equipment (Signal Corps)

GEESE - Bombers in formation

GENERAL’S CAR - A wheelbarrow

GET EAGER - To strive to the utmost

G.I. - Government issue

G.I. - HAIRCUT** - One-inch trim

G.I. HOP or G.I. STRUGGLE - Dance held on the Post

G.I. SKY PILOT - Chaplain

G.I. WAR - Maneuver

GIG - Unfavorable report

GIG GETTER - A rifle which, in spite of all efforts at cleaning, fails to pass inspection

GLAMOUR BOY - Draftee, Selective Service trainee

GNOME - Member of second battalion; see runt (West Point)

GOAT - Junior officer in post, regiment, etc

GOATY - Awkward, ignorant

GOING UP - To take off (Air Corps)

GOLD BRICK - One who gets by without doing his share of work

GOLD-FISH - Salmon

GOOFS OFF - Makes a mistake

GOON - Soldier who falls in lowest category in Army classification. - See Zombie

GRANDMA - Low gear. See Rachael


GREASE MONKEY - Air mechanic’s assistant

GREY GHOST - The stage Commander’s airplane, so named because it is the last plane one rides in before being washed out (Air Corps Training Centers)

GROSS - See wooden (West Point)

GROWLEY - Tomato ketchup; to blush (West Point)

GRUNT - Electrician’s helper (Signal Corps)

GUARD HOUSE LAWYER - A person who knows little but talks much about regulations, military law, and ‘soldier's rights.'

GUN - To gun anything is to have the waiter get it (Flying Cadets)

HALT AND FREEZE - Assume position of attention

HAM - Amateur radio operator

HAM SHACK - Amateur radio station or building

HARD ROLLED - Packaged cigarettes


HASH MARK - A service stripe

HEDGE HOP - Short flight


HELL CADETS - Field musicians; drummers and buglers (West Point)

HERDBOUND - Soldier or animal unfit for further military duty

HIGH FREQ, or U. H. F. - Ultra high frequency bands above 30 me (Signal Corps)

HIT THE SILK - Use a parachute

HITCH - An enlistment period

HIVE - To discover, to catch

HIVEY - Quick to learn (West Point)

HOB - Provost Marshal

HOLY FLAW - An expression of extreme surprise, disgust, or joy (Air Corps)

HOMING DEVICE - A pass or furlough

HOOKS - Chevrons

HYPO HAPPY - Interested in photography

IC - Inspected and condemned

IN THE FIELD - Campaigning against an enemy under actual or assumed conditions


IRON PONIES - Motorcycles

JACKSON - Form of address for any soldier

JAWBONE - Credit. To buy without money. To shoot a weapon over a qualification course when it doesn’t count for record

JEEP - A term applied to bantam cars, and occasionally to other motor vehicles; in the Air Corps, the Link trainer; in the Armored Force, the 1 1/2 ton command car. See peep

JEETER - A lieutenant

JOKER - Wiseacre

JUICE JERKER - Electrician

JUMPING JEEP - Autogiro with jump take-off

KEEPS DAINTY - Well behaved

KICK - A dishonorable discharge

KID - Bomber Co-pilot (Air Corps)

KIWI - A non-flying commissioned officer of the Air Corps

KNUCKLE BUSTER - Crescent wrench

LANCE JACK - A temporary or acting corporal with the same duties and authority as a regularly appointed corporal, but without the pay of the grade


LATRINE RUMORS - Unfounded reports

LAUNDRY - Faculty board which passes on Flying Cadets. See Wash out

LEAD AND ZINC MINES - Planes (Flying Cadets)


LET HER EAT - Drive at full speed

LID - Apprentice operator** - An incompetent operator (Signal Corps)

LIFT HIM - To discharge an operator (Signal Corps)

LIMP LINE - Men reporting at Sick Call

LITTLE POISON - 37 mm. gun

LIVE AMMUNITION - Ball ammunition—full charge of lead and powder

LOW ON AMPS AND VOLTAGE - Lacking ambition and ideas (Air Corps)

LOWER THE BOOM - To deliver a knockout punch

L.P. - Unattractive (West Point)

MAGGIE’S DRAWERS - Red flag used on rifle range to indicate a miss

MAKE - To appoint a cadet officer; one recently appointed (West Point)

MARFAK - Butter

MASH IN - To push in the clutch pedal

MAX - A complete success (West Point)

MECHANICAL RATS - Two-way loudspeaker system connecting barrack sleeping quarters with non-coms’ room

MEAT WAGON - Ambulance

MICE - Small balls of lint on floor. See rats

MILL - Guardhouse

MILL - A typewriter (Signal Corps)

MISSOURI NATIONAL - A tune supposed to bring rain (West Point)

MITT FLOPPER - A soldier who does favors for his superiors, or salutes unnecessarily; a yes man

MOLE HOLE - Photographic dark room




MONKEY CLOTHES - Full dress uniform

MOTHER McCREA - A sob story

MUCK - Muscle (West Point)

MUSTARD - A smart pilot

NCO - A Non-Commissioned Officer

NETTED - Radio sender and receiver properly tuned on same frequency


NUMBER 1 MAN - A machine gun operator

O.A.O. - One and only (West Point)

O.C. - Officer in charge

OD - Olive drab; officer of the day

OFF THE BEAM - Incorrect (Air Corps)

OFFICER’S LINE - A row of houses occupied by officers and their families

O.G. - Officer of the guard (West Point)

OLD FILE - An old soldier

OLD FOGY PAY - Extra pay for additional service after four years

OLD ISSUE - An old soldier

OLD MAN - Company or Regimental Commander

OLD SETTLER - An old soldier

ON THE CARPET - Called before the Commanding Officer for disciplinary action

ONE STRIPER - Private 1st class

ORDERLY ROOM - Company headquarters

OVER THE HILL - To desert

OVER THE HUMP - To retire after service of 30 years

PADRE - The Chaplain


PARTED HIS TEETH - Scored a bull’s eye

P.C.S. - Previous condition of servitude; occupation before entering Military Academy (West Point)

PEARL DIVER - Kitchen Police

PEASHOOTER - A pursuit plane

PEEP (SON OF A JEEP) - Bantam car; used in organizations in which jeep is applied to larger vehicles

PEEP SIGHT - An expert gunner

PERSUADER - Inertia Starter Switch

PFC - Private 1st Class

PICK UP YOUR BRASS - Get out of the way

PIECE - The Army rifle

P.M.E. - Practical Military Engineering; a box luncheon (West Point)

PODUNK - A cadet’s home town or its newspaper (West Point)

POLICE - To throw away; to clean up; to be transferred to a lower academic section; to be thrown from a horse (West Point)

POOP SHEET - Drill schedule or any written announcement

POPSICKLE - Motorcycle

POUNDING BRASS - Transmitting on a hand key (Signal Corps)

POUR ON THE COAL - Give it the throttle

POWER BIRDS OF WAR - Flying Cadets

**PO'd - Pissed off

PRAIRIE DOG SNARL - Mine cables twisted together (Coast Artillery Mine Planters)

PRED - Cadet’s predecessor at Military Academy (West Point)

PRO - Proficient (West Point)

PROP WASH - An expression of disbelief (Air Corps)

P.S. - Parlor snake; to escort visitors around post (West Point)

PUNK - Bread

PUSH BUTTON PILOTS - Pilots using PT-13’s or PT-11’s for training; easier to operate

PX - Post Exchange

PX COUPONS - Post Exchange checks

QUARTERMASTER GAIT - A step longer than the regulation thirty-inch pace

QUILL - To report for a delinquency (West Point)

RACHAEL - High gear. See grandma

RAIN ROOM - Bath house

RAT RACE - Mounted review in Armored Force

RATS - Balls of lint that suddenly appear on the floor during an inspection of quarters. See mice

RANKED OUT - To be compelled to defer to a senior, as to be ranked out of quarters

RAUNCHY - A name applied to anything that is in bad shape or dirty (Air Corps)

RED LEG - Artilleryman

REFUGEES - Recruits or newly arrived selectees

REGIMENTAL MONKEY - The drum major

REGULAR - A Regular Army soldier

REMOUNT - Recruit or Green Horse

RE-UP or TAKE-ON - To reenlist

REVERSE - Disfavor (West Point)

R.H.I.P. - Rank has its privileges (West Point)

RISE AND SHINE - Call used to awaken soldiers

**ROGER! Expression used instead of okay or right (Air Corps)

ROLL UP YOUR FLAPS - Stop talking (Flying Cadets)

ROLLINGS - Cigarette tobacco

ROOKIE - A recruit

RUNNER - A messenger

RUN THE GUARD - Leave or enter camp furtively


SALVE - Butter

SAMMY - Syrup (West Point)

SAND-RAT - A soldier on duty in rifle pit at direct practice

SCANDAL-SHEET - The monthly payroll

SCATTER GUN - Machine gun

SCRIPT - Special orders

SECOND GRADER - First or Technical Sergeant

SEE THE CHAPLAIN - Stop grousing

SELF COMMENCER - Engine hand crank

SERUM - Intoxicating beverages

SEWER TROUT - White fish

SHACK MAN - Married man

SHACK RAT - Garrison soldier who has made a friend in the city and usually goes to town every night

SHORT CIRCUIT BETWEEN THE EAR PHONES - A mental lapse (Flying Cadets)

SHOT GUN - Machine gun

SHUTTERS - Sleeping pills

S.I. - Saturday inspection (West Point)

SICK CALL - Hospital call

SIDE ARMS - Cream and sugar

SIDE MEAT - Well pleased

SIDE SWIPER - Speed key on a transmitter (Signal Corps)

SIX AND 20 TOOTSIE - Any bit of young enticing femininity who is responsible for a flying cadet returning late from a weekend leave; ‘6’ and '20' meaning 6 demerits and 20 punishment tours (Air Corps)

SKAG - Cigarette (West Point)

SKIN - Same as quill (West Point)

SKIRT PATROL - Search for feminine companionship

SKY SCOUT - The Chaplain

SKY WINDER - Air Corps man

SKY WIRE - An antenna (Signal Corps)

SLAPPING IT ON - Fining a soldier for a petty offense

SLIP - Recorded tape (Signal Corps)

SLIPPING THE CLUTCH - Talking or criticizing

SNORE SACK - Sleeping bag

SNOW THEM UNDER - To exaggerate

SOAP SUDS ROW - NCO's living quarters and area—because their wives do own laundry

SOFT MONEY - Paper currency

SOIREE - Unwelcome task; also used as verb (West Point)

SOUP - Dynamite

SPEC - To memorize (West Point)

SPECIAL DUTY - Soldiers used for special jobs; clerks, typists, etc

SPEED ARTIST - An expert radio telegraph operator who can send at high speeds on a hand key (Signal Corps)

SPIN IN - Go to bed or take a nap (Air Corps)

SPOON UP - To clean up (West Point)

SPOONY - Neat in appearance (West Point)

STACK - String of messages (Signal Corps)

STATIC AGITATORS - Radio students

STATIC BENDER - Radio Operator

STEAM SHOVEL - Potato peeler

STORM - Name applied to condition one is in when he is excited and doesn’t know what he is doing (Air Corps)

STREET MONKEYS - Members of band

STRICTLY CUT PLUG - Well pleased

SUGAR REPORT - A letter from a girl

SUPERMAN DRAWERS - Woolen underwear

**SUNTANS - Lightweight tan summer uniforms

SWACKED - Intoxicated

SWEATING - Anticipating

TAC - Officer of Tactical Department (West Point)

TAILOR MADES - Factory-made cigarettes

TARBUCKET - Full dress hat (West Point)

TAXI UP - Come here (Air Corps)

TC - Training cadre

TEAR ’EM OUT - Clash gears

THIRD GRADER - Staff Sergeant


THROW THE BOOK - Give maximum punishment

TIE UP - To blunder (West Point)


TIN HAT - Steel helmet

TOOTHPICK VILLAGE - New type wooden barracks for selectees at Army posts

TOP CUTTER - First Sergeant

TOP KICK - First Sergeant


TUB - Scout car

TUB, IN THE - About to be washed out (Flying Cadet)

TURKSHEAD McGUIRK - Man skilled in tying knots (Coast Artillery Mine Planters)

TURNBACK - Cadet dismissed and readmitted to lower class (West Point)

TURNED IN - Reported for misconduct

TWO STRIPER - Corporal

TYPEWRITER - .30 Calibre Machine Gun

U.H.F. - Ultra high frequency bands (Signal Corps)


VALLEY FORGE - Temporary tent city in cold weather

WAGON SOLDIERS - Field Artillerymen

WALKIE-TALKIE - Portable radio receiving and sending apparatus

WALRUS - One who cannot swim (West Point)

WAR SHOES - Heavy shoes

WARD MAN - Hospital attendant

WASH OUT - To be eliminated from flight training

WASHING MACHINE - The flight Commander’s airplane

WEATHER-KROCK - Meteorologist

WHITE DISCHARGE - Any form of discharge other than dishonorable


WING-HEAVY - Inebriated

WOODS, IN THE - On maneuvers

WOOF WOOF - Battalion sergeant major (West Point)

WRIT - An examination (West Point)

YARD BIRD - A raw recruit

YEARLING - Selectee

YEARLING - A member of Third Class (West Point)

YELLOW LEGS - Cavalryman

YOU’RE GIGGED - Means that one has been reported for violating a rule or regulation

ZOMBIE - Soldier who falls in next to lowest category in Army classification tests; see goon

SOURCE: US Army, Public Relations Division; published as "Glossary of Army Slang," American Speech 16, no. 3 (October 1941): 163-69, DOI: 10.2307/486883. Reproduced with permission.

See also Appendix: Glossary of military slang, Wiktionary (WARNING: CONTAINS OBSCENITIES).

COVER IMAGE: "America at War." Bureau of Special Services, Domestic Operations Branch, Office of War Information. Courtesy of NARA, 44-PA-342B, NAID 513791.