World War 2 American Slang: A Collection

World War II created a brotherhood, and a language all its own. Men from a wide variety of backgrounds were thrown together in close-knit, often boring, frequently dangerous situations, and slang that came from those experiences tied them together and cemented their brotherhood.

WW2 slang helped create an “us” vs. “them” mentality, where them is not only the enemy, but the “Brass” and folks back home who can’t fully understand the world of the fighting man.


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There are currently 16 names in this directory beginning with the letter A.
Anti-aircraft fire.
Admiral of the Swiss Navy
A self-important person.
With full vigor; determination; or enthusiasm.
Armed to the Teeth
Well equipped with firearms; alert; fully prepared; awake to danger.
Armored Cow
Canned milk
Armored Cow
Canned milk. Variations: Armored Heifer; Canned Cow.
Army Banjo
Army Chicken
Franks and beans.
Army Strawberries
Ash can
Depth charge.
Asparagus Stick
A submarine's periscope.
The company wit; so-called because he's full of wheezes (jokes).
Awkward Squad.
Men who require extra instruction at drill.
Absence without official leave.
Axle Grease

WW2 Slang Sources:

“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

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