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 46 names in this directory beginning with the letter B.
To complain.
Mustard; from its resemblance to that which comes out of the hind end of an infant.
Bags of Mystery.
Bail Out.
Parachute jump from plane; by extension; to get out of a situation like a date.
A broad-assed Marine (i.e.; a female Marine).
Enemy aircraft
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.
A beach where invading forces land
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.
Big Time Operator
Big wheel
Anyone with a little authority.
A term sometimes applied by the Port Moresby natives to the B-24s when they first made their appearance in that area.
Bite the Dust.
Killed or wounded.
Blanket Drill.
A nap.
Blind Flying.
A date with a girl you have never seen.
Blister Foot.
Blister Mechanic.
Hospital corpsman.
Blow It Out Your Barracks Bag!
Shut up! or Go to Hell!
Body Snatcher.
Stretcher bearer.
see 'bandit'
To study.
Borrowed Brass.
False courage inspired by drugs or drink. Variations: Bought Guts; Drugstore Nerve.
Bottled Sunshine.
Boudoir commando
Home-front hero.
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.
Ass-kisser. To curry favor; or boot-lick. Variation: Brownie.
Browned off
Annoyed or fed up.
Brush-Off Club.
Men in the armed forces who have been dumped by their girlfriends. Variation: The Ex-Darling Club.
Big Time Operator: someone who thinks he's important.
Bubble dancing
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.

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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