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 23 names in this directory beginning with the letter D.
The oldest member of a group.
Dead Battery.
An irritable or gloomy person; a pessimist.
Dead Nuts On.
Fond of in love with.
Dear John.
A letter from one's wife or sweetheart informing one that the relationship is over.
Devil Beater.
Devil Dogs of the Sea.
The Marines.
Devil's Piano.
A machine gun.
Devil's Voice.
A bugle call.
Dirty Gertie of Bizerte.
A promiscuous woman.
Dit happy
’Batty’ because of copying too much radio code.
Do a Hitch.
To serve an enlistment.
Do One's Bit.
To serve in the military in time of war; to engage in war work.
A[n Air Force] cadet before he starts flying.
Dog Food.
Corned beef hash.
Dog Show.
Foot inspection.
Dog Tags.
Two metal identification tags worn around the neck; one to be collected and one to be left with the body after death.
Doug’s Dug Out
An uncomplimentary term for the residences of General Douglass McArthur and his family. First in Australia, then later at a well-appointed plantation owner’s house in Port Moresby
The second half of an army enlistment.
Duck Soup.
An easy task.
Dude Up.
To dress in one's best uniform.
Dug-Out Doug
The uncomplimentary term for General Douglass McArthur

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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