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.
WW2 GI SLANG
There are currently 20 names in this directory beginning with the letter G.
G.I. Government Issue.
An enlisted soldier. Being G.I. means doing only what is authorized and not wishing to take any risks.
A member of the Womens Army Corps. Variations: G.I. Jill and G.I Josephine.
A metal mess tray with eight depressions in which food is served.
Member of the armored division (usually a tank driver).
A term sometimes used by green pilots for the Automatic Pilot. ( “Let George Do it”).
An office clerk.
To get started; to get into the air. Borrowed from the British RAF.
A hand-cranked radio transmitter included in aircraft life rafts; so-called because of its wasp-waisted shape; reminiscent of the beautiful; idealized women drawn by Charles D. Gibson.
Give It the Deep Six.
Forget it; keep it a secret. From older naval slang for burial at sea; which was known as the deep six; probably from the custom of burying people six feet underground.
A term first use in WW1 aviation circles meaning a person had died.
A person given to carousing; a generous person.
Mythical creatures who are supposed to cause trouble such as engine failure in aeroplanes, a curious piece of whimsy-whamsy in an activity so severely practical as flying. Now the gremlin seems to be extending its sphere of operations, so that the term can be applied to almost anything that inexplicably goes wrong in human affairs.
A person who knows little but talks much about regulations; military law; and soldier's rights.
Used to describe almost any part of the equipment of a plane, with about the same meaning as gadget.
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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