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.


All | # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are currently 11 names in this directory beginning with the letter R.
A German; a blend of "rat" and "Nazi."
Regular; first-rate; excellent; a regular soldier.
A veteran of World War I fighting in World War II.
Ribbon Happy
Dazzled by one's own decorations.
Bored;especially on the rocky islands and atolls of the Pacific.
Expression used instead of okay or right.
Roll up your flaps
Stop talking.
A recruit.
Rootin';Tootin' Son of a Gun
An energetic person.
Royal Order of Whale Bangers
An "exclusive" club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales;supposing them to be enemy submarines.
Run-Away Prop
A propeller out of control and stuck in the high speed setting. A truly dangerous condition any time, but especially so on take off

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

Check out these other WW2 Posts:

Scroll to Top