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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.

WW2 GI SLANG

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There are 3 names in this directory beginning with the letter O.
OAO
One-and-only (as in one-and-only-girl).
On the Beam
Flying the old radio beam. A sometimes life-saving procedure while flying entirely on instruments and listening to the sound of radio beam signals. A pilot had to depend entirely on what he heard while believing religiously in his previous “Under-the-hood” instrument training. Room does not exist here for a description this pilot skill deserves. Perhaps another place and another time.
On The Step
An in-flight condition for a B-24 where the aircraft is accelerated to slightly above its normal cruising speed, then trimmed so that it is flying in a slightly nose-down condition, When the aircraft center of gravity (CG) was properly adjusted fore and aft, and aerodynamically trimmed, the ship would generally maintain a slightly higher cruising speed until disturbed. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: In writing this description of “on the step” the author realizes it will open up a Pandora’s Box of rebuttals. Some pilots say this is just B.S. Others will swear that you could get a ship up on the step. So have fun with this one.)(WEBMASTER'S NOTE: yeah, take it to the message board!)

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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