Military Slang

Discussion in 'General' started by Drew5233, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Giving this thread a bump because I had some of the family round yesterday and the talk got around to military slang.

    The word "Dekko" had just come up as a Times crossword clue and I was able to confirm it was one of the words we used to use in days long gone and we then used my iPad to check it's origin.

    Apparently it comes from Deckho a word of Indian origin.

    We spent the next half hour discussing similar words that are still in common use :)

  2. red devil

    red devil Senior Member

    'avin' a decko is or was a very common form of speech on merseyside - it meant having a peep, having a look. eg: have a decko, see if anyone's comin'. Many scouse words originate with the sailors who frequented the port.
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Red Devil

    What was interesting was that the clue for 35 down was simply "look" !


    Attached Files:

  4. South

    South Member

    I know nothing of WW2 slang but my husband and his friends seem to speak in a different language at times, I wonder if many of the slang words they use in the Army these days were around in WW2. Ones I can think of are:

    Buckshee - free
    Thredders - fed up
    Redders - hot
    Scoff - Food
    Gen Up - Said when telling someone something is genuine
    Eyebrows - As above
    Chin strapped - tired/worn out
    Hanging out - as above, or hungover
    Crow/Crowbag - new recruit
  5. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Scoff - reputed to be after Albert Escoffier a world renowned French chef!

    Some are regional specific:

    Gutties - Gym shoes - the orginal made from a rubber known as Gutta Percha- hence gutties!

    Boracic Lint - skint

    Chin strapped - tired hanging on the chin strap.

    Crow the name given to every recruit Guardsman - You, you Crow! Or when you get it right 'Doughbag!'
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Buckshee - free

    That's the only one that I recognise as being freely used in ww2 but obviously, as ex-Indian Army slang it would have been equally used as far back as ww1 and even earlier.

  7. red devil

    red devil Senior Member

  8. South

    South Member

    Ah yes NIG is still sometimes used, but crow is used more often - at least at ATR Bassingbourn it was.

    Chin strapped, hanging out and gen up have clearly taken on new meanings!

    Oh and another one my husband just reminded me of, Websters/webbo = not very good!
  9. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    I can go back to the 1960s with hanging on your chin strap for knackered or meeting yourself going on duty as you came off!

    Gen up - was used by us as instructors - make sure you are genned up on your subject (read up on it)

    time marches on and the old changes.
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  11. The trench talk that is now entrenched in the English language - Telegraph

    Pusser's hard - soap in the Navy
    Rabbit run - going ashore to buy pressies
    Honky Fid - Hong Kong
    Singers - Singapore
    Oppo - Mate or buddy
    The Andrew - the Royal Navy

    My Dad, Ex Army, Dunkirk and El Alamein vet, used to say 'I'll knock sinkholes in you" or "I'll knock skittles of s**t out of you' ha ha - was that something used in the Army?

    ALLAN PRICE Member

    My Grandad always used "Dhobi or Bob Squash" for having a wash.
    Ex RM mate said "Chadd" for anything rubbish(as in "Chadd Valley",the cheap and nasty toy maker)
  13. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Have I mentioned Jildee ?

    Either Hindi or Arabic for "Get a move on !"

    Much used in the 4th QOH

  14. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    Buckshee: Webster's suggests an Indian origin for "Bukshi" as a military paymaster, but both Webster and Oxford show "buckshee" as rooted in baksheesh, ultimately from the Persian baḵšīš, from baḵšīdan give, chiefly through Arabic, Turkish or Hindi.

    Personally, I'd trust Oxford more than Webster's on Indian English. And most people would probably have encountered calls of "baksheesh" for the first time when their ship docked at Alexandria.
  15. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    Have I mentioned Jildee ?

    Either Hindi or Arabic for "Get a move on !"

    Much used in the 4th QOH


    The equivalent one rooted in Arabic is imshi.
  16. sigcollector

    sigcollector Member

    "Chew the fat"

    Some American slang in the Islands

    Section Eight
    Wait a minute vines
    Sweating out
    By the numbers
  17. BottyWWFC

    BottyWWFC Member

    We were always known as donkey wallopers (9th/12th Royal Lancers)

    Queen's Own Hussars (QOH) were Queers On Horseback.

    Signals were always scalybacks

    REME (My dad's old mob) were Grease monkeys

    Rock Ape - RAF Regiment

    Devon & Dorsets (Now 3rd Batt Rifles I believe) - Armoured Farmers

    Royal Engineers - Diggers
  18. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    It ain't slang, but the term "US Army" had a meaning all its own -- "Uncle Sam Ain't Released Me Yet". It goes back to the days when service wasn't all that voluntary.
  19. Bayonet Productions

    Bayonet Productions Lead Researcher


    Figured I would drudge this up. I have read through this and there are some great slang terms.

    I was curious if anyone knows of specifics for Army WW2 slang of WW2 and any specific ones that could be heard from Scottish units?

    Compo ration-
    Thank you in advance.

    Also we used imish as go away, and yala as hurry up.

    Modern terms: 03-19
    Crap hat- non Airborne

    Leg - non Airborne
    D*^k beaters - hands
    Sh^& bag- someone that is messed up or under performer that no one likes.
    Sham- to get out of work
    Sham shield- specialists rank
    C":t cap/piss cutter- old garrison cap
    C**k holster- mouth
    Weapon- universal for any firearm- 'where is your weapon'
    Radios- typically referred to by their nomenclature abbreviation- ASIP
    NIGHT VISION- NODS, NVG, or by their nomenclature PVS-7,-14, -20
    6/six- officer
    Household six/6- wife
    5 or 7- platoon Sergeant
    New D**k- new guy in the unit
    D.I.C.K.- Dedicated Infantry Combat Killer
    WSL pronounced Weasel- weapons squad leader
    Maw duce- browning MG
    Black Betty- battering ram - taken from the song.
    Banger(s)- flash bang grenade typically referred to by number of bangs '4 banger'
    Pro- abbreviation for protection, force pro (security) , eye pro glasses etc
    BCGs- Birth Control Glasses- old term for Army issue glasses.
    Goose- Gustave Anti tank launcher
    High flyer- fixed wing aircraft typically fighter jets
    Rotary wing- any helicopter.
    Flagging- passing your muzzle by or at another member of your team. Safety issue.
    No joy- did not find/no success
    Squirter(s)- enemy running/getting away
    Koawolofy- to hang upside down on a tree trunk for time.
    GOD laser - islid big green laser for ground troops to mark targets for aircraft.
    Gun bunny- Artillery
    Mad minute- outbreak or initial fire put down during a ambush.
    Sensitive item- anything issued to you that is important typically a weapon or NODs or documents. Used also to determine something that must not be lost or must be kept on your person. ID card, weapons, or things such as chewing tobacco can be considered or referred to as a sensitive item.
    Cope- Copenhagen chewing tobacco, can also be referred to by its cut.. you have any long cut, or snuff. Chewing tobacco was seen in high numbers , with Copenhagen being the brand of choice in the 82nd.
    Porta John/shi**er- outside portable bathroom/outhouse
    Either bunny- mystical creature that could attack you when coming out of a porta john toilet. Typically with a rag doused with either to knock you out then sexually assault you. Used as a term to make sure you did not go anywhere alone or to be safe.. 'watch out for the either bunny'
    Complaint office- Porta John walls, used to voice complaints or other nonsense with a sharpie marker.
    ACH- Helmet-Advanced Combat Helmet

    To understand the Infantryman in the US Army and the 82nd ABN you must understand the use of the word F**k and its derivatives. If it is to much and needs to be deleted I understand. Not meant to be offensive, but an understanding. I do not know if it was used in the same way in the British Army in WW2, but working with modern Paras the word seemed to be a universal language we both understood.

    F**k/ing- could he used as a noun or adjective universally depending on the tone of voice, hand gestures, or words preceding or following it.
    What the F*^k- I do not know what that is do you/that is stupid/what ever you observe is wrong and you are conveying that to the person doing it. Typically understood by the tone of voice.

    Get that F'ing thing out of here. F'ing move, hurry the F up, - typically encourages swiftness in doing something.

    F*"ker- wanker

    F that or F that noise- not going to do it it, or could be used as a response to a story.. Joe: I had to stir Sh** .. Bob: F that.

    F**king F**k- typically used together to Express bewilderment or anger.. 'you F**king F**k' is anger directed at someone. 'F**king F**k in response to something you just heard or saw could Express disbelief or empathy

    F**ked up: something is messed up, ruined, drunk or used to express that you destroyed something or physically attacked something. 'I will F you up', you are F'ed up, I am F'ed up, that is F'ed up, etc.

    Tipsy, toasty- intoxicated but not drunk.

    Definitely curious if there were similar uses for the British Army in WW2 or any particular Scottish terms that were used.


    A-58 likes this.
  20. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member Patron

    Here's a few naval slang terms that I know ISN'T used any longer,

    BLACK GANG....those were the guys who shoveled coal into the furnaces of the ships. The term was still used when navies switched to oil driven vessels, and even into the nuclear age, at least in the USN anyway. Not really sure why they consider that term a bit passe, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that it is not at all acceptable in today's politically correct society and norms. I can sort of see that I guess. That and they don't have anyone to shovel coal into furnaces any longer.

    DECK APES....that's what the blank gang dudes and anyone who worked below decks called the types that worked on deck. Well I'm almost positive that the term deck apes went the way of the dodo bird for the same reason as why we no longer call engine room types black gangs any longer.

    That's about all I have for now. I'll be sure to add on any more that I come across. Stay tuned!

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