Swearing Like A Trooper

Rude Slang of World War Two

M. Trow,

Swearing Like A Trooper: Rude Slang of World War Two
 
 

In September 1939, much military slang still dated to the trenches of 1914-18 - for instance words such as 'Berthas' (meaning big breasts), taken from the German Big Bertha gun . But World War II soon gave birth to a new wave of armed forces slang such as 'wizard prang', D.S.O (Dick Shot Off), and bazookas (back to breasts again).

Some British terms came from the army's links with India, for instance 'zig-zig' or 'jig-jig' meaning sexual intercourse. Officers' euphemisms had to be acceptable in the Mess, for instance to 'lose one's cherry', 'extra-curricular activities', 'naval engagements' and 'dishonourable discharge'.

The Americans were over-paid, over-sexed and over here and brought new slang with them: 'nugget' for a girl, 'on the rag' meant having a period and 'cheesecake' was GI slang for a gorgeous girl. And this was People's War, with civilians, women and children effectively in the front line. Women in particular were smoking, drinking, dancing and swearing like no female generation before...



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