Skip to main content

Slang

June 2024
1min read


The article rightly states that a principal source of slang as been the military, but it didn’t mention some durable acronyms that ended up as slang, such as Jeep (general-purpose vehicle) and flak (from the German term for anti-aircraft artillery— fl ieger a bwehr K anone). The word flak may not now be considered slang, since it is listed in Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language .

Another slang word mentioned in the article, goon , was used by Allied prisoners of war in Germany during World War II to signify their captors. A POW would alert his fellow prisoners of an approaching German with “goon up.” The Germans were told that the word meant German o fficer or n on-com. But they eventually learned better.

Oscar G. Richard
Baton Rouge, La.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate