Showing 1-10 of 11 entries tagged


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OED editors are investigating the word ‘doorbuster’, referring to a special limited-time sale which is designed to draw in customers. The earliest evidence we have found thus far […]


The development of aerial warfare and accurate long-range artillery in the First World War meant that weapons, vehicles, and troops needed to be concealed from enemy view; hence the need for […]

shell shock

The first study of shell shock was written in 1915 by Charles Samuel Myers, a psychologist who was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps during […]


The term jusqu’auboutiste, referring to a person who advocates carrying on a conflict ‘jusqu’au bout’, or until the bitter end, was used […]


The term ‘demobilization’, referring to the release of troops from military service at the end of a war, has been in use since the 19th century, but the abbreviated form demob seems to have been used only since the end of the […]


The term ‘conscientious objector’, referring to a person who refuses to do something on the grounds of conscience, has been used since the 19th century, but it was not until 1916, with the introduction of conscription in the U.K., that it was used specifically […]

trench foot/mouth

The appalling conditions of the trenches caused various painful medical conditions, including trench foot (swelling and pain in the feet caused by prolonged exposure to damp and cold) and trench mouth (severe inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth). The earliest […]


One notable feature of the vocabulary of the First World War is the number of (often offensive) terms coined for soldiers of different nationalities. One of these is […]

Sam Browne (‘an officer’)

Sam Browne belts, designed by Samuel James Browne and originally worn by commissioned army officers, were first used in the 19th century. From the term Sam Browne belt arose the U.S. military slang term […]


One military slang word from the First World War which has become a core part of modern colloquial English in the UK is skive, meaning ‘to avoid work’. Our first…

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