Showing 1-10 of 13 entries tagged


  • 1
  • 2


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 […]

streetcar (‘a shell’)

In 1950, the novelist Raymond Chandler wrote in a letter to Hamish Hamilton: ‘Doesn’t he [i.e. Eric Partridge, the author of many slang dictionaries] overlook some of the most commonly used words of soldier-slang? E.g…”street cars” or “tram cars” for heavy long range shells.’ […]


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 […]


Military tanks were a major invention of the First World War: developed during 1915 and first put into commission in 1916, they immediately captured the interest of the public, and tank entered into numerous compounds and phrases. However, we have not found […]


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 […]

Zeppelins in a cloud

Zeppelins, which were widely used for reconnaissance and bombing in the First World War, must have captured the imagination of soldiers, and one of the more colourful phrases originating in the war is ‘Zeppelins (or Zepps) in a cloud’ […]

  • 1
  • 2