Throughout the years and after all those wars, soldiers had this habit of giving their comrades and enemies nicknames. Some were laudatory, others were derogatory, while some were just plain shorter names to save a few syllables whenever referring to them. Here are some of the other names that the US soldiers earned throughout the years and their possible origins.


We are not exactly sure who started calling the US soldiers of World War I doughboys, but there were some theories on how they earned the moniker.

World War I "Doughboy" Statue Memorial
World War I “Doughboy” Statue Memorial on the south side of the Taunton Green. Massachusetts. (Kenneth C. ZirkelCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The infantrymen deployed to Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Forces were mostly referred to as the doughboys. In an article written by History, the term could be dated back from 1846-to 1848 during the Mexican War. The American soldiers would trek over dusty terrain that would make it look like they were covered in flour or dough. Thankfully, they didn’t choose “flourboys,” as that wouldn’t sound as appealing.

A slightly different version was that the dust that covered them was of adobe soil, so they were called “adobe,” which then later evolved to “dobies” and then to “doughboys.”

Another theory was that during the 19th Century, enlisted Americans would “polish” their uniforms and belts with a fine whitish clay called pipeclay. It worked great in making them look sharp in their uniforms until the rain poured down and wore off the clay off their outfit, turning it into doughy blobs. So the soldiers would march in the rain looking doughy.

The last one would be that the American infantrymen’s rations were often doughy flour and rice concoctions that they would cook over a campfire.

Jarheads And Leathernecks and Snuffies

The Jarhead nickname refers to US Marines generally, and while others embraced the name, there were some who didn’t like it.

A theory was that it referred to Marine’s high-collar uniform made of leather (thus the ‘leatherneck’ nickname before) that made it look like their head was sticking out of a jar. Combine it with their trademark haircut that is short on the sides and square and flat on top that looks like a jar lid. This led to the moniker “jarhead.”