This is Phil Murray with WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, a program in Special English on the Voice of America. We tell about some common expressions in American English.
A leatherneck or a grunt do not sound like nice names to call someone. Yet men and women who serve in the United States armed forces are proud of those names. And if you think they sound strange, consider doughboy and GI Joe.
After the American Civil War in the eighteen sixties, a writer in a publication called Beadle's Monthly used the word doughboy to describe Civil War soldiers. But word expert Charles Funk says that early writer could not explain where the name started.
19世纪60年代美国内战之后，一家名为Beadle's Monthly的刊物的作者使用doughboy这个词来称呼美国内战中的士兵。但词汇专家查尔斯·芬克(Charles Funk)表示，那位很久以前的作者无法解释这个名称的由来。
About twenty years later, someone did explain. She was the wife of the famous American general George Custer.
Elizabeth Custer wrote that a doughboy was a sweet food served to Navy men on ships. She also said the name was given to the large buttons on the clothes of soldiers. Elizabeth Custer believed the name changed over time to mean the soldiers themselves.
Now, we probably most often think of doughboys as the soldiers who fought for the Allies in World War One.
By World War Two, soldiers were called other names. The one most often heard was GI, or GI Joe. Most people say the letters GI were a short way to say general issue or government issue. The name came to mean several things. It could mean the soldier himself. It could mean things given to soldiers when they joined the military such as weapons, equipment or clothes. And, for some reason, it could mean to organize, or clean.
到了第二次世界大战，士兵们有了其它名称。最常听到的名称就是GI，或GI Joe。很多人说，GI这两个字母是general issue或者government issue的缩写。这个名称有多种意思，它可以指士兵，也可以指士兵参军后所发的物品，如武器，装备或服装。另外，由于某种原因，它也可以是整理或者清理的意思。
Soldiers often say, "We GI'd the place." And when an area looks good, soldiers may say the area is "GI." Strangely, though, GI can also mean poor work, a job badly done.
Some students of military words have another explanation of GI. They say that instead of government issue or general issue, GI came from the words galvanized iron. The American soldier was said to be like galvanized iron, a material produced for special strength. The Dictionary of Soldier Talk says GI was used for the words galvanized iron in a publication about the vehicles of the early twentieth century.
有些军事词汇学者对GI有另一种解释。他们说GI既不是指government issue，也不是general issue，GI源于galvanized iron这个词。美国士兵被说成是像白铁皮，这是一种用于特殊强度需求的物质。士兵常用语词典指出，在20世纪早期一份关于汽车的刊物中，GI被用于指代galvanized iron这个词。
Today, a doughboy or GI may be called a grunt. Nobody is sure of the exact beginning ，of the word. But, the best idea probably is that the name comes from the sound that troops make when ordered to march long distances carrying heavy equipment.
A member of the United States Marines also has a strange name -- leatherneck. It is thought to have started in the eighteen hundreds. Some say the name comes from the thick collars of leather early Marines wore around their necks to protect them from cuts during battles. Others say the sun burned the Marines' necks until their skin looked like leather.