"Stay loose, short-timer…there’s no sweat…you can bug outta here more skosh without the honchos gettin’ wind of it.
Probably few discharged World War II veterans could interpret the above jargon, but to the ‘cool, nervous’ GI of today it means simply — someone is soon to be discharged from service with no strings attached.
A recent survey by the Fort Carson public information staff showed ‘short-timer’ means a serviceman with little time remaining before discharge.
'No sweat' in the modern soldier's vocabulary means a mission accomplished without difficulty. 'More s'kosh' is a distortion of the Japanese word 'sukoshi' meaning small which GIs now say when they mean right away, soon. And ‘honcho’ means a boss, a pusher, or any other big cheese.
The survey indicates that the post-Korean war doughboy favors Japanese expressions to the ‘ancient’ colloquialisms adopted from the French language by World War II GIs. For example, instead of beaucoup, today’s soldier now says tak’san when he means very much. He says jo-san for female and ichi-ban when referring to the best, the No. 1 boy.
Some of the other more popular expressions now include:
- Ets paralysis: A ‘short-timer’ anxiously, nervously awaiting his discharge date.
- Hoochies: UN bunkers in Korea, which unlike the World War II foxholes, will hold a number of soldiers.
- Stay loose: Take it easy.
- Don’t clutch up: Don’t get nervous.
Observers also point out that in addition to this gibberish the modern doughboy is beginning to pick up be-bop expressions. Phrases like ‘hipster’, ‘let’s have a ball,’ and ‘that cat is here again,’ creep up often, they say.
There’s no place in today’s Army slang for ‘worn-out’ cliches like bazooka, dog-face and gold-bricker. And if you still use them, cousin, you’d better bug out.”
~From Sweetwater Reporter (Sweetwater, Tex.), November 22, 1954