Where did Nickname "Doughboy" Come From?


January 25, 2003, 03:31 PM

I was just wondering where "Doughboy" -the nickname for WWI American soldiers come from? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sure doesn't sound like a lean and mean fighting man.

A better nickname to come from that time was "Devil Dogs" -earned by the US Marines from the Germans.

So anyone care to share?

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January 25, 2003, 03:39 PM


Edit- trying to get the URL right

January 25, 2003, 03:46 PM
One of the stories I've heard is that term Doughboy came to being during the punitive expedition to Mexico. Seems as if everything that moved became covered in reddish dust & thus was the color of an adobe brick. The leading vowel was dropped and 'Dobe' eventually morphed into 'Doughboy'.

I'd be reluctant to bet the farm on that being the actual truth. People tend to dream up plausable stories long after the fact to explain how words were coined.

What other versions are there?

January 25, 2003, 03:48 PM
Looks like 2dogs got the drop on me while I was typing.....

January 25, 2003, 04:02 PM

Just a lot of theories.
Looks like no one really knows why the term stuck only during WWI, especially since it started in the 1840s during the Mexican War. And the term originated even before that with the British.

WW1 soldiers were some of the toughest around, which makes it such a strange nickname. :confused:

Mike Irwin
January 25, 2003, 05:17 PM
One of the stories I've heard about US Soldiers and WW I is that when our troops got there, the American Red Cross came with them and set up canteens that served hot coffee and doughnuts.

Apparently the British or French used it as a shortened name for American troops because we liked our doughnuts so much.

Wow. An entire Army of police in training. :)


Didn't see the link. Didn't realize it had that kind of history.

Herb Fredricksen
February 2, 2003, 04:13 AM
I've done period and ethnic dance programs and classes all my life, starting with Bavarian and Austrian and finally all the nations that produced arms and warred with each other throughout the last century. The dances I do parallel the firearms I collect.

Every program or class lets me take a fresh look at my field. I was developing a unique USO dance program for Veteran's Day last year when I stumbled on an old recording called "Doughboy Jack and Doughnut Jill" from WWI. Sexy title don't you think? Of course, the recording was exactly what you would expect, an oldtime sounding band and vocal but perfect for my use.

That still doesn't give us the origin of the term but it does pull you to the time as surely as an old pistol or rifle will. If anyone wants a link to the tune drop me a line and I'll get it to you.

If you found the Welch song "Men of Harlech" sung by the British troops at Rourke's Drift in the film "Zulu" a perfect example of courage under fire I can connect you to that too, plus lots of research material on the actual events. Then, too, how about original versions of "Lili Marleen" and other WWII barracks and trench favorites of the belligerants on both sides?

Herb Fredricksen

February 2, 2003, 12:29 PM



February 2, 2003, 04:28 PM
Met these guys this past fall at a symposium, good bunch, may have more info. Cheers.


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