significant antedating of U.S. "leatherneck"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jul 23 00:04:11 UTC 2008

Earliest U.S. example, earliest anywhere to specify "marine," though OED 1890 (as "soldier") probably also refers to Royal Marines rather than army troops. Marines are frequently referred to as "soldiers" - though not too often in American publications after 1941 - or perhaps even 1918:
1891 _Boston Investigator_ (Oct. 21) 2: What our Marines Read...Next to Marryat, Dickens appeals most to the sympathies of the "leather-necks," as the shellbacks call them.
Transatlantic currency of "leatherneck" by 1891 suggests it came into use about 1885.  I mentioned some time ago in connection with Civil War "fucked-up" that no 1860s exx. of "leatherneck" seem to exist; the mid-19th C. U.S. slang term was "webfoot," also applied to army infantrymen.  "Crossbelt" was also in use, alluding to the most distinctive part of the USMC's blue fatigue uniform (aside from the pointy-side-up chevrons, that is).

The American Dialect Society -

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