AskDefine | Define doughboy

Dictionary Definition



1 an American infantryman in World War I
2 a rounded lump of dough that is deep-fried and served as hot bread; "the doughboy was a predecessor of the doughnut"

User Contributed Dictionary



dough + boy; reason of concatenation unknown. Dated from 1847, during the Mexican-American War.


  1. An American infantryman, especially one from World War I.

Extensive Definition

For other uses of doughboy, see Doughboy (disambiguation).
Doughboy is an outdated slang term for an American infantryman, best known from its use in World War I, although it potentially dates back to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.


The origin of the term is unclear. The most commonly held explanation is that it came into use in the Civil War in reference to the dumpling-shaped buttons on the Union soldiers' jackets. Others claim that it goes back to the Mexican-American War or originated from an early form of the doughnut, called the doughboy. Another explanation stems from the time of the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916, in which the infantry were constantly covered with dust from marching through the dry terrain of northern Mexico, giving them the appearance of unbaked dough. Other explanations include the use of pipe clay, which looks like dough, to clean infantrymen’s white belts; a corruption of "adobe boy" from the adobe bricks used to house infantrymen in the pre-Civil War Southwest; and the "soft" condition of the young soldiers, applied by British and French forces in World War I who had already fought nearly four years.

External links

doughboy in Turkish: Doughboy

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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