The U.S.-based reenactment group, the 151st Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne, has a wonderful site filled with informative pages about their parent unit and the experiences of the French poilu. For example their page "French Military Terms and Soldiers' Slang" contains an outstanding glossary of French military slang online. Besides French-English translations, it provides a helpful pronunciation guide and a basic tutorial on French.
Some of my favorites among the 300 entries include:
Top Brass (Oils -- as in "squeaky clean") = les Huiles
Pal or Buddy (Old Fella) = [Mon] Vieux
Italian soldier = l'Italien or = le Macaroni
Cunning, brave, determined man (rabbit) = le Lapin
Front-line soldiers ("Poor Assholes of the Front") = les Pauvres Cons du Front, or le P.C.D.F.
Flame-thrower = le Lance-flammes
Metro [210 mm artillery shell] = le Métro
Daily Rations = les Vivres de Jour
Louse = le Toto
To be hit, done for = Être fadé
Guts = Cran
He's got guts. = Il a des crans.
|The Honorable Members of the 151st R.I.L.|
Learn about joining the 151st RIL here: