Home » Army Life and Stories » JEAN SHEPHERD and foul language Part 2

JEAN SHEPHERD and foul language Part 2


This is a short description of those instances in my transcribed Shep stories in SHEP’S ARMY, in which he refers to and doesn’t quite use foul language.

FOURTH OF JULY IN THE ARMY on page 79 he alludes to the word he wanted to use, but doesn’t: bull****.

ARMY PHRASEOLOGY in which he refers to and does not use the many off-color words commonly used by army personnel–for food, body parts, etc.  My glossary at the end of the book is specifically in reference to this chapter, based on the few words I was able to find on the internet–google, etc.: “GI obscenity is extremely rich and varied. And all the expressions have a basic underlying humor….I can think of a number of great expressions that the civilian has never heard in his life.”

SERVICE CLUB VIRTUOSO page 70-72, in which, in the beginning of the story he refers to the “universal word” that he, too picks up and consistently uses in the army: “They say that language forms people, and you can’t separate it. Well, if you’ve only got one word in your entire vocabulary, you are formed, boy. I turn around to those guys waiting for the sink and I holler my favorite word, Flawaawaawaa! And they holler their favorite word back.”

CASUAL COMPANY EDUCATION starting on page 149 in which he refers to being able now, in the army to express many things by the way he says the familiar two-word phrase common in the army: “f*** Y**”:  I had enriched my vocabulary tremendously. I had heard words used in ways that I did not imagine, before my entry into the army, could conceivably be used this way.”


I recommend that people check out these instances to appreciate how Shepherd can play around with circumlocutions, make his meaning perfectly clear, and get away with it!  This is fun!!!



For those who would like to conveniently follow

Shepherd’s audios while reading the stories in

Shep’s Army,

Max Schmid of WBAI FM is compiling those audios along with other related

material,on a 2-CD set

 offered as premiums for membership.

(Note that my transcriptions into print

involve some minor-but-necessary adjustments,

but mostly, one can easily follow along.)

Shep's Army as CD set




  1. silentshep says:

    Well, if you need Shep swearing, review the audience made Princeton show from 1996 [5-31]. Pres. Bill Clinton was speaking on campus at the same time,, and the subject of Army Draft Dodgers was brought up. Shep said the Army term for Draft Dodger was a ‘Feather Merchant’,, a term not obscene or something that couldn’t be said on the radio. And other Army terms during the show,, about coming into Co K and finding the [mens] involved in a farting contest… with betting,.,., Army terms; “Triple Three’fer” and “Belly Blaster”… neither obscene,, but in context. not for the WOR ‘Family Station’.
    By the way, Shep had been thrown from a horse with a busted hip a few weeks before the show. The “Cane” and “Chair” routine-mentions were because he was in severe pain,, but determined to do his annual Princeton show.

  2. Tom says:

    I listened to Shep almost nightly during my “larval stages” and loved hearing the master tip-toe his way around phrases and topics he couldn’t address openly on the air. Looking back as an adult, my friends and I probably had more fun trying to guess at the nature of those obscenities than we would have had Shep been uncensored.

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