Where does the term Jarhead come from?
The term “jarhead” as referring to a Marine comes from the same thing that gave them the nickname “leathernecks” — the leather collars on some of their uniforms. Before rubber was commonly available, the rings used to seal canning jars were made of leather. So the implication is that the Marine’s leather collar is akin to the leather sealing rings once used on canning jars, making him, litterally, a “jar head.” Which also gives you an idea about how far back the term goes! fatcabral: It’s nice that you were able to add that the leather collars helped protect from saber cuts. But it wasn’t necessary to answer the question. The key point is leather collars relating to the leather rings once used in canning. Please remember to rate answers on whether they answer the question that was actually asked.
I have inquired to two marines about the term jarhead, both gave me different answers, which were both different from the one posted here. Here is what they told me: One said that when you join the marines they give you a haircut that leaves a small patch of hair on the very top of your head which makes you look like a jar. This was also confirmed by someone who’s brother was marine in Vietman. The other said that back in the day the marines wore 8 sided hats. This was so they could be quickly recognized from above (on the ships) as to who were the marines and who were not. So I wonder who is right and are there more theories about where the term came from.
I have found several possible roots of origin on the Internet. One account suggests that it refers to the Marine high and tight haircut, which is cut almost to the skin at the ears with a bit more as it goes up the head giving the appearance of a jar. A military history website states that it was a slang term used by sailors in World War II referring to the resemblance of the Marine dress blues uniform, with its high collar, to a Mason jar which at the time was made from blue glass. Another legend says that during World War II the Mason Jar Company stopped making jars and made the helmets for Marines. Furthermore, some old-timer Marine’s insist that the term originated in the Corps back in the days when mules were still used. Mules were often referred to as Jugheads or Jarheads and that certain stubborn or hard to deal with Marines were also called Jarheads. Additionally, the American Heritage Dictionary of English states that the term is perhaps from the shape of the hat the Marines o
Me being a former SSGT in the Marines, decided to do some research on the term jarhead. Most people could not give me an answer. So I went with the most viable source, from the Marine Corps League.Which states that large vats or jars contained pickles for marines. Apparantly they ran out of targets for practice so instead they used Marines, that were brought up on disciplinary charges. To some they were considered as expendable and this was a way for them to earn their place, which was to hold up these jar lids as targets down range.I’m assuming they were behind burms.The term was coined by the army to insist how crazy Marine would go. Semper Fi!