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a word used in communications to represent the letter C.
Military Slang. Charley.
a male given name, form of Charles.
a female given name.
Victor Charlie.
(Brit, informal) a silly person; fool
(Austral, old-fashioned, informal) a girl or woman
(communications) a code word for the letter c
(US & Austral, military, slang) a member of the Vietcong or the Vietcong collectively: Charlie hit us with rockets
(slang) cocaine

masc. proper name, familiar form of Charles (also see -y (3)); 1965 in Vietnam War U.S. military slang for “Vietcong, Vietcong soldier,” probably suggested by Victor Charlie, military communication code for V.C. (as abbreviation of Viet Cong), perhaps strengthened by World War II slang use of Charlie for Japanese soldiers, which itself is probably an extension of the 1930s derogatory application of Charlie to any Asian man, from fictional Chinese detective Charlie Chan.

Other applications include “a night watchman” (1812); “a goatee beard” (1834, from portraits of King Charles I and his contemporaries); “a fox” (1857); “a woman’s breasts” (1874); “an infantryman’s pack” (World War I); and “a white man” (Mr. Charlie), 1960, American English, from black slang.


Army C-rations, packages of tinned and dried food

[1970s+ Army; fr Charlie, the letter C in the military phonetic alphabet formerly used for voice communication]


charley horse


The Vietcong or a Vietcong soldier

Related Terms

mister charlie

[Vietnam War armed forces; fr Victor Charlie, military voice alphabet designation for VC]


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