Where did the jeep name came from?

Where did the jeep name came from?

In the book, “Jeep – Its Development and Procurement Under the Quartermaster Corps 1940-1942“, Rifkind briefly explores where the name “jeep” came from and how it came to be applied to the jeep.  He said:

The origin and meaning of the word “jeep” are not too certain.  Writing in reply to a query on this subject from the Editor of the Winston Dictionaries, Philadelphia, Pa., the QMC Motor Transport Division on October 30, 1941, stated:  ”The word ‘jeep’ has no official military status, but over a long period of years has come to mean to Army men a new type of military motor vehicle.”  The editor was informed that until the advent of the 1/4-ton truck the word had been generally applied to the 1/2-ton, 4×4, used for command reconnaissance and general cargo purposes.  When 1/4-ton made its debut, it was variously dubbed “jeep,” “baby jeep,” and “peep.”  During the 1941 maneuvers, it was said that the Army mechanics and others generally came to refer to it as the “peep,” to distinguish it from the 1/2-ton “jeep.” QM 095 M-A (Winston, John C.,  Co.), Major G. H. Vogel to Thomas K. Brown, Jr., Editor, The Winston Dictionaries, October 30, 1941.  Other names attached to the 1/4-ton about this time were “jeepie,” “son-of-a-jeep,” “blitz-buggy,” “bantam,” “puddle jumper,” etc.

How did this truck come to be called the "jeep"?

How did this truck come to be called the “jeep”?


Another explanation of the word “jeep” is that it originated from the slurring of the initial letters of the War Department’s vehicle classification, “general purpose” (G.P.), under which the 1/4-ton was listed, into a single monosyllable.  Credence is lent this theory by the fact that an early spelling variation of the word was “geep.”  Regardless of how the name originated, after a 3/4-ton model was developed late in 1941 to replace the 1/2-ton truck, the title of “jeep” was settled permanently on the 1/4-ton, apparently by common consent.  On February 19, 1942, Lt. Col. Edwin S. Van Deusen, MT Chief of Procurement and Engineering, speaking before the Metropolitan Chapter, Society of Automotive Engineers, New York City, said that the 1/4-ton was “affectionately know to millions now as the “jeep”.