Answered By: Emilie Smart
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2015     Views: 25037

Jeep is not an acronym -- it's an actual word.  It started out as the name of a character in the Popyey cartoon, Eugene the Jeep.  Eugene could only say one word -- Jeep.  "Jeep" ended up being the trademarked name for a vehicle used in WWII.  Why the vehicle was called a "jeep" is clouded in mystery...

From Wikipedia:

There are many explanations of the origin of the word "jeep," all of which have proven difficult to verify. The most widely held theory is that the military designation of GP begat the term "Jeep" and holds that the vehicle bore the designation "GP" (for "Government Purposes" or "General Purpose"), which was phonetically slurred into the word jeep. However, an alternate view launched by R. Lee Ermey, on his television series Mail Call, disputes this, saying that the vehicle was designed for specific duties, and was never referred to as "General Purpose" and it is highly unlikely that the average jeep-driving GI would have been familiar with this designation. The Ford GPW abbreviation actually meant (G for government use, P to designate its 80-inch (2,000 mm) wheelbase and W to indicate its Willys-Overland designed engine).

Many, including Ermey, suggest that soldiers at the time were so impressed with the new vehicles that they informally named it after Eugene the Jeep, a character in the Popeye cartoons created by E. C. Segar. Eugene the Jeep was Popeye's "jungle pet" and was "small, able to move between dimensions and could solve seemingly impossible problems."[1]

Comments (4)

  1. It's an easy leap from "GPW" to "GP" to Jeep. Don't overthink it.
    by Old Enough To Know on Jun 28, 2016.
  2. You are all wrong, J.E.E.P. is an acronym. it stands for:
    Joint all wheel drive
    of Personnel vehicle.
    Being in the military for 32 years and working in the military motor pool for half that time one gets familiar with all nomenclature..
    by Major Dave (US Army ret) on Jul 19, 2016.
  3. I heard that during the second world war army vehicles kept breaking down so the American army used broken down vehicle parts to build a usable vehicle naming it the J.E.E.P ,which stands for JUST.ENOUGH.ESSENTIAL.PARTS....true or not????
    by Mark on Oct 25, 2016.
  4. Actually mark was quite close, it's actually Just Enough Equipment Parts , it is an acronym though
    by Mike on Jan 31, 2017.

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