How Did Marines Get the Nickname Leathernecks

Title: How Did Marines Get the Nickname Leathernecks?


When it comes to the United States Marine Corps, one immediately thinks of the dedicated and resilient warriors who proudly serve their country. Throughout the Corps’ rich history, Marines have earned several iconic monikers, one of the most famous being “Leathernecks.” This nickname has become synonymous with their indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to duty. In this article, we will delve into the origins of how Marines acquired the nickname “Leathernecks” and explore the significance behind it.

The Origins of the Nickname:

The term “Leatherneck” dates back to the early days of the Marine Corps, specifically during the American Revolution. It was during this time that Marines began wearing high, stiffened collars made of leather to protect their necks from saber attacks. The leather collar, known as a “stock,” became a distinctive feature of the Marine Corps uniform and gave rise to the nickname “Leatherneck.”

The nickname gained further popularity during the Barbary Wars in the early 19th century. Leather stocks were still worn by Marines as part of their uniform, serving as protection against sword slashes. Their unwavering courage and tenacity in battle, combined with the distinctive leather collars, led to the nickname “Leathernecks” becoming synonymous with Marines.

Significance and Symbolism:

The nickname “Leathernecks” holds significant meaning within the Marine Corps culture. It embodies the spirit of resilience, toughness, and adaptability that Marines are known for. The term symbolizes the unwavering commitment to duty and the ability to face and overcome any challenge, no matter how difficult. Marines take great pride in being called “Leathernecks,” as it represents their storied history and the sacrifices made by those who came before them.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. How did the leather collar protect Marines in battle?
The leather collar, or stock, provided protection against sword slashes aimed at the neck.

2. Is the leather collar still a part of the Marine Corps uniform?
No, the leather collar is no longer a part of the modern Marine Corps uniform. It was phased out in the early 19th century.

3. How did the nickname “Leathernecks” become popular?
Marines’ bravery in battle, coupled with the distinctive leather collars, led to the nickname gaining popularity.

4. Are Marines the only military branch with a nickname?
No, each branch of the military has its own unique nicknames. For example, Army soldiers are often referred to as “G.I.s” or “Grunt.”

5. Are there any other nicknames for Marines?
Yes, Marines are also known as “Devil Dogs,” a nickname earned during World War I.

6. Is the nickname “Leathernecks” official?
While not an official designation, the nickname “Leathernecks” is widely recognized and embraced by Marines.

7. Has the nickname “Leathernecks” evolved over time?
The nickname has remained relatively unchanged throughout history, continuing to represent Marines’ toughness and resilience.

8. Are there any other military units with similar nicknames?
The Royal Marines of the United Kingdom are often referred to as “Bootnecks,” a nickname with a similar origin.

9. Do Marines still value the nickname “Leathernecks” today?
Yes, the nickname holds great significance and pride among Marines, symbolizing their warrior ethos and heritage.

10. Are there any Marine Corps traditions associated with the nickname?
There are no specific traditions associated with the nickname “Leathernecks,” but it is widely recognized and respected within the Corps.

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11. Are there any famous Marines who were known as “Leathernecks”?
While the nickname is applied to all Marines collectively, it is not typically used to refer to specific individuals.

12. Are there any Marine Corps units or divisions named after “Leathernecks”?
No specific units or divisions within the Marine Corps carry the name “Leathernecks.” However, it remains a cherished part of Marine Corps lore.


The nickname “Leathernecks” is deeply embedded in the history and culture of the United States Marine Corps. Stemming from the distinctive leather collars worn by Marines in the early days, this moniker has come to represent their unwavering resilience and commitment to duty. As Marines continue to serve their country with honor and dedication, the nickname “Leathernecks” remains a symbol of their indomitable spirit and unwavering resolve.

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