Slang of the First World War
"Bon for the bust"

“French women selling oranges to Canadian troops on their return to camp. June, 1917.”
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001407 (Modified from Original).

We’re keeping the food-theme going with today’s post on slang of the First World War!

During the First World War, “bon for the bust” was a slang phrase meaning “good to eat”. As with many other phrases, the origins of “bon for the bust” are unclear. The widely accepted explanation states that Commonwealth troops first heard the phrase used by French civilians trying to sell food to the English-speaking soldiers, who then adopted the phrase as their own. Whether the phrase was originally broken English, attempted by the French civilians, or partially proper French, corrupted by the English troops, remains unclear. (See Pegler, Soldier’s Songs and Slang of the Great War, p. 45 & Brophy & Partridge, Dictionary of Tommies’ Songs and Slang, 1914-18, p. 89).