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Featured GraphicCivil War Slang



  • Arts & Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Ed. & Technology


  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students explore some of the words and phrases used during the Civil War and their meanings.


  • identify words and their meanings,
  • compare and contrast historical contexts and changes in word meanings,
  • demonstrate research skills using the Internet,
  • work together in cooperative groups.


Civil War, slang, definition, word, phrase, vocabulary

Materials Needed

computers with Internet access (or printouts of the material from the Web sites referenced below), paper, pens or pencils

Lesson Plan

Begin by posing the following to students: "Imagine that you are sent back in time to the Civil War. You meet a soldier after a battle and ask him about the war. Do you think you would have any trouble understanding his answer? Do you think people of that period used all the same words and phrases we do today? Let's find out."

  • Divide the class into small groups to study the following online sources. (If Internet access is not available for each group, make printouts of the lists from these sources and distribute to the groups.)
    --- Soldier Talk & Civil War Slang
    --- Gettysburg: The Soldiers' Battle -- Civil War Vocabulary
    --- Civil War Slang
  • Assign each group a specific number of words (10 to 15) to look up.
  • Have students group the words according to ones that are or are not still in use today; or words that have the same or different meanings today.
  • Compile the lists in folders and place them in a classroom learning center or library.

    Extension Activity: You might have students work on their own or in their groups to use some of the new vocabulary to write a brief conversation that might have taken place on or near the Civil War battlefield.


    Evaluate students on their ability to write sentences or short paragraphs using words from the Civil War slang and vocabulary lists.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    Submitted By

    Lois Lewis

    National Standards

    Social Sciences:

    Language Arts: