A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

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Entry from July 30, 2019
JANFU (Joint Army Navy Foul-Up)

"JANFU” is a World War II term that means “Joint Army-Navy Foul Up.” The actual term was probably “Joint Army-Navy Fuck Up.”

“Now some one has come up with JANFU, than which, apparently, nothing could be worse. It means ‘Joint Army-Navy Foul-Up’” was printed in the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle on December 24, 1943.

Other World War II acronyms include FUBAR (Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition) and SNAFU (Situation Normal—All Fouled Up).


24 December 1943, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “San Francisco” by Robert O’Brien, pg. 11, col. 2:
A NEW ONE: Inasmuch as this column seems to have devoted itself to the armed forces, we might as well conclude it with what we understand to be the latest addition to the “SNAFU” department of servicemen’s jargon.

As you probably know, SNAFU, in its printable version, stands for ‘Situation Normal—All Fouled Up.” Then there’s TARFU, which means, “Things Really Fouled Up,” and FUBAR, which is short for “Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.” Now some one has come up with JANFU, than which, apparently, nothing could be worse. It means “Joint Army-Navy Foul-Up.”

19 January 1944, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Washington Background” by Inquirer Washington Bureau Staff, pg. 16, col. 2:
Some months ago, we explained the meaning of the coined word which gained currency in the Navy—“snafu”—“situation normal all fouled up.”

Now, we learn that the Army and the Navy have new words for situations that go beyond that. There is, for example, “fubar,” which means “fouled up beyond all recognition.” Also “janfu,” which means “joint Army and Navy foul up,” and “jaafu,” which means “joint Anglo-American foul-up.”

7 February 1944, Newsweek (New York, NY), pg. 61, col. 3:
State of the Language
Recent additions to the ever-changing lexicon of the armed services:

Fubar: fouled up beyond all recognition.
Janfu: Joint Army-Navy foul-up.
Jaafu: Joint Anglo-American foul-up.


15 February 1944, The Evening Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Anzio Likened To Mechanical Heart” by Daniel De Luce (AP), pg. 3, col. 3:
His executive officer, Lieut. M. L. Stewart, of Portland, Ore., explains with a smile that “Janfu” means about the same as the soldier’s old term, “Snafu,” except that the first three letters stand for “joint army and navy.”

30 June 1944, The Times-Recorder (Zanesville, OH), “Beefs And Tips From Seven Seas,” pg. 3B, cols. 5-6:
A new “FU” has been added to the “fouled up” dictionary. The original was SNAFU which meant “Situation Normal: All Fouled Up.” Then came TARFU: “Things Are Really Fouled Up,” and FUBAR “Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.” It took the Aleutian theater to ad JANFU: “Joint Army-Navy Foul Up.” When an American task force joined a British force recently a signaller flashed BUSFU: “British-U. S. Foul Up.”

21 August 1944, Chicago (IL) Sun, pg. 4, col. 2:
Janfu is Joint Epithet
An Allied Beachhead in Southern France, Aug. 20.—(UP)—The Navy has a new wisecrack. Everybody knows by now the old expression Snafu, meaning “situation normal, all fouled up.”

Today it has become Janfu—“joint Army-Navy foulup.”

1 September 1944, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Washington Background” by Inquirer Washington Bureau Staff, pg. 12, col. 1:
By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave since 1939, you are familiar with “SNAFU,” the Army’s expression meaning “situation normal, all fouled up,” and “JANFU,” which is translated as “joint Army-Navy foul-up,” as well as several variations on this.

Well, it seems that the Marines and the soldiers in the Western Pacific have come up with a new one, which instead of describing a situation is used to rebuff officious corporals and possibly even sergeants. The word is “FIGMO.”

A family newspaper translation of the same would be “Fade; “I got my orders.”

Urban Dictionary
janfu
Arcronym for Joint Army Navy Fuck-Up
See also: SNAFU, FUBAR, and Clusterfuck
This was no ordinary SNAFU. By the time the Navy planes arrived, to make it a full fledged JANFU, they army had FUBARed the situation, and unholy Clusterfuck seemed likely
by Wilson Weaver July 06, 2004

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 • Permalink