Definition of leatherneck in US English:



  • A US marine.

    ‘two planes undershot their target and eight leathernecks were wounded’
    • ‘Most Marines are familiar with Burke Davis's 1962 account of Puller's life, but fellow leatherneck Jon T. Hoffman has produced what is likely to become the definitive biography of this extraordinary officer.’
    • ‘Iwo Jima was the bloodiest battle in Marine Corps history, and three leathernecks of the 4th and 5th Divisions used sidearms on the sulphurous island during February and March 1945.’
    • ‘As a father of a leatherneck, I wish to extend my deepest respects to the families of the leathernecks hurt and killed.’
    • ‘Those resourceful leathernecks have come up with a slightly higher tech replacement.’
    • ‘The lack of enemy contact - and missions that seem designed to avoid contact with insurgents - frustrates the leathernecks.’
    • ‘Practical application filled the last two days, as the leathernecks fired computerized scenarios and practiced on the tracking and firing systems at an outdoor trainer.’
    • ‘However, the leathernecks are technically a part of the Navy, which has SEALs as their representatives in the Special Operations Command.’
    • ‘An unparalleled warrior and an enlisted leatherneck at heart, he remains the most famous and most revered Marine.’
    • ‘However, while there is no denying that he has high regard for leathernecks, he does provide ample examples of Navy and Army actions.’


Late 19th century: with allusion to the leather lining inside the collar of a marine's uniform.