Gedunk bar

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A Gedunk bar or geedunk bar is the canteen or snack bar of a large vessel of the United States Navy. The term in this sense was first recorded in Leatherneck Magazine in 1931.[1] A service member who works in the geedunk is traditionally referred to only as that "geedunk guy" or "geedunk girl", or more informally as a "geedunkaroo".[citation needed] The term was popular during World War II.


The origin of the word is uncertain. One theory suggests the name is derived from the "gee-dunk" sound that vending machines made when operated.[citation needed] Another theory is that the term is derived from the comic strip Harold Teen, in which Harold eats Gedunk sundaes at the local soda shop.[2] Yet another theory suggests that the word's origin is from a Chinese word meaning "place of idleness."[1]

The gedunk bar was usually open for longer hours than the mess. Such bars were stocked with a wide variety of consumables such as snacks, soft drinks and fresh coffee. In the 21st century, Sailors and Marines continue to call a place where snacks are for sale a "gedunk bar" or "gedunk machine" and refer to the snacks themselves as "gedunk".

The term can also be associated with low cost "logo" hats, shirts or posters displaying Navy or airplane logos. Gedunk has also been associated with the sound an airplane arresting hook makes when it strikes the Aircraft Carrier deck.[citation needed]

During the Vietnam War all who served honorably in the Armed Forces were awarded the National Defense Service Medal. Because the medal were issued regardless of any service beyond making it through bootcamp, it was called a "Gedunk medal".[3]

Civilian use[edit]

The term also refers to the à la carte snack bar located in the Student Union at Grove City College, the name being coined by 1950's students who were formerly served in the US Navy during World War 2. Gedunk is currently the name of the college's alumni magazine.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Navy Traditions and Customs: Gedunk". Naval History and Heritage Command. 
  2. ^ John Ruch (March 29, 2008). "Gedunk". Stupid Questions. 
  3. ^ Crowell, Jeff (31 October 2003). "Naval Terminology, Jargon and Slang FAQ Part 1 - A through M". Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  4. ^ "GeDunk: Grove City College Alumni Magazine". Grove City College. Retrieved 2013-04-11.