Is Jeep named after a cartoon character?

A muddy Jeep logo depicting a trademarked SUV brand name.

If you ask four 4×4 fans where is the all terrain the name comes from, you may get four separate answers. One popular theory is that World War II soldiers nicknamed their 1/4-ton 4x4s “jeeps” after Popeye’s cartoon sidekick, Eugene-the-Jeep. The only problem is that the military used the word jeep years before the Popeye comics, but even in the military it meant something very different than it does today.

What is the original meaning of Jeep?

The word jeep was originally military slang for a new and untested soldier. It also came to mean a new, untested vehicle. The first records of its use date back to World War I, according to motor trend. So the word jeep actually predates the WWII 1/4 ton 4×4 that would become synonymous.

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