"Haggie" used as a term for Iraqis?

A friend sends me excerpts and photos from emails her brother sends from Iraq. He used the word “Haggie” in one of his messages and both my friend and I wondered what that meant. She inquired and this was his response:

“…a “Haggie,” is a name the American forces have made up for the Iraqis here. It’s not a derogatory term, just something that kind of caught on I guess.”

Anyone know the origin of the term? Any WAGs?

Since no one else has responded, I’ll offer my WAG. I would wild-ass guess that it might be a corruption of “Haji,” an Arabic word meaning a Muslim who has completed the haj (pilgramage to Mecca). It is often used as a title, and sometimes as a personal name. But of course the pronunciation doesn’t match so if this is the true origin it would have to be a hell of a corruption.

Here’s another, probably way off the mark, guess. About 30 years ago, I worked with a guy who was also a theological student. One day, he wore a t-shirt lettered “HAGIOI.” He explained he was on a softball team of clergymen-to-be. The word, he said, meant “blessed” or “holy” or something like that.

That sounds Greek to me.

I’m gonna second what bibliophage suggests.

This is because some of my redneck acquaintences, when refering to Arabs (or Pakistanis, or Indians, or hell, at times even hispanics if they look slightly eastern…hey they’re rednecks, not world travelers) will call them “Hajis.”

The “Haggie” might be a bastardization of this, OR the guy’s phoentic spelling of “Haji” was way off the mark.


I know for certain that the two ex-Navy guys I lived with regularly used the term “Haji” to describe, well, pretty much anyone remotely associated with the Middle East. I asked one of them about the term once.

“What,” he answered, “you’ve never seen Johnny Quest?”

My only acquaintance currently serving in Iraq frequently uses the term and spells it ‘hadji’. So I think that bibliophage is right on.

Ah, that makes sense – “Hadji” or “Hajji.” With the spelling in the OP, I was thinking of a Scottish delicacy.

“Hajji” means a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca at least once. I just saw a PBS show about it.

My brother (SF, just back from Afghanistan) just uses the term “green” to describe any indigenie, as in “green-on-green violence is increasing.”

I think bibliophage has it, the kid just can’t spell for shit.

Why can’t those Soldiers use the term Iraqi to refer to an Iraqi?

Monty: There’s a long, ugly tradition of soldiers using special nonce words to describe the locals they must fight. A lot of those words later become perjoratives with racial connotations.

Honestly? Makes it harder to shoot at people that you’re not insulting on a day to day basis.

Slugworth: And wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing!

BTW, what do you suppose the Iraqis still loyal to Hussein call the Americans?

Whatever the Arabic word for “target” is.

Does it?