Million-dollar wound

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"Million-dollar wound" (American English) or "Blighty wound" (British English) is military slang for a type of wound received in combat which is serious enough to get the soldier sent away from the fighting, but neither fatal nor permanently crippling.[1]


In his World War II memoir With the Old Breed, Eugene Sledge wrote that during the Battle of Okinawa, the day after he tried to reassure a fellow United States Marine who believed he would soon die,[2]

Much to my joy I saw the friend with whom I'd had the conversation the night before. He wore a triumphant look of satisfaction, shook hands with me heartily, and grinned as a stretcher team carried him by with a bloody bandage on his foot. God or chance—depending on one's faith— had spared his life and lifted his burden of further fear and terror in combat by awarding him a million-dollar wound. He had done his duty, and the war was over for him. He was in pain, but he was lucky. Many others hadn't been as lucky the last couple of days.

A similar concept is the Blighty (a slang term for Britain or England) wound, a British reference from World War I.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

In the film Forrest Gump, the titular character receives a gunshot to his backside during his service in the Vietnam War, which leaves him sidelined from combat for months (ultimately serving as the end of his combat service, but for unrelated reasons). Due to Gump's below-average intelligence, he takes the expression "million dollar wound" literally, saying: "the Army must keep that money, 'cause I still ain't seen a nickel of that million dollars".


  1. ^ Dalzell, Tom, ed. (2018). The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English. Taylor & Francis. p. 2013. ISBN 9781351765206.
  2. ^ Sledge, E. B. (1981). With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. Presidio Press. pp. 220–221.
  3. ^ "Blighty Wounds". Retrieved 2007-03-26.