G-Man (slang)

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For other uses, see G-Man (disambiguation).

G-Man (short for Government Man) is a slang term for Special agents of the United States Government. It is specifically used as a term for a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent.

The general schedule (GS) is the predominant pay scale within the United States civil service. The GS includes the majority of white collar personnel (professional, technical, administrative, and clerical) positions.

It is also a term used for members of "G Division" essentially a British anti-rebel police unit operating out of Dublin Castle prior to Irish Independence in 1922. Col. Ned Broy uses the term in his official testimony for the Irish Army's Bureau of Military History in their archive of the Rising and War of Independence.

Use in media

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, its first known use in America was in 1928. The earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary for the American usage is 1930 from a book on Al Capone by FD Pasley.

In FBI mythology, the nickname is held to have originated during the arrest of gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly by agents of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), a forerunner of the FBI, in September 1933. Finding himself unarmed, Kelly supposedly shouted, "Don't shoot, G-Men! Don't shoot, G-Men!"[1] This event is dramatized in the 1959 film The FBI Story and this dramatization is referenced in the 2011 film J. Edgar. The encounter with Kelly is similarly dramatized in the 1973 film Dillinger.

With the popularity of film noir and gangster films during the 1940s and 1950s, "G-Men" became a popular slang term for the FBI.

"G-Man" is the unofficial name used for a major recurring character in the video game series Half-Life.

The term was also used in 2012 Hollywood film Argo in which, Kevin Harkins played by Ben Affleck goes to Canadian embassy in Iran and meets Ken Taylor played by Victor Garber. Ken greets Kevin and says he expected a G-Man looking guy by which he means the FBI.

See also


  1. "Timeline of FBI History". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Archived from the original on 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 

External links