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. It is also a film called G Men staring James Cagney.
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!" This event is dramatized in the 1959 film, The FBI Story, where its somewhat implausible quality is in no way diminished. The earliest cite in OED for the American usage (as opposed to the Irish, see below) is 1930 from a book on Al Capone by FD Pasley.
With the popularity of "Film Noir" and gangster films during the 1940s and 50s, 'G-Men' became a popular slang term for the FBI.
"..hunts the Biggest of all game: public enemies that even the G-Men cannot reach!" - Intro to the Green Hornet
The term "G-Man" was also used at least as far back as 1916 in Ireland as a reference to the detectives of the Dublin Metropolitan Police force's "G" Division, whose job it was to collect information on the various revolutionaries within the city. In the Half-Life series, the G-Man is dressed like a government official, hence the nickname.
- FBI portrayal in the media
- Gang Busters radio program originally called "G-Men" and developed in part by J. Edgar Hoover.
- G-Man (Half-Life)
- Junior G-Men