Military Slang

Military slang, or informal military terms, are colloquial terms used commonly by military personnel —often as abbreviations or derivations of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, or otherwise incorporating aspects of formal military concepts and terms.

Military, for the purposes of this article means armed forces (i.e. the US English meaning of “military”) and therefore this article includes naval and air forces slang as well as the military slang of armies.

Military slang is also used to reinforce the (usually friendly) interservice rivalries. Some of these terms have been considered derogatory to varying degrees and attempts have been made to eliminate them.

Military slang has often been incorporated into wider usage. English language military slang includes phrases such as:


0 – 9
03 (US Marines) An Infantryman. Officially 0300 field
11 Bang-Bang or 11 Bush (US Army) An infantryman. Officially “11 Bravo.
1206 (Singapore) A document attesting to the loss or accidental destruction of equipment. Pronounced as twelve-oh-six.
11B (Singapore) Also known as an SAF 11B. Military identification card for personnel in the Singapore Armed Forces. Pronounced as eleven-bee, never eleven-bravo.
4 fingers of death (US Army) Another name for the MRE beef franks. Used because they taste like death and there are four of them.
40 Mike-Mike (US Army, US Marines) 40mm grenade or M203 grenade launcher, often mounted underneath an M-16 or variant
90-Day Wonder Newly-commissioned (O-1) graduate of Officer Candidate School or DIRCOM (Direct Commissioning) program. Derogatory.
96-B (US Army) An Intelligence Analyst; Pronounced ’96 Bravo’ from the MOS code system.
A-Gang (US Navy) Auxiliary division onboard a ship or submarine. Responsible for sanitary, heating/AC, emergency diesels, hydraulics and assorted systems.
ack-ack Anti-aircraft fire, usually flak.
Acorn boy(s) (US, Civil War) member(s) of the US Army’s XIV Corps, from its distinctive acorn cap badge
adm day (Indian Army) day allocated for Barrack maintenance and other adm work.
Admiral of the Narrow Seas (International, 18h Century) An officer who has just thrown up in the lap of his neighbor
Admiral’s eighth (RN, 18h Century) Admiral’s share of any booty or prize seized by his command
Admiralty ham (RN, c 1900) Tinned fish
Air Bear (USAF) Security or MP trooper
Air-Dale (UK and US) Derogatory term for a pilot or aircrew.
Air Force Mittens (US) Front pockets of BDU pants. Also, ‘Air Force gloves’. Compare with ‘Bundeswehr gloves’, below.
African golf (US, obsolete) White officer’s term for craps, for its popularity among black troops
Ali Baba (UK, US and Iraq) During the Iraq war, name for insurgents, local thieves and looters.
Alfa Mike Foxtrot (Infantry) “Adios Mother Fucker” abbreviated using the phonetic alphabet. When used in garrison it is a friendly farewell. When used in combat situations it generally means that the person saying it is in immediate danger of being killed.
Alpha Roster (US) An alphabetical list (by last name) of all personnel within a unit.
amen wallah (British Army, WW1) Chaplain
…and a wake-up. (US) Term used following a particular period of time to reference how many complete days plus the time spent on the last day leaving a service member has before a tour of duty or field evolution is complete. e.g.: “Two days and a wake up, and I’m gone!”
Annie Laurie. (Br, WW1) transport away from the front (pun on “any lorry”)
ARAB (British Army) Arrogant Regular Army Bastard. Pejorative Acronym.
Archie (British, WW1) Antiaircraft (gun or fire; in plural, guns)
armored cow (AUS, WW2) Canned milk
ARMY (US Marines) Aren’t Ready for Marines Yet. Pejorative Acronym.
Army banjo (Australian Army, WW1-1960s) Entrenching tool
Army strawberries (AUS, WW2) Prunes.
Army’s Lawn Dart (US) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Aptly named for its inability to stay in the air. Also Known as a “Crash Hawk”
Article 15 (US Army) Nonjudicial Punishment from the Article in UCMJ that covers it.
ASAP (US) As soon as possible; without delay. Pronounced “A-sap” (long A for the first syllable)
asino morte (Italian) “Dead donkey”, term for canned ham
ASVAB waiver (US) A slow or stupid servicemember; references the military’s ASVAB intelligence and skills entrance test, the results of which were allegedly waived to allow enlistment of said servicemember.
ass Armored vehicles. “We’ll be driving behind a lot of ass today.” E.g: Tanks, Bradleys, etc…
ate-up (US) Disreputable or shabby.
Attend B (Singapore) Written in abbreviated form as ATTN B; personnel excused from strenuous or physical training, but are otherwise required to be present for the training or class
Attend C (Singapore) Written in abbreviated form as ATTN C; personnel excused from training are in Attend C status. See profile.
A-farts (US, 1970s) Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS)
bag (Canada) Term used to denote the uselessness of a soldier, as in a “bag of hammers”. (US) Slang for the flightsuit worn by aircrew members.
bag of dicks (US) Describes a problematic or intractable situation.
balls (US) Term for midnight on a 24-hour clock since it looks like four balls (0000), “My watch is from balls to eight”.
barracks rat (US) A servicemember financially unwilling or unable to go “out in town” during liberty.
Basic (US Army and Air Force) Initial training of new recruits.
bayonet (US, Civil War-WW1) Infantryman
BCGs (US) Birth Control Glasses. Military issued eyeglasses, noted for their unappealing appearance which would prevent attracting members of the opposite sex.
BCCT (Singapore) Basic Close Combat Training. Company-level combat training.
beans and bullets (US) The general term for all types of supplies.
beat your face (US) Slang for “do some push ups” and is commonly used in boot camp. Example: “Private Scum, you think that is funny? BEAT YOUR FACE!”
belay that (English-speaking navies, origin probably RN) Disregard the order just given.
BFE or Bum Fuck Egypt (US) An isolated deployment, or any other extremely isolated or distant location; pejorative. mostly about the disgust at the distance, but also implies that there could be little worthwhile in such a distant and isolated place. The variants BFN or Bum Fuck Nowhere are used in the same sense.
BFR (US) Big fucking rock. Sometimes used as a reference point on tactical radios: “We’re 100 meters south of the BFR.”
BFW (US) Big fucking wrench. Refers to the wrench used on generators to tighten the grounding nut.
BGB (US Navy and Marines) Big Gray Boat. Refers to large ships, e.g. carriers and battleships, that are gray in color.
biff chit (UK) A sick note from the medical centre excusing a soldier from PT. See profile and ATTN C.
Big Chicken Dinner (US) Bad Conduct Discharge, the less severe of the two types of punitive discharge that may be awarded by court martial (the more severe being a dishonorable discharge) .
Big Red One (US Army, WWII) The First Infantry Division, so noted for the unit insignia of a single red 1.
Big Red Pig (U.S. Coast Guard) Derogatory/affectionate term for Icebreakers, which are painted red for visibility.
Big White One (US Coast Guard) A 378-foot High Endurance Cutter, the largest “White Boat” (rescue and law enforcement) vessel in the US Coast Guard.
bin rat (Canada) A supply technician or storesman.
bird (US) Slang for an airplane or satellite.
Bird, Ball and Chain (US Marines) Cynical term for the Marine Corps’ Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem.
bird barn (US) Slang for an aircraft carrier.
bird colonel (US) Slang for a Colonel (O-6) , whose insignia is an eagle, as opposed to a Lieutenant Colonel, who wears oak leaves.
black Cadillacs (Canada) Combat boots. Used ironically in reference to use as a mode of transport.
blade 1. (UK) SAS Trooper employed in a Sabre Squadron.
2. (Canada) A traitorous or untrustworthy person; one who would betray you or “stab you in the back.” Can also be used as a verb.
blanket party (US, Canada) A form of hazing meted out to unpopular service members. Involves covering the head and arms of the target with a blanket to prevent fighting back or identification of the attackers while a beating is administered.
blanket-stacker (UK) Any storeman (even if he doesn’t deal with blankets) . Also applied to the Royal Logistic Corps in general, even though their duties include everything from catering to bomb-disposal as well as storekeeping.
bleu (France) A recruit.
Bloody Buckets (US) Members of the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, whose division insignia is a red keystone.
Bloggins (Canada) Name used to show examples during lectures (ie. Pte. Bloggins just violated the ROEs)
Bloods and Crips (US Army) a group of soldiers who are habitually injured, see Sickcall Ranger
bloodstripes (US Marines) The hazing practice of kicking a newly promoted corporal up and down the outside of his/her legs, causing bruises that mimic the “bloodstripes” an NCO wears on their dress trousers.
blooper (US Army and Marine Corp) Vietnam Era slang term for the M-79 Grenade Launcher. Suggested by the sound it made upon firing.
blow the DCA (US Navy) A snipe hunt (see ‘pad-eye cleaner’) that new sub crewmembers are often sent on in a false emergency, only to find that the DCA is a person–the Damage Controls Assistant, a junior officer usually.
blue falcon (US) “buddy fucker,” i.e. one who does not help a fellow soldier, or who intentionally gets a soldier in trouble.
blue-head (US) a term for a new recruit in the first few weeks of boot camp. New recruits have their heads shaved and the particularly white recruit’s head look blue due to the blood vessels.
blue job (Canada) A member of the air force; from their blue uniform. Pejorative.
blue nose (US Navy, Marines) Anyone who has served above the Arctic Circle or has participated in a ceremony similar to the Shellback ceremony (See Shellback)
blue force (US Army or Air Force) The friendly force, the opposite of the OpFor.
blue on blue contact (US and UK) A friendly fire incident.
blue suiter (US Air Force) A general term for active duty Air Force personnel, often used when distinguishing between a mixed environment of Air Force active duty and Department of Defense civilians and contractors.
blues buddies (US Air Force) A pair of airmen who frequently leave base together in their dress blues during training.
BMO (US, 1991 Persian Gulf War) Black Moving Object, or a woman in a burkha.
boat 1. (U.S. Navy) A submarine.
2. (U.S. Naval Aviation) A ship on which aircraft is landed.
3. (US Army) First generation Minefield Clearing Line Charge which was literally a small boat that was dragged behind a towing vehicle. The current version is mounted on a trailer.
boat chuck (US Navy) Derogatory term used by the aviation community for any member of a ship’s company.
Bobo (Singapore) A soldier who cannot hit his target on the rifle range. This is a Singlish mispronunciation of “WOWO”, meaning “wash out.”
BOHICA “Bend over, here it comes again.” Used when wearily contemplating idiotic or malicious decisions by higher-ups.
Bones (US) Any military doctor, especially in the Navy. Probably derived from Sawbones.
boot, booter (US) A new join to a particular unit, probably coming from Boot Camp (see below). This person often has an overly enthusiastic yet naive disposition.
boot camp (US Navy and Marines) Initial training of new recruits.
Booter (US) ; Bootnecks, Booties : (UK) Royal Marines, from the leather stock they used to wear around their necks (same origin as Leathernecks for the USMC).
bought the farm (US) Originally comes from the US Air Force, where it was slang for a fatal crash, then generally any KIA G.I. whose insurance money pays the family bills.
Boss (UK) Informal yet respectful address for an officer – especially used in situations where disclosure of military status is not advisable.
Box Nasty (US Air Force) Box Lunch served in-flight.
BPAG (Aus) Black Plastic Army Gun. The M16 rifle.
brass (US and UK) Top-ranking officers; The Powers That Be.
Bravo Zulu (Worldwide Navies) Means ‘Well Done’. Comes from the Allied Naval Signal Book, conveyed by flag hoist or voice radio.
brain bucket (Canada) Helmet.
brain sponge (US) Any combat hat that does not provide protection. (e.g. A Boonie hat)
brig rat (US Navy and Marines) Describes a sailor or Marine who often frequents the brig (military jail) , typically as a prisoner.
broke-dick (US) A soldier with a medical condition that would hinder the soldier’s ability to perform certain tasks; alternatively, equipment that is not operationally ready.
(US Air Force) Anything that is broken or needing repair or maintenance.
broom (US Army) Army talk for ‘sweep’ . Used in the similar sense that you mop with a mop, hence, you broom with a broom.
brownjob (RAF) Member of the British Army, from the khaki uniforms.
Brown Water Navy (US) The fleet of PT boats that patrolled the rivers and coasts of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, so noted for the mud-brown color of the water.
brown shoe 1. (US Air Force) Things and people related to the time when the Air Corps was a subsidiary unit of the US Army. When the Air Force became independent, ‘black’ shoes replaced the ‘brown’ shoes worn by the Army at that time.
2. (US Navy) Things and people related to the naval aviation community. From the time when brown shoes were authorized only for aviation ratings and officers.
Brylcreem Boys (UK) The Royal Air Force, who were renowned for wearing brylcreem on their hair.
bubblehead Any person serving on a submarine or in the Submarine Service (a reference to decompression sickness) .
buddy spike (US Air Force & US Navy) Used during flight operations. In air exercises, it is common to “spike” or lock onto a friendly without engaging. This causes the targeted aircraft’s defense systems to warn of active targeting. “Buddy Spike” is a term used to reassure the “spiked” aircraft that the lock came from a friendly aircraft. For example: Suppose you were fighting in an exercise as blue air with opposing red air trying to shoot you. If you got notification on your RWR that an aircraft had locked you, you would want to know if it was from red air or just your wingman. So you might call out “HOOTER 01, spiked from 300 (degrees)” and Hooter 2 might call out “Buddy spike”. He may have locked you unintentionally, or to help find you visually, etc. This term was used, somewhat incorrectly, in the movie The Incredibles.
buckshee (UK) Spare, unofficial. Buckshee equipment or ammunition is outside the normal accounting system and is often bartered by those who find themselves in possession of it. The origin and nature of the stores determines whether this is a serious issue.
BUFF (US) Big Ugly Fat Fucker. (Clean: Big Ugly Fat Fellow) . Slang for the B-52 Stratofortress.
Buffer (UK and Canada) Chief Bosun’s Mate, Senior Boatswain (Seamanship specialist) on a warship, usually having the rank of a Chief Petty Officer.
Bug Company (USN) : In boot camp, a company (group) of recruits who are incapable of performing any task correctly, regardless of the rewards or consequences. Generally the individuals who make up these companies will leave boot camp in top physical shape, because they are always being punished with physical training, also known as “cycling”.
bulkhead (US Navy, Marines) The interior structural divider of a ship; used ashore to refer to the interior walls of a building, as well.
bullet sponge or bullet stopper (US) An infantryman, most commonly the point man of an infantry fire team who is usually the first member of the team to engage, or be engaged by, the enemy. Also, regular Army reference to the USMC.
Bull Ensign (US Navy) Senior junior officer of the rank of Ensign (o-1) in a ship’s compliment. The bull Ensign often is tasked by the Commanding Officer with unsavory tasks that other junior officers would rather avoid.
Bull Nuke (US Navy Submarine Service) Senior enlisted man within the Engineering Division onboard a submarine, usually a Senior Chief or Master Chief Petty Officer (E-8/9) .
Bum Chum US, Canada) Pejorative term for a naval seaman. Refers to the steriotypical seaman’s homosexuality.
bumf (UK) Paperwork, especially useless paperwork; comes from bum fodder (i.e. only fit to be used as toilet paper).
Bumfuq, Egypt (US) An isolated deployment
Bundeswehr gloves (UK) Pockets, from the perception that members of the German Army often walk around with their hands in them (prohibited in most other NATO armed services)
bunting tosser (Royal Navy and Commonwealth Navies) A signalman.
butterbar (US) A second lieutenant or ensign, in reference to the rank insignia – a single gold bar.
BZ (Navy) Also, Bravo Zulu. Allied Signals Book (ATP 1) for “Well done”.
cadidiot (US Army and Air Force, Canada) (kah-DID-iot) Slang term for an officer cadet. In Canada, term also used to indicate youth cadets of all branches. See also “cadink”, below. Pejorative.
cadink (US Air Force) Slang term for an officer cadet. Slightly less pejorative than “cadidiot”.
Cambro (US Army) Officially called the “Insulated Food Container” or “IFC,” which is plastic with stainless steel inserts. Not to be confused with the all-metal “Food Container, Insulated” or “FCI” which is commonly called a “mermite can.”
cammies (US Navy and Marines) Camouflage utility uniform. What are referred to as “BDUs” in the Army and Air Force.
Camp Coast Guard (US Coast Guard) The United States Coast Guard Academy at New London. Used when referring to the Academy in a derogatory manner.
cannon cocker (US) An artilleryman. Also a Coast Guard Gunner’s Mate.
cannon fodder (US) (formerly) An infantryman sent into battle with the expectation that he will be killed.
Canoe U The United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Jocular when used by graduates, pejorative when used by outsiders.
Captain Jack (US) Is the military equivalent to the civilian Jodies in cadences, and always a tough guy. As in, “Hey, hey, Captain Jack, meet me down by the railroad tracks. With your knife in your hand, I’m gonna be a fightin’ man.”
Captain’s Mast (US Navy) Non-Judicial Punishment imposed under Article 15 of the UCMJ.
CATFU (US) (KAT-foo-(ed) ) Completely And Totally Fuck(ed) Up (i.e. “This thing is CATFUed”)
cat eyes (US Army, Canada) A helmetband with two pieces of luminous material at the rear.
CBed (Canada) confined to barracks, a form of punishment. Pronounced “see-beed”.
CCB (Singapore) Phonetic rendition of a Hokkien swear word referring to a smelly female reproductive orifice
CFB (US) Clear as a Fucking Bell, i.e. “You had best hear this CFB.”
(Canada) Canadian Forces Base.
Canadian Gay Guard, Canadian Girl Guides (Canada) Derogatory term used to refer to the Canadian Grenadier Guard(CGG)
Chairborne Ranger (US Army) referring to someone who works a desk, in comparison to an Airborne Ranger
Chair Force (US, Canada) the Air Force, referring to the perception that many Air Force personnel spend their time “flying a desk”, i.e. doing office work of various sorts.
chalk (US Army) Helicopter.
Charlie (US) NATO phonetic alphabet for the letter C. Used during the Vietnam War as a general term for the Vietcong or the Vietnamese people.
Charlie Foxtrot See clusterfuck
Charlie Mike (US) NATO phonetic alphabet for “continue mission”
Charlie’s Chicken Farm (US Army) Corruption of Correctional Custody Facility (CCF) . A minimum security, military prison for lesser offenses, which is basically a fenced in barracks building. Sentences to the CCF are usually as a result of an Article 15 and are generally not career-ending in nature. Differentiated from The Stockade which is much like a civilian prison and houses serious offenders awaiting transport to Fort Leavenworth.
charts and darts (US) Manual field artillery firing calculations
cheesedick 1. (US Army) Suckup, brown noser.
2. (US Marines) To do something with minimal effort. As in “He cheesedicked his way through it.”
chem light batteries (US Marines) A form of snipe hunt. To have a new Marine search for obviously non-existent batteries for chemical light sticks.
cherry (US) Another term to describe a new join.
chest candy (US) Another term to describe ribbons or medals that are worn. It can be pejorative or appreciative, depending on usage.
chewed up or chewey V (US) See ate up.
Chewbacca (US) Comes from “chewed up”
chicken colonel (US) A full colonel, named for the eagle insignia. Also known as “full bull,” “full bird,” or “bird colonel” as opposed to “light colonel,” which is a lieutenant colonel.
chicken plates (US Army) Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) which fit into the Interceptor body armor system.
Chief (US) The familiar form of address for any US Army warrant officer or US Navy and Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer. Also, a section leader in the US Army, and a familiar term for Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank in the US Air Force.
Chief of Smoke (US) The senior enlisted man of an artillery battery, after the First Sergeant. Also, “Smoke.”
chopped up Same as ate up.
Chow-dale (US Navy (particularly used by Reactor Department personnel on Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers) ) A derogatory term for the airmen (airdales) attached to the various squadrons whom seem to never-endingly stand in meal lines and make them long for ship’s crew.
Chow keng (Singapore) Malingerer.
CHT (US Navy) Sewage. Named after the ship’s waste system (Collection, Holding, and Transfer (CHT) systems) . Pronounced “C-H-T” or “shit”. CHT is usually found splashing across ship’s head floors because the designated ship’s crew usually aren’t real excited about fixing a toilet problem.
Cigarette Soup (US Army) Onion Soup, because it looks like what you get when you fill an ashtray with water.
Circus Battalion (Canada) Play on Service Battalion (Logistics and Supply) due to the excessive number of tents used in its deployment and the general state of coordination among its personnel. Generally pejorative, when used outside the company of said personnel.
CIU (Canada) Civilian In Uniform, Person using the CF (Canadian Forces) as way to pay for school, person who does not belong in the Service
clearing barrel A promiscuous female soldier, referring to the red, sand filled barrels used to verify that small arms are unloaded before turn in. Soldiers preparing to turn in weapons line up and dry fire their rifles into the barrel. Extremely derogatory. See also “regimental groundsheet”.
Club Ed (Canada) The Canadian Forces Service Prison and Detention Barracks in Edmonton, Alberta. An ironic play on “Club Med”.
clubz / clubswinger (RN) Physical Training Instructor.
clusterfuck A disastrous situation that results from the cumulative errors of several people or groups. In semi-polite company this is referred to as a Charlie Foxtrot (from the NATO phonetic alphabet) . Also used as slang to describe the “area effect” nature of artillery.
CO Commanding Officer.
cockster (Singapore) a person who is habitually confused or amusing in a weird way.
Colonel Sanders (US National Guard) Catered meals served in lieu of meals prepared by Army cooks. Obviously a reference to US fastfood icon Colonel Sanders.
Colonel Sanders Award (US Army) See “KP”, below.
Commo In reference to communications equipment or those who operate them.
companionway (US Navy, Marines) A staircase. From the term for a ladder or staircase aboard a ship.
Contrails (USAF Academy) Fourth Class Cadet (SMACK) book of military knowledge that is memorized during the fourth class year.
Corfam (US Navy & Marine Corps) A high-gloss dress shoe, typically made of plastic rather than leather to enhance gloss and eliminate the need for polishing. Derived from a trademark artificial leather, Corfam developed by DuPont during World War II.
cornflake (Canada) The cap badge of a recruit in the Canadian Forces, a brass rendition of the Canadian Forces tri-service badge. From the resemblance of the badge in shape and colour to the breakfast cereal.
2. By extension from (1), a new recruit.
2. By extension from (1), the Canadian Forces insignia in general.
Corp (UK) Informal address for a Corporal or Lance-Corporal.
COTDA (US Army) Stands for “Case Of The Dumb Asses.” Spoken in both full context and abbreviation. Humorous and imaginary syndrome or sickness often joked about towards any soldier who makes an accidental mistakes or forgets something. Example: “Did you go home last night and catch a case of the dumb asses (or COTDA) ?”
Country Club Academy (US) A derogatory term used by cadets at the United States Military Academy and midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy to refer to the United States Air Force Academy. Refers to the perception of more relaxed standards of military discipline, and the generally less spartan living conditions for cadets, at the AFA as compared to the other academies.
cover (US) A military hat.
crabs (Singapore) Reference to senior officers of rank major, lieutenant colonel, or colonel, whose rank insignias are respectively one, two, or three State Crests, the outline of each resembling a crab. (United Kingdom) Refers to the British Royal Air Force, as in “When asked a question, they shrug their shoulders and shuffle off sideways.”
crabs within a cage (Singapore Armed Forces) A derogative term to describe warrant officers whose rank insignias are a state crest encased within a semi-circle and chevrons with the number of chevrons denoting higher ranks. Sometimes used to dismiss to a warrant officer who is noted for being very arrogant and proliferate in the use of his authority.
crank (US Navy) An enlisted sailor who is doing temporary duty in a ship’s galley. On most ships/subs junior enlisted will work full time for many weeks or months in the galley doing menial tasks like washing dishes or scrubbing floors before moving back to their assigned rate and division. “Cranking” or “Mess cranking” is a verb for this situation. Cranking can be occasionally used as a method of EMI. (See EMI)
crunchie (US Army) Term used by a Tank Crewman to describe a dismounted infantry soldier, derived from the sound that they make when the tank rolls over them.
crutch brigade (US Army) a rear-detachment unit, usually full of soldiers who are unable to deploy due to medical or legal issues.
CS&MO; (US) Proper usage: Close Station, March Order. Slang: “Collect [your] shit and move out.”
Cunt cap (Army) The flat garrison cap, the kind often seen tucked under a shoulder epaulet in the movies. Particularly descriptive of the female version of this cap discontinued in the late 1970’s, which had an inverted fold in the crown.
CYA Cover Your Ass.
Cycled (USN) or “getting cycled” In boot camp, the act of being “beat” by your company commanders via strenuous work-out, or “PT” sessions. Cycling normally occurs after a member or the entire company has made an error of some kind either in drilling, training, etc. Cycling has no time limit, it lasts as long as desired by the company commander(s) , and it can include any physical training that has been imagined. Often times company commanders will make their recruits put on multiple layers of clothing, while closing windows and turning off fans, etc., in an effort to make it “rain indoors”. Lore states of “rain makers”, company commanders often rumored to be in charge of other units who will make guest appearances at cycles in an effort to achieve the results of “raining indoors”, due to the fact that the sweat from the recruits will cause condensation to build in the room and leak down from the ceilings. See tekan and quarterdecking.
DA Form 1 (US Army) Toilet Paper.
dark green (US Marines) An African-American US Marine; as compared to a “light-green”. Becoming an archaic term; sometimes perceived as offensive.
Day 0 (US Army) . The first day of basic training.
Dead Man Walking (US Army) A person who has a permanent profile (see profile below) which allows him/her to walk two and a half miles rather than run 2 miles as part of the Army Physical Fitness Test or APFT.
death technician (Canada) Infantry soldier.
Deck (Worldwide Navy, Marines) The floor on a ship; also used while ashore for the ground or a floor.
Deck-Ape (Navy, Marines) Naval term used to signify a “botswain’s mate” on a ship who is in charge of anchors, moorings, lines, rope etc.
desert queen (US) A promiscuous woman who sleeps around while at a deployed location.
dairy Queen (US) A promiscuous overweight woman who sleeps around while at a deployed location.
desk wallah (UK) A staff officer or other military administrator; pejorative and largely obsolete.
deuce and a half, deuce (US, Canada) 2 1/2 ton truck used for carrying cargo or up to 40 people. Commonly used in convoys.
deuce gear (US Marines) Organizational equipment that is issued to a Marine from his unit and is kept by the Marine as personal gear, but is expected to be returned in serviceable condition upon that Marine’s detachment from the unit. Usually refers to load-bearing equipment, ruck packs, body armor, helmets and other field gear. Derived from “782 gear”, referencing an obsolete form.
Devil Dog (US) US Marine. The term comes from a (possibly apocryphal) complimentary term, Teufelhund, applied by German soldiers to Marines during World War I for fighting like shock troops.
dickbeaters (US) Fingers.
dicked up (US Army) See “ate-up”. Generalized state of being incorrect.
dickskinners (US) Hands.
dicktrap (US) Mouth.
digger (Aus/NZ) Initially used to describe soldiers who fought during the Battle of Gallipoli, but now a general term for any Australian or New Zealand soldier.
diggers (UK) Knife, fork and spoon. Cookhouses at transit barracks, training camps and other locations away from a soldier’s home base generally do not provide these. Thus it is important to remember your diggers when going for a meal.
digies (US) Refers to new digital camoflauged field uniforms worn by the US Army and Marine Corps.
dig-it, dig it or diggit 1. (US Navy) Any brand or model of butterfly-folding multi-tool (i.e. leatherman) .
2. (US Navy) A (usually derogatory) reference to a crew member who shows an outward eagerness to be at sea, in the Navy, etc.–especially when compared to less enthuasitic crew members.
DILLIGAF (US, Canada) Does It Look Like I Give A Fuck?! Usually a reply in Boot Camp when given a lame excuse for not being able to perform a duty or follow an order.
Dink (US) A derogatory term for an Asian enemy soldier, used extensively during the Vietnam War. More recently, means delinquent in some form, i.e. not up to standards on progress on training qualifications.
Dittybopper (US Army) A signals intelligence radio operator trained to intercept Morse Code transmissions.
DNKH (US) Damn Near Killed Himself/Herself.
doc A medic.
dogface (US) A US Army infantryman, common in World War II; now thid or doggy is used by a Marine to refer to an Army soldier.
donkey dick 1. (US Army) The bottom section of a PRC-25/77 radio antenna.
2. A detachable fuel nozzle for 5 gallon fuel containers. See “horse cock” below.
3. A Mortar cleaning brush.
4. By extension, any long cylindrical object.
donut launcher (US Army) Ring Airfoil Grenade Launcher. A device which fits on the end of an M16 rifle which fired a donut shaped rubber bullet used in riot control.
Doolie A fourth-class cadet (freshman) at the United States Air Force Academy (also called “SMACK”) .
Dorm hoe or dorm slut (US) Used for a female who is known for her promiscuity around dormitories and lodging facilities.
Dot (US Army) An ROTC cadet. Refers to the disc shaped rank insignia. Derogatory.
double-digit midget (US) A service member who has less than 100 days until his or her enlistment ends.
Double Ugly (US) Nickname for the F-4 Phantom II.
doughboy (US) A US Army soldier. This term is almost exclusively used in the context of World War I
drive on (US Army) Carry out the mission.
Dropped (US) An Army or Air Force term used to describe punishment by physical training (usually pushups)
dropshort (UK) An artilleryman, or the Artillery in general. Artillery will often fire over the heads of friendly troops, who will certainly not appreciate a round that drops short.
Dual Cool (US Marines) A phrase for a Marine, usually Recon or Force Recon, that has earned both the Scuba Bubble and gold jump wings.
duckhunter (US) A member of the Air Defense Artillery.
dunecoon (pejorative) see “sandnigger”, below.
EGA (US Marines) Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the emblem of the US Marine Corps.
Egyptian PT (UK) Sleeping, particularly during the day. Probably dates from WW2 or before.
E.M.I. (US) : Extra Military Instruction. In military training establishments it is a supposed learning opportunity for a serviceman to better learn some military instruction. It is not supposed to be (but most often is) a non-judicial punishment that usually consists of some menial task like running in place with arms outstretched from the chest while holding a rifle (Army) or changing into every uniform once an hour for inspection (a “Fashion Show”) (Navy) . This punishment is used for individuals who have difficulty following instructions, or show excess attitude towards company commanders/authority figures.
evolution Generally, any specific operation or activity. “This evolution does not require talking.” “All hands on deck for the refueling evolution.”
extra (Singapore) to serve guard duty or confinement as punishment
eyebrow remover (US Army, Canada) Immersion heater, a device used for heating washing water in a field kitchen; it consists of a gas-fuelled element immersed in a large container, such as a large galvanized garbage container. An external gas tank drips gas down a column into the element, and is lit by dropping a match or inserting a lit gas-soaked rod into the tube, igniting the gas. The term “eyebrow remover” is derived making the mistake of looking in the openning after dropping the lit match in it to see if it lit properly; the puddle of gasoline at the bottom will sometimes flash and send a flame into one’s face.
fangs (US Marines) A term used as a reference to teeth as in “Go brush your fangs!”
farmer armor (US) Improvised vehicle armor. See Hillbilly armor.
fart sack (US) A sleeping bag
Farts and Darts (US Air Force) A reference to the decorations on the brim of a field-grade officer’s dress uniform cap.
fashion show (US) A punishment where the service member, over a period of several hours, dresses in each of his uniforms (work, dress, summer dress and summer work) to be inspected. Designed to prevent the punished from going on liberty for most of a day.
fast movers (US, Canada) Term used by soldiers for jet fighters, especially ground support aircraft. Dates to Vietnam.
fatigues (US) Slang term for camouflage clothing, now in common use.
fauji (Indian army) belonging to or part of military.
field (UK) “In the field” can either refer to being on active service abroad or to training on a range.
field day (US) Thorough cleanup of a barracks or duty area with the expectation of an inspection. Thursday is a common day for field day in garrison.
Fighting First The U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division.
FIDO “Fuck It, Drive On”. i.e. What to do following a Charlie Foxtrot.
FIGMO (US) “Fuck it, got my orders”. Exclamation by one who is scheduled to leave a duty post.
Fighting Fit (UK, Indian Army) Functioning properly, in perfect health, used for men as well as equipment.
First Shirt (US) A First Sergeant. Also, “First Soldier” or “Top”.
FISH “Fighting In Someone’s House”, variant of FIBUA (“Fighting In Built-Up Areas), an official acronym.
fish tank (US Navy) Term used by submarine personnel to refer to the ocean surrounding a submerged submarine (see “people tank”, below) .
fister (US) An artillery soldier in a Fire Support Team (FST) .
five and fly (US) To graduate from a U.S. service academy, serve only the required five years on active duty, and then resign at the first opportunity. Sometimes also referred to as “Five and dive”.
Five Jump Chump (US) A US Army soldier who has earned the Airborne Badge, but has done no more than the required five jumps and is not part of an airborne unit.
Five Knots to Nowhere (US Navy) A phrase often to describe the missions that ballistic missile submarines are tasked with. Their purpose is to deter nuclear war by being on station, slowly cris-crossing a highly-classified location somewhere out in the oceans.
Five-Sided Squirrel Cage (US) An old term for The Pentagon used back in the Vietnam War.
Flags 1. (RN) A flag lieutenant (i.e. admiral’s aide-de-camp).
A signal officer.
flight risk (US) Term jokingly used to refer to an officer of grade O-6 (Colonel/Captain) or higher at the controls of an aircraft.
flying a desk (RAF) Working as a staff officer or administrator; may be used pejoratively (“all he does is fly a desk”) or simply to refer to a pilot who has been posted to such a job (“I’m flying a desk at the MOD these days”).
FM (US) “Fucking Magic”. Used to describe why a faulty electronic device unexplainably starts working again.
FNG (US) “Fucking New Guy (or Girl)” . One of many terms used to describe a new join to a unit.
fobbit (US) Fairly new term used to describe soldiers who do not go outside their Forward Operations Base (FOB) in Iraq, or a soldier stationed in Iraq who has not seen combat. Derived from JRR Tolkien’s Hobbit, a creature that didn’t like to leave the safety of their homes or “The Shire.”
Fort Fumble (US) The Pentagon.
football bat (US Air Force) Used to describe a person or system that is unusually odd. (ie. “You are as F**ked up as a Football Bat”. Sometimes rendered as “Left Handed Football Bat”.
fourth point of contact (US) Buttocks. Named after the fourth body part to touch the ground in a correctly executed Parachute Landing Fall(PLF) .
FRED (Aus) “Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device”. The issue eating device in combat ration packs, a combination between a small Spoon and a Can Opener, and a bottle opener. Officially Field Ration Eating Device or Food Ration Extraction. Device(Both are acceptable)
(The) Frisbee (Canada) A term used to describe the shape of the Baked Cherry Desert IMP entree which resembles a round, thin, flat frisbee. Infamous for its disgusting taste.
Front Leaning Rest (US) Pushup position.
frosty (US) Alert, watchful.
fruit salad (US) The colorful collection of medals worn on the breast of a dress uniform.
fruit loops (US Army) The “Army Service Ribbon” is sometimes referred to as this. Also referred to as the ‘Gay Pride Ribbon’ due to its colorful rainbow appearance.
FTA 1. (US Army) “Fuck the Army” – common graffiti, also spelled out as a spoken epithet.
2. (US Marine Corps) “Failure to Adapt”, a reason recruits are sent home from boot camp.
FTAF (US Air Force) “Fuck the Air Force” – common graffiti, also spelled out as a spoken epithet. Usually used as a high form of derogatory term towards the Air Force.
FTN (US Navy) “Fuck the Navy” – common graffiti, also spelled out as a spoken epithet. Usually used in a simple game of “hide & seek” – FTN can usually be found in obscure places (like inside machinery) and the discovery of which usually pisses-off higher-ranking people and ‘dig-it’s.
FUBAR (US) Abbreviation for “Fucked up beyond all recognition (or repair) .” Sometimes “FUBER” for “economical repair”. See “SNAFU”, below.
full-bird colonel (US) A colonel (O6) as opposed to “light colonel” which is a lieutenant colonel (O5). Named for the eagle insignia. Also known as “full bull,” “full bird,” or “bird colonel”. See “light colonel”, below.
full screw (UK) term used to describe Corporals after being promoted from Lance Jack
Fuzzy Wuzzy (UK) In Victorian times, a derogatory term for alien or dark-skinned inhabitants of the British Empire.
gabra (Singapore) To be exceedingly confused
gaggle-fuck A disorganized group, a clusterfuck
gash 1. (UK) Rubbish, trash. A gashbag is what one puts it in.
2. (Canada, signals) Probably derived from (1), garbled or incomprehensible signals.
gat 1. (UK) Referring to the rifle used by British Forces (SA80).
2. (US) Any small arm, referencing gangster slang.
Gator Navy (USN) Meaning the amphibious arm of the surface Navy.
GAF (US) Gay as fuck. When unpopular individuals ask what this acronym is, they are often told it stands for “Go Air Force”.
gedunk (USN) : Commonly junk/snack food itself, or the store in which it can be acquired. Also the military service ribbon awarded to new recruits in boot camp is referred to as the “gedunk ribbon”.
get some Navy (US Navy) A verb used to describe a situation where someone has some pain inflicted on them due to something associated to the Navy. (e.g. A sailor is told that he has to stay past his duty time and do extra duty due to the whim of a higher ranking person – he is “getting some Navy”) .
GI (US) As a noun, GI refers to a member of a US military service. As an adjective, it can be applied to any item of US military materiel or procedure. When used as a verb it means to put into military shape, as in “to GI the barracks”. The full phrase government issue is not used as a noun or verb. Etymology at GI.
gig line (US) An imaginary line running down the front of a uniform formed by the edges of the pant’s fly placket, right belt buckle edge and the shirt button placket. The significance of the “gig line” is that all parts of it be in-line for inspections.
G.I. party (US Army & Air Force) A term used to describe scrubbing the barracks from top to bottom. This sort of “party” is seldom, if ever, fun.
goat rope/ing A useless, futile, or foolish activity. A waste of time directed by higher authority.
goat locker (US Navy, US Coast Guard) Room or lounge reserved for Chief Petty Officers (E-7 and above) . Those who are E-6 and below would do well to steer clear unless expressly permitted inside. Also used to refer to the Chief Petty Officers assigned to one command.
GOBI General Officer Bright Idea. An idea often inspired by a briefing, which is then endorsed and ordered by a general. Sometimes it is valid, often it is pointless, but it invariably creates more bureaucratic hassles than are necessary to the mission.
goldbrick, goldbricker (US) A member of the military who feigns illness to avoid duty; more recently, any service member who shirks duty.
Golden Shellback (US Navy) A sailor who crosses the equator at the point of intersection with the International Date Line. See Shellback.
Gold side (US Coast Guard) The regular Coast Guard, which wears gold insignia compared to the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which wears silver insignia. See Silver side.
gone Elvis (US) Missing in action.
good training (US) Anything that does not result in death. “We had rain for three days during the field problem, but it was all good training.”
Gook (US) A derogatory term for an Asian enemy soldier used extensively during the Vietnam War. From the Korean guk (“people”).
gopping (British Army) Dirty, especially used of rifles in need of cleaning.
gouge (US Navy) Informal information channel; the grapevine; the straight dope. Gouge is passed on by the gouge train.
goulasch cannon (US Army, German Wehrmacht) Portable, self contained field kitchen. Originally used by WWII German soldiers, but it can also refer to the US Army’s Mobile Kitchen Trailer or MKT.
grand slam (UK) The act of defecating, urinating and throwing up while sleeping off a large “Male Bonding Session” while undergoing training.
Grape 1. (US Submarine Service) Delightfully easy. Examples: “This is %$# grape duty! I %$# love it!” or “That was a grape sig, you %$#.” (See “sig” below)
2. (US Marine Corps) One’s head. For example: “Put your cover [hat] on your grape.”
3. (USAF Fighter Pilots) : an aircraft/pilot that is easy to shoot down.
4. (US Navy) : The flight deck crewmen on an aircraft carrier tasked with fuel handling (so called for their purple shirts and helmets) . Related to “skittles”.
green bar (US Army) A term for second lieutenants, referring to the color of their camouflaged insignia. See butterbar, above.
green eggs (US Army) Powdered (dehydrated) eggs served by the Army. Green is used to indicate “Army issue” and not necessarily the actual color in this case.
grid squares (US Army) An item new recruits are sent to find; a form of snipe hunt. A grid square is a term for one area on a map, a square created by grid lines.
Grinder (USN) The outside tarmac, asphalted area or courtyard normally adjacent to a barracks which is used to perform musters, drilling, and sometimes “cycling” of recruits in boot camp.
ground-pounder (UK and US) Derogatory term for Army or Marines. Opposite of air-dales, above.
grunt (Canada, US) A soldier – sometimes, but not always, specifically refers to an infantryman. Folklore has it that GRUNT was originally an acronym of government reject – unfit for normal training. Less common is the interpretation of GRUNT as “Generic recruit unfit for naval training.
Guardian Angel (US) A soldier or Marine placed in a high position in urban warfare to provide overwatch and cover to friendly units moving below.
Gucci kit (US, UK & Canada) Non-issued kit or equipment bought by the soldier.
gun (US) An artillery piece. This isn’t slang per se but precision, as rifles and pistols are referred to as “small arms” or “sidearms” or simply “weapons.” Gun is also slang for “penis”; recruits learn not to call their weapon a gun in the rhyme, This is my rifle/This is my gun/This one’s for fighting/This one’s for fun.
gun bunny 1. (US) An artilleryman – often specifically a cannon crewman.
(Royal Navy) Female camp follower of teams competing in the RN Field Gun Run.
gun-plank (UK) An Artillery term for a junior officer, implying that they would be more useful wedged under the wheels of the gun to prevent it sinking into the mud than in their current role.
gun rock (US) Artillery cannon crewman, especially used by other artillerymen (e.g.: forward observers, fire direction control) . Pejorative.
Gung Ho Mo Fo (US Army) A soldier who is more enthusiastic about the Army than those around him.
Gunny 1. (US) a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant(E7)
2 (US) a Naval Gunner’s mate.
3. (US Army) Less commonly used to describe the duty position of gunnery sergeant in a US Army howitzer platoon.
gyrene (US Navy, Army, AF) Mildly derisive term for a Marine.
Habib (US) A general term for Iraqis during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. From Arabic for ‘friend.’ Somewhat pejorative or dismissive.
Habibi (US) A term for an attractive Arab female. Somewhat pejorative or dismissive and frowned upon given current events.
Hadji (US) A general term used to describe Middle Easterners during the war in Iraq (usually describing a friendly Iraqi) , which began in 2003. Same as Habib–refers to people native to the Middle Eastern countries, India, and Egypt. Somewhat pejorative or dismissive. Considered by some as a racist remark, and has thus fallen under scrutiny. Also used to refer to local markets where servicemen can acquire cheap goods, possibly of dubious authenticy.
hairy bag (Canada) Naval personnel in a sea-going trade. Used as a familiar or jocular term, not pejorative.
HAHO (US) High Altitude High Opening, a form of parachuting.
Half Left Down (Singapore) see Knock it down.
Half Left, FACE (US Army). The unwelcome command of preparation in Basic which means the whole platoon will do pushups.
HANO (US) “High Altitude No Opening”, a parachut jump in which the parachute fails to open, usually with fatal results. Play on “HALO”, for “High Altitude Low Opening”.
hardball (US) Any hard-surfaced road.
hatch (US Navy, Marines) A door. From the shipboard terminology for the means of entering or exiting the compartment of a ship.
hatless dance (Canada) A charge parade, referring to the fact that the accused is marched in at double time in front of the presiding officer without a beret (ie: my last hatless dance cost me 2 days pay)
head (US) A slightly less offensive term short for dickhead or other similar heads.
head (Naval services) Toilet or latrine.
health and comfort (US) From “Health and Comfort Inspection”, a euphemistic term for a search of quarters for contraband.
high speed, low drag (US) Excellent, particularly of equipment.
Hillbilly armor (US) Improvised vehicle armor.
hindquarters Any headquarters.
hit the silk (US) To abandon an aircraft mid-flight by means of a parachute. For example, “Johnson’s plane took a lot of flak, but he hit the silk just in time!” Also, punch Elvis.
Holland (Singapore Armed Forces) To be lost or get lost without a clue where you are. Entymology is disputed but it is pronounced as “ho-lan”.
Hollywood Marine (US) Enlisted Marine who underwent their recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Hooah (US Army) A spirited cry, which can mean nearly anything positive. Short for “Heard, Understood and Acknowledged.” Pronounced “WhoAh” in one short syllable by Rangers. In the Regiment ( 75th RGR ) , depending on its placement in the sentence or its inflection and tone, Hooah can an affirmative, a negative, a Verb, and or curse word, See also, HUA.
hook (Canada) A chevron as rank insignia. For example, to “get one’s third hook”, say, is to be promoted to sergeant (third chevron).
Hoover (USN) Nickname for the S-3 Viking.
horse cock 1. (US Navy)(Vulgar) A heavy cylinder of lunch meat or ground hamburger while still in the wrapper, prior to being sliced or opened. 2. (Canada)(Vulgar) A flexible metal nozzle attached to gas cans to facilitate pouring.
HUA An alleged acronym for “Head Up Ass”, or “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.” See Hooah.
Hudson High The United States Military Academy at West Point, which overlooks the Hudson River. Pejorative.
Hummer (USN) Nickname for the E-2 Hawkeye.
I&I; (US) : Intoxication & Intercourse. A wild time while on leave. Play on R&R;
Ie-yee-ah (US) Same as “Hooah,” used in the US Army 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. Based on an American Indian war cry.
I Follow Railroads (USAF/USN) Backronym for “IFR”, or Instrument Flight Rules, the exclusive use of compass, radar, GPS or other instruments while piloting an aircraft, due to weather, training or operational requirements.
IFR “I fucking refuse”, in a pseudo-rebellious form against higher-ups.
in country (US) In a foreign territory, esp. a combat zone, esp. Vietnam. I was in country that whole summer. Does not generally apply to foreign basing in friendly countries during peacetime.
irons, eating irons (UK) Cutlery.
jacked up (US, Canada) Used constantly, in lieu of the now-politically incorrect “fucked up,” especially during boot camp. Screwed up, ruined, in trouble. “Jackness” is the quality of being in a jacked-up state; can also refer to a hapless individiual: “Get over here, Jackness.”
jack (UK, Aus) Selfish, as in “Don’t be a jack bastard” or “Don’t jack on your mates”. One of the most serious things a British soldier can be accused of by his comrades
JANFU (US) Joint Army-Navy Fuck-Up; see SNAFU, below.
Jarhead A US Marine – according to some, a reference to the “high and tight” haircut and squared chin. Alternatively, American Heritage Dictionary states, “Perhaps from the shape of the hat the Marines once wore” . On the other hand, the Oxford English Dictionary originally cites it as U.S. Army slang for a mule (1916), then later as a word for a “foolish or stupid person” (1942); the application to a Marine cites from 1944. Oddly, it was applied to U.S. Army soldiers in the 1930s, based on the mule mascot of Army’s football team . According to some, a reference to the fact that the Mason Jar Company produced many of the metal helmets worn by marines during WW II. Pejorative when used by non-Marines; defiantly proud when used by Marines about themselves (as in the book and movie of the same name, about a Marine sniper during the First Gulf War) .
Jawa (US) A soldier, usually of low rank, stationed in a desert area. From the creatures in the Star Wars films.
Jawan (India) A soldier with the rank of private; also a generic term for Indian soldiers.
Jerry (US, UK, Canada) A slang for German soldiers during the Great War and World War 2. Survives in common English usage in the term “jerry can”.
jet jockey (US) A pilot.
JHW (UK) Jersey Heavy Wool, the old-style thick military sweater.
Jodie/Jody (US) A man who steals a soldier’s girlfriend/wife when deployed, out in the field, or in training. So often referred to in cadences used during exercises that the cadences themselves have become known as jodies or jody calls.
Ain’t no use in goin’ home,
Jodie’s got your girl alone.
Joe (US) A soldier.
Juicy or juicy girl (US) Name given to a prostitute or bar girl. Originated in Korea.
joey (Canada) Can be used to describe a new member, or a soldier who is heavily reliant on others.
John Wayne School (US) Army Special Forces school, Fort Bragg.
kebab An aircraft’s jet engine, components spin and heat up.
Keys to aircraft 300 (USN) : A form of snipe hunt. A new join is sent to the Maintenance Office or Ready Room in an attempt to get keys to start an aircraft due to launch. Of course, there are no keys to military fighter jets, the gag is simply to humiliate a new join. The number given is the BUNO number, or painted aircraft designation of the new join’s squadron, it could be any number.
Keys to the Submarine/Ship (US Navy) Snipe hunt – A new join is sent all over the vessel to get the keys, so the CO can get underway. Everyone tells the new person they just gave the keys to someone else, preferably far away or hard to get to. This is similar to the “Keys to aircraft” snipe hunt, since there are no keys for military ships larger than riverines and certainly no keys for submarines.
KFS (UK, Canada) Knife, fork and spoon.
KIA Killed In Action.
killick (Canada, UK) An old term for a home made anchor, now used to refer to a person in the rank of Leading Seaman. This is in reference to the rank badge which historically was a single fouled anchor worn on the left arm.
klicks Kilometers
Knee-deep Navy (US) Coast Guard (pejorative), so-called because of the mistaken belief the Coast Guard never sails into deep water.
knuckle dragger (US Navy Submarine Service) A Machinist’s Mate Auxiliaryman, responsible for non-propulsion systems like the sanitary system or hydraulic system. The term was coined from the stereotype that Machinist Mates are not as intelligent as other rates like Radiomen or Sonar Technicians, so they rely mostly on brute strength to get their job done. (US Air Force) A crew chief, also referred to as “wrench-turner” or “grease monkey”.
knock it down (Singapore Army) Start doing pushups. “You guys want to take your own sweet time…whole lot of you knock it down!”
KP (US, Canada) Abbreviation for the obsolete term “Kitchen Police”, a duty assigned (to other than food service personnel) to perform menial, but necessary, kitchen chores such as dishwashing, serving and kitchen cleaning, often times as a punishment for bad behavior. It has been jocularly backronymed to “Keep Peeling”, in reference to the popular perception of soldiers peeling potatoes; however, in the United States, current Army regulations prohibit non-food services personnel from food preparation.
Lance Colonel (US Marines) A Lance Corporal that always tries to take control of situations, whether or not he/she is the senior Marine, and will inevitably create more problems if actually allowed to take control.
Lance Coolie; Lance Criminal (US Marines) Cynical terms for Lance Corporals, the third-lowest enlisted rank in the Marine Corps.
Lance Corporal Underground (US Marines) refers to what the junior enlisted are saying or feeling; a more informed rumormill.
Lance Jack (UK) A term used to describe a Lance Corporal (LCpl) in the UK Armed Forces.
Last Cleaning Position Left (US Marines) A play on the abbreviation “LCPL” for Lance Corporal, the highest non-NCO rank. Used to remind a Lance Corporal that they are still subject to having to clean.
latrinegram (US, WW2) Wild, unfounded rumor.
Lautenberged (US) Discharged due to a domestic violence conviction, named after the Lautenberg Amendment.
LBFM (US) “Little Brown Fucking Machines.” Prostitutes, especially in Central America. Highly pejorative and offensive.
LBFMPBR (USN) “Little Brown Fucking Machines, Powered By Rice”. Prostitutes, especially in the Philippines. Highly pejorative and offensive.
Leg (US Army) A soldier who is not airborne qualified. Usually derogatory.
libo (US Navy and Marines) Liberty, time away from work (after hours, on a weekend, during a port-call, etc.) not charged against leave.
lifer (US) A (usually derogatory) term for a person who has been in the military a long time or plans to stay in long enough to retire, usually a Dig it.
light colonel (US} A lieutenant colonel.
light fighter (US Army) an unmounted trooper or infantryman.
Lima Charlie (US) NATO phonetic alphabet radio slang for “Loud and clear.”
LT (US) Nickname for Lieutenant (pronounced ELL-TEE) . A pronunciation of the actual military abbreviation for Lieutenant; is becoming more common in police jargon, as well.
leatherneck (US) A United States Marine, from the high leather collar formerly worn with formal uniforms, and in fighting uniform during the days of shipborne, sword-wielding boarding parties, when Marines were issued a leather gorget. The “Fighting Leathernecks” is also the nickname of the Western Illinois University men’s athletic teams, by exclusive permission of the Department of the Navy.
leg (US) non-airborne qualified soldiers. Also LEG (Low Energy Grunt) .
les Joyeux (France) “the joyful”, Battalions de Afrique (African Discipline Battalions), named for beating jail.
Little Shitty Volkswagen (Canada) Derisive backronym for “LSVW”, which actually stands for “Light Support Vehicle, Wheeled”.
Lobo (Singapore Armed Forces) Refers to individuals who, for some reason or another, are currently assigned to a unit but hold no estat, role or watch. These are typically raw recruits or privates fresh from basic military training assigned to a military school or institution for further training but cannot attend the course that they have been sent for at this present time. They generally lack the skills or qualifications necessary for their vocation and cannot function in that role at that point in time. Thus they generally spend their time doing menial jobs such as cleaning or clerical work. The quasi-official term for such persons is “Temporary Support Staff”. Is thought to refer to the acronym for “Left Out of Battle Order”.
LPC (US Army) Leather Personnel Carriers – boots.
lost the keys (US Navy) After a negative incident, the Commanding Officer relinquishes some operating authority of his ship/submarine to his superiors, but without dismissal.
Ma Deuce (US Army) M2 – .50 cal Machine Gun.
Maisies (Canada) Nickname for the Régiment de Maisonneuve (abbreviation “R de MAIS”).
MARINE Muscles Are Required Intelligence Not Essential. Also, Muscles Are Required Intelligence Not Expected, or My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment. Obviously pejorative from members of other military organizations.
Master Guns (US Marines) Master Gunnery Sergeant; (US Navy) Gunners Mate Master Chief
master jack (Canada) A master corporal.
meals on wheels (US Army) Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT) .
merlion (Singapore Armed Forces) To vomit copiously, especially after an over-indulgence of alcohol. This description of projectile vomit invokes the image of the Merlion, a tourism mascot of Singapore resembling a hybrid of fish and lion. A famous statue of this mascot is a large fountain with water spewing from its mouth.
mermite can (US Army) Officially it’s the “Food Container, Insulated” which was (see Cambro) for transporting hot or cold foods from a kitchen to soldiers in the field. Declared obsolete by the Army in 1995. However, they are still a common sight and are used by some to smuggle cold beer to the field.
Mike Mike (US) Millimeter, from the NATO phonetic alphabet.
Mikes (US) Minutes, from the NATO phonetic alphabet.
millers (US) Multiple Launch Rocket System from the acronym “MLRS”.
MIR Commando (Canada) Soldier who is always on Sick Parade. “MIR” refers to Medical Inspection Room, the medical facilities on a Canadian Forces base.
Mystery E (US) MRE, meal-ready-to-eat.
Mox Nix (US European Theatre) Bastardization of the German “es macht nichts”, or it makes no difference.
moonbeam (US Marines) A flashlight.
MRE* (US) “Meals Ready to Eat;” packaged, freeze-dried field rations. Numerous reinterpretations of the acronym exist, including: “Meals Rejected by the Enemy,” and “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians,” due to the notorious inedibility of early-generation MREs. Sometimes called “three lies in one” (they are not meals, not ready, and certainly not for eating). Another known interpretation is “Mystery,” (MR. E).
mustang (US) A nickname for an officer promoted from the enlisted ranks. Can be respectful when used by enlisted ranks and seasoned officers, or pejorative when used by career-oriented and/or snooty academy-trained officers.
NATO (Singapore) No Action, Talk Only.
NAVY Never Again Volunteer Yourself.
Navy issue ass (US) Term used for female Navy members in reference to their reputation of having large posteriors.
NJP (US) Refers to Non-Judicial Punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Essentially, legal punishment imposed by a unit commander in lieu of a trial. May be refused by a servicemember in exchange for a court martial and (almost invariably) a stiffer punishment.
No Duff (Singapore) Not a training scenario.: “I say again, we have No Duff Casualty, over.”
November Golf (US) Phoneticly stating NG for NO GO, literally, to fail. Army evaluations are scored as either GO/NO-GO instead of Pass/Fail. That’s a big November Golf chief.
NO GO Nazi (US) An especially strict evaluator who seems to take pleasure in giving NO-GO’s. Obviously from the Seinfeld character the Soup Nazi, but instead of “No soup for you!” it would be “NO GO for you!”
Nub (US) (Submarine Service) Abbrevation for ‘Non-useful body’ or ‘Non-useful bitch’–a new enlisted crewmember who has not yet completed the qualifaction process to earn their vaunted Submariner’s Warfare Badge, otherwise known as their ‘Dolphins’.
nugget (US Air Force and Navy) An inexperienced pilot or aircrew member.
Nuke 1. (US Navy) Naval nuclear personnel (Naval personnel who operate nuclear reactors and related machinery) .
2. Also refers to ordnance type that is neither confirmed nor denied, and is handled by a different Department (See “Weaponettes”) .
3. (US Navy) To make a simple task unnecessarily complicated. “Don’t nuke this up – it’s just stenciling your skivvies.”
4. (US Navy) To solve a problem. “I’m not really sure how that works, you’ll just have to Nuke it out.”
Number One (RN) The First Lieutenant of a vessel.
Numpty (UK, Canada) An individual who just doesn’t get it; Frequently found getting “Jacked up”
Nutsack Term used for the 100-round ammo holder on a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
Ocifer (Singapore Armed Forces) A derogatory term for a conscript officer. May derive from a local mispronounciation of “officer” by poorly educated enlisted men or as a reference to Officer Cadet School (OCS) that all SAF officers must attend.
ODs (Canada) The older olive drab coloured combat uniforms worn before the introduction of CADPATS.
Office Hours (US Marines) Non-Judicial Punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ. See Captain’s Mast.
OG (Indian Army) Olive Green used to refer to the uniform worn, sometimes can be used to describe a person(officer/nco) who is more strict or disciplined.
Old man, the (US, UK) The unit commander. In practice, this term is often used even when the commander is female. A term of affection and respect. See CO.
O Early Hundred, O Dark O’clock, O Dark 30 Hours, 0 Dark Early, O Dark Stupid (US, Canada) Very early morning or any time before sunrise. Also O Late Hundred, etc. for night. Often, these terms overlap – 0200 is both too early and too late.
On the double (US Navy, Marines) As quickly as possible; without delay.
Oorah! (US Marines) Term used to respond in the affirmative to a question, acknowledge an order, or generally to express enthusiasm. Comparable to “Hooah” in the Army, but more widely used in the Marines than “Hooah” is in the Army. Both are derived from the diving klaxon alarm of the U.S. Navy Submarine Service.
Operation Full Bird (US Army) Commands given by a LtCol (0-5) with the hope of being noticed by a promotion board. Used derogatively by enlisted soldiers required to carry out the mission.
Oscar-Mike (US) On the Move, from the phonetic alphabet.
O silly hundred hours (UK) Very early in the morning.
Overhead (US Navy, Marines) The deck above you while aboard a ship; used ashore to refer to the ceiling of a room, as well.
Over The Hill (US) MIA or AWOL(qv)
Pad Eye Remover (USN) A non-existent tool that a new join is sent in search of to remove the “pad-eyes” from a flight deck of an aircraft carrier or flight line while ashore. Pad-eyes are the circular cut-outs in the deck which contain metal rungs for use in securing an airplane via use of tie-down chains. See Keys to the Ship and Snipe Hunt.
pai-kar pai-chew (Singapore) “The sick and the crippled”, those with a profile. Sometimes slurred to pikachu.
PAO Public Affairs Officer. Can also refer to Public Affairs Office if used in reference to the position of an enlisted soldier, i.e. “Sgt. Krahmer is in PAO.”
P.A.P.E.R. C.L.I.P (US) People Against People Ever Re-enlisting—Civilian Life Is Preferred. An acronym often used by military personnel whose enlistment is almost finished and have a cynical and jaded take on their time left in the military. Often this person will wear a paper clip on the brim of their hat as an act of defiance or snubbing of military authority.
PBI (British, WWI) Poor Bloody Infantry
PCS (US) Discharge as Permanent Civilian Status. Officially Permanent change of station.
Pea Shooter (US Army) 1. Term used by 155mm Artillery Cannon Crewmembers referring to the much smaller and less powerful 105mm Artillery Cannons. 2. Term used by Artillerymen for anything less powerful than a Howitzer. Example: M-16 Rifle or Mortars.
Pear-shaped (UK ) Badly wrong or awry (as in “to go pear-shaped”) . Not a military term, strictly speaking, as it is in general use by civilians in the UK.
People Tank (US Navy) Term used by submarine personnel to refer to the interior of the submarine (see Fish Tank) .
Penguin (UK RAF) Sometimes referred to as “‘Guin” – RAF Regiment slang for all non-RAF Regiment personnel. (Usually Derogatory) .
Penis Peelers (US) Hands
Perfect for Cleaning; Personnel for Cleaning (US Army and Marines) Unenthusiastic synonyms for Privates First Class (PFCs) in the Army and the Marine Corps.
Pecker Checker (Canada) Medical Personnel; (USN) Hospital Corpsman
PFCIC (US) Private First Class in Charge. Used in reference to Pfc’s who take on more authority than they have. A play off of NCOIC.
Phone Colonel (US) An O5 who introduce him or her self as “Colonel” over the phone in hopes of being mistaken for a full bird.
Pilot (RN) The Navigating Officer of a ship.
Pilot before Pontius (RAF) “I was a pilot before Pontius” (i.e. Pontius Pilate) means that the pilot is very experienced.
Pinger (RN) Anti-Submarine helicopter and crew. Derived from the dipping sonar.
PINGERS (US Air Force) Persons In Need of Graduation, Education, Recreation, and Sex. Term used for young non-prior-service Air Force personnel graduated from basic training and enrolled in technical training. See also pipeliner.
Pipeliner (US Air Force) A non-prior-service Air Force member enrolled in initial technical training.
Plastic Bug (US Navy) Nickname for the F/A-18 Hornet.
Plebe Freshman at the United States Naval Academy or United States Military Academy (a freshman at the United States Air Force Academy is a “Doolie” or a “Smack”) .
PLUG (Canada) Private Learning Under a Gun, this soldier is so stupid he needs a gun to his head to understand (this usage is possibly a backronym for plug, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as an “incompetent or undistinguished person”[3], usage dating to 1848)
PMCS (US) Park the Mother and Call the Shop, a play on the official meaning: Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services.
Po Bosun (RN) The senior petty officer medical assistant on board a ship; po is British slang for a chamber pot, the implication being that he was in charge of emptying the chamber pots in the sickbay.
Pocket Rocket (US Air Force) A ballistic missile warfare insignia.
POG (US) Person (or personnel) Other than Grunt. Rhymes with “rogue”. Used by combat arms soldiers to describe anyone in a support Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) . Also used by infantrymen to describe anyone other than an infantryman.
Pogs The cardboard gift certificates circulated by AAFES shops in theater during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. They are used to save the cost of shipping regular US coinage across seas, and resemble colletable milk caps, the most popularly produced by the “POG” company
Poles in the Holes (US Navy Nuclear Program) To SCRAM the nuclear reactor.
Popcorn Colonel An O5 (Lieutenant Colonel). Called this because the insignia is an oak leaf and looks like a kernel of popcorn.
Porkchop (US) Term for the 200-round drum used with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).
POW Prisoner of war. Now more commonly known in the US as PUC (qv)
Powerpoint Commando A briefer notorious for producing overly complex briefs in Powerpoint that are too long and use too many effects, such as animations and sounds.
PRC-E6 (or E7, E8, etc.) (US) A non-existent item that a new join to a unit may be sent to acquire and bring back, typically from an NCO of a particular grade (PRC is a common prefix in designations for radio or other communications equipment and is pronounced “prick”. The combination of this pronunciation plus the “E-” rating makes up the joke.)
Pri’ate (US Army) Pronounced “Prite,” with the ‘i’ often elongated during speech. A term used often in Basic Combat Training for a recruit. It is an alternate pronunciation of ‘private.’
Prick (US Army) Pronunciation of PRC meaning “Portable Radio Communication.” A PRC-25 radio would be a Prick 25.
Profile (US) A documented physical condition that precludes participation in a mandatory activity. “Sorry, Sarge, but I have a profile about shaving.”
PT Rat (US) A servicemember who spends a large amount of time in individual PT.
Puddle Pirate (US) A member of the United States Coast Guard, so-called because of the mistaken belief that they never sail into deep water.
Puff the Magic Dragon or Puff (US, Vietnam War) An AC-47 air-to-ground attack aircraft.
Purple Suiter (US) A person who is serving in an all-service (Army, Navy and Air Force) position. An example would be a Naval officer who manages fuel for all military units in an area or major command.
Purple Trade ( Canada) A support trade, such as an admin clerk, driver, medical officer, etc. Support trades are shared by all three services in the Canadian Forces.
Puzzle Palace (US) The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. This comes originally from the book titled The Puzzle Palace written by James Bamford about the National Security Agency. Can also refer to The Pentagon.
Pump and Dump (US Navy, especially in boot camp) . To piss and shit.
PX Ranger (US Army) . A person who wears unearned decorations on his uniform. I.e.: He became a Ranger when he bought the tab at the PX. Also see AAFES.
quarterdecking (US Marine Corps) The act of performing physical training as a minor punishment in boot camp. This takes place in a portion of the recruit barracks known as the quarterdeck.
Quarter-ton truck (US, WW2 to 1980s) Official designation of a jeep.
Queen (US Navy 1980s) Title given to the sailors who do the domestic duties. A sailor could be the berthing queen if he is assigned to cleaning the berthing compartment or the laundry queen if he does the laundry. This is as opposed to the king who has more manly duties.
Queer (USN) Nickname for the EA-6 Prowler due to its unique double stacked side-by-side seating arrangement.
rack burn (US Navy) The imprint on someone’s face after waking up from the Navy-issue lightweight blankets that look something like grillmarks on meat. This is implied towards a sailor who seems to spend too much time sleeping.
rack ops (US Marines) The time for sleep, if permitted, while in the field.
rack PT (US Marines) Refers to either skipping unit or section PT in favor of staying in bed, or sex.
radioing the logs (US Navy) Recording engineering log data via mental telepathy (see “Xoxing Logs” below) .
Raf (UK) The Royal Air Force, as pronounced acronymically.
Ranger beads (US Army) A string of pace count beads used during orienteering exercises.
Ranger blanket (Canada) A lightweight thermal blanket. The first ones used were poncho liners imported from the United States military.
Ranger file (US Marines) Single file line, meant as a mild dig at US Army Rangers.
Ranger roll (US Army) A patrol cap with the top rolled slightly under so that the cap sits higher on the head.
RCPO (US Navy) Recruit designation in Navy Boot Camp, pronounced Are-Pock, for Recruit Chief Petty Officer. Normally, all recruits get a chance to be RCPO for one day when everyone else realizes that they suck at it. Nexy day, a new RCPO is chosen. The one who remains last is normally the guy who is too scared to say he can’t do it, so he sticks with it. Typically this job is volunteered for by those who will eventually be labeled ‘diggits’ by others.
Rectal Cranial Inversion (US) To have ones head up their ass.
Redleg (US) An artilleryman. Refers to red leggings worn by some artillerymen in the 19th century.
red-light ranger (US) A soldier who spends much of his pay at the red-light district.
regimental groundsheet (Canada; pejorative) A promiscuous female soldier. “Groundsheet” is a term for a tarpaulin-like sheet used either for shelter or, in this case, protection from wet or cold ground; “regimental”, in this case, refers to scope of usage.
REMF (US, UK and Canadian Army) Rear Echelon Motherfucker. This is a term used negatively to describe a soldier who is safely far from the front lines, such as a paper-pusher, support personnel or aide to a general.
Rent-A-Crowd Often used in reference to farewell ceremonies or changes of command, this refers to a crowd that is gathered to attend an optional function only because they were ordered to.
Retarded Over-Trained Children (US) Reserve Officer Training Corps or R.O.T.C. Pejorative.
Rhino (US) A nickname for the F-4 Phantom II, in reference to its, for the time, large radome.
Ricky Boxing US Navy, esp Boot Camp. One who spends much of his (and possibly night) beating off. Also: Ricky Boxing Champion would refer to a Recruit who beat off the most during Boot Camp.
Ricky Ninja (US Navy) A sailor recruit in boot camp who does any variety of nefarious things, particularly at night or when they have little chance of being caught. Activities could include, (but are not limited to,) stealing, vandalism, hazing, etc. In this form, it is deragatory. In another, more jocular form, it can be used to refer to a fellow sailor or even in reference to yourself, typically during “service week” (week 5 of Naval boot camp when you are given an assigned task in various areas of the base) if you work the mess hall and sneak away to shirk your duties, or “steal” cereal boxes or food for your own uses or for your friends.
Ricky Recruit (US Navy) A new sailor, especially in boot camp, that exemplifies the “perfect sailor” by never messing up, always following orders, etc.; much to the chagrin of his or her fellow recruits. May be jocular or pejorative, but mostly used as a deragatory term.
Ripple (US Navy) WAVE NCO
Ring knocker (Pejorative) A military academy graduate, particularly one who calls attention to the fact.
ROAD (US) Retired On Active Duty. The condition of having no motivation and productivity within months of retirement. Invariably pejorative.
rock (US) A particularly stupid soldier. From “Dumber than a box of rocks”.
rock and roll (US) The fully automatic fire setting on a weapon. “The M16 selector switch has three settings: safe, semi-automatic, and rock-and-roll.”
rockapes (RAF) The RAF Regiment, stereotyped in the RAF as being rather stupid; comes from the barbary apes of the Rock of Gibraltar, who were fed by the RAF Regiment during World War II.
rocks and shoals (US Navy) Navy rules and regulations.
Roundel Airways (British Army) The RAF, from their aircraft identification markings.
RTB (U.S. Air Force Academy) “Red Tag Bastards”; any graduating class which has red as its class color. Each class is either a gold, silver, blue, or red class, when the senior class graduates, their class color is passed to the incoming class.
run money (US) 19th Century Navy term for a reward paid for the return of a deserter.
Rupert (UK) Slang for Officer. Not always derogatory.
Ruptured Duck (US) The Honorable Service award given to US service members who were discharged under honorable conditions during or just after World War II. Also used to describe the recipient; refers to the awkward appearance of the spread-wing eagle of the emblem.
Sabo King (Singapore) Short for “sabotage king”. Usually causes the group to suffer collective punishment. Same as Blue Falcon.
Sandbag (Ireland) Term referring to reserve soldier.
Sandbagging (US Army, Canada) Term referring to a soldier who is performing his duties inefficiently or with laziness. Ex: “That soldier is sandbagging it.”
Sandbox (US) Informal term for a forward deployed location.
Sand nigger (US) An Arab person. Highly pejorative and offensive.
Sarge (US Air Force, UK) Informal for Sergeant. Sometimes objected to by sergeants.
Sarnt (U.S. Army, Canada and UK) Informal for Sergeant.
Sat (US) Satisfactory, as opposed to Unsat.
Scablifter (UK RN) Medical branch rating.
scaly, or scaly back (UK) A signaller. It is suggested that this term comes from the figure of Mercury on their cap badges, who appears to have fish-like scales on his back. An alternative version is that it is related to the fact that old radios used to leak battery acid on the back of the man carrying it – hence they had a scaly back.
Scoff (UK) Food.
scrambled eggs (US) The decorations on the brim of a field-grade officer’s dress uniform cap. (UK) The gold oak leaves on senior officers’ cap peaks.
Scran (UK RN/ RM) Food.
Screw the pooch (US Air Force) To badly err or mess up. Popularized in Tom Wolfe’s book on the early U.S. astronaut program, The Right Stuff.
Screwed, blued and tattooed (US Navy) Used to describe common liberty activities in some ports. Getting “Screwed, blued and tattooed” can imply a fun liberty, one where someone got in trouble for various reasons, or one where the sailors simply saw everything there was to see in a given port.
Sea Daddy (US Navy) A senior enlisted man who acts at a guide to a junior (usually a “newbie”) , showing him the ropes and guiding his early career.
Sea Pup (US Navy) The junior enlisted who is guided by the Sea Daddy.
Sea Lawyer (US Navy, Coast Guard, RN) A sailor, probably too smart for his own good, who thinks he knows all of the regulations and quotes them to get out of either work or trouble.
Self-loading cargo Passengers boarding a transport aircraft.
Semper Fu (US Marines) Refers to the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, the hand-to-hand combat system used by the Marines, which has different levels of belts (tan, grey, green, brown, black) for different levels. Combination of “Semper Fi” and “kung-fu”.
782 Gear (US Marines) Organizational equipment issued to a Marine by his or her unit that is kept as part of the Marine’s personal gear, but must be returned in serviceable condition upon that Marine’s departure. Usually includes load-bearing equipment, ruck packs, body armor, helmets and other field gear.
Severn Nursery (US) refers to the United States Naval Academy located on the banks of the Severn River in Maryland. A perjorative used by Navy enlisted personnel.
Shacks (Canada) Barracks.
Shamurai (US) A master of shamming.
Sham Shield (US Army) A term used for the Army’s Specialist rank. Meaning that a Specialist can now get privates to do their work. Also, because a specialist is not accountable for anything, but still has authority. Also known as a chicken on a platter, because of the eagle in the middle of the shield.
Sheep (Canada) A very condescending and uncomplimentary term for civilians(Civvies) , esp. those who do not agree with the military perspective about something.
Shellback (All English-speaking navies, originally UK) A sailor who has crossed the Equator during a tour. There is a “Crossing the Line” ceremony where all Shellbacks kindly harass the new initiates – called tadpoles or pollywogs – to initiate them into the position of Shellback. The senior Shellback aboard presides as King Neptune’s personal representative.
Shiney-arse (UK) Regimental Admin Officers and those in similar desk-bound posts. The green polyester “barrack trousers” formerly worn by Army office workers did indeed acquire a certain shine to the seat after prolonged contact with an office chair.
Shipwreck Tech Mildly derogative term for the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Common among graduates of West Point.
shit on a shingle (sometimes abbreviated S.O.S.) (US) Chipped beef on toast.
shoe (US Navy) Short for “black shoe”, a surface warfare officer. Pejorative. Compare “brown shoe”.
Shooting pool with the Captain (US) A US Navy term for captain’s mast (non-judicial punishment presided by the unit commanding officer) . This refers to the green felt cloth draped over the commanding officer’s table during mast. The green cloth is a tradition dating to the Royal Navy in the 15th century that is symbolic for the Captain’s mastery of the seas.
Short (US) Vietnam era term used to announce you are short of time ‘in country,’ and due to return stateside very soon. Usually announced in an obnoxious and rowdy manner — examples: “I’m so short I had to parachute out of bed this morning and accidentally landed in my boot!”, “I’m so short I could sit on a piece of paper and dangle my legs over the edge!”
shower-shoe (US) Yet one more name for a new join to a unit. Also can be a reference to flip-flops worn in public showers. Comes from the perception that new personnel still wear their footwear in the shower, as is mandated in basic training.
scrounge (US) A sailor who does not keep his body clean.
Shower Tech (US Navy) Pejorative term for Sonar Technicians who are perceived to never get dirty from their work, which mostly involves sitting in front of computer screens and seem to have a lot of off-watch time as compared to other enlisted rates, hence the ability to take a shower whenever.
sick, lame and lazy The group of military personnel on ‘sick call’ or excused from duty for injury or illness — a half-joking reference to malingering.
Sickbay commando (US Navy and Marines) A servicemember found often in sickbay (a hospital or infirmary) , usually in lieu of difficult work or PT.
Sick-call ranger someone who is “hardcore” about malingering. Also, the more-recent ‘sick-call ninja’,’master of malingering’, ‘clinic ninja’ or ‘profile ranger’.
Sierra Hotel The NATO phonetic alphabet abbreviation for Shit Hot. It is considered high praise and is the pilot’s favorite and all-purpose expression of approval. For example, “That Sierra Hotel pilot just shot down six MiGs and an ICBM!” This is the “polite” military way to say that something is very impressive, and has fallen into use outside the military.
Sig (US Navy) A signature on a qualification card (a card that signifies that you are ready to stand a particular watch) . There are many, many “qual cards” in the Navy, that must be completed before being allowed to take an exam or be interviewed by a board to be qualified to stand a particular watch or role. Some qual cards and their individual sigs can be easy or extremely difficult to obtain. In some cases a junior sailor going for a sig may not only have to prove his/her knowledge to a senior crewmember, but also do something extra for that signature–such as performing a minor menial task or bringing a small bribe like a can of soda.
Silver side (US Coast Guard) . The Coast Guard Auxiliary, which wears silver insignia of office. See gold side.
“…Since Jesus was a corporal” (US Army and Marines) For a very long time. e.g.: “I haven’t been home since Jesus was a corporal.”
Six, six and a kick (US) Six months confinement, six months loss of pay, reduction in grade to E-1, Bad Conduct Discharge; formerly the most severe penalty that could be awarded by a special court martial. A special court martial can now adjudge 12 months confinement.
Sluggie (Ireland) Term referring to reserve sailor.
Skimmer puke (English speaking Navies) Submariner’s pejorative term for sailors on surface warships, esp. destroyers and frigates. The ships are often referred simply as “targets”, even if speaking of one’s own Navy.
Skittle (US Navy) A term used by ship’s crew for an airman on an aircraft carrying vessel referring to the multi-colored candy “Skittles”. Aircraft handling crew (and some ship’s crew) wear colored pull-over shirts depending on their job which stands out to the majority of a ship’s crewmen in plain blue uniforms.
Slider (US) Military cafeteria Hamburger.
Slope/Slopehead (US) A derogatory term for an Asian enemy soldier used extensively in Vietnam.
SMACK An acronym short for “Soldier Minus Ability, Coordination, and Knowledge”, refers to a fourth-class cadet (freshman) at the United States Air Force Academy (also called a “doolie”).
SMB (ex-Yugoslavia) “sivo maslinasta boja” (grayish olive green color); the typical green color of army uniforms in ex-Yugoslavia.
Smell your own musk (US) General term for a person acting more important than they are. Like they are getting high from smelling themselves. Common among E-4 (SPC) in leadership positions. Use started in Afghanistan. usage: “He was talking back to me like he was smelling his own musk.”
Smoke (verb) (US) Term to describe punishment of minor offences by means of excessive physical training. usage: “The drill instructor smoked me for talking back.”
Smokey Bear (US) General term for a Drill Instructors’, Drill Sergeants’ or TIs’ (Air Force) wide-brimed hat, which properly is called a campaign hat.
SNAFU (US) Acronym for “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”; dating probably before World War II, Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “an expression conveying the common soldier’s laconic acceptance of the disorder of war and the ineptitude of his superiors”. It began to enter the everyday American lexicon shortly after the war. It also spawned other acronyms denoting increasing states of “fucked up”:
  FUMTU – Fucked Up More Than Usual
  TARFU – Things Are Really Fucked Up
  FUBB – Fucked Up Beyond Belief
  FUBAR – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition (or Repair)
  as well as the inter-service
  JANFU – Joint Army-Navy Fuck-Up.
Snake Pit (US) An Air Force term for the TI table in a dining facility at BMT or a situation where many people are critically watching for the slightest break in protocol, usually award events or promotion ceremonies.
Sniper Check (US) A salute improperly rendered to an officer in a field environment, where salutes are not normally rendered.
SNOB (US Navy) Acronym for Shortest Nuke On Board. The Nuke on board a submarine with the least amount of time left on board;usually someone on their first and only enlistment, without any intention of re-enlisting.
Snotty (Canada and UK) An untrained subordinate officer in the Navy. A naval cadet in Canada, or a midshipman in the UK
SOC (Singapore) Standard Obstacles Course. A 1600-meter course with 11 obstacles.
Soup Sandwich (US) Insult often used in Basic Combat Training, referring to an action, uniform or task done inefficiently or improperly. Example: “Your uniform is all messed up, looking like a soup sandwich.”
Sparks or Sparky (US) Anyone who deals with radios or things electronic.
Sperm on a Sponge (Canada) Technical term for the individually wrapped decontamination wipes issued with CF gasmasks
Spook (US, UK) A spy. Used for anyone in the CIA, NSA, NRO, DIA, MI5 or MI6. In the military, one who deals with the gathering of electronic intelligence.
Spot (US Army) An ROTC cadet. See “Dot.” Derogatory
squared away cleaned up; in military shape; ready for inspection.
squawk (UK) a member of the Army Air Corps
squid/squiddly (US) A US Navy sailor. Often used with derogatory intent. Inspired naming of the cartoon character Squiddly Diddly, a squid in a sailor suit.
STAB (British Army) Stupid Territorial Army Bastard. Pejorative Acronym.
Stack and Swivel (US) Refers to a soldier’s erect private parts, and always used in the phrase “pick you up by your stack and swivel” to connote that the speaker, usually a DI, metaphorically intends to bodily move you from one place to another. Example: “Son, if you don’t move pronto, I’m gonna pick you up by your stack and swivel and put you in the proper position of attention.”
stand tall (US) Used as a verb for to be proud, or to present a military appearance. Also can refer to having to answer to higher authority facing consequences: “Standing tall before the man.”
stripes (US) Enlisted rank insignia, especially E-4 and above (non-commissioned officer (NCO) ) pay grades in leadership positions.
(UK) NCO rank insignia.
(UK, US) Get your stripes – to be promoted to an NCO rank.
steel pussy (US Navy) Heavy duty steel wool, often made of stainless steel, that is used to scrub pots, toilets, rust, etc.
Stone Frigate (UK, Canada) Term for a Naval shore establishment.
Stonewallers (CSA) Term for 116 Rgt, 29h Div, commanded by Thomas J. Jackson at First Manassas, where he earned nickname “Stonewall”
storm flag (AUS) Term for flag draped over coffin at military funeral
(US ARMY) Smaller sized flag flown over Posts and Major Commands during inclimate weather
Stupid O’ Clock (US) A US Army slang term that refers to any time very early in the morning. See ‘0 dark thirty’.
Super Wammy-dyne (US Navy) Advanced or new technology/equipment, akin to New Fangled
suck, the (US) the field, bad conditions, used to describe the military as a whole. One might say “embrace the suck” to tell someone to stop complaining and accept the situation.
suck thumb (Singapore) Shut up and stop complaining.
Sucking Rubber (US) (Submarine Service) Extended periods wearing Emergency Air Breathing devices (EABs) , A full-face air mask similar to that worn by firefighters, except fed from ship’s emergency air system rather than a bottle on your back.
Suzy (US) The girl back home. Often spends a lot of time with Jody very soon after deployment. See Jody.
Swab (US) A freshman cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy.
swabbie (US) A US Navy sailor. A reference to “swabbing the deck”, a frequent and highly visible activity of deck division sailors.
swinging dick (US) Any male military member, especially a lower-ranking enlisted male. For example, “Every swinging dick in here had better be ready to go in ten minutes!” In politer company, “swinging Richard.”
T-Rats (US Army) Tray-pack field rations. Even though the Tray-packs are obsolete and are no longer issued, the term survives and is used for the UGR (Unitized Group Ration) which replaced the Tray-pack meals.
Tac (US Army) Short for Tactical Officer, whose role in Officer Candidate School and at the U.S. Military Academy is analogous to a Drill Sergeant for Basic Training.
Tac-O (US Army) Pronounced the same as the food (taco) , it is another form of Tac, but is generally used in the absence of the Tactical Officer’s presence. Example: “Hey, have you seen the Tac-O around?”
TACAMO (US) Take Charge And Move Out. TACAMO is also the Pentagon designation for aircraft which are integral to the U.S. nuclear warfare command and control system.
TAD (US) Temporary Assigned Duty, see also TDY.
Tango Mike (US) NATO phonetic alphabet for “Thanks much.”
Tango Uniform (US) NATO phonetic alphabet for “Toes Up” also used by the FCC, FAA and DOD to mean killed or destroyed. (Alternative vulgar translation: “Tits Up”).
(US Army & USMC) Not in optimal condition. (e.g. The HUMVEE went Tango Uniform before we even arrived.).
(US Air Force) Dead drunk.
(US) Object Inverted. (Upside Down) (e.g. ‘I’m turning the plane Tango Uniform to get a better look.’) May be used in a more vulgar fashion as “Tits Up”
Tango Yankee (INTL) [NATO phonetic alphabet] short for “Thank You.”, commonly used over the radio.
Tapes (UK) NCO rank insignia (i.e. stripes).
TDY (US Army and Air Force) Temporary duty; a short reassignment to another duty location, generally for a few weeks or months. Usually used in its official sense, but sometimes describes a semi-official recreational trip or boondoggle. Also, Temporarily Divorced for a Year, a reference to the fact that many soldiers explore reassignment length romances.
Teflon-coated (US) Excellent, especially a piece of equipment. Origin: teflon-coated bullets, widely (but incorrectly) thought to pierce armor.
Tekan (Singapore) Physical training used as a minor corrective action by instructors, which usually are knock-it-downs; also refers to the process of taking down a peg a soldier who has attitude. See cycled.
Tender Vittles, Tender Ho’s (US Navy) Derogatory term for women that make up crews of repair tenders or drydocks, based on a stereotype that they are promiscuous. Pejorative and offensive.
The World (US) Used in Vietnam by G.I.’s in reference to the United States.
The Day the Eagle Shits (US) Payday. Example: “I’m sorry I can’t pay you back until the day the eagle shits.”
Those people (US) Euphemism for “enemy forces” used by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. The phrase is still widely used.
throttle-jockey (US) A jet aircraft pilot, particularly one with a penchant for speed.
Thud (USAF) Nickname for the F-105 Thunderchief.
Tommy Atkins or Tommy A generic name for a soldier in the British Army (now obsolete) .
Tom (USN) Nickname for the F-14 Tomcat.
Top (US Army) The first sergeant, or a sergeant major.
(US Marines) A master sergeant.
Towelhead (US/Europe) A slang term referring to an Arab person. (With the towel being their turbans)
Tread (US Army) An officer or NCO, especially one seen as oppressing enlisted personnel.
Trench monkey (US) A member of the Army infantry. Mostly used in a derogatory way by members of the Air Force.
trigger puller (US) A soldier or Marine who is regularly involved in actual combat. I wouldn’t want to be out in the shit without the trigger pullers with us.
TROBA (US Air Force) When ABORT is improbable, but desired. Sometimes TROBA dances are initiated, to increase the chance of an aircraft RTB.
Turtle fuck(ing) (US Marines) Striking a soldier on his helmet with another helmet. The clunking of the two kevlar helmets sounds like two empty shells hitting. Sometimes done deliberately among friends, but often as a joke to an unsuspecting trooper.
Twentynine Stumps (US Marines) Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. Often simply referred to as “the Stumps.”
Two digit midget (US) A G.I. who has less than 100 days ‘in country’ left before they rotate back to the USA. Used extensively in Vietnam by troops serving a 12 or 13 month tour.
Uncle Sam’s Confused Group The United States Coast Guard.
Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club The United States Navy.
Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children Ironic term for the United States Marine Corps. Sometimes also the “University of Science, Music, and Culture”, “U Suckers Missed Christmas”, and “U Signed the Motherfuckin’ Contract”.
U.S Army Uncle Sam Aint Released Me Yet United States Army.
Un-ass Meaning to get out of an area. As in, “Un-ass my AO.” Originally used to mean simply, “Get off your butt.”
Unfuck (US Marines) To bring something or someone into proper order and accord with SOP.
Unsat (US) Unsatisfactory.
Vandoo or Van Doo (Canada) Nickname for the Royal 22e Régiment, based on the English perception of the French pronuciation for “22” (Vingt-deux); said to have lead the Germans to believe the regiment was named Voodoo Regiment during WWI or WWII.
VC Abbreviation for “Viet Cong” used in the Vietnam War. See Victor Charlie, below.
VFR direct (USAF/USN) To circumvent normal chains of communication or command; for example, “I can’t believe the butterbar went VFR direct to the Old Man!” From “Visual Flight Rules”, meaning to take the most direct route; said to also be a jocular acronym for “Visually Follow Railroads.” See I Follow Railroads, above.
Victor Charlie (US) The Viet-Cong, from the NATO phonetic alphabet for “VC”, used during the Vietnam War’ often shortened to Charlie (see above).
Viper (USAF) What F-16 Pilots affectionately call the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Volun-told (US, Canada) A supposedly optional event, award, assignment, or activity in which a person (or persons) are required to attend either by persons-in-charge nominating them or their peers expecting them to be there. The individual often has no say in the matter, and non-attendance is frowned upon.
Warthog (US) The A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Wavy Navy (Canada) The Canadian Naval Reserve. Historically, the Reserve officers wore rank stripes that were wavy instead of straight like a regular Navy officer.
Wayang (Singapore) to act good in front of authority. The derivation of this term is from the Malaysian/Indonesian word for a shadow puppet show
“Weaponette” (pl: Weaponettes) Pejorative term for a submarine’s Weapons Department members as used by Nav/Ops or Engineering, usually when they want their stolen tools back
Weekend Warrior 1. (US) A National Guard member or reservist.
2. (Canada) A Canadian Armed Forces reservist
…when “Centurion” was a rank, not a tank A long time ago. Falling out of usage as the soldiers who can actually remember Centurion tanks retire from service
Whiskey Charlie (Germany) NATO phonetic alphabet for “water-closet” (Toilet) – not used that much
Whiskey Delta (US) NATO phonetic alphabet for “Weak Dick”. Derogatory term used to describe someone who is not up to the task.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or WTF (US, UK) , What the Fuck (NATO phonetic alphabet) .
Whites 1. (Canada) Coverall-like camouflage used during winter season, usually of uni-white appearance. Worn over the combat uniform, they blend in the snow.
2. Naval white dress uniform.
3. (Canada) Ceremonial white webbing and accoutrements.
Whoop (US Army) Same meaning as “Hooah,” although it is considered to be the war cry of the US Army Rangers.
Wife (Singapore) A soldier’s rifle.
Willy Peter (US) White Phosphorus
Winchester (US) Out of a particular type of ammunition (e.g. “Negative, we are Winchester Hellfire.”) or all ammunition (if no type is specified) .
Wog (Canada) Same as “pog”. A person (or personnel) in a combat service support trade, not a front-line soldier. This is usually a derogatory term used by combat arms soldiers. It was, in Victorian times, a derogatory term for alien or dark-skinned inhabitants of the British Empire. It is probably a shortened version of the term golliwog, although the backronym ‘Worthy Oriental Gentleman’ is sometimes attributed to it. This phrase is also sometimes said to mean “Without Guns”, a derogatory reference to a person’s support role.
Woollie Pullie (UK) Woollen Pullover, the old-style thick military sweater.
WTFO (US) “What the fuck, over?” A question often implying disbelief, confusion, or discontent.
Xoxing Logs (US Navy) (pronounced “zoxing,” derived from the trademarked corporate name “Xerox”) Entering engineering log data eerily similar to the previous hour’s log data.
Yankee Sky Pirate (USAF) Enlisted aircrew. The phrase parodies Communist propaganda.
Y-Tours The Bundeswehr (Bundeswehr licence plate codes start with Y)
Zero (US) An officer due to their O# rank (enlisted ranks are E1-E9 and officer’s are O1-O9) . Generally viewed as derogatory. Also the proper term for the digit 0, which is never to be confused with the letter “O,” especially in radio communications. Drill sergeant: “The only time you can say ‘O’ on a military radio is during moments of extreme pain or pleasure. Otherwise, it’s zero!”
Zero Day (US Army) The day in which a Basic Combat Training company picks up soldiers.
zero trade (Canada) Combat arms or combat troops. The Military Occupation Code for personnel in combat zones (infantry, artillery, armoured, combat engineers, and linemen) begin with zero. Not pejorative.
Zipperhead (Canada) Armoured soldier (Tank crew) . Refers to a piece of headgear, no longer in use, that had a zipper running from front to back. (US) Derogatory term for Vietnamese in general and Viet Cong specifically.
Zoomie 1. (Canada and US) Member of the Air Force, akin to “Jarhead” for Marines, “Squid” for Navy, or “Grunt” for Army. Also, a student or graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.
2. (US Navy) Particles of ionizing radiation are also referred to in this manner by nuclear-trained sailors.