The Military Slang
Alphas or Class-As Service Alpha uniform from the NATO phonetic alphabet for the letter A.
ARMY Aren't Ready for Marine's Yet/Aren't Really Men Yet, pejorative backronym used by other branches.
Ass Marine slang for any weapons system or unit that packs a lot of firepower, usually tanks or helicopters.
Aye-Aye or Aye nautical term used as a response to orders meaning "I understand the orders I have received and will carry them out.
Beer Garden area set aside for the social consumption of alcohol and smoking of tobacco; may contain barbecue or picnic facilities.
Beer-Thirty time of dismissal from the day's duties (and thus allowed to drink alcohol).
Belt-Fed Excited; refers to linked rounds fed through a machine-gun. Can also be used as an intensifier, as in: 'That guy is a belt-fed sonovabitch,' i.e., a real son of a bitch.
Blooper grenade launcher, from the distinctive noise made when firing.
Boot recruit, or derisive term for a Marine just out of training.
Brass brass uniform items; expended casings from weapons; term for senior officers from the metal of their rank insignia.
Butterbar Second Lieutenant, so named for the single gold bar rank insignia.
Cammies camouflage utility uniform.
CAS Close Air Support, aircraft fire on ground troops in support of nearby friendly troops.
CASEVAC CASualty EVACuation, emergency evacuation of injured personnel from combat zone by any modes of transport available, as opposed to a MEDEVAC carried out by ambulance equipment designed solely for the purpose.
Chalk squad of servicemembers in an aircraft that will or have been deployed to the ground (rappelling or parachuting).
Charms Brand name of a hard candy provided to U.S. troops in the meal rations, but seldom consumed due to the belief they produce bad luck
Chesty Puller used in reference to Marines that have been awarded many ribbons and medals.
Chevron symbols of enlisted ranks above private, usually not acceptably called "stripes" unless describing the rank insignia itself.
Civvies civilian clothing or mufti.
Civvie-Div/Divvie My own: Civialian divisions, divisions used for the average amount of civialians you might see at a rally --- Not in military use
Cleared Hot Given permission to fire your weapon by a superior
Clusterfuck chaotic and messy situation; multiple mistakes or problems happening in rapid succession.
Corpsman Navy hospital corpsman attached to a Marine unit; also known as doc; inappropriate to address as medic or aid man.
Dear Fredrick Letter Unoffical: usually an on-the-spot verbal reply to an unwanted letter from civvie school children, mostly these being 'Peace Letters'. Usually very crude. Term orgininating from 1st MarDiv's Corporal Ray Person, seen in the show Generation Kill.
Dear John Letter Letters from wives or girlfriends to military members. Term dating back to World War II, possibly predating.
Devil Dog or Devil nickname for Marines, a name earned by Marines fighting at the Battle of Belleau Wood; from the German word teufelhunden.
Devil Pup nickname for a Marine's child(ren); a member of the Young Marines; a patronizing nickname for a junior Marine.
DI Drill Instructor, inappropriate to use the Army term drill sergeant.
Dickskinner or Dickbeater human hand.
Doggie enlisted member of the United States Army, from the diminutive dog-face.
Donkey Dick slang for a virtually any piece of equipment which has a generally cylindrical or phallic shape, roughly one foot in length, with no, unknown, or obscure official name.
Dope information, or sight settings and/or wind corrections for a rifle under given conditions, possibly from aircraft dope.
EGA Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, the emblem of the Marine Corps.
Embed embedded journalist assigned a slot within a combat unit.
EPW Enemy Prisoner of War.
Fat-Body overweight recruit or servicemember.
Fifty-Cal or Fitty-cal M2 Browning machine gun, from its .50 caliber ammunition. Also 'Ma-Deuce'.
First Shirt company or battery First Sergeant.
Fitness Report or Fitrep report written on Marines (sergeant and above) detailing proficiency and conduct and fitness for command, reviewed for promotion.
Flak Jacket antiquated term for ballistic vest or body armor.
FNG Fucking New Guy, derogatory term for a Marine recently graduated recruit training and new to a unit.
Form ID-10T or ID-Ten-Tango prank fool's errand where an unsuspecting Marine is asked to find the fake item, not knowing it is an orthograph for idiot.
Forty Mike-Mike A 40 millimeter grenade, refering to the round itself or the weapons, such as the M203 or Mark-19 AGL, that launches them.
FUBAR Fucked/Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition/Repair. Also SNAFU.
Gagglefuck group of Marines grouped too closely or in an unorganized fashion; from gaggle, the term for a flock of grounded geese, and clusterfuck, a term for a messy situation.
Gerbil Launcher M203 grenade launcher.
Get Some spirited cry expressing approval and the desire for more or to continue, traditionally associated in the Vietnam War to killing or sex.
Gomer or GOMER antiquated slang for a stupid person, from the character Gomer Pyle; or as a backronym for 'Get Out of My Emergency Room' used by corpsmen to refer to malingerers who faked illness to avoid duties.
Grunt or Ground Pounder infantryman, formerly a pejorative that has taken more neutral tones.
Gun Bunny artilleryman, so named for the hearing loss associated with working around cannons.
Gung-Ho Chinese phrase meaning to "work together," it became the battle cry of the Marine Raiders.
Gunny nickname for Gunnery Sergeant, improper to call a Master Gunnery Sergeant this.
Gyrene Vietnam War-era nickname for Marine, often thought an insult; combination of the words 'GI' and 'Marine'.
H&S or Hide & Slide Headquarters & Service/Supply Company, much like a Headquarters Battalion.
Haji Arab or Middle Eastern person or object, from the Arabic term for one who has completed a pilgrimage to Mecca, or 'haj'
Hat drill instructor, so named for the distinctive campaign hat they wear; usually reserved for other or former drill instructor use.
HE High Explosive, used to describe various kinds of ordnance.
Head bathroom or latrine, a nautical term from the days of sailing ships when the designated place to defecate and urinate was forward, at the bow or 'head' of the ship.
HEAT High-Explosive AntiTank, type of tank round.
HEDP High-Explosive Dual Purpose, type of armor piercing ammunition.
Hillbilly Armor improvised vehicle armor.
HMMWV or Humvee High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, common utility truck.
Jarhead pejorative term for a Marine. Jarhead has several supposed origins: the regulation 'High and Tight' haircut resembles a mason jar (to add insult, some note that the jar is an empty vessel, also therefore a Marine's head an empty vessel); the Mason Jar Company stopped making jars and made the helmets for Marines during World War II.
Joker military journalist, from Private Joker from the movie Full Metal Jacket; also a derogatory term for a junior enlisted servicemember.
Jungle Bunny Vietnam War-era phrase for infantry.
K or Klicks kilometer.
KA-BAR fighting/utility knife first issued during World War II.
Kevlar helmet made from Kevlar.
Lance Coolie, Lance Criminal, or Lance Coconut derogatory terms for Lance Corporal.
Leatherneck nickname for Marine, so named for legends stating that stiff leather collars were once worn to protect the throat from sword-blows (also thought that high stocks were worn for discipline, to keep Marines' heads high and straight). The dress blue uniform still bears a high stock collar today.
Lipstick Lieutenant pejorative for warrant officer, so named from the appearance of their rank insignia: the addition of red to the gold and silver bars of a lieutenant.
Lost Lieutenant Finder hand-held GPS unit, a joke term on the reputation for new lieutenants to be incompetent in land navigation.
LT abbreviation for lieutenant, inappropriate to address as such verbally.
Ma Deuce term of endearment for the M2 Browning machine gun.
Ma'am proper method of addressing female officers in particular and all women in general.
Mama-san term of endearment for an elder Japanese woman, often a maid, cook, or tailor/seamstress performing services for Marines; from the Japanese honorific suffix 'san'.
Marine the following nicknames are usually acceptable: leatherneck, devil dog, sea soldier, warrior, hard charger, motivator; the following are acceptable from other Marines: jarhead, gyrene; the following are insults: soldier, seabag.
Master Guns or Master Gunny Master Gunnery Sergeant.
MBT Main Battle Tank, currently the M1 Abrams.
MCX Marine Corps eXchange, a military department store, less formally known as the PX.
MEF Marine Expeditionary Force.
MEU Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Molly Marine nickname associated with early female Marines, especially a statue of Opha Mae Johnson.
MOS Military Occupational Specialty, a job classification.
Moto From motovational, anything that expresses the highly-motovated spirit of the Marines. Shouting 'Get Some' is a moto thing to do.
MRE Meal, Ready-to-Eat, standard U.S. field ration. Sometimes jokingly referred to with backronyms such as 'Meals Rejected by the Enemy,' 'Meals Rejected by Ethiopia,' 'Meal, Rotten to Eject,' 'Meals Rarely Eaten,' "Meal, Reluctant to Exit,' 'Mister E,' or the 'Three Lies for the Price of One'.
NAVY Never Again Volunteer Yourself, pejorative backronym used by sailors who regret volunteering.
NBC Nuclear, Biological, Chemical. Also CBRN.
NJP or Ninja Punch NonJudicial Punishment, a legal proceeding much like a court-martial of much smaller scope. A commanding officer is authorized to award summary punishments at office hours (called Captain's Mast afloat) under Article 15, UCMJ, to punish offenses too serious to be dealt with by a mere rebuke, but not serious enough to warrant court-martial.
No Such Agency backronym for the National Security Agency, so called because of its secretive nature and as a play on words.
Oh-Dark Thirty very early hours before dawn. Also military time. The custom of saying 'oh' instead of zero has diminished, but remains in this expression.
Ooh-rah spirited cry used since the mid-20th century, comparable to Hooah used in the Army or Hooyah by Navy SEALs; most commonly used to respond to a verbal greeting or as an expression of enthusiasm. The origin is often disputed.
Oscar Mike On the Move, the names of the two NATO phonetic alphabet letters O and M which stand for the phrase. Used on the radio and in shorthand to each other.
Padre chaplain, usually Catholic, from the Spanish and Italian terms for 'father'.
Paradise Island Nickname for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
PFC Private First Class.
PI Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
Platoon Sergeant SNCO executive to the platoon commander, usually the senior enlisted man.
Pogue or POG Marine not of the combat arms (infantry, armor, and artillery), etymology is disputed: possibly 'pogue' derived from the Tagalog word meaning 'prostitute' or the Erse Gaelic word meaning 'to kiss [my ass]', while 'POG' could be from the acronym 'Person[s] Other than Grunt', but could be a backronym.
Police To clean up or correct, as in 'Police your tent' or clean it up.
Prick slang for any equipment bearing the 'PRC' JETDS designator, usually man-portable radios.
PT Physical Training, physical exercise to build or maintain strength, agility, and flexibility.
QRF Quick Reaction Force, a highly-mobile stand-by force designed to add firepower in precise places as the commander decides on a changing battlefield, often used for MEDEVAC purposes.
Ranks There are no acceptable contractions or shortened ways of addressing the following: Private, Lance Corporal, Corporal, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer/Chief Warrant Officer, Major, Colonel, and General. The following may be addressed with permission or informally: Private First Class as 'Private', a Gunnery Sergeant as 'Gunny', a Master Sergeant or First Sergeant as 'Top', a Master Gunnery Sergeant as 'Master Gunny', a Second Lieutenant or First Lieutenant as 'Lieutenant', a Captain as 'Skipper', a Lieutenant Colonel as 'Colonel', and a Brigadier General, Major General, and Lieutenant General as 'General'. It is inappropriate to abbreviate an enlisted Marine's rank (Staff Sergeant or above) as 'Sergeant,' nor can the nickname 'Sarge' be used.
Ratfuck taking the best available selection and leaving less desirable alternatives for others.
Real World civilian life after discharge. Also 'outside'.
REMF Rear Echelon Mother Fucker, a derision for someone who serves in a non-combatant role.
RHIP Rank Hath Its Privileges, used as a justification for a personal indulgence.
RPG Rocket-Propelled Grenade, a common explosive weapon used by many militaries and insurgent groups; the most common of which is the RPG-7.
RPGs or RPs Rape Prevention Glasses, unattractive military issue glasses worn at recruit training; so named that the wearer would be so unattractive that even a rapist would avoid her. Also BCGs & portholes.
ROE Rules Of Engagement, the restrictions on when and how a servicemember may use force on the enemy and other forces.
Sailor the following nicknames are usually acceptable: bluejacket, tar; while the following are considered insults: gob, swab, swabbie, swab jockey, squid, anchor clanker, rust picker, deck ape.
Salad, Tossed Salad or Fruit Salad ribbons and medals worn on a uniform, from the colorful appearance of wearing many awards.
Salty Language profanity.
Sandbox Desert area.
Schmuckatelli generic, unnamed junior Marine, from the Yiddish pejorative 'schmuck'.
Schwack To kill; origin believed to be a popular video game.
Screwby or Screw-By Either 'That sucks,' or 'That's really cool', from a personal hip-hop lexicon. Pronounced 'Screw-Bee'
SDI Senior Drill Instructor, the leader of a recruit platoon.
Semper Fi shortened version of 'Semper Fidelis', the motto of the Corps, Latin for 'always faithful'.
Semper I colloquialism denoting selfish or self-centered behavior.
Shit-Bag or Shit-Bird habitually unkempt or undisciplined Marine.
Shit-Brick useless or ignorant person.
Shit-Hot sarcastic reference to an overly arrogant person.
Skid Squadron Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron, so named because the AH-1 SuperCobra and UH-1N Twin Huey helicopters utilize skids instead of wheels for undercarriage.
Skivvies underwear: skivvie shirt (T-shirt) and skivvie drawers (underwear).
SNAFU Situation Normal, All Fucked Up
SOP Standard Operating Procedure, the routine manner of handling a set situation, can be a standing order.
SSDD Same Shit, Different Day, euphemism denoting frustration with an unchanging situation or boredom.
The Suck/Shit miserable situation or place, often used to describe the Marine Corps or a combat zone.
Susie Rottencrotch wife, girlfriend, or other generic woman.
Swinging Dick vulgarity for male Marine, used to emphasize an order to a whole group instead of individual(s).
The Rock Okinawa.
Thousand-Yard Stare unfocused gaze of a battle-weary servicemember.
T/O&E Table of Operations and Equipment, a list authorizing a unit personnel of a particular rank and MOS, as well as organic equipment; often seen separately as T/O and T/E.
Top informal nickname for a Master Sergeant, inappropriate to use without permission.
Trunk Monkey a passenger in the back of an armored vehicle, not part of the crew.
UCMJ Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506, 81st Congress) 1951, the system of military law, both judicial and nonjudicial.
Un-Ass or Un-Fuck to correct a deficiency, usually on a person.
USMC Acronym for United States Marine Corps. Also used as a pejorative backronym: Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, U Signed the Motherfucking Contract, U Suckers Miss Christmas, Unlimited Shit and Mass Confusion, University of Science, Music and Culture, Uncomplicated Shit Made Complicated.
Utilities field and work uniforms (currently the MCCUU), formerly called dungarees, inappropriately called the Army term BDU.
WAG Wild-Ass Guess, sometimes qualified with the sarcastic prefix "Scientific".
War Paint camouflage face paint.
Weekend Warrior reservist.
Whiskey-Tango White trash, from the phonetic alphabet verion.
WP or Willie Pete[r] White phosphorus munition, whether in grenade, mortar, artillery, or aerial bomb form.
Wilco voice procedure term shortened from 'Will Comply'.
The Wire defensive perimeter of a firm base, crossing it denotes the end of relative safety.
XO Executive Officer, the second in command of a unit, known as a Chief of Staff for a general.
Zoomie pilot, usually an Air Force pilot.