Let's face it--out of all the things civilians don't understand about military life, vocabulary tops of the list. From unnecessarily long acronyms to (at times) inappropriate phrases, military slang is a language of its own and it's something you take with you even when you take off the uniform.
If you have a favorite military term or phrase, send us an email and let us know so we can update this list.
“And a wake up”- A phrase used to count down to the end of training or deployment. Ex: “Thank god we only have 12 days and a wake up left in this hell hole.”
“Ate up” – A service member with no military bearing or operating out of military regulation
AWOL - Absent without leave.
Barney style - A phrase used to tell someone or ask someone to describe something in easy-to-understand terms
Bird - Another word for a helicopter.
Blue Falcon - A nickname for a service member who f*cks you over, also sometimes called a buddyf*cker.
BLUF - Bottom line upfront.
Bravo Zulu - A phrase often used in the Navy or Coast Guard to say "well done.”
BOHICA- “Bend over, here it comes again.”
Boot – A new service member, often derogatory term used for someone coming to the unit fresh from boot camp.
Charlie Mike – Continue mission.
Chest Candy - All the ribbons and awards on a service member's dress uniform.
Chewed up/ Chewed out – Similar to “ate up,” also being reprimanded from a senior leader.
Clusterf*ck - A mess or problem.
Dependa - Service member's dependents, sometimes used in a negative context.
Donkey Dick – A fuel nozzle
“Front to rear, disappear” – Get Going, move with a purpose.
Fart sack- A sleeping bag.
Fat Cakes - Any kind of unhealthy, sweets or desserts.
Fourth Point of Contact - Your butt. It's the last phase in a parachute drop: first, it's feet, calves, back of the thigh and then your buttocks.
FUBAR - F*cked up beyond all repair.
"Got Your Six" - A phrase service members use to say they have your back.
Gofasters - Sneakers.
Good Idea fairy – Someone who always offers their opinions but ideas are usually bad.
Hangfire- To wait until you’re given the next orders.
High Speed - A term that can be positive or negative depending on the context. It can be a service member who is highly motivated but also sarcastically for someone who isn't.
Joe - A junior enlisted soldier.
Mandatory Fun – An event required by service members to attend, it’s never actually fun.
Mike - Minutes.
MRE- Meal, Ready to Eat.
Moonbeam- A flashlight.
"Nut to Butt" - Standing very close together, usually in a single line, also called a "file."
O Dark Thirty- Very early in the morning, any time before sunrise.
OPORD - Operations order.
PCS - Permanent change of station.
Pill Pusher - A medic.
POG - Stands for “Person.Other.Than. Grunt,” essentially anyone who isn’t infantry.
Police Call - A phrase senior leaders use when they want an area clean, like a weapons range.
Pop Smoke - To leave.
Rack Out - To go to sleep.
Soup Sandwich - A mess, usually a service member who doesn't have his/her life together or a uniform that worn incorrectly.
Snivel Gear - Issued cold-weather clothing.
"Standby to standby" - Wait, more often than not, you're going to be waiting a while.
SNAFU- “Situation normal, all fucking up.”
Tactically Acquire - You stole something, often it's equipment that you needed but didn't have or something really impressive that no one else has.
“Take a Knee” – Rest or take a break.
Tango Mike - Thanks much.
40 mike-mike – 40 mm grenade or M203 grenade launcher
“Un-Ass my AO”- Fix this mess.
Warm and fuzzy – A phrase usually used to describe when someone understands a concept or is feeling okay. “Ex: Alright after this short brief, you should have a warm and fuzzy on how to PMCS a vehicle”
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - What the F*ck?
Zonk – Used to being released for the day after taking formation.