Updated Glossary of Military Speak and Catchy Sayings

A special thanks to Sgt. Rocco (Rock) Matta, Sgt. Jason Burchard and Sgt. Charrnessa Tidwell for updating the Old Knuckle Dragger on the new Lingo! I left the old terms in here for the old Warriors to chuckle at.


ABDUs. Army Battle Dress Uniforms.

Air Thief. Someone who is using up good air; has qualified for extinction.

Affirmative. This means YES, understood.

A. J. Squared Away. Someone who is anal about organization, or just plain organized.

AMTRAC. A large tracked vehicle used to transport Marines.

Angel of Death. The Beautiful Round-eyed Woman that takes you to the Big Base Camp.

AO. Area of operation. Where you blow shit up.

Army. Ain’t Really a Marine Yet.

ARTY. Artillery. Also called Steel Rain.

ASS. Used as a slang for a weapon system, “We’re rollin’ with a lot of ass today.” (Fire Power)

Ass-piss. The shits, Hersey Squirts, diarrhea

Asshole. Uptight, critical; generally an annoying person.

Ass-in-the-grass. Someone in the field., usually a Grunt.

AT4 Rocket. A shoulder fired anti-tank rocket good for blowin’ shit up.

Assume the Position. Drop down and get ready to feel the Goodness; that is, Pain


B. Street. Used to be a street in Okinawa filled with bars and fine looking women (now called escorts?).

Baby Wipe Wars. What Troops call the Iraq and Afghan Wars.

BDUs. Battle Dress Uniform. Military clothing you wear into the bush. Marines called them Utilities, the Army called them Fatigues. Don’t know why?

Belt-Fed. Rounds linked together for a machine gun. Or, “That guy is a belt-fed son of a bitch!

Big Book of Words. What Marines call the Dictionary.

Black Hawk. A helicopter used in the Iraq and Afghan Wars.

Blue on Blue. Friendly Fire. Being shot at by your own Troops.

Body Armor. Also called a flak jacket. A heavy vest that might (?) protect you against shrapnel and some small arms fire.

Boom-Boom. Screwing, in Vietnamese slang speak.

Boonie Cap. A soft cover field hat. Marines call their hat, a cover.

Boot. Someone new to the military, usually in Boot Camp. Or someone just new in the unit.

Bouncing Betty. A kind of landmine, that jumps up out of the ground and blows your balls off.

Bradley. An M-2 or M-3 tank used to make the day unpleasant for the enemy.

Brain Fart. Bad output from the brain-housing-group to your mouth. Bad choice of words.

Brain Grenade. Usually a beer, but anything capable of joyfully killing brain cells.

Brain-Housing-Group. The small, cluttered human brain. Green colored substance in a Marines’ head.

Briefing. An explanation of something you need to know.

Buck up. A term used to make Troops bear their pain.

Buffalo. An IED resistant (?) vehicle used in Iraq and Afghanistan (costs about $700,000)

Bug Fuck. Small, intense, overly active. Also, something driving you crazy.

Bullet magnet. Anything that draws enemy bullets to your position.

Burn the Shitters. A 55 gallon drum, cut in half, and filled with shit. Burning the shit was done with diesel, over long intellectual conversations.

Bush. Usually means out on patrol in the landscape. Or it can mean a bush, vegetation.

“DIRTIES- aka Hajji, A-Rabs, and many other colorful names. But me and my buddies call em’ dirties ’cause they were simply dirty fucks.” (Sgt. Rock)


Cake Eater. Usually a soft-bodied, self-involved Politician.

Camel pack. A backpack filled with water. You suck on., through a small tube.

Carpet Bombing. B-52 air strike that makes the landscape look like the surface of the Moon. Unpleasant to the enemy and all life.

Case-Evac. To evacuate a casualty.

Cautious Compassion. Exercise cautious compassion with the safety off! Marine diplomacy on the battlefield?

Chin up, head down, and one round in the chamber, in case you stick the bayonet. A catchy Marine saying, used by Wise and Knowing Sergeants. Means to be prepared, alert, and ready for the unexpected.

Chinook. A twin-bladed helicopter used to transport Troops and supplies.

Chow. The especially tasty food of Marines and Soldiers. Usually just like Mom used to make, only she didn’t shit in it.

Chow Hall. The Gourmet Kitchen of Marines, serving only the finest of foods, and staffed by world renowned chefs.

Cleared Hot! Incoming support, cleared to drop ordnance (bombs) to make our enemies meet Jesus.

Cleared Hot. Permission to fire your weapon.

Click. One click is one kilometer (1000 meters).

Cluster Fuck. Nothing’s working right, Murphy in complete control.

Cobra Gunship. The AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. No shit, Death From Above!

Code of Honor. Rifleman’s Code; Living Honorably.

Combat Jack. Exercisin’ old Chester in the field – masturbation.

Condition One. To put your weapon on Red Con One. That is, to chamber a round and get ready to Get Some!

Corpsman. A Navy person, medically trained who saves Marines in combat.

Cover. What Marines call a hat.

Crabbing. Walking on all fours, as low to the ground as is possible.

C-Rats. C-Rations. 12 delicious selections of canned and boxed food, complete with a tasty desert and 5 cigarettes.

Crotch. What “only” Marines may reverently call the Marine Corps.

Crotcher. A Marine.

CRS. Can’t Remember Shit. Common to all Combat Warriors.


Danger Close. When an air strike or Artillery is close enough to kill your ass.

DCUs Desert Camouflage Uniform. Yet another military way to name your battlefield clothes.

Death before Dishonor. A Code of Conduct that Marines live by. Means you die before you turn to chicken shit and wimp out.

Dee-Dee-Mau. (Misspelled) Vietnamese for “get the hell out.”

Devil Dogs. Marines. Our mascot is the Bull Dog.

Digitals. Also called Diggies. Your battlefield clothing that comes in wonderful blending colors.

Dinky-Dow. Crazy in Vietnamese, used by Vets from that era.

Ditty-Bop. Means to walk casually.

Donkey Dicks. Usually a radiator hose or anything resembling the “little brain-housing-group”. You know, Old Chester, a dick, a penis.

Down Range. Meaning to be deployed in a Combat Zone.

Dry Firing. Practicing firing your weapon without ammo.

Duffle Bag. Same as a Sea Bag. A large green canvas bag to stuff all of your life’s possessions in to get beat to hell in travel.

Dust Off. When the choppers lift off.


Eagle Shits. Payday in the Marine Corps. Comes from the Eagle on the Marine Corps Emblem.

E-Tool. A small folding shovel used to dig holes for shitting and sleeping.

Extraction Point. That’s your exit point, how and where you’re gonna leave a location.


Field Strip. To partially break down your weapon and clean it.

Fire Mission. Calling in an air strike or artillery.

Flush the Toilet of Humanity. Someone needs to meet Jesus right away.

Fly Paradise. A brown, shit covered world where some people, who make poor decisions, go to visit. Some stay a long time.

FNG. Fucking new guy. Usually someone just “in country”, or new to a unit.

FO. Forward Observer. Someone way up front callin’ in bombs and gathering intelligence.

Foot Locker. A small green box that you hope no one inspects, and where you hide your contraband. Usually kept at the foot of your rack.

Foot Mobile. A person on foot.

Forty Mike-Mike. Refers to the millimeter of the round that is fired by the Mark 19. This is a rapid-fire grenade launcher. A wonderful weapon!

Frag. A fragmentary hand grenade, with about a seven second fuse. A life time to wait.

Free-Fire Zone. Everybody is the bad guy. You can kill’em all. Oh boy!

Friendly Fire. This is also called Blue on Blue. It means you’re gettin’ shot at by your own side.

Frosty. Means staying alert.

FUBAR. Fucked Up Beyond All Reason.

Fuck. Noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, etc. One of the two most useful and often used words in the vast Marine vocabulary.

Fucking A! Marine term for Yes! Right on!

Fungly. Fuckin’ Ugly


Garrison. The dreaded assignment to a base stateside. No one likes garrison duty, unless you’re a POG.

Get Some. Meaning to fire weapons, blow shit up, and kill the enemy.

Get the Joke. Are you understanding?

Ghillie Suit. Also called a Bush Tux. Brushed burlap covered clothing that makes one almost invisible in the bush. Used by snipers. (And crazy Old Marines just for fun)

Gig Line. Making sure you shirt, belt buckle and fly line up.

Goat Country. What Troops call Afghanistan.

Goat Fuck. Something bad happens.

Green Weenie. Old Marine Corps saying. Usually referred to as being fucked by the Green Weenie.

Ground Pounder. Usually a Grunt. The Infantry.

Grunt. A Marine Rifleman. Use to be M.O.S. 0311.

Gyreen. A Jar Head


H.O.G. Hunter Of Gunmen. A school trained Sniper, who slays the P.I.G’s in his platoon to prepare them for sniper school. (Sgt. Rock)

Habudabi. Another name for Arabs.

Hajji. The respectful term for someone who has made the trip to the holy land. It’s what you say before and after it that changes the meaning. Like fuckin’ Hajji, or Hajji asshole.

Hard Ball. The blacktop pavement of a road.

Hardback. A tent having a wooded frame and a wooden floor. First class housing.

HE. High Explosives.

Head Call. Using the toilet or taking a dump.

Hesco. A large wire cage filled with rocks and dirt to protect the Troops from incoming rounds.

Hit the Wall. A new expression for breaking down emotionally.

Hookin’ and Jabbin’. Hand-to-hand combat with bayonets.

Hostile. Pronounced hoss-till. An enemy.

Hot LZ. A landing site that is under enemy fire.

HUA. An Army slogan meaning, Heard, Understood, Acknowledged. Pronounced HOOAH!

Hummer, or Humvee. A jeep like-vehicle used by U.S. Forces.

Hump. To walk., most often with a pack and combat gear.


I glassed it. Scoping it out through binoculars or rifle scope.

I’ve got your six. I’m watchin’ your back.

IED. Improvised Explosive Device. The chicken shit bomb used by the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than a stand-up fight.

Improvise, Overcome, and Adapt! Marine attitude toward any obstacle or situation.

In-Country. To be deployed in a foreign country, or the foreign country you are in.

Intell. Intelligence (?)

Interrogative. Said before you ask a question on the radio. Don’t know why.

Intestinal Fortitude. Guts.

It’s All Good. Used by Troops to say “It Ain’t Nothin,” or, I’ve got it handled.


Jackin’ Your Jaws. Talking.

Jar Head. Referring to the bald Marine head, with a starched cover, resembling a jar or jug.

Jerk Off. A waste of air, someone worthless.

Jibber. Another name for the natives in Iraq, since they speak jibberish.

Joe. The slang used between Army Troops, as in G.I. Joe.

Jug Head. Same-e-Same as Jar Head.


KAC. As in KAC ’em. Kill All that Come

Kahuna. Hawaiian Sea God. (Mentioned in Book ONE)

K-Bar. A wonderful Marine Combat Knife, and my friend.

Keep ’em Forward. Keep your weapons toward the enemy at all times.

Kevlar. Usually what Troops call their helmet, made from Kevlar.


LAV. Light Armored Vehicle. A tracked vehicle, like a small tank.

Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine. A well-trained and conditioned Marine.

Leatherneck. A Marine.

Liberty. When you get to go off base and mix with the civvies.

Lifer Juice. Coffee.

Lifer. Someone who stays in the military for 20+ years.

Light ’em Up! Or to get lit up means to get fired on or to fire on the enemy.

Limp Dick. Someone usually spineless, worthless, and afraid of salt.

Lock and Load! Put your safety on and cram a magazine of ammo in your rifle.

Lolly Gaggin’. Sitting around, wasting time.

Low Crawl. Crawling as low to the ground as possible, and very slowly.

LZ. Landing Zone. A place where helicopters land.


M14. A wonderful, .308 caliber rifle, that I love as my own child and cherished friend.

M16A2. A full length rifle with the M203 Grenade Launcher. Another standard weapon of our Troops.

M24. A Sniper Weapon System. (Rifle)

M249 Automatic Rifle (Machine Gun) also known as the SAW. That stands for Squad Automatic Weapon.

M4. A carbine with the M203 Grenade Launcher. One of the standard short barreled weapons of our Troops.

M79 Grenade Launcher. The Vietnam era way to reach out and touch someone. It has a 79 millimeter round.

Maggot. Usually a Marine in boot camp. A generally worthless person.

Make My Bird. Get out of this place. Fly away.

Marine. My Ass Rides in Navy Equipment.

Mess Gear. Metal, fold-up plates that you don’t want to shit in.

Mikes. Minutes

Military Alphabet. A=Alpha, B=Bravo, C=Charlie, D=Delta, E=Echo, F=Foxtrot, G=Golf, H=Hotel, I= India, J=Juliet, K=Kilo, L=Lima, M=Mike, N=November, O=Oscar, P=Papa, Q=Quebec, R=Romeo, S=Sierra, T=Tango, U=Uniform, V=Victor, W=Whiskey, X=X-ray, Y=Yankee, Z=-Zulu.

Military Intelligence. You figure that one out?

Military Time. From 12:00 midnight until 1:00 pm it’s the same, except we say, for example, ten hundred, instead of ten o’clock. One o’clock is 1300, (thirteen hundred), 2 is 1400, 3 is 1500, 4 is 1600, 5 is 1700, 6 is 1800, 7 is 1900, 8 is 2000 (twenty hundred) 9 is 2100, 10 is 2200, 11 is 2300, and it goes up to 2359 and turns back to zero one hundred.

Mind Fuck. Common term in the Marine Corps. Means you are confused, or you’re being confused by someone or something.

Mission Critical. Absolutely important to the success of the mission.

Mission focus. The intent of the mission without deviation.

Mission Objective. What it is you are going to achieve.

MK-19. Known as the Mark 19, a 40 millimeter (grenade launching) machine gun, capable of 325 rounds per minute. WOW! Makes us old Knuckle Draggers drool!

MOPP Suit. (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) pronounced as “mop”. A hot miserable suit you wear when you think you’re gonna get hit with chemical or biological weapons.

MOS. Military Occupational Specialty. What you are best qualified for without screwin’ up.

MREs. Meals Ready to Eat/Excrete. Foil wrapped food that makes you constipated if you eat it dry. Also called MRPs, Meals Ready to Puke.

Murphy. A being that waits for you to make a mistake, to make things worse. Usually flies on the back of a Great Eagle that shits on your head.


Napalm. Dropped from aircraft in air strikes to convert Communists to our way of thinking.

No Salute Zone. In the field when you don’t salute officers. So the enemy doesn’t know who the officers are?

Non-Hacker. Someone who quits, and drops out pukin’.

NVGs. Night Vision Goggles. They’re the ones that fit on your helmet and swing up and down.


O Dark Hundred. When it’s dark. Also called Zero Dark Thirty or Zero Dark Hundred.

OEF. Operation Enduring Freedom. The War on Terrorism.

OIF. Operation Iraqi Freedom. A tour might be called OIF One, or the second assault might be referred to as OIF Two. This will vary.

One is none. Two is one. If one of anything can go wrong, it will. Two gives you a better chance. This is especially true in setting explosive charges or depending on military equipment.

OORAH! A Marine word that comes from the Turkish word that means Kill. Marines use this a lot. It is what we say when another Marine says Semper Fi. The response is OORAH!

Ordnance. Explosives, usually dropped from an aircraft.

Oscar Mike. Operationally Mobile. This means you’re movin’ out!

Outside the wire. Means you’ve left the safety (?) of base camp.

Overwatch. A position that offers protective fire for a base of operation.

Oxygen Thief or Bandit. Someone who is a waste of good air and needs to be flushed down the toilet of humanity. Seems to be a lot of ’em?


Pain is Good, Now Feel the Goodness. A favorite saying of Drill Instructors about to make your body, feel the Goodness. You know, like in “drop down and give me a thousand!”.

Paint Me, or Paint the Target. To shine your gun sight laser on the target to shoot it.

PIG. Professionally Instructed Gunman! Also someone new to a sniper platoon who is slayed like a pig when he screws up. (Sgt. Rock)

PLF. Parachute Landing Fall. A five point landing that’s supposed to take up most of the shock of impact when your ass hits the ground.

Podunk. Candy, Twinkie-like crap filled with sugar.

POG. Person other than Grunt.

Police Action. An undeclared war, like in Vietnam and other delightful places?

Police up. To clean up or correct something.

Politics. Poly, meaning many. Ticks, meaning blood suckers.

Precision Guided Whoop-ass. Incoming artillery or an air strike.

Predator. The MQ-1B Predator. An armed, unmanned Drone used to gather intelligence and blow shit up. There are a number of these, like the MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-4A Global Hawk, but most folks know them as Predators. Who thinks these names up?

PTSD. My definition is, Psychological Training for Superior Discipline. In shrinker speak it means, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That D at the end, sure sounds a lot like disease to me?

Puss Nuts. Someone real stupid or asking dumb ass questions.

PX. Post Exchange. A Store on a Naval Military Base. On an Army and Air Force Base it’s called the Base Exchange (BX) Don’t ask me why?


Qualifies for Extinction. Someone needs to put this person out of his misery. A waste of good oxygen, an oxygen thief.


Rack. Your wonderful Marine Corps bed.

Ranger Grave. Sleeping holes dug to prevent gettin’ hit at night by mortar fire.

Red-con-One. A loaded weapon with a round in the chamber, safety on.

Ripped Fuel. A brand name for stimulant pills banned by the military, but in still in popular use.

ROKs. Korean Marines from the Republic of South Korea. Wonderful fighters, and greatly appreciated by U.S. Marines in Vietnam.

RPG. A rocket propelled grenade. Not real accurate but effective. US military doesn’t use this weapon.


Saddle Up! Means to get up off your ass, get your gear on and get ready to go Oscar Mike.

Same-e-Same. Vietnamese saying meaning “the exact same thing.”

Sand Bagger. Someone lazy, or trying to skate. Mostly used in this context, “You sand baggin’ son of a bitch, get your lazy ass out there and help with that working party.” (Sgt. Rock)

Sand Pit. What some Troops call Afghanistan.

Sandbox. What Troops call Iraq, among other things.

SAPI Plates. Twelve inch square ceramic plates worn in the front and back of your body armor to stop the AK-47 round.

SAW. Squad Automatic Weapon. The M249 Automatic Rifle.

Scoop, or Skinny. Information, the latest news.

Screw the Pooch. You’ve made a big mistake.

Scum Bag. Someone fully qualified for extinction.

Semper Gumby. “Means, ‘Always Flexible!’ for two reasons, cause the word changes and you need to accept that, and so that your ass ain’t tight when the green weenie plugs it.” (Sgt. Rock)

Shit Bird. Generally, anyone with a poor attitude.

Shit Tube. A direct drop or shortcut to Fly Paradise.

Shit. Second most common Marine word, taking the place of most parts of speech.

Shit-for-Brains. Someone who cannot think clearly; easily confused.

Shrapnel. Small bits of bombs that travel freely through your body.

Sit-Rep. Situation Report. What is happening at this moment.

Skater. Someone who comes up with creative ways of getting out of the field or out of working parties. In context, “you skatin’ bitch!” (Sgt. Rock)

Skivvies. Your under ware.

Snap To. To get your shit together and deal with it.

Snappin’ In. Dry-firing your weapon, or paying attention.

SOP. Standard Operating Procedure. The way it’s usually done, even if it’s wrong.

Spineless Maggot. Someone worthless, having no back bone, and having a great fear of salt.

Splash Down. When the arty or incoming air support ordnance hits the ground.

Spotter Round. In the old days, it was usually a White Phosphorus round that marks the spot for a napalm strike. White Phosphorus is a delightful substance that sticks to you and burns like hell until it’s gone.

Squad Bay. The barracks that Marines call home.

Stay Frosty. To stay alert and on guard at all times.

Steel Rain. Artillery.

Step Off. To move out on a mission.

Suckin’ Wind. You’re dog-ass tired.

Surrender is Not in Our Creed! Marines do not surrender, do not quit, or give up.

Sweep (or Search) and Destroy. The public relations policy in Vietnam, to make better friends and neighbors


Tango. Usually referred to as an enemy.

TBI. Traumatic Brain Injury  / Totally Brainfried Individual.

The Stan. A name Troops use for Afghanistan, other than Goat Country.

The Suck. A name only Marines use for the Corps.

Thermite Grenade. A hand grenade that produces tremendous head, and can melt through an engine block.

Thousand Yard Stare. The spaced out stare of a Combat Warrior, thinking about his her traumatic experiences.

Tracer Round. A bullet that when fired is visible, especially at night. Only problem is, the enemy can also see it and where it’s being fired from.

T-Rats. Pre-manufactured military food usually served in the chow halls of forward units.

Triggers. What sets you off emotionally.

Two is one and one is none. One charge is never enough to be sure. The same way with anything, you need a backup to be sure.


Unfuck. Adverb, noun, adjective, verb. The process undertaken to organize a cluster fuck. It may also be used in this way, a senior enlisted Marine may say, “Hey squad leader, go unfuck that cluster fuck,” or, “Go unfuck that private, he’s all fucked up.” (Sgt. Rock)

Utilities. What Marines call their BDUs, the clothes they wear in the field.


Victor. A vehicle.

VIED. Vehicle Improvised Explosive Device


Wheels Up. Usually means when your aircraft is taking off. Sometimes it means taking off to be deployed down range.

When conditions are at their very worst, people are at their very best. This is when the tough get going!

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Applies to all non-quitters.

Winged Lizard. A bird-like creature.


Yellow Jugs. A yellow jug that is filled with explosives, used by the enemy.

You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. No quitters, no wimps and no whiners. What we all have to do at times and make the best of it.

Young Pups. Young Marines, Young Devil Dogs.


Zero Dark Thirty, or Zero Dark Hundred. Night .

2 Responses to Updated Glossary of Military Speak and Catchy Sayings

  1. Overly Hackled says:

    add the below to reflect some of the new lingo from the sand Box
    Down Range

    • Jock says:

      This Glossary is from the new book, The Warrior’s Guide To Worlds at War: The Dragon Has Awakened.

      Any other terms you would like to see?

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