Definitions

cap-tain's mast

List of U.S. Marine Corps acronyms and expressions

This is a list of acronyms, expressions, euphemisms, jargon, military slang, and sayings in common or formerly common use in the United States Marine Corps. Many of the words or phrases have varying levels of acceptance among different units or communities, and some also have varying levels of appropriate (usually dependent on how senior the user is in rank). Many terms also have equivalents among other service branches that are not acceptable amongst Marines, but are comparable in meaning. Many acronyms and terms have come into common use from voice procedure use over communication channels, translated into the NATO phonetic alphabet, or both.

The scope of this list is to include words and phrases that are unique to or predominantly used by the Marine Corps or the United States Naval Service. For other military slang lists, see the "See also" section.

0–9

  • 180 — one-hundred-eighty degrees on a compass (180°); to change to the opposite one's point of view (physical or mental).
  • 29 StumpsMarine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, so named for its desolation.
  • 360 — complete circle on a compass (360°); to put protection all around.
  • 48, 72, & 96 — standard holiday periods of 2, 3, or four days of liberty.
  • 6-by — rugged truck equipped with six-wheel drive.
  • 7-ton — nickname for Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, so named for its hauling capacity. See also MTVR.
  • 782 gear or deuce gear — standard issue web gear, combat gear, or field equipment, such as ALICE, MOLLE, or ILBE. Named after standard Marine Corps Form 782, which Marines formerly signed when they took custody of and responsibility for their equipment.
  • 8 bells — signal for the end of a four-hour watch, so named for the incrementally increasing number of bells at half-hours.
  • 8th & I — nickname for Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. so named from its street address at the corner of 8th and I Streets SE. See also Eighth & I.

A

  • about face — movement where a person or group turns and faces the opposite direction; close order drill movement to turn about in a precise manner.
  • above my/your pay grade — expression denying responsibility or authority (indicating that the issue should be brought to higher-ranking officials).
  • acting jack — assistant drill instructor, or an acting Corporal.
  • callsign actualvoice procedure term for the commander of the preceding call signed unit.

  • AHAAmmunition Holding Area, where ammo is stored and issued. See also ASP.
  • ahoy — traditional nautical greeting, used for hailing other boats; originally a Viking battle cry.
  • airdale — person who works in aviation.
  • Air Force salute — to say, "I know" by a shrug.

  • ALICEAll-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment, an older form of combat gear still in occasional use in some Marine activities, replaced by MOLLE and ILBE.
  • all hands — entire ship's company or unit personnel, including all officers and enlisted personnel.
  • alphas or class AsService Alpha uniform from the NATO phonetic alphabet for the letter A.
  • amtrac or amtrackportmanteau for amphibious tractor; not to be confused with the railroad company Amtrak.
  • ANGLICOAir Naval Gunfire Liaison Company.
  • ant hill — combat outpost with a large number of radio antennae visible.
  • AOArea of Operations, or the geographical region that falls under the responsibility of a unit to control and carry out a mission.
  • APC — large, white tablet formerly issued for minor discomfort, that was commonly (albeit mistakenly) called an "all-purpose capsule," in reality named after its ingredients: aspirin, phenacetin, and caffeine; replaced by 800mg ibuprofen today; less commonly refers to an armored personnel carrier, primarily an Army term.
  • ARMY — Aren't Ready for Marine's Yet/Aren't Really Men Yet, pejorative backronym used by other branches.
  • ashore — on the shore, as opposed to aboard ship; any place off a Marine Corps or government reservation.
  • Asiatic — mildly deranged or eccentric as a result of too much foreign duty, or one who has missed too many boats.
  • ASPAmmunition Supply Point, where ammo is stored and issued. See also AHA.
  • ass pack — small pack worn around the belt above the buttocks, similar to Fanny pack. See also butt pack.
  • as you were — order to disregard the immediately preceding order, often in response to a call to "attention on deck" or when the orders issued were mistaken.
  • ate up — person unaware of what's going on; one who is always lazy, in disarray, and unsatisfactory.
  • aviation units — See also active squadrons, inactive squadrons, & aviation support units
    • HMX - Marine Helicopter Squadron
    • HMH - Marine Heavy Helicoper Squadron
    • HML - Marine Light Helicopter Squadrons
    • HMLA - Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron
    • HMLAT - Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron
    • HMM - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron
    • HMT - Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron
    • HMMT - Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron
    • LAAD Bn - Low-altitude Air Defense Battalion
    • MACS - Marine Air Control Squadron
    • MASS - Marine Air support squadron
    • MALS - Marine Aviation Logisitics Squadron
    • MOTS - Marine Operational Training Squadrons
    • MTACS - Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron
    • MWSS - Marine Wing Support Squadron
    • MWCS - Marine Wing Communications Squadron
    • MWHS - Marine Wing Headquarters squadron
    • VMAQ - Marine Electronic Warfare Squadron
    • VMA - Marine Attack Squadron
    • VMAT - Marine Attack Training Squadron
    • VMB - Marine Bombing Squadrons
    • VMC - Marine Composite Squadrons
    • VMCJ - Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadrons
    • VMD - Marine Photographic Squadrons
    • VMF - Marine Fighter Squadron
    • VMF(N) - Marine Night Fighter Squadrons
    • VMFA - Marine Fighter Attack Squadron
    • VMFA(AW) - Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron
    • VMFAT - Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron
    • VMFP - Marine Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
    • VMGR - Marine Aerial Refueler/Transport Squadron
    • VMGRT - Marine Aerial Refueler/Transport Training Squadron
    • VMJ - Marine Reconnaissance Squadron / Marine Target Towing Detachments
    • VML - Marine Glider Squadron
    • VMM - Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron
    • VMMT - Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron
    • VMO - Marine Observation Squadron
    • VMP - Marine Patrol Squadron
    • VMR - Marine Transport Squadrons
    • VMS - Marine Scouting Squadrons
    • VMSB - Marine Scout Bombing Squadrons
    • VMTB - Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadrons
    • VMTD - Marine Target Towing Detachments
    • VMU - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron
    • VMX - Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron
    • ZMQ - Marine Barrage Balloon Squadrons
  • 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"; supposedly a corruption of the words "yea, yea," a claim advanced that Cockney accents changed the "yea" to "yi", and from there to "aye".

B

  • bag nastyA-ration bagged meal issued to Marines (usually recruits or in the field) that usually contains: a sandwich (ham, turkey, and bologna are common), a hard boiled egg, fruit, and a small bag of potato chips; often served with a beverage such as juice or milk.
  • BAH — Basic Allowance for Housing, a pay addendum that allows a servicemember to maintain housing appropriate for his or her dependents when not living in government quarters.
  • BAMCISmnemonic for the troop leading steps, a tactical decision making process; denotes: Begin the planning, Arrange reconnaissance, Make recon, Complete the planning, Issue order, Supervise.
  • barracks — permanent living quarters, refers to dorm-like structures with individual rooms in modern times rather than the open communal squad bays of the past.
  • barracks cover — fabric-covered frame cap, worn green with the service uniform and white with the dress uniform; traditionally, officers wear this cap with the quatrefoil and gilt devices that increase with rank.
  • barracks queen — woman (servicewoman or civilian) who has had sexual relations with a large number of servicemen in a unit.
  • barracks rat — servicemember who rarely voluntarily leaves his or her living quarters.
  • BAS — Basic Allowance for Subsistance, a pay addendum that allows a servicemember to feed his or her family in lieu of government dining facilities; Battalion Aid Station, a unit's medical post ashore for routine illnesses and injuries. See also sick bay.
  • Battalion Lance Corporal — most senior non-NCO in the unit; the Lance Corporal who, while having a lot of time in grade, is the least likely to be promoted to the rank of Corporal.
  • battle blaze — original name for the 1st & 2nd Marine Division shoulder sleeve insignias designed after the units' service in the Battle of Guadalcanal.
  • battle buddy — sarcastic euphemism deriving from orders for Marines to not go on liberty alone when stationed overseas.
  • battle pintie clasp or tie tack, originally a metal collar bar worn on the shirt collar until the beginning of World War II.
  • battle zero or BZO — settings on the sights of a rifle that allow the shooter to overcome various factors and hit accurately at a given range, used as a default before adjusting for wind or distance; also used as a verb when firing to obtain a BZO by trial and error.

  • BB counter or BB stacker — servicemember whose duties relate to the storage and issue of ordnance.

  • BCGs or BCsBirth Control Glasses or Boot Camp Glasses, unattractive military issue glasses worn at recruit training; so named that the wearer could not influence the opposite sex into sexual relations. See also portholes.
  • bean counter — servicemember more concerned with fiscal policy and accountability than operations; also as a pejorative for any person whose primary duties deal in money and budgeting.
  • beans, bullets and bandages — expression used to refer to those things a logistician must provide his or her unit: rations, ammunition, and medical care.
  • beer garden — area near a barracks 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). See also COB.
  • belay — to cancel an order; to stop; to firmly secure a line.
  • below — down the ladder well; below decks.
  • BEQ — Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, living spaces for single enlisted Marine, usually a barracks.
  • big green weenie — an expression denoting that a Marine has been "fucked over" or cheated by the Marine Corps, usually in relation to an inconvenience or unfair treatment.
  • billet — specific role or job within the unit (for example, the billet of Company First Sergeant is held by the senior enlisted man of the company and acts as the commander's advisor, usually a First Sergeant, but could be a Master Sergeant or Gunnery Sergeant); not to be confused with rank, though some billets have a traditionally-held rank associated.
  • binnacle list — sick list, a list of men excused from duty; traditionally, it was posted on or near the binnacle, a large stand used to house a magnetic compass and fitting.
  • bird — unspecified aircraft.
  • bird, ball, and hook — pejorative for Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.
  • bird farm — pejorative for aircraft carrier.
  • blanket party — assaulting a service member by throwing a blanket over his/her head so he/she can not identify the perpetrators.
  • blood stripe — scarlet trouser stripe worn on the blue dress trousers, awarded to Marine officers and NCOs due to their high fatality rates in the Battle of Chapultepec.
  • bloopergrenade launcher, from the distinctive noise made when firing. See also thump gun.
  • blouse — military dress coat or jacket; or as a verb to tuck one's trousers into boots or otherwise secure excess pants legging.
  • BLT — Battalion Landing Team, the ground combat element of a MEU; not to be confused with a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich.
  • bluesBlue Dress uniform.
  • Bn — abbreviation for battalion.
  • boondocks or boonies — woods or wilds, far-away spaces, or that portion of the country which is inhospitable and fit only for military exercises; derived from the Tagalog "bundok" or mountain jungles of the Philippines.
  • boondockersWorld War I-era boots with high sides.
  • boondoggle — trip on government time and/or expense that serves no purpose other than to entertain the person making it.
  • boot — recruit, or derisive term for a Marine just out of training.

  • boots and utes or boots'n'utes — boots and utility uniform, minus the blouse; sometimes used for physical training or working in hot environments.
  • boot bands or blousing bands — elastic straps or coiled springs used to roll trouser legging under at the boot and simulate tucking into the boot itself; used in blousing boots.
  • BOQ — Bachelor Officer Quarters, housing for single Marine officers.

  • boot camp — recruit training for enlisted Marines at Parris Island, SC and San Diego, CA; while there are several explanations for it being so named, many refer to the fact that recruits wear boots nearly every day of their training.
  • box-kicker — pejorative for servicemember who works in supply, specifically, a warehouse clerk.
  • boxseehospital corpsman, from the Vietnamese word meaning "doctor".
  • brain buckethelmet.
  • brain-housing group — thought processing, used as a parallel to a rifle's trigger housing group.
  • brassbrass uniform items; expended casings from weapons; term for senior officers from the metal of their rank insignia.
  • brat — longtime dependent children.
  • the bricksbarracks.
  • brigprison or place of confinement aboard ship or ashore at a Marine Corps or naval station.
  • brig rat — person who has served much brig time, a habitual offender.
  • brightwork — brass or shiny metal, which Marines must polish.
  • broke-dick — servicemember on light, limited, or no duty status for medical reasons.
  • brown-bagger — a servicemember (usually married) who lives off base with his family, termed because he or she does not eat at the mess hall and must bring his/her meals with him.
  • buddy-fucker or blue falcon — negligent (unintentional) or malicious (intentional) disregard for another servicemember's career, comfort, or time; often for personal gain.
  • bug juiceinsect repellent.
  • bulkhead — wall.
  • bum scoop — bad information.
  • Bumfuck, Egypt — remote or nonexistant location.
  • bus driver — Air Force pilot, so termed for the appearance of early USAF uniforms and the function they serve.
  • butt pack — small pack worn around the belt above the buttocks, similar to Fanny pack. See also ass pack.
  • butts — pit(s) on a shooting range where targets are located. See also pull butts / pits.
  • butter barSecond Lieutenant, so named for the single gold bar rank insignia.
  • by the numbers or Barney-style — to perform an action in sequence and strictly according to regulations; dummy-proof, oversimplified for the benefit of lower-intelligence people.
  • "by your leave, sir/ma'am." — expression used to render respect when overtaking a senior proceeding in the same direction, in conjunction with a salute; traditionally, the senior must offer permission before the junior passes him or her.

C

  • C & S — "Clean & Sober" notation formerly entered on the liberty list beside the names of Marines returning from liberty in that condition.
  • C2Command & Control.
  • C-4 — Composition 4, a commonly used plastic explosive.
  • C4ICommand, Control, Communication, Computers, & Intelligence.
  • CACCommon Access Card, an electronic identification method used to allow a person access to the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet.
  • CACO — Casualty Assistance Counseling Officer, a Marine detailed to help the family of a Marine killed, wounded, or captured in the line of duty.
  • call out — to challenge, often by announcing incriminating information about a person. See also drop a dime.
  • cammiescamouflage utility uniform.
  • campaign cover — official term for the brown campaign hat worn by drill instructors. See also field hat, hat, & smokey bear/brown.
  • cannon cockerartilleryman. See also gun bunny and red leg.
  • Canoe U. — nickname for United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD.
  • Captain's Mastoffice hours afloat. The term "Captain's Mast" is almost universally negative, implying non-judicial punishment. The modern Navy and Marine Corps use the term "Meritorious Mast" to announce any ceremony involving the meritorious award of a higher rank or of a particular recognition or honor.
  • carry on — order to continue after being interrupted.
  • CASClose Air Support, aircraft fire on ground troops in support of nearby friendly troops.
  • Casual Company or CasCo — a holding unit/formation of Marines awaiting one of the following: discharge from the Corps, training (usually at a formal school), or deployment to a unit.
  • catwalk — walkway constructed over or around obstructions on a ship or building.
  • CAXCombined Arms eXercise.
  • CBRNChemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear. See also NBC.
  • CCUCorrectional Custody Unit, a hard-labor and heavy discipline unit overseen by MPs or Navy Masters-at-Arms to which Marines and Sailors found guilty of minor UCMJ offenses through NJP are sent for up to 30 days in lieu of confinement in the brig.
  • Chair Force — derogatory term for the US Air Force.
  • chairborne — someone who works in an office environment.
  • chalk — squad of servicemembers in an aircraft that will or have been deployed to the ground (rappelling or parachuting).

  • charlies or chucks — The service "C" uniform, consisting of the short-sleeve khaki shirt and green trousers.
  • chaser — contraction of prisoner-chaser, an escort for a prisoner or detail of prisoners.
  • check fire — order to stop firing due to a safety condition, possible error or mistarget.

  • chevron — symbols of enlisted ranks above private, usually not acceptably called "stripes" unless describing the rank insignia itself.
  • ChiefChief Petty Officer; it is best and respectful to address Senior Chief Petty Officers and Master Chief Petty Officers as "Senior Chief" and "Master Chief".
  • Chinese field day — a form of field day where every item from a room is removed for cleaning; when tending to last much longer than necessary, it is used as a punishment, typically for unsatisfactory performance in routine field day.
  • chitvoucher, receipt, letter, or note, entitling the bearer to special treatment, such as medical restrictions from duty; derived from Hindi word for "letter", "chitti".
  • chow — food.
  • chow down — to eat.
  • chow hallcafeteria. See also mess hall.
  • chowhound — person who eats a great deal, or expends much effort and anticipation in daily meals.
  • CIF — Consolidated Issue Facility, a place on a station where all personal equipment is stored and issued, often contracted to civilians.
  • CINC — Commander IN Chief, often of a Unified Combatant Command.
  • Cinderella libertyliberty expiring at midnight.
  • circular file — office wastebasket.
  • civ divcivillian life after leaving service.
  • civvies — civilian clothing.
  • CLP — a teflon-based cleaning and lubricating fluid used for maintaining small arms, stands for "Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative".
  • clusterfuck — chaotic and messy situation; multiple mistakes or problems happening in rapid succession. See also goat rope.
  • CMC — acronym for Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • CNN effect — fascination or disruption created by extensive, live television presence in a combat zone.
  • COB — Close Of Business, the end of working hours; or Close Order Battle, a synonym for CQB. See also beer-thirty.
  • Colonel — proper means of addressing lieutenant colonels and colonels.
  • CommO — Communications Officer (S-6).
  • comrats or comm-rats — COMmuted RATions, an extra pay for married personnel to replace the loss of mess hall privileges.
  • CONUSCONtinental United States (48 states excluding Alaska and Hawaii), as opposed to OCONUS.
  • corfams or corframs — uniform dress shoes made from poromeric imitation leather.
  • corpsman — Navy hospital corpsman attached to a Marine unit; also known as "doc"; inappropriate to address as "medic" or "aid man".
  • cover — headgear; to align to the person in front of you in formation (regarding close order drill).
  • cover and alignment — when in a formation, this refers to the proper distance between those next to, in front of, and behind a person; to seek the proper interval.
  • covered and uncovered — when wearing and not wearing covers.
  • CPcommand post.
  • CPX — Command Post eXercise, or a test of command and control capabilities.
  • CQB or CQCClose Quarters Battle/Combat, combat within a confined space, such as urban warfare. See also MOUT.
  • crew-served — short for crew-served weapon; also large and very powerful, based on a crew-served weapon being such.
  • cruise — deployment aboard ship; or enlistment period, inappropriately called a stint.
  • crunchyarmored term for unmounted infantry.
  • CS — tear gas or 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, a white solid powder commonly used for NBC training.
  • cumshaw — something extra or free; Pidgin English expression using the Chinese word for "grateful", "kamsia" and "thanks" "sia" (meaning thanks).

D

  • D & D — Drunk and Disorderly, an entry formerly made on the liberty list beside the name of any Marine returning from liberty in that condition.
  • DD-214 — discharge papers, from the form number.
  • dai jobuJapanese for OK.
  • daily 7 or daily 16stretches and exercises used as a warmup for other, more strenuous pyhsical training.
  • dead horse — to draw advance pay out of the normal pay cycle, the Marine is then obligated to repay the debt at the government's convenience.
  • death by PowerPoint — overly long and boring brief, from the tendency of briefers to over-use the presentation software.
  • deck — floor or surface of the earth; to punch or knock down with one blow.
  • deep six — to dispose of by throwing overboard ship.
  • defecation hits the oscillation — polite version of the expression "shit hits the fan", meaning a deranged or impossible situation; so named because feces striking a spinning fan would create a large mess.
  • detachment — a portion of a unit sent independantly of its parent organization, usually in support of a larger headquarters; or a small stand alone unit isolated geographically from its parent command.
  • deuce — reference to the number two in various unit or equipment names.
  • deuce and a halfM35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck.
  • deuce gear — see 782 gear, from the last digit in that term.

  • 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 dogging — correcting another Marine's minor deficiency, often in public with implied humiliation.
  • devil pup — nickname for a Marine's child(ren); or a patronizeing nickname for a junior Marine

  • DIDrill Instructor, inappropriate to use the Army term "drill sergeant".
  • DI hut or duty hut — office for drill instructors in a platoon's squad bay, doubles as sleeping quarters for the drill instructor on duty. See also house mouse.
  • dickskinner or dickbeater — human hand.
  • diddy bop — poor performance in close order drill, or marching in a manner that does not present a crisp military appearance.
  • DIET — Deep Infiltration and Extraction Team, to "leap frog" across great distances by utilizing helicopters as ground refueling points to perform special missions; later known as FARP.
  • digis or diggis — digital camouflage such as MARPAT; also refers to the digital-patterned MCCUU.
  • Disneyland EastHeadquarters, U.S. Marine Corps at Arlington, Virginia.
  • Doc — Navy hospital corpsman attached to the Marines, can be combined with "devil dog" to become "devil doc".
  • DoD or DODDepartment of Defense.
  • dog — small metal fitting used to secure watertight doors, hatches, covers, scuttles, etc; also, to close/secure such door/hatch; also, slang for Marine, from the term Devil Dog.
  • dog and pony show — any display, demonstration, or appearance by Marines at the request of seniors for the pleasure of someone else, such as a ceremony or parade; also, pejorative for the requirement for over-perfection of such a venue.
  • doggie — enlisted member of the United States Army, from the diminutive "dog-face".
  • DoN or DONDepartment of the Navy.
  • donkey dick — slang for a virtually any piece of equipment which has a generally cylindrical shape, roughly one foot in length, with no or an unknown official name.
  • dope — information, or sight settings and/or wind corrections for a rifle under given conditions.
  • down-range — dangerous area, from the portion of a shooting range that receives impacts; also the execution of a plan.
  • DPICMDual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, a specialized artillery round that releases sub-munitions.
  • drop a dime — to reveal incriminating information about a person. See also call out.
  • dry fire — practice firing of a weapon without using ammunition in order to refine body position and other shooting fundamentals.
  • DTG — Date-Time Group, a numeric code denoting the time and date of a message.
  • dummy cordlanyard or tether used to secure a piece of equipment to an anchor to prevent losing it.
  • duty or duty NCO — sentry responsible for patrol and security of a specific area (usually a barracks and/or working space in garrison). See also fire watch & OOD

E

  • EAS — End of Active Service, the date of discharge from active duty.
  • EGAEagle, Globe, and Anchor, the emblem of the Marine Corps.
  • eightball — worthless, troublesome individual.
  • Eighth & IMarine Barracks, Washington, D.C., located at 8th and I streets, S.E.; more properly written as "See also 8th & I".
  • EM — Enlisted Marine/Man, very inappropriate to use today.
  • elephant hatpith helmet issued in 1940 and worn by rifle range coaches today
  • embedembedded journalist assigned a slot within a combat unit.
  • Ensign — colors, national flag; also the most junior commissioned officer rank in the US Navy.
  • EODExplosive Ordnance Disposal, responsible for the safe handling, deactivation, and removal of unexploded ordnance, the military version of a bomb squad.
  • EPD — Extra Punitive Duties, punishment assigned where the individual is required to perform cleaning duties after working hours (on his or her liberty time).
  • EPW — Enemy Prisoner of War.

F

  • FAP — Fleet Assistance Program, a program designed to assign Marines to extra duties outside of his or her normal chain of command.
  • FARP — Forward Area Refueling/Rearming Point or Forward Arming Refueling Point, a space on the battlefield designated for the re-arming and re-fueling of aircraft.
  • fart sacksleeping bag; linen a mattress is inserted into.
  • fast-mover — fast-moving fixed-wing aircraft; term popular during the Vietnam War but fallen into disuse as jets replaced propeller as the dominant aircraft.
  • fat-body — overweight recruit or servicemember.
  • feather merchant — Marine of slight build, lightweight.
  • FEBA — Forward Edge of the Battle Area, the line of departure where a unit enters enemy territory.
  • Fiddler's Green — imaginary afterlife; paradise.
  • field day — day or portion of day set aside for general cleanup or police of an organization's area or barracks rooms; also as a verb for the act of conducting a field day.
  • field expediencyimprovisation, to make due to with what's is available.
  • field hatcampaign cover, a broad-brimmed felt hat, originally with one straight crease down the middle, then with a Montana peak, worn on expeditionary missions from 1912 to 1942, and then again authorized in 1961 for wear at recruit depots by drill instructors and rifle ranges by marksmanship instructors. See also campaign cover, hat, & smokey bear/brown.
  • field meet — organized sporting competition, often involving athletics and/or soldierly skills.
  • field music — drummer, trumpeter, bugler, fifer; mostly an antiquated term.
  • field scarf — khaki uniform necktie.
  • field-strip — to disassemble a piece of ordnance or weapon to the major part groups for routine cleaning or lubricating; to strip cigarette butts to their filters before throwing away.
  • fifty-cal or fitty-calM2 Browning machine gun, from its .50 caliber ammunition. See also Ma Deuce.
  • fighting hole — a defensive position dug into the ground; can be dug for one Marine, a pair, or a weapon crew; once known as a "foxhole".
  • file 13 — paper shredder.
  • final protective line — the perimeter at which the enemy has begun to overrun friendly troops, signals the commencement of final protective fire in desperate self-defense.
  • finding — significant discrepancy found during an inspection.
  • fire for effect — indicates that the adjustment/ranging of indirect fire is satisfactory and the actual effecting rounds should be fired; also a euphemism for the execution of a plan.
  • fire watch — sentry on duty specifically guarding a person, place, object, or area in a non-combat area (such as a barracks); considered under arms but usually unarmed. See also duty & OOD.
  • fire watch medal — pejorative for National Defense Service Medal, so named because even recruits rate it despite firewatch being their most important duty.
  • first shirtcompany 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.
  • float — deployment aboard ship.
  • FMF or fleetFleet Marine Force, the operational forces of the Corps, as opposed to reserve or supporting establishment.
  • FNG — Fucking New Guy, derogatory term for a Marine recently graduated recruit training and new to a unit.
  • FOForward Observer, a person within sight of a target who calls indirect fire or Close Air Support onto it.
  • FODForeign Object Damage, also refers to an object or debris that causes FOD to an aircraft.
  • FOD walk — organized effort to find and remove potentially damaging objects from a flight area.
  • fore-and-aft cap — soft green garrison cap worn with the service uniform. See also piss cover/cutter.
  • form ID-10T or ID-ten-tango form — prank fool's errand where an unsuspecting Marine is asked to find the fake form, not knowing it is an orthograph for "idiot".
  • Fortitudine — former motto of the Corps in the 19th century (replaced by Semper Fidelis), from the Latin word for "fortitude".
  • four-deuce — 4.2 in. (107-mm) mortar.
  • foxhole — fighting hole as termed by the Army and Marines of the past, no longer appropriate for Marine use.
  • FRAGO — FRAGmentary Order, an addendum to published operational orders.
  • frock — to be authorized to wear the next higher grade before promotion, confers authority but not pay grade.
  • FUBAR — Fucked/Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition/Repair. See also SNAFU.
  • full-birdColonel, as opposed to a half-bird, light-colonel, or short-bird / short colonel, a Lieutenant Colonel; so named because his or her rank insignia is a silver eagle.

G

  • 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.
  • galley — kitchen aboard ship.
  • gangway — ship's passageway; also used to order juniors to give way to seniors in passageways, and particularly when going up and down ladders.
  • garrison — in addition to the traditional meaning, an adjective referring to not being deployed or deployable, such as buildings at a unit's home base.
  • garrison cap or garrison cover — soft green folded cap worn with the service uniform. See also fore-and-aft cap and piss cover/cutter.
  • gear — property or equipment; usually referring to an individual's combat equipment.
  • gear adrift — gear found left lying around, from the saying "gear adrift, must be a gift!".
  • geedunk — candy and other sweets. See also pogey bait.
  • General — proper way of addressing a Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, or General.
  • general mess — enlisted mess.
  • general orders — list of 11 General Orders for Sentries detailing rules for guard or sentry duty.
  • gerbil launcherM203 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.
  • GI — Government Issue; formerly a term for a servicemember, but now describes being squared-away or the government's idea of an ideal servicemember.
  • GI can — garbage can, also known as circular file.
  • GI house — place where garbage is stored until it is hauled away.
  • GitmoU.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • gizmo — miscellaneous, nondescript, unidentified gadget or tool.
  • go-fastersrunning shoes or sneakers, named so because they help a person run faster than boots.
  • goat rope — chaotic and messy situation. See also cluster fuck.
  • gomer or GOMER — antiquated slang for a stupid person, from the Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. TV series, or as a backronym for "Get Out of My Emergency Room" used by corpsmen to refer to malingerers who faked illness to avoid duties.
  • good cookieGood Conduct Medal.
  • good to go — expression denoting that difficulties will be overcome.
  • Gore-Tex — All Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS), a cold/wet weather protective parka and trousers, based on the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System, usually in reference to the parka; from the fabric it is made from.
  • gouge — information or news. See also word.
  • gourd or grape — pejorative for human head.
  • GOV or govvie — Government Owned Vehicle, as opposed to POV.
  • grab-ass — horseplay, loafing, lounging.
  • greensservice uniforms and their color.

  • grid squares — marked reference lines on a map; often used as a prank fool's errand where an unsuspecting Marine is asked to find a box of them when they don't physically exist.
  • grinderparade ground or deck used primarily for drill and/or formations.
  • ground guide — person who walks in front of a vehicle in order to detect and avoid obstacles and guide the driver to the proper spot.
  • grunt or ground pounderinfantryman, formerly a pejorative that has taken more neutral tones.
  • GT score — intellience, from the General Technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and the minimum scores that many Military Occupational Specialties require to qualify.
  • guide — unit guidon-bearer; in recruit training, also the senior recruit and responsible for the actions of all recruits in a platoon.
  • gun bunnyartilleryman, so named for the hearing loss associated with working around cannons. See also cannon cocker and red leg.
  • Gung ho — Chinese phrase meaning to "work together," it became the battle cry of the Marine Raiders.
  • gunner — abbreviation of Marine Gunner, the title for line warrant officers, designated as experts in various combat arms and tactics, signified by a bursting bomb designation; used informally to refer to the Officer In Charge if he or she is of warrant officer rank.

  • Gunny — nickname for Gunnery Sergeant, improper to call a Master Gunnery Sergeant this.
  • Gunny rolls — poorly-rolled sleeves on the MCCUU, so named from the tendency for some older Marines to take a sloppier approach to uniforms.
  • gyreneVietnam-era nickname for Marine, often thought an insult; combination of the words "GI" and "Marine".

H

  • H&S or Hide & SlideHeadquarters & Service/Supply Company, much like a Headquarters Battalion.
  • hackarrest.
  • hajjiArab or Middle Eastern person or object, from the Arabic term for one who has completed a pilgrimage to Mecca, or "hajj"
  • half-birdLieutenant Colonel, as opposed to a full-bird. See also short colonel.
  • half-mast — position of the ensign when hoisted halfway, usually done in respect to a deceased person; also called "half-staff" amongst non-naval forces.
  • hard charger — term of endearment from a senior to a junior Marine when he or she completes a difficult task, so named for charging through the assignment.
  • hashmarkservice stripe worn on the uniform sleeve by enlisted men and women for completion of four years of honorable service in any of the U.S. Armed Services and Reserves.
  • hatdrill instructor, so named for the distinctive campaign hat they wear; usually reserved for other or former drill instructor use. See also campaign cover, field hat, & smokey bear/brown.
  • hatch — door; more specifically, the watertight cover over an opening between compartments or that leads to the ladder wells between decks of a ship.
  • HBTHerringBone Twill; the cotton material of Marine utilities from 1941 to the late 1950s.
  • HDR — Humanitarian Daily Ration, a variation of the MRE used to feed a single malnourished person for one day with 2,300 calories.
  • HEHigh Explosive, used to describe various kinds of ordnance.

  • headbathroom 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.
  • head shedcommand post or other headquarters area where senior Marines gather.
  • headgear — hats, helmets, caps, etc.
  • HEATHigh-Explosive AntiTank, type of tank round.
  • heavy hat — junior drill instructor who performs more discipline and punishment tasks than his peers.

  • hell hole — hatch mounted in the deck of many helicopters (such as the CH-53E Super Stallion) for rappeling.
  • heloHelicopter
  • HEDP — High-Explosive Dual Purpose, type of armor piercing ammunition.
  • high and right — losing one's temper or rationality; from the common error of a poor shooter to jerk the trigger and impact the upper right side of a target.
  • high and tight — nickname for a common variant of the buzz cut, where the hair is clipped very close.
  • high-speed — new, interesting, or cool; often used to sarcastically denote that the subject looks good, but performance is dubious.
  • hillbilly armorimprovised vehicle armor.
  • HIMARSHigh Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
  • HMMWV or humveeHigh-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, common utility truck.
  • Hollywood Marine — Marine graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, stemming from rivalry between the two recruit depots.
  • homeslice — person, often a sarcastic overture to civilians from a drill instructor; from the terms homie and homeboy.
  • homesteading — remaining at one duty station for an extended tour or consecutive tours.
  • honcho or head honcho — person in charge, from the Japanese word for "boss', "hanchō"; also a nickname for Okinawan taxi drivers.
  • hooch or hootch — tent, hut, or otherwise temporary or ramshackle dwelling.
  • house mouse — recruit tasked with cleaning and performing domestic chores for Drill Instructor-only areas. See also DI hut.
  • housewifegirlfriend; also sewing kit.
  • HQMCHeadquarters Marine Corps.
  • hump#Verb — carry or lift a load, originally an Australian term meaning "to carry one's swag,"; also a forced march carrying full equipment loads.
  • hurry up and wait — expression denoting inefficient time management or planning, often when a senior rushes a unit into a situation too fast that subsequently makes them wait.
  • huss — to give a helping hand, so named because the H-34 Choctaw helicopter's utility configuration was designated as the "HUS-1 Seahorse," leading to Vietnam-era Marines that needed a medical evacuation helicopter to ask for or to be "cut a huss".

I

  • I & I — Inspector-Instructor, an active duty Marine assigned to supervise the training of a reserve unit.
  • IAW — In Accordance With, term often used to denote compliance with published orders or procedures.
  • IEDImprovised Explosive Device, bomb constructed, set, and detonated in unconventional warfare; the acronym can be modified to denote a specific type of IED (such as VBIED, a Vehicle Borne IED).
  • IGInspector General.
  • IG Inspection — official inspection of a command or unit by the IG or his representatives.
  • ILBEImproved Load Bearing Equipment, the newest iteration of personal combat gear, utilizes the PALS, replaced MOLLE.
  • in country — phrase referring to being within a war zone.
  • incentive training or IT — physical training used as a punishment, especially in recruit training. See also quarterdecking.
  • inkstickpen
  • Irish pennant or IP — loose thread, string, or strap on a uniform or equipment that detracts from a perfect appearance.
  • Iron Mike — nickname bestowed on Marines who score a perfect 300 points on the Physical Fitness Test; also used as a nickname for a company or battery named "M or "Mike" in NATO phonetic alphabet, as well as various memorial statues: Parris Island, SC, Quantico, VA, and Belleau, France.
  • IRRIndividual Ready Reserve, branch of the reserve that most former servicemembers fall under upon the end of active service, may be called to involuntarily return to active status.

J

K

L

  • ladder wellstairway or ladder connecting different decks of a ship, so named because naval stairs tend to be so steep as to almost be vertical.
  • laminated — perceived semi-permanent state of issue for a normally temporary status.
  • lance coolie or lance criminal — derogatory terms for Lance Corporal.
  • landing gear — crossed rifles exposed on the rank insignia of Lance Corporals, Corporals, and Sergeants.

  • LBV — Load Bearing Vest, personal equipment used to keep the most commonly used items within easy reach utilizing the PALS, usually a component of MOLLE or ILBE.
  • leadstickpencil.

  • leatherneck — antiquated 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. Also, Leatherneck Magazine.
  • leg — servicemember who does not rate to wear the Parachutist Insignia, borrowed from the Army Airborne.
  • leggings — leg coverings made of canvas with eyelets and laces or buckles to secure the trouser legs over shoes.
  • liberty — authorized free time ashore or off station, not counted as leave, known in the Army as a "pass".
  • liberty list — list containing the names of Marines entitled to liberty and those employed by the guard during the liberty period (and thus not entitled to leave post).
  • lifer — career servicemember, as opposed to one who serves for a single enlistment.
  • lifertoolmulti-tool, so named because a lifer would inevitably need a tool of such utility.
  • Lima Charlie or lickin' chicken — Loud and Clear, an expression meaning that the communication has been received and understood; originally exclusive to radio traffic.
  • line company — lettered Marine companies or the aviation term for ground units, originally, an infantry company.
  • lollygag — dawdle or fool about.
  • long handles — long sleeved/legged undershirt/shorts.
  • Long War — term for the War on Terrorism favored by senior military leaders.
  • 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.
  • LWHLightWeight Helmet.
  • LZLanding Zone, a clearing designated as the place where a helicopter (or other VTOL aircraft) can land.

M

  • M — a prefix to the model number of a specific nomenclature of equipment, generally considered to denote "model" or "mark".
  • Ma Deuce — term of endearment for the M2 Browning machine gun. See also fifty-cal.
  • ma'am — proper method of addressing female officers in particular and all women in general.
  • Mac Marine — nickname for Marine, popular during World War II, also the career planner popular on posters of the 1960s.
  • Maggie's drawers — red flag attached to a pole, used to signal a miss on the rifle range, replaced by a red disk.
  • MAGTFMarine Air-Ground Task Force.

  • Major — a Captain in command of a ship's Marine detachment, so titled because a ship may have only one Captain, the commanding officer.
  • 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 — Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Non-Essential or My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment, pejorative backronyms used by other branches.
  • Marine — the following nicknames are usually acceptable: leatherneck, devil dog, sea soldier, warrior, hardcharger, motivator; the following are acceptable from other Marines: jarhead, gyrene; the following are insults: soldier, seabag.
  • Marine houseSecurity Guard term for living quarters for Marines, on or off embassy grounds.

N

O

  • OCONUS — Outside of CONtinental United States, as opposed to CONUS.
  • O-courseobstacle course.
  • OCSOfficer Candidate School, recruit training for officers.
  • O-dark thirty — very early hours before dawn. See also military time. The custom of saying "oh" instead of zero has diminished, but remains in this expression.
  • office hours — administrative ceremony where legal, disciplinary, and other matters (such as praise, special requests, etc.) are attended, designed to dramatize praise and admonition, in a dignified, disciplined manner, out of the ordinary routine. Known as Captain's Mast afloat. An award given during a positive office hours or Mast is known as a Meritorious Mast, a negative office hours with punishment awarded is an example of Nonjudicial punishment.
  • officers' club or officers' mess or O-Club — recreation facility for officers that often includes a bar, restaurant, game room, and objects of unit significance, such as a mascot or war trophy; similar to a gentlemen's club.
  • officers' country — living spaces for officers aboard ship, or portion of post or station allocated for the exclusive use of officers.
  • OFP — Own Fucking Program, not complying perfectly or synchronized with orders assigned to a group.
  • OIC — Officer In Charge, a commissioned officer responsible for a group of Marines, but without the authority of a commanding officer. See also SNCOIC & NCOIC.
  • OJT — On-the-Job Training, without a formal school or period of instruction.
  • OkiOkinawa.
  • old Asia hand — person with more than one tour in Asia.
  • Old Man — very informal nickname for the commanding officer, considered an inappropriate term of endearment for use by a junior, thus used in reference but never in address.
  • OMPF — Official Military Personnel File, a record of all awards, punishments, training, and other records compiled by Headquarters Marine Corps.
  • oorah or ooh rah or Urah — 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.
  • OPObservation Post, a position used for reconnaissance; also, the post newspaper of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
  • operational tempo or optempo — the pace or speed of operations for a unit or individual.

  • OPSECOperation(s/al) Security, counterintelligence efforts to keep generally unclassified but sensitive information (such as troop movements and deployments) from enemies.
  • OPTEMPO — OPerational TEMPO, or the pace of operations and activities for a given unit.
  • OQROfficer Qualification Record, a service record for officers, much like an enlisted Marine's SRB.
  • OOB — Out Of Bounds, or straying into an area restricted from use by normal traffic, prohibited to Marines, or too far from base for a given liberty period.
  • OOD — Officer Of the Deck, or the senior Marine responsible for the patrol and security of a unit's garrison working spaces and sleeping quarters after working hours, usually responsible for subordinate sentries and acts as a guard commander. See also duty & firewatch
  • 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. See also NATO phonetic alphabet

  • OTVOuter Tactical Vest, militarized version of Interceptor body armor, a common type of ballistic vest; being replaced by the MTV.
  • out-fucking-standing — vulgarity denoting how one of a group does not match the others.
  • outside — civilian life after discharge. See also real world.
  • overheadceiling.
  • over the hill — excessively old; or to the desert.

P

  • padrechaplain, usually Catholic, from the Spanish and Italian terms for "father".
  • PALSPouch Attachment Ladder System, a webbing system used to attach combat accessories to MOLLE and ILBE equipment.
  • Page 11 — NAVMC 118(11), a page of a Marine's Service Record Book or Officer Qualification Record where administrative remarks are made concerning a Marine's performance and conduct, and which may contain negative recommendations regarding promotion or re-enlistment; while not a punishment itself or inherently negative, it is part of a Marine's permanent service record and used as a basis for administrative decisions regarding a Marine's career; the term commonly refers to an entry itself made in this section.
  • parade ground/field/deck — area set aside for the conduct of parades, drill, and ceremonies, often paved or well-maintained lawn. See also grinder.
  • Paradise Island — Nickname for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
  • passageway — corridor or hallway.
  • passed over — having failed selection for the next higher rank (for SNCOs and officers).
  • pay gradeDOD system of designating a U.S. serviceperson's pay (E-1 through E-9, WO-1 through CW-5, and O-1 through O-10), not to be confused with rank (though the two usually correspond) or billet.
  • PCP — Physical Conditioning Program, exercise regimen for Marines failing to meet the minimum physical requirements; also Physical Conditioning Platoon, for the unit where a physically unfit recruit is sent prior to recruit training, nicknamed Pork Chop Platoon.
  • PCS — Permanent Change of Station, transfer to another post, station, base, or installation.
  • PFCPrivate First Class.
  • PFTPhysical Fitness Test, a semiannual test measuring strength, agility, and endurance by scoring performance in pull-ups (flexed-arm hang for females), abdominal crunches, and a 3-mile run.
  • phrog — nickname for CH-46 Sea Knight.
  • phone watch — duty where a Marine is responsible for answering phones when others are busy or unavailable (such as lunch hours); also the person filling the duty.
  • PIMarine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

  • poguey or pogey rope — The French Fourragère authorized for wear by members of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments.
  • police — to pick up items (such as litter or expended ammunition casings), to return an area to a natural state.
  • poncho liner — insulating blanket used to warm the individual wearing a rain poncho, often used as a stand-alone blanket.
  • pop smoke — to leave quickly or hastily; from the method of throwing a smoke grenade to mark a landing zone or conceal a retreat.
  • port — naval term for "left"; opposite of starboard.
  • portholesmilitary issue eyeglasses, or the wearer of glasses. See also BCG.
  • pot shack — place where cooking utensils are washed.
  • POV — Privately/Personally Owned Vehicle, as opposed to a GOV.
  • prick — slang for any equipment bearing the "PRC" JETDS designator, usually man-portable radios.
  • property shed — place where organizational property is stored, often a warehouse.
  • PTPhysical Training, physical exercise to build or maintain strength, agility, and flexibility.
  • pucker factor — high level of anxiety experienced by those in tight situations, usually aircrew.
  • pull butts / pits — to mark and score targets on a shooting range from behind a berm. See also butts.
  • PXPost eXchange, a term borrowed from the Army; more properly the Marine Corps Exchange.

Q

  • 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.
  • quarter deck — a location of prominence in a barracks or office; in recruit training, this area by the drill instructor's office is usually off-limits to recruits except during ceremonial discipline; the term comes from the quarter deck of a ship defined as "the part of the upper deck abaft the mainmast, including the poop deck when there is one. Usually reserved for ship's officers, guests, and passengers."
  • quarterdecking — being punished at recruit training by means of repetitive and constant physical exercises, so named because it is usually a recruit's only opportunity to visit the quarter deck. See also incentive training.
  • quarters — housing, whether bachelor (barracks) or family (government-leased apartments or houses); or periodic, muster of a ship's company.
  • quatrefoil — four-pointed embroidered pattern stiched on to the top of a Marine officer's barracks cover, from the tradition of wearing it to be identified as friendly to Marine sharpshooters during boarding actions in the era of wooden sailing ships.

R

  • rotate — return home at the end of a deployment.

  • RPGRocket-Propelled Grenade, a common explosive weapon used by many militaries and insurgent groups; the most common of which is the RPG-7.
  • ROERules Of Engagement, the restrictions on when and how a servicemember may use force on the enemy and other forces.
  • running lights — navigational night lights on a ship; Marine's eyes.

S

  • SACOSubstance Abuse Control Officer, a Marine responsible for the initial screening and evaluation of a Marine or sailor with alcoholism or illegal drug use issues to the proper medical facilities for rehabilitation & treatment.
  • S/F — abbreviation for Semper Fidelis when used as an end greeting in written communication.
  • 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 or tossed salad or fruit saladribbons and medals worn on a uniform, from the colorful appearance of wearing many awards.
  • salt — old naval term for an experienced or well-worn person or object, from the salt that would accumulate form salt water. Can also be used as an adjective, to call someone or something salty.
  • salty languageprofanity.
  • SALUTEmnemonic device for a situation report, denotes: Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, and Equipment.
  • sandboxIraq or other desert area.
  • say again — request to repeat a statement, question, or order, especially over a radio; the word "repeat" is never used, as it calls for a preceding fire mission to be fired again.
  • sayonara — Japanese for "goodbye".
  • schmuckatelli — generic, unnamed junior Marine, from the Yiddish pejorative schmuck.
  • SCIF — Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a place classified materials are processed and/or stored.
  • scrambled eggs — gold oak leaf embroidery found on an officer's barracks cap visor and mess dress cuffs.
  • scrounge — appropriate, borrow, or acquire (possibly by doubtful means); derived from "scringe," meaning to search about, rummage, or pilfer.
  • scullery — place where dishes are washed.
  • scuttlebuttgossip; or a drinking fountain, from "butt" (cask) and "scuttle" (make a hole in a ship's side, causing it to sink), a cask that had an opening fitted with a spigot used to contain fresh water for drinking purposes. Because people gathered around a scuttlebutt, gossip, rumors, and sea stories are also known as scuttlebutt.

  • seabag or sea bagduffel bag used to carry one's personal belongings.
  • seabag drag — manually carrying personal items (often within seabags) to new or temporary living quarters.
  • sea lawyer — person who dispenses legal advice without any sort of formal training or schooling, inappropriately called a "barracks lawyer".
  • sea story — story, tale, or yarn calculated to impress others, often contains exaggeration or even outright lies.
  • second hat — second-most senior drill instructor in a platoon.
  • secret squirrelintelligence personnel or activities.
  • secure — stop, cease; or put away and lock.
  • Semper Fi — shortened version of "Semper Fidelis", the motto of the Corps, Latin for "always faithful".
  • semper pie — condition where the mess hall serves similar items repetitively.
  • shit bird — habitually unkempt or undisciplined Marine.
  • shit-brick — useless or ignorant person.
  • shit-hot — sarcastic reference to an overly arrogant person.
  • shitterbathroom, head, or latrine, most often an outdoor portable toilet or outhouse.
  • shooter — person whose primary duty involves marksmanship with a rifle or pistol, such as students at a rifle range or competition team members.
  • shore party — landing support specialists that direct the disposition of troops during an amphibious assualt.
  • short colonel or short-birdLieutenant Colonel, as opposed to Colonel. See also light-colonel and half-bird.
  • short-timer — person nearing the completion of his/her present tour of duty or enlistment.
  • short-timer's disease — apathy to duties and regulations from a person nearing EAS.
  • shove off — to leave the vicinity, from the naval term meaning to guide a ship to sea.
  • shower shoes — pair of rubber sandals issued to recruits to prevent infections from the use of community or shared showers. See also Jesus shoes.
  • sick bayinfirmary or other medical facility aboard ship, can also refer to aid stations ashore. See also BAS.
  • sick call — daily period when routine ailments are treated at sick bay.
  • sick call ranger — person who constantly finds medical reasons to avoid work, may suffer from a factitious disorder such as hypochondriasis, Munchausen syndrome, or malingering.
  • side arms — weapon (usually a pistol) carried by a sentry under arms; also, cream and sugar in coffee.
  • side straddle hopJumping Jack.
  • sight in — aim a weapon at a target using the sights, considered an intention to shoot the target.
  • skate — avoiding work by finding an excuse to be elsewhere or unavailable by doing something easier (but important enough to avoid re-tasking); also used as an adjective to describe such an easier duty.

  • skipper — nickname for captain (whether Marine or Navy rank), derived from the Scandinavian word for ship, "schiffe", and the Dutch word for captain, "schipper". Inappropriate to refer to a commanding officer that is not your own or without permission.

  • skivvies — underwear: skivvie shirt (T-shirt) and skivvie drawers (underwear).
  • skylark — to casually frolic or take excess time to complete a task, from the old naval term to run up and down the rigging of a ship in sport.
  • slide bite — pinching or abrasions of hand due to holding a semi-automatic pistol too closely to a recoiling slide.
  • slop chute — impolite term for restaurant within the PX or beer garden.
  • SMEACmnemonic for the five paragraph order, a method of clearly issuing complex orders; denotes: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration & Logistics, Command & Signal.
  • Smokey Bear or Smokey Brown — brown campaign cover worn by drill instructors, so named because of their similarity to the hat worn by Smokey Bear. See also campaign cover, field hat, & hat.
  • smokin' and jokin' — when a mass of Marines is acting unproductive.
  • SNAFU — Situation Normal, All Fucked Up. See also FUBAR.
  • SNCOIC — Staff Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge, a SNCO responsible for a group of Marines, but without the authority of a commissioned officer; somes also the senior enlisted Marine acting with the officer in charge. See also NCOIC & OIC.
  • snap in — conduct sighting in or aiming exercises with an unloaded weapon.
  • snot lockernose.
  • snow job — misleading or grossly exaggerated report; sales talk.
  • snuffie or snuffy — junior Marine, Lance Corporal and below.
  • SOPStandard Operating Procedure, the routine manner of handling a set situation, can be a standing order.
  • SOS — international distress signal; or Shit On a Shingle, creamed beef on toast.
  • spit and polish — extreme individual or collective military neatness, extreme devotion to the minutiae of traditional military procedures and/or ceremonies; from spit-polishing boots and dress shoes.
  • spit-shinepolish leather footwear (boots and dress shoes), employing spittle to remove excess grease and produce a high polish.
  • splice of the mainbrace — invitation to drink, from the old naval custom of drinking grog after repairing battle-damage to the main braces.
  • spud locker — place where fresh vegetables are stored, after the nickname for potatoes.
  • squadbay — living quarters with open rooms and shared head, as opposed to the more common barracks that offer individual rooms.
  • square(d) away — make neat and regulation appearance, to be in a neat and regulation appearance.
  • squid — pejorative for sailor.
  • SRBService Record Book, an administrative record of an enlisted Marine's personal information, promotions, postings, deployments, punishments, and emergency data; much like an officer's OQR.
  • SSDD — Same Shit, Different Day, euphemism denoting frustration with an unchanging situation or boredom.
  • stacking swivel — oblong-shaped link with an opening screwed to the rifle that allowed other rifles to be hooked and stacked (the M1 Garand was the last service rifle to have a stacking swivel, this function is now held by the weapon's sling); a person's throat.
  • staff NCO or SNCO — Staff NonCommissioned Officer, Marines in the rank of E-6 or above: Staff Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant, Master Sergeant, First Sergeant, Master Gunnery Sergeant and Sergeant Major.
  • stand by — wait, stop and wait.
  • starboard — naval term for "right", opposite of port.
  • STOLShort Take-Off/Landing, type of aircraft that needs only a short runway to become airborne.
  • the suck — miserable situation or place, often used to describe the Marine Corps or a combat zone.
  • survey — medical discharge or to effect discharge/retirement of an individual for medical reasons; dispose of an item of government property by reason of unserviceability.
  • swabmop; also pejorative for sailor, so named because sailors of wooden ships had to swab the decks to keep them from warping.
  • swagger stick — antiquated symbol of authority long out of style.
  • swamp-ass — unpleasant collection of sweat soaking undergarments.
  • swinging dick — vulgarity for male Marine, used to emphasize an order to a whole group instead of individual(s).
  • swoop — make a long trip in a short period of time, usually in reference to returning to post after liberty to avoid an UA status.
  • sympathy chit — voucher sarcastically authorizing the recipient sympathy from others.

T

  • TAD — Temporary Additional Duty, a duty where the Marine or Sailor is detached from his or her unit temporarily and serves elsewhere; comparable to the Army term TDY.
  • The RockOkinawa.
  • thousand-yard stare — unfocused gaze of a battle-weary servicemember.
  • thump gungrenade launcher, from the distinctive noise made when firing. See also blooper.
  • tie-ties — straps or strings used to tie items to another line, such as laundry or rifle targets.
  • tight-jawedangry, so named from the human tendency to clench the jaw when angered.
  • tip of the spear — term for a unit or subunit that enters enemy territory first.
  • 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.
  • topside — ship's upper deck.
  • tore up — broken, messy, unserviceable.
  • TRAM — Tractor, Rubber-tired, Articulated steering, Multi-purpose.
  • T-rat — Tray ration, nickname for Unitized Group Ration, a ration heated and served to a group of servicemembers.
  • trooper — soldier, considered an insult to refer to a Marine unless plural.
  • troops — generic group of servicemembers.
  • trousers — pants.
  • two-block — hoist a flag or pennant to the peak, truck, or yardarm of a staff; or a tie with the knot positioned exactly in the gap of a collar of a buttoned shirt.

U

  • UAUnauthorized Absence, the naval version of the term AWOL.
  • UAVUnmanned Aerial Vehicle.
  • UCMJUniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506, 81st Congress) 1951, the system of military law, both judicial and nonjudicial.
  • UD — Unit Diary, the computerized system that maintains all administrative records for a unit.
  • un-ass or un-fuck — to correct a deficiency, usually on a person.
  • under arms — status of having a weapon, sidearm, "MP" or "SP" brassard, or wearing equipment pertaining to an arm such as a sword sling, pistol belt, or cartridge belt as part of guard duty; Marines under arms do not remove covers indoors.
  • under canvas — living under temporary sheltering, such as a tent.

  • under way — to depart or to start a process for an objective.
  • unqunqualified, usually in reference to training events.
  • unsat — abbreviation of unsatisfactory.
  • 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.
  • USOUnited Service Organizations Inc., private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military worldwide.

V

W

  • WAG — Wild-Ass Guess.
  • walking john — nickname for Marine marching in dress blues uniform appearing on recruiting posters.
  • war belt — web belt.
  • war paintcamouflage face paint.
  • watch — formal tour of duty of prescribed length, usually a guard-related task.
  • water buffalo or water bull — 400-gallon potable water tank, trailer-mounted, towed behind a truck.
  • weekend warriorreservist.
  • wet down — serve drinks in honor of one's promotion to the SNCO ranks, so named for the tradition of wetting the promotion warrant with drinks.
  • whites — Marine Corps or Navy white dress uniforms.
  • WP or Willie PeteWhite phosphorus munition, whether in grenade, mortar, artillery, or aerial bomb form.
  • wilcoVoice procedure term shortened from "Will Comply". See also Roger Wilco.
  • willie peter bag — waterproof bag.
  • wing wiper — aviation person, usually a maintenance person and not a pilot.
  • winger — aviation Marine.
  • the wire — defensive perimeter of a firm base, crossing it denotes the end of relative safety.
  • wooly pully or itchy bitchy — green wool sweater worn with the service uniform (or blue with the dress uniform) over the khaki shirt.
  • word — general term for instructions, orders, and information that is required for all members of a unit to know; or the act of passing information to a collected group of servicemembers. See also gouge.
  • WM — Woman Marine, usually considered an offensive term.
  • work your bolt — resort to special measures, either by energy or guile, in order to attain a particular end; from the action of racking a rifle's bolt to clear a stoppage.

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References



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