List of United States Marine Corps acronyms and expressions

List of United States 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 appropriateness (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 phonetic alphabet, or both. Many are or derive from nautical terms and other naval terminology. Most vehicles and aircraft have a formal acronym and/or an informal nickname, those are detailed in their own articles.

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.

Contents: Top   0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z    See also   References 


Marine wearing 782 gear
  • 360 – complete circle on a compass (360°); to put protection all around.
  • 48, 72, & 96 – in hours, the standard holiday periods of two, three, or four days of liberty.
  • 7 Day Store – Convenience store.
  • 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.[3]
  • 8 bells – signal for the end of a four-hour watch, so named for the increase in bell strikes by two at each hour of the watch.[4]


  • above my/your pay grade – expression denying responsibility or authority (indicating that the issue should be brought to higher-ranking officials).[5]
  • acquire – euphemism denoting theft, sometimes jokingly referred to as "tactical".
ALICE equipment
  • AHAAmmunition Holding Area, where ammo is stored and issued.[6][7] See also ASP.
  • ahoy – traditional nautical greeting, used for hailing other boats.[8]
  • Air Force pockets or Army gloves – an individual's hands being inside his or her pockets.
  • all hands – entire ship's company or unit personnel, including all officers and enlisted personnel; also, the official Navy magazine.
  • ant farm or ant hill – combat outpost with a large number of radio antennae visible.
  • 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 800 mg ibuprofen today; less commonly refers to an armored personnel carrier, primarily an Army term.
  • ARMY – Aren't Ready for Marines Yet/Aren't Really Men Yet, pejorative backronym used by other branches.
  • 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, commonly misused as "as I was" when speaking to a superior. There is no "as I was", it is always "as you were".[10][11]
  • ate up – person unaware of what's going on; one who is always lazy, in disarray, and unsatisfactory.[12]
  • aviation units – See also active squadrons, inactive squadrons, & aviation support units
    • HAMS – Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron, also H&MS
    • HMX – Marine Helicopter Squadron
    • HMH – Marine Heavy Helicopter 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
    • MACG – Marine Air Command Group
    • MACS – Marine Air Control Squadron
    • MAMS – Marine Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
    • MASS – Marine Air Support Squadron
    • MALS – Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron
    • MATCS – Marine Air Traffic Control 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"; aye (descended from Middle English yai) dialectical for 'yes',[13] once common in the regions from which the Royal Navy drew its sailors.


bag nasty, breakfast version
  • Back on the block – Behaving informally, like a civilian.
  • 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.[14]
  • BAHBasic 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; formerly known as Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ).
  • BAM – pejorative, Broad Assed Marine, term for women Marines.
  • BAMCISmnemonic for the troop leading steps, a tactical decision making process; denotes: Begin the planning, Arrange reconnaissance, Make reconnaissance, Complete the planning, Issue order, Supervise.[15]
  • barracks queen – woman (servicewoman or civilian) who has had sex with a large number of servicemen in a unit.
  • barracks rat – servicemember who rarely voluntarily leaves his or her living quarters.[16]
  • BAS – Battalion Aid Station, a unit's medical post ashore for routine illnesses and injuries; also Basic Allowance for Subsistence, a pay addendum that allows a servicemember to feed his or her family in lieu of government dining facilities. 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. See also terminal lance.
  • battle buddy – sarcastic euphemism deriving from orders for Marines to not go on liberty alone when stationed overseas.[17]
  • 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 battle sight zero or BZOcalibrated settings on the sights of a weapon that allow the shooter to overcome various factors and hit accurately at a given range, used as a default before adjusting windage or elevation; also used as a verb when firing to triangulate a BZO by trial and error.
  • BB counter or BB stacker – servicemember whose duties relate to the storage, issue, or handling of ordnance.[18][19]
  • 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 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.
  • below – down the ladder well; below decks.
  • BEQ – Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, living spaces for single enlisted Marine, usually a barracks.[21]
  • 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.[22]
  • billet – specific role or job within the unit (for example, the billet of Company First Sergeant is held by the senior enlisted 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.
  • blanket party – group assault on a service member, repeatedly striking him or her, preceded by covering the victim's head by a blanket so he or she cannot identify the perpetrators.
  • blood stripe – scarlet trouser stripe worn on the blue dress trousers, awarded to Marine officers and NCOs due, according to legend,[23] to their high fatality rates in the Battle of Chapultepec. Also a form of hazing where fellow NCO's inflict damage to the outer thighs of a newly promoted Corporal.
  • blouse – military dress coat or jacket; or as a verb to tuck one's trousers into boots or otherwise secure excess pants legging.
  • boondoggle – wasteful project or 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.
The first thing a recruit sees at boot camp
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • BOQ – Bachelor Officer Quarters, housing for single Marine officers.[24][25]
  • box-kicker – pejorative for servicemember who works in supply, specifically, a warehouse clerk.[26]
  • brain-housing group – thought processing, used as a parallel to a rifle's trigger housing group.[28]
  • brain strap elastic strap used for securing eyeglasses during rigorous activities, usually found on BCG's
  • brassbrass uniform items; expended casings from weapons; term for senior officers from the metal of their rank insignia.
  • brat – longtime dependent children.
  • 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.[29]
  • brightwork – brass or shiny metal, which Marines must polish.[30]
  • broke-dick – servicemember on light, limited, or no duty status for medical reasons;[31] also malfunctioning or unserviceable equipment.
  • 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.[32]
  • buddy-fucker or blue falcon – negligent or malicious disregard for another servicemember's career, comfort, or time, often for personal gain.[33]
  • bum scoop – bad information.[36]
  • bus driver – Air Force pilot, so termed for the appearance of early USAF uniforms and the function they serve.
  • busted or busted down – reduced in rank, from the term meaning "caught in the act".
  • butt pack – small waist pack worn around the belt above the buttocks, similar to Fanny pack.[37] See also ass pack.
  • by the numbers or Barney-style – to perform an action in sequence and strictly according to regulations, idiot proof, oversimplified for the benefit of lower-intelligence people.[39]
  • "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.[40]


  • C & S – "Clean & Sober" notation formerly entered on the liberty list beside the names of Marines returning from liberty in that condition.
  • CACO – Casualty Assistance Calls/Counseling Officer, a Marine detailed to help the family of a Marine killed, wounded, or captured in the line of duty.[42][43]
  • call out – to challenge, often by announcing incriminating information about a person.[44] See also drop a dime.
  • 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.[49]
  • carry on – order to continue after being interrupted.
  • CASClose Air Support, aircraft fire on ground troops in support of nearby friendly troops.
  • CASEVACCASualty EVACuation, emergency evacuation of injured personnel from combat zone by any modes of transport available, as opposed to a MEDEVAC carried out by ambulance equipment designed solely for the purpose.[50] See also MEDEVAC.
  • 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.[51]
  • 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.[53][54]
  • chairborne or chairborne ranger – someone who works in an office environment, a play on airborne.[57]
A single chevron
  • charlie-foxtrot – Phonetic alphabet acronym used euphemistically in polite company. See also clusterfuck.
  • charlies or chucks – The service "C" uniform, consisting of the short-sleeve khaki shirt and green trousers.
  • chaser – shortened form of prisoner-chaser or brig chaser, an escort for a prisoner or detail of prisoners.[58]
  • check fire – order to stop firing due to a safety condition, possible error or mistarget.
  • Chesty Puller – used in reference to Marines that have been awarded many ribbons and medals.
  • chevron – symbols of enlisted ranks above private, usually not acceptably called "stripes" unless describing the rank insignia itself.
  • 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.[59]
  • chitvoucher, receipt, letter, or note, entitling the bearer to special treatment, such as medical restrictions from duty; derived from Hindi word for "letter", "chitti".[60]
  • CIF – Consolidated Issue Facility, a place on a station where all personal equipment is stored and issued, often contracted to civilians.[61]
  • CNN effect – fascination or disruption created by extensive, live television presence in a combat zone.[67]
  • 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.[69]
  • covered and uncovered – when wearing and not wearing headgear, respectively.
  • 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.
  • CS – tear gas or 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, a white solid powder commonly used for CBRN defense training.
  • cumshaw – something extra or free, given as a favor or gift; pidgin expression using the Chinese word for "grateful thanks", "kamsia".[70]


  • 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.
  • Dark Green/Light Green – Common reference to a Marine's skin color. Marines are not black or white, the saying goes, only different shades of green.
  • 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.
  • deck – floor or surface of the earth; to punch or knock down with one blow.[35]
  • deep six – to dispose of by throwing overboard ship.
  • detachment – a portion of a unit sent independently 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 gear – see 782 gear, from the last digit in that term.
  • devil dogging – correcting another Marine's minor deficiency, often in public with implied humiliation.[74]
  • devil pup – nickname for a Marine's child(ren); a member of the Young Marines; a patronizing nickname for a junior Marine.
  • 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. One who conducts himself/herself in this manner is labelled a diddy bopper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • donkey dick – Specifically, a jerrycan fuel spout. Alternatively, slang for virtually any piece of equipment which has a generally cylindrical or phallic shape with unknown, or obscure official name.
  • dope – information, or sight settings and/or wind corrections for a rifle under given conditions, possibly from aircraft dope.
  • downrange or down-range – dangerous area, from the portion of a shooting range that receives impacts; also the execution of a plan.
  • drillclose order drill, the procedures and methodology of handling weapons and moving troops about in an orderly fashion, used to indoctrinate recruits in obedience to commands and military appearance.[75][76]
  • 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.
  • dummy cordlanyard or tether used to secure a piece of equipment to an anchor to prevent losing it.
  • duty NCO or duty – sentry responsible for patrol and security of a specific area (usually a barracks and/or working space in garrison). See also fire watch and OOD


  • EAS – End of Active Service, the date of discharge from active duty.
  • eight ball – a Marine who lacks an aggressive spirit.[78]
  • EM – Enlisted Marine/Man, very inappropriate to use today.
  • elephant hatpith helmet first issued in 1940 and worn by rifle range coaches today
  • 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).


  • Fallen Angel – Marine Officer who failed out of flight school and is now in another MOS.
  • FAP – Fleet Assistance Program, a program designed to assign Marines to extra duties outside of his or her normal chain of command.
AH-1W Cobras at a FARP during Op Iraqi Freedom
  • 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.
  • fat-body – overweight recruit or servicemember.
  • field day – day or portion of day set aside for top-to-bottom cleaning of an area; also as a verb for the act of conducting a field day.
  • field expediencyimprovisation, to make do with what's available.
field stripped M16
  • 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.
  • fighting hole – a defensive position dug into the ground; can be dug for one Marine, a pair, or a weapon crew; formerly known as a "foxhole".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • fitness report or fitrep – report written on Marines (sergeant and above) detailing proficiency and conduct and fitness for command, reviewed for promotion.
  • 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.
  • Fobbie or Fobbit – A marine who rarely sees combat; pejorative term for marines stuck inside a forward operating base.
  • form ID-10T or ID-ten-tango – prank fool's errand where an unsuspecting Marine is asked to find the fake item, not knowing it is an orthograph for "idiot".
  • Fortitudine – former motto of the Corps in the 19th century (replaced by Semper Fidelis), from the Latin word for "fortitude"; also the name of the Marine Corps History Division's quarterly magazine.
  • 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.
  • FUBIJAR – Fuck yoU Buddy, I'm Just A Reservist.[80][81]


  • gaff off – to disregard or ignore a person or order, context usually denotes insubordination.[82][83][84]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • gear – property or equipment; usually referring to an individual's combat equipment.
  • gear adrift – gear found left lying around or unguarded, from the saying "gear adrift, must be a gift!".
  • 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 shower – bathing with limited water (often with the use of wet wipes); forcibly bathing an individual who refuses to meet minimum hygiene standards.[86]
  • go-fasters – running shoes or sneakers, named so because they help a person run faster than boots.[87]
  • gomer or GOMER – antiquated slang for a stupid person, from the character Gomer Pyle; or as a backronym for "Get Out of My Emergency Room" used by corpsmen to refer to malingerers who faked illness to avoid duties.
  • good to go – expression denoting that difficulties will be overcome; ready; well done or satisfactory.[90][91]
  • Gook – anything foreign or strange.[92]
  • gouge – information or news. See also word.
  • grab-ass – horseplay, loafing, lounging.[94]
  • 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.
  • 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.[96]
  • grunt or ground pounderinfantryman, formerly a pejorative that has taken more neutral tones.
  • guide – unit guidon-bearer; in recruit training, also the senior recruit and responsible for the actions of all recruits in a platoon.[98]
  • Gunny rolls – poorly-rolled sleeves on the MCCUU, so named from the tendency for some older Marines to take a sloppier approach to uniforms.[102]
  • gyreneVietnam War-era nickname for Marine, often thought an insult; combination of the words "GI" and "Marine".[103][104]


  • half-mast – position of the ensign when hoisted to one flag/ensign height below the top, usually done in respect to a deceased person; also called "half-staff" amongst non-naval forces.
  • hard charger or hard – 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; or general toughness.
  • 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.
  • hatch – door; more specifically, the watertight cover over an opening between compartments or that leads to the ladder wells between decks of a ship.
  • HBT – HerringBone 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.
looking out the hell hole
  • 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 shed – command post or other headquarters area where senior Marines gather.
  • headgear – hats, helmets, caps, etc.
  • heavy hat – junior drill instructor who performs more discipline and punishment tasks than his peers.
  • 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-speed – new, interesting, or cool; often used to sarcastically denote that the subject looks good, but performance is dubious.
  • 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.
  • hooch or hootch – tent, hut, or otherwise temporary or ramshackle dwelling.
  • Hot-Shit – sarcastic reference to an overly arrogant person.
  • horse-cock sandwich – any sandwich or meal created using an unknown or mystery meat.
  • house mouse – recruit tasked with cleaning and performing domestic chores in drill instructor-only areas. See also DI hut.
  • hump – 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 – 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).
  • IG Inspection – official inspection of a command or unit by the IG or his representatives.
  • in country – phrase referring to being within a war zone.
  • incentive/individual training or IT – physical training used as a punishment, especially in recruit training, sometimes nicknamed "incentive torture," "indoor tennis," or getting "thrashed/bent/slayed/destroyed" by recruits.[105][106][107] See also pitting & quarterdecking.
  • Irish pennant or IP – loose thread, string, or strap on a uniform or equipment that detracts from a perfect appearance.
  • 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.


  • JAG – Judge Advocate General, colloquial name for the legal entity within the Marine Corps, more properly called Judge Advocate Division, from the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, the naval officer who oversees both the Navy's and Marine Corps' legal entities; also, a television show by the same name.
  • jarhead – pejorative term for a Marine. Jarhead has several supposed origins: the regulation "High and Tight" haircut resembles a mason jar (to add insult, some note that the jar is an empty vessel, also therefore a Marine's head an empty vessel); the Mason Jar Company stopped making jars and made the helmets for Marines during World War II.
  • Jesus slippers or Jesus boots – government-issue sandals or flip-flops for sanitation in showers. See also shower shoes.
  • Joker – military journalist, from Private Joker from the movie Full Metal Jacket; also a derogatory term for a junior enlisted servicemember. Also, used by aviators, the time at which only 60 minutes of fuel remain.
  • JTFJoint Task Force, a provisional unit or formation from more than one branch of service.
  • junk on [the] bunk – inspection where all uniforms and equipment to be displayed is laid on the Marine's rack.


  • K or klicks – kilometer.
  • keyboard jockey – person whose job causes him or her use a computer for a length of time.


  • 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, Lance Criminal, or Lance Coconut – derogatory terms for Lance Corporal.
  • Lance Corporal Underground or Lance Corporal Network – joking reference to the gulf between non-NCOs and their superiors; also refers to the spread of foolish rumors that a more experienced Marine would immediately recognize as false.[108][109]
  • Land of the big BX – used in reference to CONUS by Marines deployed overseas. A borrowed term from the Army, "...of the big PX."
  • 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.
  • LCPLIC – Lance Corporal in Charge. A salty Lance Corporal.
  • leatherneck – nickname for Marine, so named for legends stating that stiff leather collars were once worn to protect the throat from sword-blows (also thought that high stocks were worn for discipline, to keep Marines' heads high and straight). The dress blue uniform still bears a high stock collar today. Also, Leatherneck Magazine.
  • leggings – leg coverings made of canvas with eyelets and laces or buckles to secure the trouser legs over boots.[111]
  • 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).
  • liberty risk – a Marine with a high risk of getting into trouble on liberty.
  • 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.
1st Lt (left) and Chief Warrant Officer 3 (right) insignias
  • lollygag – dawdle or fool about.
  • long handles – long sleeved/legged undershirt/shorts.
  • 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.


  • M – a prefix to the model number of a specific nomenclature of equipment, generally considered to denote "model" or "mark".
  • 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.
  • 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, hard charger, motivator; the following are acceptable from other Marines: jarhead, gyrene; the following are insults: soldier, seabag.
  • Master Guns or Master GunnyMaster Gunnery Sergeant. Also sometimes referred to as "Maverick" due to the combination of slang for Master Sergeant "Top" and Gunnery Sergeant "Gunny".
  • Marine Mattress – a woman who is thought to be sexually promiscuous with other Marines.[citation needed]
  • MBT – Main Battle Tank, currently the M1 Abrams.
  • MCX – Marine Corps eXchange, a military department store, less formally known as the PX.
  • meat gazerurinalysis observer who observes the servicemember peeing into the sample container to prevent tampering with the sample.
  • Mickey Mouse boots – boots designed for extreme cold weather using an air bladder for insulation, so named for their oversized and bloated appearance.
  • midrats – midnight (or other late-night) rations provided for servicemembers who work late hours.[113]
  • mike-mike – millimeter.
  • military time – the time of day on a 24-hour clock. General Wallace M. Greene forbade the practice of suffixing the unnecessary word "hours" after each indication of time of day ("1330" or "thirteen-thirty" instead of "1330 hours"); the practice of saying "oh" instead of "zero" for hours before 1000 has diminished as well.
MOPP equipment
  • Molly Marine – nickname associated with early female Marines, especially a statue of Opha Mae Johnson.
  • monkey suit – military uniforms in general; originally, the fur suit used by aviators at high altitudes.
  • mosquito wings or skeeter wings – rank insignia for a Private First Class, a single chevron.
  • motivator – term of endearment from a senior to a junior Marine, so named when the junior displays motivation for his or her duties.
  • motomotivated/motivating, often use to describe a person, object, or event that would motivate an individual Marine.
  • motarded – displaying excess motivation, often in the form of visual symbols and lore (such as unit logos); a combination of the terms "moto" and "retarded".
  • motor t or MT – Motor Transport, a subunit of Marines responsible for the operation and maintenance of wheeled non-combat and non-engineer vehicles.
  • MOS – Military Occupational Specialty, a job classification.
  • MREMeal, Ready-to-Eat, standard U.S. field ration. Sometimes jokingly referred to with backronyms such as "Meals Rejected by the Enemy," "Meals Rejected by Ethiopia," "Meal, Rotten to Eject," "Meals Rarely Eaten," "Meal, Reluctant to Exit," "Mister E," or the "Three Lies for the Price of One".
  • MRE bomb – bursting plastic bag made from chemical heating pouches found inside of a standard MRE.
  • MTO – Motor Transport Officer, the Marine in charge of maintenance and operation of a unit's trucks.
  • MWD – Military Working Dog, a trained government canine for law enforcement, detection of explosives and/or drugs, sentry, or other military use(s).


NCIS logo
  • NAVY – Never Again Volunteer Yourself, pejorative backronym used by sailors who regret volunteering.
  • NCOIC – Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge, an NCO 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 OIC & SNCOIC.
  • no impact, no idea – expression denoting a miss on a weapons range (the scorer cannot find an impact on target); also used as an "I don't know" response.
  • North Carolina Lawn Dart - expression denoting the AV-8 and the many mishaps that took place during the aircraft's development and testing.
  • nut(s) to butt(s) – standing in line extremely close to the person in front, often required in recruit training.


OCS logo
  • 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 non-judicial 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • outside – civilian life after discharge. See also real world.
  • over the hill – excessively old; or to the desert.


padre conducting mass
  • 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.
  • 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, W-1 through W-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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • pinning or pinning on – promotion by pinning the new rank insignia onto the MCCUU collar; also a form of hazing by striking the pins into the wearer's chest.
  • piss and punk/pukesolitary confinement on bread and water, which is only authorized aboard ship.
  • pit – depressed area on a shooting range where the targets are located, shooters staff it by marking, raising, and lowering targets from behind a berm.[117] See also butts and pulling butts / pits.
  • pizza box – Marksman Weapons Qualification Badge, so named for its square shape.
  • pizza stain – a nickname used by some marines during recruit training to refer to the National Defense Service Medal, so named for the red and yellow appearance, like the cheese and sauce of a pizza.
  • platoon sergeantSNCO executive to the platoon commander, usually the senior enlisted man.
  • POC – Point Of Contact, the person to liaison with on a given matter.
  • pogue or POG – Marine not of the combat arms (infantry, armor, and artillery), etymology is disputed: possibly "pogue" derived from the Tagalog word meaning "prostitute" or the Erse Gaelic word meaning "to kiss [my ass]", while "POG" could be from the acronym Persons Other than Grunt, but could be a backronym.
  • poguey or pogey bait – Candy or sweets. See also geedunk.
  • police – to pick up items (such as litter or expended ammunition casings), to return an area to a natural state, or to correct another Marine.
  • poncho liner – insulating blanket used to warm the individual wearing a rain poncho, often used as a stand-alone blanket.
  • pot shack – place where cooking utensils are washed.
  • 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.
  • PT – Physical 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.


  • 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."
  • quarterdeckingincentive training 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 pitting.
  • 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 stitched 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&R – Rest and Relaxation, authorized absence from a combat area to reduce the effects of combat stress reaction.
  • R/S – Respectfully Submitted, used as an end greeting in written communication.
  • rack or sackbed, inappropriate to use the Army term "bunk" except when used in conjunction with "junk on the bunk".
  • radio watch – duty monitoring radio networks for relevant traffic, also; the person filling that duty.
  • raider capcover worn with the M1941 HBT utilities
  • ratfuck – taking the best available selection and leaving less desirable alternatives for others.
  • real world – civilian life after discharge. See also outside.
  • REMF – Rear Echelon Mother Fucker, a derision for someone who serves in a non-combatant role.
  • Red Patch – device worn on the uniforms of landing support Marines to distinguish the shore party from landing troops.
  • regulation – to be in accordance with regulations or adopted specifications or issued from government sources.
  • request mast – appealing to increasingly higher links in the chain of command in order to seek satisfaction for a grievance the requester feels was not adequately handled at a lower level; DoN orders permit any Marine to request mast up to the individual's commanding general without repercussions.
  • re-up – reenlist, volunteering for an additional period of service.
  • RHIP – Rank Hath Its Privileges, used as a justification for a personal indulgence.
  • rock happy – eccentric or mildly deranged as a result of long overseas duty at a remote station (traditionally an island).
  • 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.


  • 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, whitehat; while the following are considered insults: gob, swab, swabbie, swab jockey, squid, anchor clanker, rust picker, deck ape.
  • salad, tossed salad or fruit saladribbons and medals worn on a uniform, from the colorful appearance of wearing many awards.
  • salt, salty, or salt/salty dog – experienced or well-worn person or object, from the salt that would accumulate after long-term exposure to salt water.
  • SALUTEmnemonic device for a situation report, denotes: Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, and Equipment.
  • say again (your last) – request to repeat a statement, question, or order, especially over a radio, or as "I say again" to preface a repetition by the sender; the word "repeat" is not to be used in this context, as it calls for a preceding fire mission to be fired again.
  • 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.[121][122]
  • seabag or sea bagduffel bag used to carry one's personal belongings. "Duffel bag" is an Army term not used by Marines.
  • 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.
  • secure – stop, cease; or put away and lock.
  • Semper Fi – shortened version of "Semper Fidelis", the motto of the Corps, Latin for "always faithful". Can be used ironically, as in, "Semper Fi, Mac," which basically means, "That's the breaks," or "Too fucking bad."
  • Semper fu - nickname for Marine Corps Martial Arts
  • Semper Icolloquialism denoting selfish or self-centered behavior.
  • semper pie – condition where the mess hall serves similar items repetitively.
  • shit bag or shit bird – habitually unkempt or undisciplined Marine.
  • shit-brick – useless or ignorant person.
  • Shit-Hot - Term used to notify something as exceptional or very good. Not to be confused with Hot-Shit
  • 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 assault.
  • 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 push a boat off the shore or pier.
  • 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.
  • side arms – weapon (usually a pistol) carried by a sentry under arms; also, cream and sugar in coffee.
  • 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.
recruits wearing skivvies
  • 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.
  • slick sleeve – a private in the Marine Corps; refers to the fact that this person does not wear any rank insignia.
  • 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.
  • smokin' and jokin' – when a mass of Marines is acting unproductive.
  • SNCOIC – Staff NonCommissioned 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.
  • SOP – Standard 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.
  • SOTG – Special Operations Training Group
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • stand by – wait, stop and wait.
  • STOVLShort TakeOff, Vertical Landing, takeoff and landing technique where a V/STOL aircraft will make a non-vertical take-off to carry greater weight, such as fuel and weapons, expend that weight, and make a vertical landing. See also STOL, VTOL, and V/STOL.
  • suck – mouth.[35]
  • 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.
  • Susie Rottencrotch – wife, girlfriend, or other generic woman.
  • 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.


  • TAD – Temporary Assigned 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.
  • TBSThe Basic School, the six month combat training school for new Marine officers.
  • tie-ties – straps or strings used to tie items to another line, such as laundry or rifle targets.
  • 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.
  • toilet bowl – Marksman Weapons Qualification Badge, so named for the concentric rings in the design which resemble water swirling down a toilet bowl, and in allusion to its being the lowest level of weapons qualification. See also pizza box.
  • 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.
  • trooper – soldier, considered an insult to refer to a Marine unless plural.
  • troops – generic group of servicemembers.
  • trunk monkey – a passenger in the back of an armored vehicle, not part of the crew.
  • 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.
  • two digit midget— an enlisted Marine with 99 or fewer days remaining on his or her enlistment.


  • UA – Unauthorized Absence, the naval version of the term AWOL.
  • 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 Missed Christmas, Unlimited Shit and Mass Confusion, University of Science, Music and Culture, Uncomplicated Shit Made Complicated, Under Seabee Management Constantly.
  • USOUnited Service Organizations Inc., private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military worldwide.



  • WAG – Wild-Ass Guess, sometimes qualified with the sarcastic prefix "Scientific".[127]
  • war belt – a web belt used to carry canteens in pouches and other miscellaneous equipment.
  • 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.
  • wetting-down or wet down – celebration in honor of one's promotion as an officer or to the SNCO ranks, so named for the tradition of wetting the recipient and/or the promotion warrant.[130]
  • whiskey locker — supply locker/closet.
  • WP or Willie Pete[r] – White Phosphorus munition, whether in grenade, mortar, artillery, or aerial bomb form, so named from the pre-1956 phonetic alphabet letters "William" and "Peter."
  • willie peter bag – waterproof bag.
  • wing wiper – aviation person, usually a maintenance person and not a pilot.
  • winger – aviation Marine.
  • WIR – DRMO; waste incidental to reprocessing; collection of items and/or equipment for turn-in that may be re-used by someone else at a later time, preferably at a savings to the government.
  • the wire – defensive perimeter of a firm base, crossing it denotes the end of relative safety.
  • 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 – Walking Mattress/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.



  • yut or yut yut – exclamation of enthusiasm or approval, similar to oorah.[137]


See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ Capt. Utts, Thomas C.. "My Glorious Military Career". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  2. ^ Twentynine Stumps on Urban Dictionary
  3. ^ Knight, Glenn B.. "Marine Corps Dictionary: 782 Gear". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  4. ^ "Ship's Bell". National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  5. ^ above my pay grade by Don Surber
  6. ^ "AHA". Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  7. ^ MLRS Branch Headquarters (11 March 1997). "GS01TP: MLRS Tactics and Procedures". Federation of American Scientists. pp. P4-18 (slide 79) Ammunition Holding Area (AHA). Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  8. ^ ahoy on
  9. ^ Metzger, E.: History Of The Development Of The LINCLOE Load-Carrying Equipment, July 1975
  10. ^ as you were on
  11. ^ "As you were", "As we were" on
  12. ^ ate up on the Online Slang Dictionary
  13. ^
  14. ^ bag nasty on Double-Tongued Dictionary
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  17. ^ "What's a "battle buddy"?". Yahoo! Answers. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
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  20. ^ Birth COntrol Glasses on Urban Dictionary
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  23. ^ The Marines' scarlet trouser stripe in fact predates the Mexican War, having been introduced in 1840.
  24. ^ BOQ on
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  26. ^ Geary, Steve (August 2008). "Snake Eater to Box Kicker". DC VELOCITY. Agile Business Media, LLC. Archived from the original on August 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
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  35. ^ a b c d e Swofford, Anthony (4 March 2003). Jarhead. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743254287.,M1. 
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  54. ^ "Corectional Custody Unit begins Day One". Marine Corps Air Station Miramar public affairs (United States Marine Corps). 2000-10-13. Retrieved 2008-11-29. [dead link]
  55. ^ Chair Force on Urban Dictionary
  56. ^ chair force on Yahoo! Answers
  57. ^ chairborne on Encarta. Archived 2009-10-31.
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  64. ^ civvies on
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  67. ^ Belknap, Margaret H. The CNN Effect: Strategic Enabler or Operational Risk? (PDF). U.S. Army War College Strategy Research Project. 2001.
  68. ^ corpsman on
  69. ^ cover and alignment on Kent State University ROTC
  70. ^ cumshaw on
  71. ^ Mehringer, MSgt Phil. "Memorial Day, Belleau Wood Style". United States Marine Corps.,%20Belleau%20Wood%20Style.aspx. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  72. ^ Flippo, Hyde. "German Myth 13: Teufelshunde – Devil Dogs". 
  73. ^ Schogol, Jeff (January 4, 2011). "Did Marines, not German soldiers, coin the phrase ‘Devil Dogs’?". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  74. ^ Tilghman, Andrew (April 28, 2008). "‘Devil Dog’ term taking a beating". Marine Corps Times. 
  75. ^ Individual drill on
  76. ^ close order drill on Encyclopædia Britannica
  77. ^ Melson, Charles D. Marine Recon 1940–90 (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1994, reprinted 2003), p. 26.
  78. ^ Tregaskis, Richard. Guadalcanal Diary (Garden City, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1943), 16.
  79. ^ five jump chump
  80. ^ Military Abbreviations, Nicknames and Slang Terms on
  81. ^ Military Slang on
  82. ^ gaff off on Urban Dictionary
  83. ^ gaff off on Online Slang Dictionary
  84. ^ gaff off on Dictionary of American Slang
  85. ^ geedunk on
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  87. ^ gofasters on Urban Dictionary
  88. ^ Goa-rope on Double-Tongued Dictionary
  89. ^ Goat Rope on Urban Dictionary
  90. ^ good to go on
  91. ^ good to go on Urban Dictionary
  92. ^ Tregaskis, Guadalcanal Diary, 113.
  93. ^ APECS data sheet
  94. ^ grab ass on Urban Dictionary
  95. ^ grinder on
  96. ^ Training presentation for ground guiding
  97. ^ GT Score on
  98. ^ guidon on
  99. ^ gun bunny on Urban Dictionary
  100. ^ gunny on
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  102. ^ gunny rolls on Yahoo! Answers
  103. ^ gyrene on Merriam-Webster online
  104. ^ gyrene on
  105. ^ Tomajczyk, Stephen F. (2004). To Be a U.S. Marine. Zenith Imprint. pp. 41. ISBN 0760317887. 
  106. ^ DI and Incentive Training on
  107. ^ incentive training on Internet FAQ Consortium
  108. ^ Lance Corporal of Marines Association
  109. ^ Lance Corporal Underground on
  110. ^ "Far From Battlefield, Marines Lose One-Third of Harrier Fleet". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. December 15, 2002. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  111. ^ a b leggings on
  112. ^ lipstick lieutenant on
  113. ^ midrats on
  114. ^ Non Mission Capable Internet
  115. ^ Non Mission Capable Internet
  116. ^ "Marine Corps Uniforms". Marine For Life. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  117. ^ BLANKET SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR RANGES by Camp Lejeune Weapons and Training Battalion
  118. ^ pitting on Yahoo! Answers
  119. ^ RPGs on
  120. ^ SAFE on
  121. ^ Definition of scuttlebutt from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Retrieved 2008-03-16
  122. ^ Naval Historical Center: Nautical Terms and Phrases
  123. ^ A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, R. W. Burchfield, ed., Volume IV Se-Z, 1986
  124. ^ How the term SNAFU originated
  125. ^ Terminal Lance webcomic by LCpl Maximilian Uriarte
  126. ^ Sanborn, James K. (Mar 26, 2010). "Caustic comic strip lances enlisted life". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  127. ^ WAG on
  128. ^ Walking John recruiting poster on
  129. ^ Walking John recruiting poster on
  130. ^ wetting down example with further references
  131. ^ "Naval Orientation". EXECUTIVE OFFICER (XO). Integrated Publishing. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  132. ^ YATYAS on
  133. ^ YATYAS on
  134. ^ YAT-YAS on WikiMapia
  135. ^ Cooper, Charles G.; Richard E. Goodspeed (2002). "Chapter 4". Cheers and Tears. Trafford Publishing. pp. 25. ISBN 1553698827. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  136. ^ Gilbert, Ed; Howard Gerrard (2004). "Belief and Belonging". Us Marine Corps Tank Crewman, 1965–70: Vietnam. Osprey Publishing. pp. 15. ISBN 1841767182. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  137. ^ yut on Urban Dictionary
  138. ^ zoomie on
  139. ^ zoomie on Urban Dictionary



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