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Learn to "Speak the Language"  

Navy Lingo & Slang










0'dark hundred - Pronounced "oh dark". Referring to some point really early in the morning, like 0200 (which would be prounced oh-two-hundred)

0'dark thirty
- One half hour after 0'dark hundred (used in the same context as 0'dark hundred)

- One of many communication circuits aboard a ship, this is probably the most widely recognized. When used, it is heard on every external speaker but is not always heard by every crew member, due to the fact that not all spaces have a functioning speaker. However, all crew members are expected to know what is said over the 1MC regardless whether or not it was 'audible'



ABAFT- Further aft, as in "abaft the beam"

ABEAM- Abreast: on a relative bearing of 090 or 270 degrees

ABOARD- On or in a ship or naval station

ACCOMMODATION LADDER- A ladder resembling stairs that is suspended over the side of a ship to facilitate boarding form boats

ADRIFT- Loose from moorings and out of control (applied to anything lost, out of hand, or left lying about)

AFFF- Aqueous film-forming foam for firefighting

AFRTS - (pronounced A-farts) Stands for Armed Forces Radio and Television System

AFT- Toward the stern (not as specific  as abaft)

AFTER- That which is farthest aft

AFTERNOON WATCH- the 1200 to 1600 watch

AGROUND- That part of a ship resting on the bottom (a ship "runs aground" or "goes aground")

AHOY- A hail or call for attention, as in "Boat Ahoy"

AIRDALE - A sailor who works on or around aircraft

AIRWING -  The aviation detachment on board the ship

ALEE- Downwind

ALL HANDS- The entire ship's company

ALOFT- Generally speaking, any area above the highest deck

ALONGSIDE- By the side of the ship or pier

AMATEUR NIGHT - When the sailors get paid, they take their money and go out. What happens when sailors who are anxious for some R&R get too much money all at once, and have a limited amount of time to spend it

AMIDSHIPS- An indefinite area midway between the bow and the stern: as in "rudder amidships" means that the rubber is in line with he ship's center line

AOR - Area Of Responsibility

ARG - Amphibious Ready Group

ARI - Alcohol Related Incident

ASMO or ASMO'd -  Assignment Memorandum Orders. Mostly issued in boot camp to set a recruit back in training due to poor performance

AYE, AYE - I have heard and understand your command




BCA - Body Composition Assessment
BST-21 - Battle Stations 21, is the final test for the recruits at RTC and is a 12 hour evaluation program
Non-Aviation enlisted personnel

BLUE NOSE - A Sailor who's crossed either the Arctic or Antarctic circle
BOMB FARM - Areas on the ship where aviation ordnancemen men store their bombs

BRIG - Jail

BROWNBAGGER - Permission to live off base. I.E. carries his/her lunch sack to work each day.

BROWNSHOE - Aviation enlisted personnel.
BUBBLE HEAD - The term sailors use to describe submariners
BUD/S - Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training

BULKHEAD - The wall.
BUMED - US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

BZ - Bravo Zulu - "Well Done"





CADILLAC - This is the term used to describe a mop bucket with wheels and a ringer. When sailors are assigned to cleaning duties, they prefer the luxurious Cadillac over the bucket.
Command Advancement Program
A formal ceremony for those whom are accused of participating in criminal or unjust activities, usually resulting in various levels of punishment.

CHIT - Request for special permission, used for drawing pay and a form used for requesting leave and liberty. But the term is currently applied to almost any piece of paper from a pass to an official letter requesting some privilege

CHOW - Food
CIWS - Close In Weapon Systems

CO - Commanding Officer
COMPHIBRON - Commander Amphibious Squadron

COMPTUEX - Composite Training Unit Excercise

COMSHAW - The term used when obtaining something outside of official channels or payment, usually by trading or bartering. For example, sailors on a deployed ship got pizza in exchange for doing the laundry of the C-2 Greyhound crew that flew it in. *Younger sailors may use the term “drug deal” instead of comshaw.
CORE - A segment of "A" School training courses that include general knowledge and skills training for their specific rating.

CMC - Command Master Chief

CRANKING - A Sailor working various jobs other then his rate (painting, cleaning, etc.)
CSSQT - Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trial




DAPA - Drug and alcohol programs advisor

DDG - Guided Missle Destroyer

DECK - The floor.

DEP - Delayed Entry Program

DEPPER - A Sailor Recruit in DEP

DOD - Department of Defense

DON - Department of the Navy

DOR - Disenroll at Own Request, Drop at Own Request. To drop out of a voluntary program such as aviation or submarines





EAOS - End of active obligated service

EAWS - Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist

EIDWS - Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist

ESWS - Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist




FLYING SQUAD - When emergency bells ring over the ship's announcement system, these Sailors, primarily comprised of Damage Controlman (DC), Hull Technicians (HT) and Machinery Repairmen (MR), are part of the "at-sea fire party" or more commonly referred to as the ship's 'Flying Squad
- The forecastle of a ship, commonly seen spelled as foc'sle to reflect the truncated pronunciation used by mariners, is the area where sailors sleep and congregate while off duty. The foc'sle is located in the forward part of the ship, also called the bow, and in front of the main mast. The foc'sle serves as accommodations for regular sailors, while officers of the ship are housed in other areas.

FOD - Foreign Object Damage

FROCKING - term for a commissioned or non-commissioned officer selected for promotion wearing the insignia of the higher grade before the official date of promotion (the "date of rank") 






GALLEY - Kitchen

GEAR ADRIFT - The term used to describe items that are not properly stowed away. The shoes in this picture would be considered gear adrift. Also sometimes phrased as “gear adrift is a gift

GEEDUNK - The term sailors use for vending machine and junk food

GMT - General Military Training

GOAT - "Bill the Goat" is the mascot of the United States Naval Academy.

GOAT LOCKER - The goat locker is a lounge, sleeping area and galley on board a naval vessel which is reserved for the exclusive use of Chief Petty Officers. By tradition, all other personnel, including officers and even the Commanding Officer, must request permission to enter the "Goat Locker"
GUN DECKING - Filling out a log or form with imaginary data, usually done out of laziness or to satisfy an inspection 

GQ - General Quarters (or Battle Stations) is an announcehment made aboard to signal the crew to prepare for battle or imminent damage





HEAD - Bathroom
HELL WEEK - Most commonly known as the third week in SEAL (BUD/S) Training. Week Five for recruits at RTC is also referred to as hell week

HELO - Helicopter

HM - Hospital Corpsman







INDIVIDUAL AUGMENTEE (IA) - Sailors who have volunteered to fill a Request for Forces billet or a Global War on Terrorism Support Assignment (GSA) PCS orders.






JAG - Judge Advocate General's Corps, legal arm of the United States Navy
JSF - Joint Strike Fighter







KIDDIE CRUISE - Usually a minimum three day cruise for reservists

KILLER TOMATO - Nickname for those bright orange inflatable target balloons
KING NEPTUNE - Usually the senior "shellback" on the ship, this individual presides over the royal court and the initiation of pollywogs during Crossing the Line ceremonies

KNEE-KNOCKERS - A knee-knocker refers to the bottom portion of a watertight door’s frame. They are notorious for causing shin injuries and drunken sailors hate them




LCAC - Landing Craft Air Cushion
Landing Signalman Enlisted

LSO - Landing Signal Officer

LPO - Leading Petty Officer






MAP - Meritorious Advancement Program
Preceded by Captain's or Admiral's, but these are generally not spoken. A form of non-judicial punishment (NJP) in which a sailor finds himself standing tall in front of the old man when he really screws the pooch. Green felt is usually abundant
- (pronounced "Mick Pon") Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
MEU - Marine Expeditionary Unit

MESS DECKS - The crew's dining area
MID-RATS - Short for mid rations. The food line open from midnight to 6:00 a.m. that usually consists of leftovers and easy-to-make food like hamburgers, sandwich fixings, and weenies

MUSTER - The term sailors use interchangeably for meeting and roll call







NEX - The Navy Exchange - A department store for Navy personnel and their families.

NJP - Non-Judicial Punishment

NKO - Navy Knowledge Only

NUB - Non-Useable Body. A newcomer/newbie who isn’t savvy in the ways of sailors, or on his first tour of duty

NUKE IT - The term used when a sailor is overthinking a simple task





OCS - Officer Candidate School
OFFICER OF THE DECK (OOD) - A naval officer assigned to represent the commanding officer of a vessel or installation for a specified period during which he or she is superior to all officers below the executive officer.

OSCAR - Man Overboard






PAD EYE - These are the hook points on a ship’s surface used to tie down airplanes with chains

P-DAYS - Also known as P-Week - P-Days occur when Recruits first arrive at boot camp for processing in
PFA - Physical Fitness Assessment

PHIBRON - Amphibious Squadron

PI - Personal Inspections.

PIR - Pass in Review - "Boot Camp Graduation"

PO - Petty Officer

POD - Plan of the day. An official document issued by a command that states all activities going on that day, from 0000 to 2359. Also contains the Uniform of the Day.
POLLYWOG - An individual who has not crossed the Equator, who must go through rituals, that sometimes cross the line to be hazing, to become a shellback. This practice can be traced back hundreds of years and is conducted in many countries Navies across the glove.

PRT - Physical Readiness Test

PT - Physical Training




QUACK - Hospital Corpsman

QUARTERS - A gathering of all people in the organization. Quarters can be for the entire command, or just the department, division, or branch. Quarters is used to present awards, pass information, and make every sailor squeeze into their ill-fitting, rarely-worn uniforms at least once a year 






RACK - Bed
RAM - Rolling Airframe Missile

RAS - This is Replenishment At Sea, and it is how Navy ships resupply and refuel without pulling into port.

RATE - The use of the word "rank" for Navy enlisted personnel is incorrect. The term is "rate." The rating badge is a combination of rate (pay grade) and rating specialty.

RATING- A Sailors job specialty

RDC - Recruit Division Commander "boot camp instructor"

RHIB - Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

RTC - Recruit Training Command aka Navy boot camp

RESTRICTION - Normally a result of NJP a status where a sailor is required to stay onboard the ship but is able to move about freely. "Our version of grounding a child to the house"

ROACH COACH - The snack or lunch truck that stops by the pier





SCUTTLEBUTT - The Navy term for water fountain

SECNAV - Secretary of the Navy
SEALs - Sea, Air, Land Teams
SHELLBACK - A Sailor earns this title by crossing over the equator.
SIQ - Sick in Quaters

SNIPE - The term used to describe sailors that work below decks, usually those that are assigned to engineering rates, such as Machinists Mates, Boilermen, Enginemen, Hull Technicians, and more
SQT - SEAL Qualification Training is a 26-week course that will take the student from the basic elementary level of Naval Special Warfare to a more advanced degree of tactical training

SR - Sailor Recruit
STOVL - Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing

STRAND - A segment of "A" School training courses which focus more on specialized training requirments for that specific rating.
SWCC - Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC, pronounced "Swick")




TAD or TDY - Temporary assigned duty or Temporary Duty

THE ROOF - Flight Deck
TURCO - The chemical used for washing airplanes




UA - Unauthorized Absence

USNA - United States Naval Academy




VERY WELL - Senior to subordinate acknowledgement
VERTREP - or Vertical Replenishment, is the transfer of cargo to and from ships using helicopters. VERTREP is often used to supplement connected replenishment. Weapons loads, generally limited to 1,800 kg (4,000 pounds), are transferred from the supply ship to the flight deck of the amphibious ship. The decided advantage of a VERTREP is that it can effect replenishment without ship-to-ship connection






WATCH - Standing Watch - Time spent securing an assigned area, a period of duty, usually of 4 hours duration.

WCS - Work Center Supervisor. The senior chief petty officer (or senior petty officer if no chief is assigned) within the work center is the work center supervisor. The work center supervisor is responsible for the effective operation of the 3-M Systems in his or her work center. The responsibility cannot be delegated to subordinate maintenance personnel. The work center supervisor will receive 3-M Systems training

WESTPAC - While this usually refers to the western Pacific area of operations, it can also refer to a type of deployment in which a unit heads to multiple locations throughout said area. Often used in, "Damn, we just did a six-month WESTPAC, barely got home for a week, and now we're heading out again?"

WO - Warrant Officer

WOG - Short for "pollywog", as in "wog ceremony"





XO - Executive Officer

XO's Happy Hour - A daily, hour-long mandatory cleaning evolution. Usually introduced by XO on the 1MC.




YARDBIRD - A civilian shipyard worker

YOKO - Yokosuka, Japan




ZERO - Officer. Term derived from their paygrade; O-1, O-2, etc..

ZOOM BAG - Flight suit


Also Check Out These Helpful Links

Boot Camp Slang, Navy Terms and Definitions, The Book of Acronyms and Ranks, Back to Home Page 

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