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List of United States Marine Corps acronyms and expressions

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Title: List of United States Marine Corps acronyms and expressions  
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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 among 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.


Marine wearing 782 gear
  • 360 – complete circle on a compass (360°); to put protection all around.
  • 48, 72, 96 – in hours the standard liberty periods of two, three, four days.
  • 4th Battalion – pejorative used to describe an individual or unit lacking toughness as in "He was trained in 4th Battalion". Derived from the 4th Battalion of the Recruit Training Regiment at MCRD Parris Island, which trains female enlisted Marines.
  • 4th Marine Dimension – a derogatory term for the 4th Marine Division, the division to which the ground combat element of the Marine Forces Reserve is assigned; used by active duty Marines to denote displeasure with the difference in culture and operating procedures within the division as opposed to active duty units.
  • 5.56mm hickey – a scar or blister resulting from a burn suffered (usually on the neck) due to hot brass.
  • 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.[2]
  • 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.[3]


  • aboard - term for all personnel being accounted for in a building, such as a classroom.
  • above my/your pay grade – expression denying responsibility or authority (indicating that the issue should be brought to higher-ranking officials); alternatively, a semi-sarcastic way of telling someone that they're not authorized to receive certain information.[4]
  • acquire – euphemism denoting theft, sometimes jokingly referred to as "tactical"
ALICE equipment
  • AHAAmmunition Holding Area, where ammo is stored and issued;[5][6] see also ASP
  • ahoy – traditional nautical greeting, used for hailing other boats[7]
  • Air Force salute – to say, "I don't know" by a shrug, also known as an "amphibious salute."
  • 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
  • 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
  • ASVAB waiver – insinuates someone's inability to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
  • as you were – order to disregard the immediately-preceding order[9][10]
  • aviation units – See also active squadrons, inactive squadrons, & aviation support units
    • HAMS – Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron, also H&MS
    • HMX – Marine Helicopter Squadron Executive
    • 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 Helicopter Training Squadron, Light Lift and Attack. Designation used prior to HMLAT.
    • 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 Tactical 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',[11] once common in the regions from which the Royal Navy drew its sailors


bag nasty, breakfast version
  • back on the block – behaving like a civilian.
  • bag nastyA-ration bagged meal issued to Marines (usually recruits or those in-field): it often contains a sandwich, a boiled egg, fruit, potato chips, juice or milk.[12]
  • BAHBasic Allowance for Housing: pay bonus for living off-base; previously known as Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ).
  • BAMCIS – a mnemonic for military tacticians: Begin the planning, Arrange reconnaissance, Make reconnaissance, Complete the planning, Issue orders, Supervise.[13] It is also used as an exclamation of success or accomplishment.
  • Barney-style – to perform strictly according to regulation; idiot proof; simplified for the benefit of mental underachievers; also called "Breaking it down Purple Dinosaur-style"; Bert and Ernie for the 1980s and 1990s Marines[14]
  • barracks cover – fabric-cover frame cap worn green with the service uniform and white with the dress uniform; traditionally officers wear this cap with quatrefoil and gilt devices that increase with rank.
  • barracks rat – Usually a female civilian that hangs around the barracks and 'dates' multiple Marines. Marine who rarely leaves the barracks unless ordered to.
  • BAS – Battalion Aid Station: a unit's medical post for routine ailments and injuries; also Basic Allowance for Subsistence. See also sick bay.
  • Battalion Lance Corporal – most senior non-NCO in a unit. See also terminal lance and Lance Colonel.
  • battle blaze – original name for the 1st & 2nd Marine Division shoulder sleeve insignias commemorating service in the Battle of Guadalcanal.
  • battle buddy – ironic term deriving from orders for Marines to not go on liberty alone.
  • battle pintie clasp or tie tack; until the start of World War II a metal bar worn on shirt collar.
  • battle zero or battle sight zero or BZOcalibrated settings on a gunsight that contribute to accuracy; used as default before adjusting windage or elevation; also used as verb when triangulating a BZO.
  • BB counter or BB stacker – Marine whose duties are the handling, storage, issue of ordnance.[15]
  • BCGs or BCsBirth Control Glasses or Boot Camp Glasses: military issue glasses worn at recruit training; so called because they make the wearer too ugly to engage in sexual relations. See also portholes & RPGs.
  • beans, bullets, bandages – basic supplies that military logisticians must provide for: rations, ammunition, medical care.
  • beer garden – social area permitting the consumption of alcohol etc.; may contain barbecue or picnic facilities.
  • belay – to cancel an order; to stop; to firmly secure a line.
  • below – down the ladder well of a ship; below decks.
  • BEQ – Bachelor Enlisted Quarters: living spaces for single enlisted Marines; usually a barracks.[16]
  • BCDBad Conduct Discharge; also known as Big Chicken Dinner.
  • big green weenie – denotes that a Marine has been "screwed over" or cheated by the Marine Corps.[17]
  • billet – one's rank or task in a 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).
  • binnacle list – sick list: those excused from duty for health reasons; traditionally posted on or near the binnacle.
  • blanket party – group assault: victim's head is covered by a blanket so the perpetrators can't be identified.
  • blood stripe – red band on dress uniform trousers; symbolizes blood shed by Marines in war; worn by officers and NCOs. Also a form of hazing where NCOs inflict skin-damage on new Corporals.
  • black/brown cadillacs – boots; method of transportation when no other vehicle is available.
  • bloopergrenade launcher: from the distinctive noise made when one is fired. See also thump gun.
  • blousing garters - elastic bands or metal springs rolled into the hem of the trousers to blouse them near the top of the boot.
  • 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.
  • BLUF – Bottom Line Up Front.
  • Bnbattalion.
  • boatnaval vessel; a small or medium craft (larger vessels are called ships).
  • boondoggle – project or trip on government time and/or expense that serves no purpose other than to entertain the person making it.
  • boot – A term for Marines who are new to the Marine Corps. Derived from the term "boot camp", to insinuate that the Marine is fresh out of boot camp. Generally used as a pejorative term (even if in an affectionate manner) in the Fleet and elsewhere, sometimes as a way to explain that new Marines should know their place. It can also be used as a term for a Marine who is new to a rank or billet. e.g. – "He's a boot Corporal". Meaning, said Marine was just recently promoted to Corporal. Also used by infantry Marines as a pejorative for any other Marine who has not gone on a combat deployment, regardless of rank or time in service. See also: Shower shoe
The first thing a recruit sees at boot camp
  • boots and utes or boots 'n' utes – boots and utility uniform minus blouse and cover; used in hot environments.
  • boot camp – training hub for new Marines at Parris Island, SC and San Diego, CA; name may derive from the fact that recruits wear boots daily.
  • BOQ – Bachelor Officer Quarters: housing for single Marine officers.[18][19]
  • box-kicker – pejorative for a Marine who works in supply cf. warehouse clerk.[20]
  • boxseehospital corpsman; from the Vietnamese word "Bac Si" meaning "doctor". See also doc.
  • brain buckethelmet.
  • brain-housing group – thought processing; used in parallel to a rifle's trigger-housing group.[21]
  • brain strap – elastic strap used for securing eyeglasses during rigorous activities; often found on BCG's
  • brass – 1) gun casings; 2) uniform insignia; 3) senior officers (cf. rank insignia).
  • brat – a servicemember's child.
  • break-off session – extraordinarily strenuous or tiring physical activity; usually PT.
  • the bricksbarracks. Also the parade or quarterdeck.
  • brig – Military prison on ship or ashore.
  • brig rat – person who has served much brig time; a habitual offender.[22]
  • brightwork – shiny metal that Marines must polish.[23]
  • broke-dick – Marine on limited or no duty status for medical reasons; also malfunctioning / unserviceable male genital equipment.
  • broken-off or broke-off – feeling severe fatigue. See also break-off session
  • brown-bagger – servicemembers (usually married) who live off base; instead of eating at mess halls they pack meals to work.[24]
  • buddy-fucker or blue falcon – one who disregards a team-member's welfare.
  • bug juiceinsect repellent. Also colorful beverages made from dry mix (such as Kool-Aid).
  • bulkhead – wall.[25]
  • bum scoop – bad information.[26]
  • burning man – A Marine who is scorched by hot gun casings.
  • bus driver – Air Force pilot; so called because early USAF uniforms were said to resemble those of municipal streetcar officials.
  • busted or busted down – reduced in rank.
  • butt pack – small pack fastened to waist; see also Fanny pack.[27]
  • butter bar – A second lieutenant, due to the gold color of his rank insignia
  • "By your leave sir/ma'am." – used with a salute when passing senior officers who might be advancing in the same direction; some protocols say the senior must give clearance before the junior can pass.[28]


  • 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.[29][30]
  • call out – to challenge, often by announcing incriminating information about a person. See also drop a dime.
  • Camp Living Room – Duty station after discharge. Civilian life. 1980s usage.
  • CAR – Short for Combat Action Ribbon
  • 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.[34]
  • 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.[35] 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.[36]
  • 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.[38][39]
  • chairborne or chairborne ranger – someone who works in an office environment, a play on airborne.[40]
A single chevron
  • 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.[41]
  • 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.
  • chitvoucher, receipt, letter, or note, entitling the bearer to special treatment, such as medical restrictions from duty; derived from Hindi word for "letter", "chitti".[42]
  • CIF – Consolidated Issue Facility, a place on a station where all personal equipment is stored and issued, often contracted to civilians.[43]
  • CID – Criminal Investigation Division, is an accredited Federal law enforcement agency of the U.S. Marine Corps whose mission it is to conduct official criminal investigations into misdemeanor and felony offenses committed on Marine Corps installations as may directed and not under the primary jurisdiction of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Accredited Marine Corps CID agents may be assigned to NCIS as special agents in accordance with a memorandum of understanding.
  • COCCombat Operations Center, the command post for a combat arms unit, usually of battalion-size or larger; personnel assigned to the COC may derisively refer to such duty as "coc-watch" or "working the coc".
  • 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.[50]
  • 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".[51]


  • 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.
  • daijoubuOK, from Japanese for "don't worry".
  • 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.[25]
  • 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; the senior intelligence officer for a unit;
  • 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.[55]
  • devil pup – nickname for a Marine's child(ren); a member of the Young Marines; a patronizing nickname for a junior Marine.
  • DGAF – Doesn't/Don't Give A Fuck. Generally coincides with one who is OFP.
  • 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 Private or Diet Tray – A recruit in Boot Camp who has been deemed overweight according to regulations. These recruits are usually the last through the chow line and have their meals inspected by DI's.
  • 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 having a generally cylindrical or phallic shape with unknown, or obscure official name. For example, a static hook suspended from an overhead helicopter for the purpose of picking up external loads.
  • 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.[56][57]
  • drill hat – a Drill Instructor, usually the second in command to the SDI who specializes in instruction in drill. Not to be confused with kill hat.
  • drug deal – to obtain needed supplies, equipment or services outside of official channels via barter rather than theft.
  • 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.[59]
  • 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).
  • Err – A shorter version of Ooh-rah, most commonly said by Marines in the Fleet Marine Force to emphasize a lack of enthusiasm.


  • 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.
  • FAST – Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, sarcastically referred to as Fake Ass SEAL Team.
  • fat-body – overweight recruit or servicemember.
  • Felony Creek - slang for the French Creek area of Camp Lejeune. French Creek is the home for the Marine units that are service and support. Some Marines who reside there think they are back on the block.
  • field 10 – a physically unattractive female servicemember who becomes an object of desire for male servicemembers after extended time in a field or combat environment away from civilian women.
  • 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. Also to remove unwanted items from an MRE in order to save space.
  • 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" by the Army. Marine Corps is "firing hole" "Forward Firing Position" should be considered.
  • Final Duty Station – A reference to a Marine's final posting, i.e., Heaven, referencing the last verse of the Marine's Hymn.
  • Final Protective Fire or FPF – The last volley sent toward an advancing enemy during a Marine unit's withdrawal from defensive position. All weapons are fired simultaneously at maximum rate of fire.
  • 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.
  • flak and kevlar – used when referring to body armor and a helmet respectively (the standard US Military issued helmet is made out of kevlar).
  • float – deployment aboard ship.
  • float widow - unfaithful wife of a Marine or Sailor deployed aboard a ship. a.k.a. Med Float Widow
  • FMC – Refers to equipment such as aircraft that need no repairs and are fully capable of their intended mission.
  • FMF or fleetFleet Marine Force, the operational forces of the Corps, as opposed to reserve or supporting establishment.
  • FMTU – Foreign Military Training Unit.
  • FNG – Fucking New Guy, derogatory term for a Marine recently graduated recruit training and new to a unit. It has far and wide been replaced by the term "boot".
  • 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. "Fighting hole," "firing hole," and "Forward Firing Position" should be considered. There is a difference between 1 MARDIV and 2 MARDIV slang.
  • FRAGO – FRAGmentary Order, an addendum to published operational orders.
  • FRO – Family Readiness Officer
  • 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.[62][63]


  • gaff off – to disregard or ignore a person or order, context usually denotes insubordination.[64][65]
  • 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.[67]
  • Glow belt – a reflective belt used when running on or near hard-surfaced roads that makes pedestrians more visible to motorists.
  • Glow worm – a high visibility device, usually a belt, used during PT or other night activity; used to identify newly arrived recruits in boot camp.
  • go-fastersrunning shoes or sneakers, named so because they help a person run faster than boots.
  • goat rope or goat rodeo or goat screw – chaotic and messy situation.[68] See also cluster fuck.
  • 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.[69]
  • Gook – anything foreign or strange.[70]
  • gouge – information or news. See also word.
  • grab-ass – horseplay, loafing, lounging.
  • Grand Ole' Man of the Marine corp - Marine of lower rank that is 30+ of age
  • grape – A marine's head, as in: "Keep on grab assing and you're going to fall and bust your grape!"
  • 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.[73]
  • 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.[75]
  • Gumby Suit - two pieced wet weather gear consisting of a hooded jacket and overalls used until the 1990s when the Gore-Tex replaced it. So named because it is green in color and the wearers tended to look like the character Gumby. Those who have worn them can remember it's distinctive rubber cloth odor. Gumby Suits can still be found for purchase at military surplus stores.
  • gun club – slang term for the USMC at-large as in "I've been in this gun club longer than you." Use in presence of senior personnel is inappropriate. Use by civilians or members of other services is considered disrespectful.
  • Gunny rolls – poorly-rolled sleeves on the MCCUU, so named from the tendency for some older Marines to take a sloppier approach to uniforms.
  • gyrene – nickname for Marine, considered to be a grievous insult; combination of the words "GI" and "Marine".[77][78]


  • 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" among 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.
  • 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.
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 shedcommand post or other headquarters area where senior Marines gather.
  • headgear – hats, helmets, caps, etc.
  • 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. Although having become heavily associated with Marines (giving rise to the term "jarhead"), it's generally not the most common or preferred haircut worn among most Fleet Marines.
  • high-speed – new, interesting, or cool; often used to sarcastically denote that the subject looks good, but performance is dubious.
  • Hippity-hop, mob stop! – Used in place of "Platoon, halt!" by a drill instructor displeased with a platoon's drill performance.
  • 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. Also tied into the term Hooch maid, which referred to a woman in Vietnam who would clean the dwellings of soldiers, which were deemed "hooches."
  • Hot-Shit – sarcastic reference to an overly arrogant person.
  • horse-cock sandwich – any sandwich or meal created using an unknown or mystery meat. Often, specifically, sliced balogna. Occasionally served as breakfast meat.
  • house mouse – recruit tasked with cleaning and performing domestic chores in drill instructor-only areas. See also DI hut.
  • 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".


  • IAW – In Accordance With, term often used to denote compliance with published orders or procedures.
  • 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.[79][80][81] 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.


  • 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.
  • JAX - Jacksonville, North Carolina. Located outside of Camp Lejeune. Also called J-ville. Typical US military town filled with bars/taverns, pawn shops, tattoo parlors, car dealers and strip clubs. More commonly referred to as J-ville.
  • Jesus slippers or Jesus boots – government-issue sandals or flip-flops for sanitation in showers. Also known as a "Boot from the Heavens". "Best boot I ever had". See also shower shoes.
  • JOBJunk On the Bunk, a formal inspection of gear that takes place in the squad bay where the gear is placed on the rack in a predesignated order. Also known as 'Things On the Springs'.
  • 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.


  • keyboard jockey – person whose job causes him or her use a computer for a length of time.
  • Kin Town - A small town located just outside of Camp Hansen, Okinawa. Also called Kinville or Sinville.


  • 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.[82][83]
  • 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.
  • leadstickpencil.
  • 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.[85]
  • 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". Also us in the phonetic alphabet for "Mike".
  • 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.
  • mad max – term for a military vehicle that is irregular in appearance due to repairs, modifications or the presence of extra equipment. See also hillbilly armor.
  • 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, My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment, or Masquerading As Rangers 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 grievous insults: soldier, seabag.
  • Marine houseSecurity Guard term for living quarters for Marines, on or off embassy grounds.
  • 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.
  • MCCSMarine Corps Community Services (also known by the humorous backronym Marine Corps Crime Syndicate)
  • 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.
  • Med Float Widow - unfaithful wife of a Marine or Sailor deployed from the East Coast on a float a.k.a. float widow
  • MEU(SOC) – Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable); 11th MEU(SOC), 13th MEU(SOC), 15th MEU(SOC), 22nd MEU(SOC), 24th MEU(SOC), 26th MEU(SOC) or 31st MEU(SOC).
  • 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.[87]
  • mike-mike – millimeter.
  • military left – pertaining to the left side of something or the direction to the left of the subject in question. Used sarcastically when giving orders when a subordinate turns the wrong way or is unsure of which way to turn.
  • 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
  • mob – Drill instructor's term of derision for a poorly performing drill platoon.
  • Molly Marine – nickname associated with World War II era female Marines. Also the name of the award given to the top ranking female Marine in her recruit platoon.
  • Moms - nickname used for the messhall. "As good as MOMS homecooking. originated at K-Bay Pless Hall, circa 1977.
  • 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 used 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.
  • Mustang/Mustanger – Marine (or Naval) Officer who has previously served in the enlisted ranks. Pay Grade is designated with an 'e' (e.g. O3e = Captain, previous enlisted). Usually a term of respect.


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
  • Ocean Slime - Slang for Oceanside, California which is a sleazy beach town located outside of Camp Pendleton.
  • 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' country – living spaces for officers aboard ship, or portion of post or station allocated for the exclusive use of officers.
  • OFP – Own Fucking Program. When a Marine does what he wants to, when he wants to and gets away with it.
  • 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.
  • One Slow County - another name for Onslow County, North Carolina. Camp Lejeune and Jacksonville are located within the county lines. Any Marine or Sailor stationed there can associate with its lovely backwoods southern charm...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • outside – civilian life after discharge. See also real world.
  • over the hill – excessively old; or to 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.[91] See also butts and pulling butts / pits.
  • 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.
  • PMCM – Equipment such as aircraft that are partially mission capable due to maintenance that needs to be performed. Parts are available but not manpower.
  • PMCSPreventive Maintenance Checks and Services, regularly performed maintenance on equipment, as opposed to corrective maintenance.Also, partial mission capability of equipment such as aircraft due to parts shortage in the supply chain.
  • pogue or POG – Marine not of the combat arms (infantry), 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.
  • 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.
  • pop smoke – to leave quickly or hastily; from the method of throwing a smoke grenade to mark a landing zone or conceal a retreat.
  • pot shack – place where cooking utensils are washed.
  • possible – slang term for the highest score possible in a marksmanship exercise as in "shooting a possible"; used on the rifle range during Recruit Training to denote the shooter possibly achieving a perfect score in a given round of firing.
  • prick – slang for any equipment bearing the "PRC" JETDS designator, usually man-portable radios.
  • Pro & Cons – Contraction of "Proficiency and Conduct marks", a numeric system for evaluating enlisted Marines. Usually written or spoken consecutively, with the first being Proficiency and the second being Conduct, e.g. 4.5/4.8. Hypothetically, the scale is from 0.0 to 5.0, but a perfect 5.0 is so rare that a Marine who receives it is called a "water-walker" (in reference to Mark 6:48) and the worst marks awarded almost never fall below 2.0 .
  • property shed – place where organizational property is stored, often a warehouse.
  • 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/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.
  • rah – a shortened version of Ooh-rah
  • raider capcover worn with the M1941 HBT utilities
  • rain locker – shower.
  • ratfuck – taking the best available selection and leaving less desirable alternatives for others.
  • real world – civilian life after discharge. See also outside.
  • rear echelon pogue – pejorative for a person who chooses to stay behind the lines to avoid danger; someone assigned to duty to the rear of the battle lines.
  • recon – used as a verb to denote stealthy acquisition by theft. Not to be confused with "Recon". See also acquire.
  • Red Patch – device worn on the uniforms of landing support Marines to distinguish the shore party from landing troops.
  • 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.
  • RFI – Request For Information.
  • roach coach – civilian vehicle allowed on base to sell fast food (see Pogey Bait).
  • rotate – return home at the end of a deployment.
  • ROERules Of Engagement, the restrictions on when and how a servicemember may use force on the enemy and other forces.
  • rubber bitch – affectionate name given to the ISO mat or sleeping pad made of a rubber foam-like material. It is used by Marines when sleeping on the ground or other hard surfaces. It is sometimes used during PT (physical training) for calisthenics.
  • 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.
  • safety brief - usually given by an NCO to junior enlisted Marines prior to being released for liberty. "Marines if you are going to drink, don't drive, if you are going to drive, don't drink, if you meet some gal be smart and use a condom (if you can't wrap it, smack it, as my sergeant would tell us) etc..."
  • 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.
  • SARC – Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, a Marine (usually an SNCO) assigned as the point of contact for personnel who are victims of or witnesses to sexual assault. Such duty is often ironically assigned to one of the least tactful/sensitive members of a unit.
  • 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.
  • Sayōnara – 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" (a hole in a ship's side at deck level that allows water to drain from the deck), 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.[93][94]
  • SDI – Senior Drill Instructor, the leader of a recruit platoon.
  • 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.
  • seagoing bellhop--derogatory term for a Marine stationed aboard a ship on sea duty.
  • 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 award – used in conjunction with a promotion to denote achieving a rank for the second time after being previously busted as in "Lance Corporal – Second Award"; derived from the devices worn with marksmanship badges denoting multiple awards of the expert classification.
  • 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 Fi fuck your buddycolloquialism version of "Semper Fidelis", used ironically, as in, "Semper Fi, fuck your buddy," which denotes commiseration when a fellow Marine feels he/she's been inconvenienced or screwed over by the Marine Corps, a Marine peer or superior.
  • Semper Gumbycolloquialism denoting tactical flexibility and the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Semper Icolloquialism denoting selfish or self-centered behavior.
  • ship over – to reenlist for an additional period of service.
  • shit bag or shit bird – habitually unkempt or undisciplined Marine.
  • shit-brick – useless or ignorant person.
  • shit detail – an undesirable (usually temporary) assignment.
  • 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. Also sometimes used as a facetious, almost-always joking pejorative term for new Marines. That is to say that they're so new that they don't even rate to be called "boots". See also: Boot
  • sick bay – infirmary 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.
  • 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).
  • skuzz – to wash a deck or floor with a brush or towel (skuzz rag) in place of a mop, used in Boot Camp as a method to physically toughen recruits while cleaning the squadbay.
  • 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.
  • slider – a hamburger so greasy that it slides right through you—typical of those served at flight line galleys. This meaning is evidently lost on restaurants whose menus proudly feature "sliders."
  • slop chute – impolite term for restaurant within the PX or beer garden.
  • 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.
  • SNM – Said Name Marine
  • snow job – misleading or grossly exaggerated report; sales talk.
  • SOC or (SOC) – Special Operations Capable used in conjunction with MEU written as MEU (SOC).
  • 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); "Grab him by the stacking swivel" infers grabbing a person's throat.
  • stand by – wait, stop and wait.
  • Staymoto- Contraction of the words "Stay" & "Motivated" often used by younger marines to encourage and motivate their peers.
  • 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.[25]
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Taco Rice - A popular dish invented and served on Okinawa. It's basically a taco without the shell served on rice. Every Marine, Sailor, Airman and Soldier on Oki has their favorite taco rice place which they swear is the best on island.
  • 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 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 that 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.
  • Trade-school- refers to graduate of one of the Military Academies.
  • TRAM – Tractor, Rubber-tired, Articulated steering, Multi-purpose.
  • trooper – soldier, considered a grievous insult to refer to a Marine unless plural.
  • TS Chit – A (fictitious) small card, to be punched by a senior person upon hearing a high-grade TS (very sad) story. When completely punched around the edge, the bearer is entitled to a half hour with the chaplain. "That story is so sad I'll punch your TS Chit twice."
  • 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. Correctly, "to-block"—hoisted all the way to the block (pulley) at the top of signal halliard.
  • two-digit midget— an enlisted Marine with 99 or fewer days remaining on his or her enlistment or tour of duty. A variation is the single-digit midget, with nine or fewer days remaining.


  • UD – Unit Diary, the computerized system that maintains all administrative records for a unit. Also, Uniform of the Day (or UDs) – prescribed uniform for the day; more generally associated with 'Charlies'
  • 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.
  • unq – unqualified, 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.
  • utilitiesfield and work uniforms (currently the MCCUU), formerly called dungarees, inappropriately called the Army term BDU.



  • 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.[99]
  • whiskey locker — supply locker/closet.
  • whiskey tango – White trash
  • willie peter bag – waterproof bag.
  • wing wiper – aviation person, usually a maintenance person and not a pilot.
  • winger – aviation Marine.
  • WIRDRMO; Washed-out In Repair; 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.
  • wookie – Female Marine
  • 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 – unofficial acronym for a Woman Marine. Often used as a pejorative to mean "walking mattress".
  • 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.



YAT-YAS on the tracks museum
  • YATYAS or YAT YAS – You aint tracks, You aint shit, an amtrac slogan or term for AAV Marines.[100][101][102]
  • You-who -When an NCO or Higher wants the attention of a Junior/Boot and does not know his name
  • yut or yut yut – exclamation of enthusiasm or approval, similar to oorah. Often used sarcastically in modern infantry roles as "You unmotivated turd".


  • zero – pronounced zee-row in an exaggerated manner, as used by Drill Instructors at the end of a count-down implying that recruits are to immediately cease all activity remain silently in place. Used by Marines to gain the immediate attention of all personnel in the area without calling attention on deck.
  • zero-stupid thirty – an unnecessarily early time for which personnel are required to assemble for an activity. See also O-dark thirty.

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. ^ Knight, Glenn B. "Marine Corps Dictionary: 782 Gear".  
  3. ^ "Ship's Bell".  
  4. ^ above my pay grade by Don Surber
  5. ^ "AHA".  
  6. ^ MLRS Branch Headquarters (11 March 1997). "GS01TP: MLRS Tactics and Procedures".  
  7. ^ ahoy on
  8. ^ Metzger, E.: History Of The Development Of The LINCLOE Load-Carrying Equipment, July 1975
  9. ^ as you were on
  10. ^ "As you were", "As we were" on
  11. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  12. ^ bag nasty on Double-Tongued Dictionary
  13. ^ BAMCIS on
  14. ^ by the numbers on Merriam-Webster OnLine
  15. ^ BB stacker on
  16. ^ BEQ on
  17. ^ big green weenie on
  18. ^ BOQ on
  19. ^ BOQ on
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ brain housing group on
  22. ^ brig rat on Jargon
  23. ^ brightwork on
  24. ^ brown bag on
  25. ^ a b c d e  
  26. ^ bum scoop on
  27. ^ butt pack on
  28. ^ by your leave on
  29. ^ Casualty Assistance Calls Officer on
  30. ^ CACO on
  31. ^ cammie on
  32. ^ cannon cocker on
  33. ^ Canoe U on
  34. ^ captain's mast on
  35. ^ CASEVAC on
  36. ^ casual company or platoon on
  37. ^ CAX on
  38. ^ CCU on
  39. ^ "Corectional Custody Unit begins Day One".  
  40. ^ chairborne on Encarta. Archived 2009-10-31.
  41. ^ brig chaser on
  42. ^ chit on
  43. ^ "CIF online". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  44. ^ civ div on
  45. ^ civvies on Merriam-Webster online
  46. ^ civvies on
  47. ^ civvies on
  48. ^ CMC on
  49. ^ corpsman on
  50. ^ cover and alignment on Kent State University ROTC
  51. ^ cumshaw on
  52. ^ Mehringer, MSgt Phil. "Memorial Day, Belleau Wood Style". United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  53. ^ Flippo, Hyde. "German Myth 13: Teufelshunde – Devil Dogs".  
  54. ^ Schogol, Jeff (January 4, 2011). "Did Marines, not German soldiers, coin the phrase ‘Devil Dogs’?".  
  55. ^ Tilghman, Andrew (April 28, 2008). "‘Devil Dog’ term taking a beating".  
  56. ^ Individual drill on
  57. ^ close order drill on Encyclopædia Britannica
  58. ^ Melson, Charles D. Marine Recon 1940–90 (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1994, reprinted 2003), p. 26.
  59. ^ Tregaskis, Richard. Guadalcanal Diary (Garden City, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1943), 16.
  60. ^ "five jump chump". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  61. ^
  62. ^ Military Abbreviations, Nicknames and Slang Terms on
  63. ^ Military Slang on
  64. ^ gaff off on Online Slang Dictionary
  65. ^ gaff off on Dictionary of American Slang
  66. ^ geedunk on
  67. ^ GI shower on
  68. ^ Goa-rope on Double-Tongued Dictionary
  69. ^ good to go on
  70. ^ Tregaskis, Guadalcanal Diary, 113.
  71. ^ "APECS data sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  72. ^ grinder on
  73. ^ Training presentation for ground guiding
  74. ^ GT Score on
  75. ^ guidon on
  76. ^ gunny on
  77. ^ gyrene on Merriam-Webster online
  78. ^ gyrene on
  79. ^ Tomajczyk, Stephen F. (2004). To Be a U.S. Marine. Zenith Imprint. p. 41.  
  80. ^ DI and Incentive Training on
  81. ^ incentive training on Internet FAQ Consortium
  82. ^ Lance Corporal of Marines Association
  83. ^ Lance Corporal Underground on
  84. ^ Alan C. Miller & Kevin Sack (December 15, 2002). "Far From Battlefield, Marines Lose One-Third of Harrier Fleet".  
  85. ^ a b leggings on
  86. ^ lipstick lieutenant on
  87. ^ midrats on
  88. ^ Non Mission Capable Internet
  89. ^ Boghie (2006-03-21). "Non Mission Capable Internet". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  90. ^ "Marine Corps Uniforms". Marine For Life. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  91. ^ BLANKET SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR RANGES by Camp Lejeune Weapons and Training Battalion
  92. ^ SAFE on
  93. ^ Definition of scuttlebutt from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Retrieved 2008-03-16
  94. ^ "Naval Historical Center: Nautical Terms and Phrases". 2005-05-05. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  95. ^ Terminal Lance webcomic by LCpl Maximilian Uriarte
  96. ^ Sanborn, James K. (Mar 26, 2010). "Caustic comic strip lances enlisted life".  
  97. ^ Walking John recruiting poster on
  98. ^ Walking John recruiting poster on
  99. ^ wetting down example with further references
  100. ^ YATYAS on
  101. ^ YATYAS on
  102. ^ YAT-YAS on WikiMapia
  103. ^ Cooper, Charles G.; Richard E. Goodspeed (2002). "Chapter 4". Cheers and Tears.  
  104. ^ Gilbert, Ed; Howard Gerrard (2004). "Belief and Belonging". Us Marine Corps Tank Crewman, 1965–70: Vietnam.  
  105. ^ zoomie on



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