United States Marine Corps History and Information

Learn about the Traditions and Customs of the USMC

Marine Corps Jargon

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Jarhead (Marine Corps) Jargon or Lingo

We have compiled a list of the most used Marine Corps Lingo (jargon). We will only add commonly used terms (i.e. terms known to the entire Marine Corps or through out the Military, not just to certain units).

Didn’t find what your looking for here? Try the DOD Military Dictionary

782 Gear – Also “Deuce” gear; includes pack, canteen, poncho, ammo pouch, etc. used when in the field. 782 refers to the DD Form signed when gear is issued


As You Were:  -Resume Former Activity

Below – Downstairs
Bird – Any aircraft
Black Cadillacs – Combat Boots
Blouse – Cammie Shirt
BOHICA – Bend over here it comes again
Boonie – Broad brimmed soft cover, usually worn by Marine snipers.
Brass – Officers’
Brig – Military Jail
Brown Bagger – Married Marine
Boot Lewy – 2nd Lieutenant
Bulkhead – Wall
Bunker – A protective shelter
Buttcan – Ashtray
Butter Bar – 2nd Lieutenant
BX – Base Exchange


Cammies – Camouflage uniform
Canon Cocker – aka gun bunny personnel in an artillery battery
CFT – Combat Fitness Test
Chopper – Helicopter
Chow Hall – Where a Marine eats, like a cafateria
Civies – Civilian attire
Click – One kilometer or one notch of a rifle sight
Cover – Marine Corps Hat

Deck – Floor
Deuce and a half – 2.5 Ton Truck
Devildog – Another name for a Marine
Doggie – U.S. Army Soldier

Field Day – Barracks or Office cleanup
Float – Deployment by ship
Fruit Salad – Ones ribbons and badges as worn on uniform.
FUBAR – Short for – F—ed Up Beyond All Recognition or Repair


Geedunk – Another term for food, usually a snack
GI Party – Cleaning the Barracks
GIG line – the straight line when the shirt and belt buckle and zipper are all aligned.
Go Fasters – Running shoes
Gob – WWII slang for Squid (Sailor)
Good to go – Ready to move, agree with, situation ok
Gook – A Vietnamese civilian, expanded to include any oriental
Grunt – A Marine infantryman
Gung Ho – Very enthusiastic and committed

Hatch – Door/doorway
Head – Bathroom / Restroom
High and Tight – Another term for a haircut
Horn – Radio
Hump – Field March

Jarhead – Another name for a Marine
John Wayne – A grandstander, or descriptive of a bold act, or any act which is typical in the movies but not sound Marine procedure, such as firing a machine gun from the hip. Also, a simple can opener that can be carried on the dogtag chain.

Ink Stick – Black Pen

KA-BAR – Marine fighting knife
Klick – A kilometer

LPC’s – Leather personnel carriers (AKA boots)
Ladderwell – Stairwell
Leave – Vacation time
Liberty – Rest and relaxation – Authorized absence up to 96 hours
Lifer – Career Marine
Light Up – To fire on the enemy
Lipstick Lieutenant – Chief Warrant Officer 5
Lock and Load – Put ammunition in a weapon and prepare to fire

Ma Deuce – M2 BMG .50Cal. machine gun
Maggie’s Drawers – A red flag on the range connoting a miss
Maggot – DI’s affectionate name for a recruit
Mess Hall – Cafeteria where a Marine eats
MOS – Military occupational specialty (job)
Moon Beam – Flashlight
Moon Floss – Toilet paper
Most Ricky Tick – In a hurry; with a purpose; move fast

NCO – Non-Commissioned Officer
Nonhacker – A man who can’t perform under pressure

Zero-Dark Thirty – After midnight, but before working hours
Office Hours – Appearing before the Commanding Officer for discipline (NJP)
OOH RAH (OORAH) – Motivational call. See the USMC Facts page for the history and origin of this word.

PCS – Permanent change of station
PFT – Physical Fitness Test
PT – Physical Training
Piece – Rifle
Pogybait – Candies
Pouge – Anyone other than infantry (headquarters personnel)

Rack – Bed
Rain Locker – Shower
Rock – Dumb person, idiot
Rustpicker (Rust Picker) – slang for Sailor. Given this name for the job that some saliors must do (pick rust off ships).

SNAFU – Situation Normal, All Fouled Up
Scuttlebutt – Rumor; Gossip / water fountain
Secure – lock up, close, take care of, finish for the day
Semper Scrotus – Always on the ball
Semper Gumby – Always flexible
Shit on a Shingle – Creamed beef on toast, a Marine delicacy
Shitbird – A sloppy Marine
Shit Storm – Combat or any violent activity
Skivvies – Underwear
Slop Chute  – Bar
Smedly – An enlisted man who caters to officers and staff nco’s in the mess hall. Coined in honor of Smedly Butler, a Marine legend, for an obvious reason.
Smell Good – Deodorant or Cologne
Smoking Lamp – A shipboard tradition which indicates permission to smoke (lit) or not to smoke (out)
Sparks – A man whose MOS is radioman or field communications
Squid – Sailor
Swab – Mop

TARFU – Things Are Really Fouled Up
Ten (10) Percenter – One of the small number of nonhackers in any unit
Tiger Piss – Coined in Vietnam, rotgut booze in a brand name container
Topside – Upstairs

UA – Unauthorized absence

Water Buffalo – A large water tank on wheels
Whitewall – Standard Marine haircut
WM – Woman Marine

Zoomie – Anyone in the U.S. Air Force

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