Military slang words: how many do you know?

Like many industries, military language is peppered with acronyms and specialist terms, but what is perhaps is a little more unique is the extensive use of military slang. Slang words may not count as "proper English" to some, but the thing is, using them is fun and, crucially, it fosters a sense of identity and belonging; military slang is an integral part of life in the Armed Forces.

Military vernacular can sometimes feel like a completely different language, which to someone with little or no exposure to the military can find bewildering. A fact I learnt very quickly during RAF basic training when, on Day Two, I was reprimanded for calling the Recruits' Mess the "dining room" – heaven forbid! I soon got used to this strange new language until it became second nature, and as my career progressed so did my mental bank of colloquialisms. I learnt that snowdrops are not just a type of flower and that being Jack is no good thing!

So, grab a hot wet (Julie Andrews for me) and have a good read of my military slang list (the PG version!).

Do you have a favourite? Let me know!

Badmin – poor self-management

Basher – shelter

Beasting – being put through strenuous physical activity for a prolonged period of time

Beer tokens − money

Bootneck – a Royal Marine

Chin-strapped – really tired/lack of sleep

Crab – someone in the RAF

Crab Air – Army slang for RAF Air Transport

Dobie dust – washing powder

Doris – a female in the RAF

Dress forward – step to the front

Duff gen – inaccurate information

Fairy – RAF avionics technician

Full screw – a corporal in the Army

Gash – poorly made/rubbish

Ginners – beautiful weather

Gopping – something horrible or minging

Half screw – a lance corporal in the Army

Hoofin - really good/ excellent

In clip – hanging out (e.g. after a tough gym session or when hungover)

Jack – a selfish/lazy person

Jack brew – making a cuppa for yourself and not offering to make one for anyone else

Julie Andrews – tea with milk, no sugar

Junglie – the RM Commando Helicopter Force

Juniors – junior non-commissioned officers (corporals and below)

Patch – military family living quarters

Pink chit – permission from your partner to do something (normally to go out drinking)

Pongo – someone in the Army

Pull up a sandbag – tell a story about something you’ve done in the military

Pusser – military issue

Rag order – looking scruffy

Redders – boiling hot

Rigger – RAF airframes technician

Rock Ape – RAF Regiment

Run ashore – a night out away from the military base (Navy)

Scoff – food (Army)

Scran – food (Navy/RM)

Scratcher – bed

Seniors – senior non-commissioned officer (sergeants and above)

Snowdrop – RAF Military Police

Spin a dit – to tell a story

Square away – to put your things away/get things sorted

Squippers – RAF survival equipment fitters

Threaders – fed up

Wet – a drink

About the author

Jessica Brown is a professional copyeditor and proofreader. An RAF veteran and military spouse, she specialises in non-fiction military- and aviation-related texts. For more information, you can contact her here.