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 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. Recent joint operations have allowed terms from other military services to leak into the USMC lexicon, but can be found with their originating service's slang list, see the "See also" section.
03 Hump-A-Lot – Pejorative used by combat support Marines to refer to Infantry Marines.
1st Civ Div – 1st Civilian Division. Civilian life, usually applied to Marines facing discharge or retirement. As in "getting assigned to 1st Civ Div." Also occasionally referred to as "1st Couch Company." Also referred to as "Camp Living Room" a play on Camp Lejeune, NC. 1st Civ Div, Camp Living Room, Zenith Remote Operator (new primary MOS).
360 – Forming a complete circle (as in 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 for 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 – 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.
5.56 hickey – A scar or blister resulting from a burn suffered (usually on the neck) due to hot brass.
7 Day Store/Troop Store/Mini P – Convenience store (Mini-P denotes a "mini" or smaller sized version of the PX, or Post-Exchange).
782 Gear – Standard issue web gear such as ALICE, MOLLE, or ILBE. So called because the Group section of the National Stock Number for personal field equipment is 782. (See Also Deuce Gear below.)
8 bells – Signal for the end of a four-hour watch, so named for the increase in bell strike each half-hour of the watch.
Aboard – 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.
Acquire(d)/Tactically Acquire(d) – euphemism implying the item(s) in question were obtained either by theft or by otherwise non-traditional or creative methods.
Air Crew – Personnel that work on board any aircraft that can carry a crew (i.e. UH-1, CH-46, CH-53, V-22, etc.), and are normally charged with loading gear, passengers, and manning the door/ tail guns.
Air Force pockets or Army gloves – An individual's hands being inside his or her pockets.
VMMT – Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (formerly HMMT)
VMO – Marine Observation Squadron
VMP – Marine Patrol Squadron
VMR – Marine Transport Squadron
VMS – Marine Scouting Squadron
VMSB – Marine Scout Bombing Squadron
VMTB – Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron
VMTD – Marine Target Towing Detachment
VMU – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron
VMX – Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron
WES – Wing Engineer Squadron
WTS – Wing Transport Squadron
ZMQ – Marine Barrage Balloon Squadrons
Aye-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', once common in the regions from which the Royal Navy drew its sailors
Barney-style – to perform strictly according to regulation; idiot proof; simplified for the benefit of mental underachievers; often said as "Breaking it down Barney-style" or "Mr. Potato Head style"; Bert and Ernie for the 1980s and 1990s Marines
Barracks – On base housing for Marines who have no dependents, any dependents living with them. Military dormitory rooms.
boondoggle – project or trip on government time or expense that serves no purpose other than to entertain the person making it.
Boot – Marines who are new to the Marine Corps. Derived from the term boot camp, and insinuates 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 may be used to describe a Marine who is new to a rank or billet; for example, a newly promoted Corporal may be referred to as a "boot 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.
"By your leave sir/ma'am." – Used with a salute prior to passing senior officers who might be advancing in the same direction; protocol states the senior must acknowledge by returning salute with phrase "Carry on" before the junior passes on the left.
CACO – Casualty Assistance Calls/Counseling Officer, a Marine detailed to inform and help the family of a Marine killed, wounded, or captured in the line of duty.
Cadillacs – boots; method of transportation when no other vehicle is available. Also refers to all leather combat boots.
Call Out – To challenge, often by announcing incriminating information about a person. See also drop a dime.
Captain's Mast – Office 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. USA & USAF refer to this as "Article 15" hearing.
Carry On – Order to continue after being interrupted. Also music played immediately following playing of "colors" to inform people to resume activities.
CAS – Close Air Support, aircraft fire on ground troops in support of nearby friendly troops.
CASEVAC – CASualty EVACuation, emergency evacuation of injured personnel from combat zone by any modes transport available to nearest triage area, treatment area, or field hospital. As opposed to a MEDEVAC which is the transport from a field hospital to a Medical Treatment Facility. See also MEDEVAC.
Casual Company – 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.
CAX – Combined Arms eXercise. Outdated term, it has since been replaced by the ITX (Integrated Training eXercise).
CCU – Correctional 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.
Chairborne or Chairborne Ranger – Someone who works in an office environment, a play on airborne.
CIF – Consolidated Issue Facility, a place on a station where all personal equipment is stored and issued, often contracted to civilians.
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). These Marines are not formal law enforcement officers per se, and only perform investigations under the cognizance of NCIS.
CLP – Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative, teflon-based cleaning and lubricating fluid used for maintaining small arms. Also slang for coffee. Vulgar: Also refers to "Chow, Liberty, Pussy/Penis" in reference to things a male/female Marine "needs".
COC – Combat 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".
COG – Corporal Of the Guard, The acting corporal, (or near rank) that acts under the SOG Sgt. of the Guard on watch, radio watch, or post.
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.
Deep Six – To dispose of by throwing overboard ship.
Department of Transportation - Pejorative for The US Navy
Detachment or Det – 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 Nuts – A regional variation of devil dog and nickname for Marines. Popular with Marines serving at Marine Barracks Japan (Late 1990s era).
Devil Pup – Nickname for a Marine's child(ren); a member of the Young Marines; a patronizing nickname for a junior Marine. Mostly used by senior Marines to reference junior Marines in a polite way, and commonly used around higher ups.
DGAF – Doesn't/Don't Give A Fuck. Generally coincides with one who is OFP.
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 Recruit 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.
Doc or Devil Doc – Navy hospital corpsman attached to the Marines; Devil Doc is a term of respect normally reserved for Corpsmen who are Fleet Marine Force qualified or who have served in combat with Marines.
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.
Doggie – Enlisted member of the United States Army, from the World War I era slang "dog-face" for an infantryman.
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 – Data On Previous Engagements, information, or sight settings or wind corrections for a rifle under given conditions.
Double Rat – A recruit in boot camp who has been deemed underweight according to regulations. These recruits are given twice the normal amount of food at mealtimes until they reach an acceptable weight.
Drill – Close 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.
Eyeballs – Command given by drill instructors to recruits, ordering them to immediately pay attention or, more specifically, to look directly at the Drill Instructor while he/she is speaking or demonstrating a task.
Fallen Angel – Marine Officer who failed out of flight school and is now in another MOS. When a helicopter is shot down.
FAP – Fleet Assistance Program, a program designed to assign Marines to extra duties outside his or her normal chain of command. Sometimes seen as a means for commands to "reassign" their lowest-performing or misbehaving Marines. This isn't always the case though, the unit could be over staffed, and sending Marines out on a FAP is necessary. In some grunt units, it is seen as a reward for having performed well, and giving the Marine a break from the brutal daily field training and barracks games they play.
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.
Fiddler's Green – An imaginary afterlife or paradise, where only Army cavalrymen killed in action can stay.
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. A perfect "10" in the field.
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 Expedient – Improvisation, to make do with what's available.
Field Cover – Campaign 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 or soldierly skills.
Field Music – Drummer, trumpeter, bugler, fifer; mostly an antiquated term.
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.
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 fire watch being their most important duty.
First Lieutenant, Second Award – Derogatory term for a former First Lieutenant who has been frocked (promoted ahead of schedule) to Captain.
Follow it – Said when a rifle is dropped by a Marine, the Marine is expected to follow it to the ground by doing a push up as punishment for allowing their rifle to hit the deck. Also used when a Marine drops anything.
Form ID-10T or ID-Ten-Tango – Code for calling someone an "idiot" to their face without them realizing it, assuming they haven't heard the phrase before.
Fortitudine – Former motto of the Marine 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.
Four Fingers of Death – Nickname for the ill famed frankfurter MRE (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) with four small hot dogs as the main meal MRE
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[clarification needed].
Going High and to the 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.
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.
Gook – Anything foreign or strange. In modern US usage, "gook" refers particularly to Communist soldiers during the Vietnam War. It is generally considered to be highly offensive and viewed as a racial slur.
Grape – A Marine's head, as in: "Keep on grab-assing and you're going to fall and bust your grape!"
Green Machine – 1980s–1990s, deployable hardened portable computer, sometimes accompanied by encrypted punch tape reader/writer: "Get that Green Machine off the truck and setup ASAP." Also used to refer to the Marine Corps as a whole.
Guide – Unit guidon-bearer; in recruit training, also the senior recruit and responsible for the actions of all recruits in a platoon.
Gumby Suit – Two pieced wet weather gear consisting of a hooded jacket and overalls used until the mid-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 its 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.
Gundecking – to fake or falsify especially by writing up (as a series of official reports) as if meeting requirements but actually without having carried out the required procedures.
Gunner – shortened form of Marine Gunner, a nickname for an Infantry Weapons Officer; used informally to refer to all warrant officer ranks. A Gunner within Field Artillery is responsible for traversing the cannon tube during emplacement & fire missions. & is 1 of 2 jobs on a gun which requires qualification.
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. Aircraft personnel and aircrew may also refer to the wearing of flight suits and coveralls rolled down to the waist as Half-Mast.
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.
Hashmark – service stripe worn on the uniform sleeve by enlisted men and women for completion of four years of honorable service in any of the U.S. Armed Services and Reserves.
Hatch – Door; more specifically, the watertight cover over an opening between compartments or that leads to the ladder wells between decks of a ship.
HBT – HerringBoneTwill; 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.
Hershey Bars – Black leather dress shoes that required regular polishing. Thrown out by most Marines after boot camp and replaced with corfams.
Hidin' and Slidin' – pejorative backronym for H&S (Headquarters and Service) companies. Also "Hotdogs and Soda."
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 is generally not the most common or preferred haircut worn among most Fleet Marines. Also referred to as a "High reg(ular)."
"Higher-ups" – Nickname for Marines above the rank of E-5 Sergeant.
High-speed – New, interesting, or cool; often used to sarcastically denote that the subject looks good, but performance is dubious.
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. This can refer to the period between receiving a Warning Order and actually implementing an Operations Order.
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.
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. See also pitting & quarterdecking.
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.
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 when they have only 60 minutes of fuel remaining.
JRTC – Joint Readiness Training Center, combat training center at Fort Polk Louisiana since 1993 (formerly at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas) that focuses on training Light Infantry Brigade sized units.
Lance Coolie, Lance Criminal, or Lance Coconut – derogatory terms for Lance Corporal.
Lance Corporal Underground or Lance Corporal Network – Joking reference to the rapid spread of information by non-NCOs (which superiors are ignorant of); also refers to the spread of foolish rumors that a more experienced Marine would immediately recognize as false.
LBV – Load Bearing Vest, personal equipment used to keep the most commonly used items within easy reach utilizing the PALS, usually a component of MOLLE or ILBE.
LCPLIC – Lance Corporal in Charge. A salty Lance Corporal.
Leatherneck – Nickname for Marine, so named for legends stating that stiff leather collars were once worn to protect the throat from sword-blows (also thought that high stocks were worn for discipline, to keep Marines' heads high and straight). The dress blue uniform still bears a high stock collar today. Also, Leatherneck Magazine.
Marjah Marines – Marines who served in the Battle For Marjah in 2010; may be from a number of units including 1st BTN 6th Marines, 3rd BTN 6th Marines, and 3rd BTN 10th Marines.
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.
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 in reference to the ramshackle appearance of vehicles the Mad Max movie franchise. See also hillbilly armor.
Major – A Captain in command of a ship's Marine detachment. This title is used in order to avoid confusion with the ship's commanding officer, who is referred to as "Captain" even if he/she holds a lower rank.
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 "san".
MARINE – Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Non-Essential, My Ass Really Is Navy Equipment, Mad Assholes Riding 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.
MARSOC – Marine Forces, Special Operations Command.
Master Guns or Master Gunny – Master 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. The plural form is colloquially referred to as M&Ms.
MATMEP – Maintenance Training Management and Evaluation Program. Used to document individual formal and informal training in 6XXX series occupations (i.e., aviation maintenance); this information then rolls up to show an aviation unit's overall readiness to sustain operations. Sometimes referred to as "Me And The Marines Enjoy Paperwork" from the voluminous amounts of documentation generated.
MCCLEO - Marine Corps Civilian Law Enforcement Officer. Civilian Law Enforcement for larger Marine Installations. They work in conjunction to Marine MP's and are led by a Chief or Deputy Chief of Police, who in turn answers to the base Provost Marshal.
MCSF – Marine Corps Security Forces (Company) usually a company size unit assigned to the security of Naval assets. MOS 8152, MCSF School is at NSGA Northwest VA, and due to the intense marksmanship training Marines are known as 'Gunslingers', Marine Corps Super Friends.
Meat Gazer – Urinalysis observer who observes the servicemember peeing into the sample container to prevent tampering with the sample.
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 Right – Pertaining to the right side of something or the direction to the right 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.
MRE – Meal, 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, Refusing to Exit" (in reference to the widespread belief that the meals purposely cause constipation), "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.
O-dark thirty – Very early hours before dawn. See also military time, Zero-dark thirty. 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.
Old Asia Hand – Person with more than one tour in Asia.
Old Man – Very informal nickname for the commanding officer, considered an inappropriate term of endearment for use by a junior, thus used in reference but never in address.
OMPF – Official Military Personnel File, a record of all awards, punishments, training, and other records compiled by Headquarters Marine Corps.
Oorah – 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
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 Deck – Area set aside for the conduct of parades, drill, and ceremonies, often paved or well-maintained lawn. See also grinder.
Passed over – Having failed selection for the next higher rank (for SNCOs and officers).
Pay Grade – DOD 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.
PET-qual – An exemption that can be granted by a company-level commander to shooters that have two prior Expert qualifications. The shooter will not have to fire that year, but will not earn an additional Expert qualification. PET-qual simply allows the shooter to extend their second Expert status an additional year. The acronym stands for "Prior Expert Twice" qualification.
(The) Pits – Depressed area on a shooting range where the targets are located, shooters staff it by marking, raising, and lowering targets from behind a berm. See also butts and pulling butts / pits.
Pitting – Incentive training for a large group of recruits, so named for the sandy pits set aside for such events. See also quarterdecking.
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 Sergeant – SNCO 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.
PMCS – Preventive 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.
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.
Poolee – Name given to newly enlisted or preparing to enlist individuals. They are part of a pool of hopeful Marines, managed by the Marine Recruiters at the local recruiting offices. Poolees meet nearly every weekend at the recruiting office to exercise, practice drill, learn Marine Corps history and the like. Being in the pool is a good opportunity to keep new and hopeful enlistees from getting into trouble. Poolees at a well managed program are more often than not more successful at Boot Camp because of their preparations.
Port – Naval term for "left side of ship" when on board a ship and facing forward, opposite of starboard. "Port" is the same with respect to a ship regardless of where a person is located or which way a person is facing, whereas "left" might be ambiguous.
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.
Pos – Radio lingo for position; pronounced as "paws"
Powder Monkey – Name used within Field Artillery for the Marine whose job it is to prepare the powder/propellant needed for a specific fire mission. Although every crew member is trained to perform each job, the responsibility of preparing powder increments for non-fixed ammunition normally falls upon the most junior member of a gun crew.
PowerPoint Ranger – Pejorative for Marines (usually officers) who have spent too much time in an office and are known for giving PowerPoint presentations.
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 Cage – Place where organizational property is stored, often a warehouse.
PT – Physical Training, physical exercise to build or maintain strength, agility, and flexibility.
Pucker Factor – High level of anxiety experienced by those in tight situations, usually aircrew.
QRF – Quick Reaction Force, a highly mobile stand-by force designed to add firepower in precise places as the commander decides on a changing battlefield, often used for MEDEVAC purposes.
Quarter Deck – A location of prominence in a barracks or office; in recruit training, this area by the drill instructor's office is usually off-limits to recruits except during ceremonial discipline; the term comes from the quarter deck of a
ship defined as "the part of the upper deck abaft the mainmast, including the poop deck when there is one. Usually reserved for ship's officers, guests, and passengers."
Quarterdecking – Incentive 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 Sack – Bed, 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.
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, an Army term that has made its way into the vernacular for volunteering for an additional period of service. The correct term is Ship-over.
Reverse Raider – Derogatory term for MARSOC Marines, due to their reputed tendency to assume they are superior to regular Marines. Many in the Marine Reconnaissance community see MARSOC as wanting to emulate the Marine Raiders of WWII, which they are not meant to be.
RIP – Relief in Place. A common method of handing over an area to an incoming unit during deployment. A small contingent of the prior unit will stay with the new unit for a period of time to help acclimate them with the AO.
River City – Slang for reduced communications. It usually refers to a situation when the unit's communication systems are temporarily shut down. This could occur to preserve operations security before a maneuver or if a unit sustains casualties to ensure family members are notified through the proper channels.
Roach coach – a.k.a. Gut Truck – Civilian vehicle allowed on base to sell fast food (see Pogey Bait).
ROE – Rules Of Engagement, the restrictions on when and how a servicemember may use force on the enemy and other forces.
Rubber Bitch – 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.
SACO – Substance 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.
SAFE – Slow easy movements, Apply natural buoyancy, Full lung inflation, Extreme relaxation. Covered during SWIM phase of boot camp, intended to explain course of action while lost at sea with or without flotation devices.
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 a valediction, or closing statement, in written or typed communication (i.e. letters, emails, texts)
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.
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.
Sand Monster – To bury/hide something in the sand, usually MRE trash and brass. (Locale to 29 Palms)
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.
Scuttlebutt – Gossip; 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.
Seabag or Sea Bag – Duffel 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 attempts to argue by continually providing explanations for minutiae.
Sea Story – Story, tale, or yarn calculated to impress others, often contains exaggeration or even outright lies.
Secret Squirrel – Related to intelligence personnel, or any kind of clandestine, covert, classified, or confidential activity or information.
Secure – Stop, cease; or put away and lock.
Semper Fi – Shortened version of "Semper Fidelis", the motto of the Corps, Latin for "always faithful". Can be used ironically, as in, "Semper Fi, Mac", which basically means, "That's the breaks," or "Too fucking bad."
Semper Fu- Marine Corps martial arts
Semper Gumby – Colloquialism denoting tactical flexibility and the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, from the flexibility of the character in the children's animated show Gumby.
Semper I – Colloquialism denoting selfish or self-centered behavior.
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".
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.
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.
Skipper – Informal term of respect for a Marine captain (who is equivalent in rank to a Navy Lieutenant) who is in command of an infantry company or US Navy Commanding Officer of a ship or aviation squadron.
Slider – A hamburger so greasy that it slides right through the digestive tract of whoever eats it; typical of those served at flight line galleys.
Slop chute – Impolite term for restaurant within the PX or beer garden. Enlisted Marine's club.
SMAT – Supply maintenance assistance team, provide the commanding general with a technical supply inspection and assistance capability to improve control and management of all organic supply operations.
SMEAC – Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration & Logistics, Commands & Signals. The acronym used for the five-paragraph order format.
SNCOIC – Staff Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge, a SNCO responsible for a group of Marines, but without the authority of a commissioned officer; sometimes 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 Named Marine. Used in written communications to avoid having to repeatedly type the Marine's rank and name after the first instance.
SNO – Said Named Officer. Used in written communications to avoid having to repeatedly type the Marine's rank and name after the first instance.
Snow Job – Misleading or grossly exaggerated report; sales talk.
SRB – Service 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.
Starboard – Naval term for "right side of ship" when on board a ship and facing forward; opposite of port. "Starboard" is the same with respect to a ship regardless of where a person is located or which way a person is facing, whereas "right" might be ambiguous.
STEAL- Stealthily Transport Equipment to Another Location.
Taco Rice – A popular dish invented and served on Okinawa, consisting of various taco fillings served on a bed of rice. Every servicemember who has ever been stationed on Okinawa has a favorite taco rice stand which they swear is the best on the island.
Tactically Acquire – Euphemism for stealing something.
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.
TBS – The Basic School, the six-month combat training school for new Marine officers.
Trooper – Soldier, considered a grievous insult to refer to a Marine unless plural.
TS Chit – A "Tough Shit" Chit is 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."
Turtle – Metal clip backing for collar rank insignia.
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-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. Pronounced "unk."
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.
UVA – Uniformed Victim's Advocate – older, more experienced, male and female Marines who have received specialized training to confidentially assist uniformed victims of sexual assault, both male and female, to receive proper medical attention and access to all the necessary resources.
Wing Wiper – Aviation person, usually a maintenance person and not a pilot.
Winger – Aviation Marine.
WIR – DRMO; Washed-out In Repair; waste incidental to reprocessing; collection of items or equipment for turn-in that may be re-used by someone else at a later time, preferably at a savings to the government.
The Wire – Defensive perimeter of a firm base, crossing it denotes the end of relative safety
Word – General term for instructions, orders, and information that is required for all members of a unit to know; or the act of passing information to a collected group of servicemembers. See also gouge.
WM – Unofficial acronym that stands for a Woman Marine. Generally considered to be pejorative.
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.
You-who – When an NCO or Higher wants the attention of a Junior/Boot and does not know his name
Yut or Yut Yut – Stands for "Yelling Unnecessarily Things." A motivational saying similar to Oorah.
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 and remain silently in place. Used by Marines to gain the immediate attention of all personnel in the area without calling attention on deck.
Zero – Disparaging term used amongst enlisted personnel when referring to officers. Derived from the "o" in officer.