If you’ve been around the military long enough, you know that slang is a large part of a service member’s vocabulary. There’s so much jargon floating around my household that most of the time I wish I had a military dictionary just to translate my husband’s retelling of his day at work.
But even though I may not understand most of the lingo that comes out of his mouth, I have to admit that some of the slang my husband comes home with has become so ingrained in my psyche that I find myself regularly regurgitating certain words and phrases in my own everyday conversations. And judging from discussions with friends, status updates on Facebook, and posts written by fellow bloggers, I know I’m not the only MilSpouse to make additions to my personal dictionary thanks to the military.
The list of military slang is extensive and, at times, pretty darn funny (especially when you read through lists like this with your husband, who can offer narrative examples of the best ones). But there are some that are definitely more family friendly than others. Here is a list of my top ten military slang that works at home.
1. High and tight. One day I was sitting in the base barber shop as my husband and our son got haircuts. I looked at the men sitting in the chairs around me, clutching their numbered tickets as they waited their turn to be called. And you know what I noticed? Not a single one of them needed a haircut! The stubble on the sides of their heads barely covered their scalps. That’s the high and tight.
2. Bravo Zulu or “BZ.” Doesn’t that sound so much cooler than saying “well done?”
3. Hit the head “I’m gonna hit the head.” I guess this phrase is better than some of the alternatives to announcing your intention to use the restroom. It’s just really strange hearing your 8-year-old son saying it.
4. Soup sandwich. I actually used this phrase when I taught kindergarten. My students thought it was hysterical to imagine trying to eat a sandwich filled with soup. Yes, things are really messed up if you have a soup sandwich on your hands.
5. Mandatory fun. Who hasn’t gone to that command picnic or holiday party because their husband was invi-told to attend? That’s mandatory fun. Just remember, this term is fine to use in the privacy of your own home, but it’s probably best not to use it while you’re at the event itself.
6. …and a wake-up “My husband will be home in 4 days and a wake-up!” That sounds so much more doable than 5 more days, doesn’t it?
7. Hooah. I haven’t quite pinpointed its exact meaning, but it seems to be the comprehensive response to just about anything requiring abundant enthusiasm.
8. Got your 6. I got your back. A phrase all MilSpouses should be saying to each other.
9. Zero dark thirty. This is my daughter’s favorite time of day. Really, really, really early in the morning.
10. Rog/Roger/Roger that. My favorite, constant fixtures in my emails/phone calls/text messages. Message received. I understand. Roger that.
What is your favorite military slang? (Let’s keep it clean, folks. I’m well aware of the use of expletives within the collection of military slang, but I’m pretty sure we can have this conversation without all of us cursing like sailors. Or soldiers. Or Marines. Or coasties. Or airmen. You get the idea. Roger that?)