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Jargon & Slang

Period Slang & Military Jargon

From FM 21-100
AWOL — Absent without authority.
Aide or  Aide-de-camp — A  personal assistant to a general officer.
Base — The element on which a movement is  regulated. 
Blind — A money fine of a court-martial sentence. 
Bob-tail — A dishonorable discharge. 
Bucking for orderly — Extra efforts for personal appearance when competing for post of orderly to the commanding officer. 
Bust — To  reduce a noncommissioned officer to the grade of private. 
Chow — Food. 
Cits — Civilian clothing. 
CO or KO — Commanding  officer. 
Distance — Space between elements in the direction front to rear.
Dogtags — Identification disks. 
Doughboy (dough) — An infantryman. 
Dud — An unexploded shell. 
Field, in  the. — Campaigning against an enemy under actual or assumed conditions.
File — A column of men one behind the other. 
Foxhole — Pit dug by a soldier  to protect his body. 
GI — Government  issue;  galvanized  iron. 
Guardhouse lawyer — A person who knows little, but talks much about regulations, military law, and soldiers' "rights."
Hash mark — A service stripe. 
Hike — To march. 
Hitch — An enlistment period. 
1C — Inspected and condemned. 
Interval — Space between elements in the direction parallel to the front.
Jawbone — Credit. To buy without money. To shoot a weapon over a qualification course when it doesn't count for record.
Kick — A dishonorable discharge. 
KP — Kitchen  police. 
Lance jack — A temporary or acting corporal with the same duties and authority of a regularly appointed corporal, but without the pay of the grade. 
Mess gear — A soldier's individual mess kit, knife, fork, spoon, and cup.
MP — Military police. 
Mule skinner — A teamster. 
Noncom — A  noncommissioned officer. 
OD — Olive drab or officer of the day. 
On  the  carpet — Called before the commanding officer for disciplinary  reasons. 
Over the hill — To desert. 
Pace — A step 30 inches long. 
Piece — The rifle or weapon. 
Pup tent — Shelter tent. 
Reup or takeon — To reenlist. 
Shave  tail — A second lieutenant. 
Skipper — The company commander. 
Sniper — An expert rifle shot detailed to pick off enemy leaders or individuals who expose themselves. 
The old man — The company commander; commanding officer. 
Top sergeant or top kick — The first sergeant.

Kraut: German (Vut iz a German sore loozer called? A sauerkraut! Jaaaa!)
Tedeschi: German (in Italian)
Tommie: Briton
Yank: American, if you are British speaking
Ami (Ah-me): American, if you are German speaking
Jap: An individual that is Japanese. 
Nip: Shortened form of Nippon, the native name of Japan. A Nip is an individual that is Japanese. Derogatory 


Here's a crash course on some German. The German reenactors, on the average, don't speak German, so this will give you an advantage and perhaps shame them into learning German when you use it on them. The phonetics are not 100% right, but close enough. 

"Ja" (yaa): Yes
"Nein" (nine): No
"Hallo!" (ha-lo): Hello
"Bis Später!" (biss Shpay-ter): Until Later / goodbye
"Guten Tag" (Goo-ten Ta-g): Good Day (but can be used at any time)
"Guten Morgen" (Goo-ten More-ghen): Good Morning
"Guten Abend" (Goo-ten Ah-bend): Good Evening
"Guten Nacht" (Goo-ten Nah-kt): Good Night (going off to bed)

Question Phrases & Answers:
"Wie geht es ihnen?" (Vee gate s ee-nin?): How are you doing? (if you ask a REAL German this, they'll tell you all about how their day was, not just "good/bad")

Short Answers:
"Gut" (Goot): Good
"Schlecht" (Sch-leh-kt): Bad
"So-so" (zo-zo): So-so
"Scheisse" (Shy-saa): Shit/Shitty
Sample Long Answer:
"Mein Hund hat Krebs. Meine Grossmutter ist töt. Meine Freundin hat mich verlassen. Ich habe Geschlechtskrankheit." (Mine Hoond haht Krebs. Mine-a Gross-moo-ter ist tur-t. Mine-a Frue-din haht meek fair-lass-in. Eek hah-ba Geh-shh-lekts-krank-hight): My dog has cancer. My Grandmother is dead. My girlfriend left me. I have VD.

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" (Spreh-kin Zee Doy-tsch): Do you speak German?
"Sprechen Sie Englisch?" (Spreh-kin Zee Een-glish): Do you speak English?
"Konnen Sie übersetzen?" (Kur-nin Zee Oober-zet-zin): Can you translate?
"Kann ich ihnen helfen?" (Kahn eek ee-nin hell-fin?): Can I help you?
"Wo ist die Toilette?" (Vo ist dee Toil-eh-te?): Where is the toilet?
"Da" (Dah): "There" point.
"Da druben" (Dah drew-bin): Over there
"Ich weiss nichts." (Eek vice knee-kts): I don't know.
"Wo ist S und A" (Vo ist ess oond ahh?): Where is S&A?
"Was machen Sie hier?" (Vas mah-kin Sea heer?): What are you doing?
"Wie heissen Sie?" (Vee hi-sin Sea?): What is your name?
"Ich heisse _______" (Eek hi-sa _____): I am called [insert name]

Surrendering Phrases (if you're surrendering):
"Nicht Schiessen!" (Neekt She-sin): Don't shoot! Do not say "Shy-saa" instead of "She-sin", you'll wind up shouting "Don't shit!"
"Ich ergebe mich!" (Eek err-gay-ba meek): I surrender!
"Ich bin Amerikaner." (Eek bin A-mare-ee-kahn-er): I am American!

Taking Prisoners (if you're taking German prisoners):
"Hande Höch!" (Hahn-da hoke): Put your hands up!
"Waffen niederlegen!" (Vah-fin knee-derr-lay-gen): Lay your weapons down!
"Hinknien Sie sich!" (Hin-knee-in Sea seek): Kneel Down!
"Vorwärts Marsch!" (Four-varts Marsh!): Forward March!
"Halt!" (Halt): Stop

Other Words
"Der Führer" (Der Furor): "The Leader", i.e. Adoph Hitler
"Fallschirmjäger" (Fall-sheerm-yay-ger): Paratrooper
"Feldgendarmerie" (Felled-gin-darm-err-ee): Military Police
"Grössdeutschland" (Gross-doytsch-land): "Great Germany"
"Heer" (Hear): Army
"Krieg" (Kreeg): War
"Kriegsmarine" (Kreegs-marine): Navy
"Luftwaffe" (Looft-waff-ah): Air Force
"Nazi" (Nat-zee): Shortened form of "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" (NSDAP, National Socialist German Worker's Party)
"Panzer" (Pahn-zer): Armor, tank, shortened version of Panzerkampfwagen "Armored Fighting Vehicle"
"Schutz Staffel" (Shootz-Sta-ful): SS, "Protection Force"
"Tötenkopf" (Tur-tin-kopf): "Death's Head"

Reenactor Jargon

Corpsman!: Universal signal among reenactors that there is a REAL medical emergency occurring. "Medic" is used for 'simulated' casualties, even in PTO scenarios where "corpsman" may be more authentic. When heard, cease fire (relay cease fire command on), locate individual shouting "corpsman", alert others (shout "corpsman" and "REAL medical emergency"), do not move the individual. Seek out event staff, event medic, or someone with proper training (some reenactors are doctors, nurses, EMTs, etc.). For heaven's sake don't put a 65 year old bandage and well-expired sulfa on them!!! Consult first aid section in this section. 

Farb: Either "FAke gaRB" or "FAR Be it from authentic". Generally used in reference to an individual's impression. "Mac's boots are really farby." translation: "Mac's boots are not authentic." This is a derogatory term. To be called or labeled a "farb" is a pretty bad thing among reenactors. This is why we have authenticity standards. Farb may also refer to 'non-period items', such as water bottles and candy wrappers, "Clean up all that farb!" can mean "Throw (hide) that trash!"

Khaki Hound: An individual that believes there is one true shade of OD3, "khaki", out there and is not satisfied by uniforms or equipment that is off-color, mix-matching, or the darker OD7 (which was never used). Applies generally to individuals with US impressions.

POV: Personally Owned Vehicle. Your car, moped, truck, minivan, SUV, gas guzzler, sedan, etc.. This is not your Jeep, Weapons Carrier or Half-track (although these are also, vehicles owned by persons, personally owned vehicles). POVs usually need to be out of the site and into a reenactor lot by a certain set time. POVs are let back in after a set time also. 

Pyro: A pyrotechnic device, can be as large as a ground charge simulating an explosion or as small as a smoke bomb or grenade simulator. Usually regulated from one event to another, checked at safety and authenticity. Ask before using! 

S and A or S&A or S 'n A: Short for Safety & Authenticity. Usually an assembly where inspectors check every individual at an event. Held normally before an event opens. Come with your weapons, ammo, webgear, a full canteen, and helmet (what you wear into battle). Make sure you are already registered and have your S&A tag/card/ID. S&A also serves as a briefing to all participants.

Stitch Nazi: See also, "Khaki Hound". A person who is so fixated upon being 100% authentic that they compare the stitching in original uniforms to those of reproductions, and if they are not exacting, throws a fit. Does not necessarily apply to only the German forces, hypothetically, an individual portraying a rabbi in the US Army could be a "stitch Nazi".

Unit Sayings

These are not necessarily authentic for WWII, but they are authentic for us as a group. Perhaps you'll gather a bit of insight as to who we are and just how bored we can get sometimes in the field (which is authentic by the way).

"And on the third day, it rained." --- because at every event in the first two-thirds of the year, by the third day, it will rain. It will pour while we're packing up, no matter how quickly we pack. The fact of the matter is, it's going to rain.

"Take some Motrin, change your socks, you'll be aaight." --- No matter what goes wrong in life, do these things and you'll be 'aight' (all right). Headache? Tummy ache? Lost a leg (might become singular, 'sock', in that case)? Sleepy? Sore? Worried about the economic downturn? Lose your job? Is it raining? Take some Motrin, change your sock(s) and you'll be aight.

"Drink Water!" (sometimes heard in conjunction with "BEAT THE HEAT!") --- In the heat of the summer, with humidity so high it's almost raining, in wool, it gets hot. We sweat and when you sweat you're losing water. Stay hydrated on those days. When one pulls his/her canteen because they're thirsty, "DRINK WATER!" is shouted, and EVERYONE drinks water with them.

"But that's not the worst part..." --- Just when you thought when it couldn't get any worse, it does, and you know what? It's STILL not the worst part. And even that is dwarfed in comparison to the worst part, which is outdone only by the worst part.................. but... that's not the worst part.

"She probably does." --- If you think she doesn't, think again. She probably does. In order for you to understand this saying, you need to receive medical training. Talk to one of the docs.

"It's raining like hell in Jackson." --- At Thunder Over Michigan in 2011, it did rain a bit and we have several showers move through. Every time one was about to hit us somebody would rush on by and notify us that it was "gonna rain" and that we better "button down the hatches." Sure enough also, someone would report that it was "raining like hell in Jackson" (a city in Michigan just west of us by a half hour) and that we needed to drop those tent sides and seeks shelter. Apparently now it constantly rains like hell in Jackson. Don't know what the weather is, this is the proper response: "well, it's raining like hell in Jackson." See aslo: "And on the third day, it rained"

"Eeeeehhhh" --- An expression of frustration followed usually by a hand gesture of a pinching thumb and index finger applied to the root of the nose.

":#ERs on TOP" --- Welcome also to the :#ER Clan.