U.S. Military Lingo: The (Almost) Definitive Guide

Soldiers have always had their own terms for the unique tools they use and situations they confront, but it changes vastly over time. By the time the general public learns the slang, the current military is using new tools and new procedures in new places -with new terms. NPR helps us get updated on th lingo as is used in the 21st century. Some interesting samples:

Bird: Helicopter. "Chopper" is rarely used, except in movies, where it is always used. A chopper is a kind of motorcycle, not an aircraft.

Geardo: (rhymes with weirdo) A soldier who spends an inordinate amount of their personal money to buy fancy military gear, such as weapon lights, GPS watches, custom rucksacks, etc. Generally refers to a soldier with little tactical need for such equipment. See: Fobbit.

POO: Point Of Origin. The site from which a rocket or mortar was launched at U.S. forces. Most easily calculated by tracking the projectile's trajectory with radar. Example: "We're going out POO hunting."

Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone: A military doctrine or political process that appears to exist in order to justify its own existence, often producing irrelevant indicators of its own success. For example, continually releasing figures on the amount of Taliban weapons seized, as if there were a finite supply of such weapons. While seizing the weapons, soldiers raid Afghan villages, enraging the residents and legitimizing the Taliban's cause.

There are 54 terms defined for us in the list at NPR. I might feel educated if I had any confidence that I'd remember them all. -via Digg

(Image credit: David Gilkey/NPR)


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I am here with the military right now and alot of these terms are incorrect.

Black water does not mean you are almost out of water. Black water is what we call human sewage.

Bird is used for both helicopters and airplanes.

Noone calls them CHUs..... they are Hoochies.
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