Can You Crush This U.S. Navy Lingo Quiz in 7 Minutes?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

About This Quiz

As the Village People said, "In the navy, yes you can sail the seven seas. In the navy, come on protect the motherland!"

The United States has one of the world's largest navies, and this helps to exert its presence as a world superpower. As an armed force, a navy is an essential part of any country and has been since brave seafarers started to head out from Europe to help colonize the world.

But what exactly does the United States Navy possess in terms of naval strike power?

Well, they have around 415 ships, not the most in the world but certainly the most sophisticated. This includes an impressive 20 aircraft carriers, around 65 submarines, and 65 destroyers. That's a lot of firepower, especially from the aircraft carriers used since World War II, when the US learned the power of having a floating airforce to attack your enemy with. 

In contrast, the naval forces of Russia and China each only have one aircraft carrier!

So now that you know a little more about the United States Navy do you think you would be able to identify and understand the very specific lingo used on ships each day?

You have 7 minutes to complete this quiz!

Good luck!


What does it mean to go A.W.O.L.?

Navy personnel who have gone A.W.O.L. have left their post or unit without permission and are said to be absent without leave. This is a very serious offense.


A very popular term in the US Navy, what is a 'chit'?

A chit is thought to come from the word 'citthi,' which were pieces of paper used by Hindu traders for money. It can refer to any type of paper, including dollar bills, navy orders or a form that needs to be filled out.


A call of turn to 'starboard' will see a ship turn in which direction?

If the captain calls for the ship to turn to starboard, it will turn right. Normally, the command would be 'Starboard, 40 degrees,' which would result in a change of direction to the right by 40 degrees.


The U.S. Navy employ a number of aircraft which operate off the deck of air craft carriers. Which one was affectionately known as the 'aluminum cloud'?

One of the greatest ever naval fighters, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat entered service in 1974 until 2006. It featured prominently in the Hollywood blockbuster, 'Top Gun.' This swept-wing designed aircraft was a formidable opponent.


Which Italian city do U.S. navy personnel call the 'armpit of the Med'?

That's an interesting name, you would have to agree, right. Naples gets this nickname thanks to its general uncleanliness.


Many ships operate in service of the U.S. Navy. Which one would be referred to as a 'baby birdfarm'?

That's a fairly unique name, I am sure you will agree. And yes, it can only refer to a helicopter carrier. These small carriers are purpose built to transport a fleet of helicopters.


A 'bomb farm' refers to which of these below?

Sounds logical, right? Ordinance navy personnel have special areas where bombs, missiles and other ordinance are stored. This is known as the bomb farm.


The flight deck of an aircraft carrier and some other ships have what is known as 'pad eyes'. What function do they play?

Even though aircraft brakes help keep them in place on deck, the ship can roll in many directions in rough sea. For this reason, aircraft and helicopters are secured by hooking them into the 'pad eyes' found all over the deck.


What is the 'forecastle' of the ship?

The forecastle is the front section of the ship. It is actually pronounced 'foc-sull'.


Any idea what liquid 'turco' is?

Yes, aircraft need to be cleaned and the cleaning fluid used is commonly called 'turco' by navy crew.


If U.S. Navy personnel are called to 'muster,' what is going to happen?

Yes, when U.S. Navy troops muster, it is for a roll call (the most likely use of the word) or perhaps for a meeting.


Ship crewmen normally call submarine crewmen by this name. What is it from the options below?

Yes, there are a number of enduring terms for that the different units in the U.S. Navy call each other. Bubblehead has got to do with the fact that submarine crew are under the water more often than not.


What are knee-knockers?

And why is the lower section of a watertight door called a knee-knocker? Well, that's the part of the leg that feels the pain if you are drunk or not paying attention while passing through them.


Air crew from U.S. Navy ships use 'bags' every day. What are they?

Flight crew will put on their 'bags' before talking off for any mission. Wow, they really do have a name for everything.


If you hear a US navy pilot talk about a bandit, what is he referring to?

A term that has been used since World War I in aviation, this is not a U.S. Navy only word but is the primary way to describe an enemy aircraft.


Which US navy ship is called a 'battlewagon'?

Yes, it's a battleship. Not difficult to see how they came to calling battleships battlewagons but they really could have stuck with the original name, don't you think?


If the call goes out for 'all hands' to a specific location, what does that mean?

'All hands on deck' for instance means all navy personnel assigned to the deck must report to their stations.


'Bilge juice' would refer to which of these below?

Yes, crafty navy personnel use water, sugar and yeast along with a little fermentation to make illegal alcoholic beverages. It can't taste good though, can it?


If a ship turns to 'port,' which way is it turning?

If the captain calls for the ship to turn to port, it will turn left. Normally, the command would be 'Port, 20 degrees,' which would result in a change of direction to the left by 20 degrees.


What on an carrier are commonly called 'birds'?

Yes, all aircraft are 'birds' in U.S. Navy lingo.


U.S. Marines are called what by U.S. Navy personnel?

Marines spend a lot of time on Navy ships. This was especially true during World War II as they moved through the Pacific. Of course, when they got to the field of conflict, the Marines had to do their job. They were called bullet sponges by the Navy crews.


When a navy crew members asks you to pass him some 'fighting gear', what does he want?

Yes, fighting gear will be found in the mess and refers to cutlery.


If you were sent to the 'aft' of the ship, where would you go?

The 'aft' of the ship is the rear end. A good joke when you get there is to say to a fellow sailor, 'do you come here 'aft'en.' Ok, it's not a good joke!


The 'flightdeck' refers to which area on a carrier?

Yes, the flightdeck is where it all happens. Here aircraft are launched on their various missions, and it is also where they land on completion of those missions.


The term 'I've got your six' means______?

Not only a Navy phrase, but if someone 'has your six' they are going to back you up in any situation. Useful for those drunken nights in ports around the world!


What happens US Navy ships during 'happy hour' each day?

That's right, nothing to do with a cheap drink special. Happy hour happens each and every day and during this time, the ship is cleaned from top to bottom.


A 'hoover' refers to which of these vehicles below?

The S-3B Viking is a turbofan engine anti-submarine aircraft. It is called the 'hoover' because of the sound its engines make.


U.S. Navy ships also have nicknames. Which ship was known as the 'Lady Lex?'

The U.S.S. Lexington was an aircraft carrier that served during World War II. She was lost during the Battle of the Coral Sea.


Helicopter pilots too have a nickname. What is it?

A noodle winger! Really? Now that's one strange name for a helicopter pilot.


What is an 'old salt'?

Crew members that have served in the U.S. Navy for a long period are known as 'old salts.'


When a sailor goes to the 'rack,' what is he doing?

In the navy, sailors sleep in very close proximity on bunks. These are often called 'racks'.


Navy vessels that have problems with their 'screws' will need to have their ________ fixed?

The screws are the propellers driven by the engine. Their constant turning in the water at incredible speeds pushes the boat forward through the water, giving it motion.


Do you know what term US Navy personnel use to refer to a civilian shipyard worker?

The name giving to civilian shipyard workers is yardbirds, mostly because they never get to move out of the yard (their work area).


A capsizing ship is doing what?

Ships can capsize for a number of reasons including enemy action or heavy seas for example. A capsized ship will in all likelihood sink.


What do US Navy personnel call their own service?

Many navy personnel call the United States Navy the canoe club. Well, luckily, all their ships are far more advanced than a canoe!


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