Do You Know All of These WWII US Navy Slang Words?


By: Talin Vartanian

5 Min Quiz

Image: Getty Images / Retrofile RF / George Marks

About This Quiz

World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945 and involved ongoing battles between the Allies and the Axis. Navy personnel were also involved during this war, and as such, a variety of slang terms and phrases were used to describe situations, protocols and parts of the ship.

Some phrases were used to denote emergency situations. For example, if someone shouted "Sound off the alarm," it meant that the alarm was about go off. 

Some phrases were also used for conversational purposes, including the word "over." For example, "Are you at your station, over." "I am at my station Captain, over." Other phrases were used to denote parts of the ship, such as "bow," "stern," "freeboard" and "aft." Another one was "bridge," which was referred to as the main command room.

In this quiz, we're testing you on 35 different slang words that were commonly used by Navy personnel during World War II. Think you know what phrases like "beam," "barge" and "bulkhead" mean? If you ever get stuck on a question, we've also provided 1 hint (per question) to help you out! Without further ado, it's time to take this WWII US Navy Slang quiz to see if you can score at least 90%!

What does the word "chow" refer to?

"Chow" was often used by Navy personnel to denote food. For example, "I'm hungry, let's get some chow."


A "Flag Officer" refers to the ...?

Rear Admirals and Vice Admirals are also known as Flag Officers. These are often some of the highest ranks in the Navy.


A "compartment" was a fancy way of saying ...

Another way of saying "room" was to use the word "compartment." For instance, "I'm quite tired, I'm going to retire in my compartment for the evening."


What did the "galley" refer to?

The "galley" referred to the kitchen. For example, "I have to talk to one of the cooks in the galley today."


If today is a "field day," what does that mean?

For Navy personnel, a "field day" was a "clean-up" day for the ship. For example, "I'm not ready for field day today, there's so much cleaning to do."


Which of these words is synonymous with "rope?"

A "line" referred simply to rope. For instance, "Hey, pass me that line over there so I can secure this."


What does the word "rack" mean?

Navy personnel referred to their beds as "racks." For example, "Hey, I'm gonna hit the rack, I'm so tired."


Who was the "yeoman" with regard to the Navy?

The clerk was called the "yeoman" with regards to the Navy. For instance "Hey, I'll be right back. I've got to have a talk with the yeoman."


If you have to "swab" the deck, you have to ...

To "swab" the deck means to mop the deck (to clean it). For instance, "I can't play cards with you right now, I have to swab the entire deck!"


Which of these phrases refers to the hospital?

A "sick bay" was slang for a hospital. For example, "I'm not feeling well today, I'm going to the sick bay."


What does the phrase "sack out" mean?

Another way of saying "sleep" is by saying "sack out." For instance, "I'm going to sack out right now, it's been a long day."


If someone is going to the "head," where are they going?

The "head" simply means toilet. For instance, "I don't feel too well right now, I'm going to the head."


The "complement" was another way of saying ...

All members of the crew were included in the "complement." For instance, "We've got a pretty good complement on our ship this year."


If you were stationed at a "conn," where were you specifically stationed?

A "conn" was a nickname for navigation post. For instance, "I'm stationed at the conn this morning, so I can't sleep in too much."


To immediately stop something is to ...

To avast something means to immediately halt or stop your current activity. For example, "Avast, eating sailors, the enemy strikes before us."


What did a "bogey" refer to?

A "bogey" referred to a radar contact that was not known, or unidentified. For example, "I'm picking up a signal from a bogey."


If you did something bad, you were often put in the ...

"Brig" was another way of saying jail. For instance, "I was put in the brig for 3 weeks, and I'm so glad to finally be out."


A receipt was also called a ...

A "chit" was also known as a receipt. For instance, "Hey I lost my chit from last week, can you help me find it?"


To throw something over the ship and into deep waters was known as ...

A "deep six" referred to throwing something overboard and into deep waters. This often made the item in question very difficult to retrieve.


The two-hour window to eat dinner was called a ...

The "dog watch" was the two-hour window to eat dinner. For example, "We've got dog watch coming up pretty soon."


A Captain's quarters were referred to as the ...

The quarters of a high-ranking officer, like a Captain, were called the "cabin." For example, "I was told to report to the Captain's cabin this evening."


Chains and cables were stored in the ...

As its name implies, a chain locker was used to store chains and cables. For example, "Hey, can you go find me this type of chain from the chain locker?"


What did the "CIC" stand for?

The CIC stood for Combat Information Center, and was also referred to as the Operations Room. For example, "I have a meeting this evening in the CIC."


To go "flank speed" is to go ...

To go faster than normal speed is to go "flank speed." For instance, "We have to push to flank speed, we have enemies behind us."


The opening of a door was called the ...

The "hatch" referred to the opening entrance of a door. For example, "This hatch right here leads to a secret tunnel."


What was a student officer called?

A "midshipman" referred simply to a student officer. For example, "We've got a new midshipman today, so everyone behave yourselves."


What does an "OOD" stand for?

The officer who was in charge of others was known as the OOD, or the "Officer of the Deck." For instance, "I'm not liking the new OOD, he's not very nice."


What does "pogey bait" mean?

Candy was referred to as "pogey bait" by Navy personnel. For example, "Hey, you got any pogey bait on you? I'm starving."


If you had to wash dishes, you had to report to the ...

The "scullery" was nicknamed as the place where one would wash dishes or clean clothes. For instance, "I have to report to the scullery today to wash hundreds of dishes!"


What does "PX" mean?

PX stands for "post exchange," which is a type of store on military grounds that sells a variety of goods. For example, "I have to go to the PX today to pick up some new shoes."


What did "skivvies" refer to?

"Skivvies" is a nickname for underwear. For example, "I have to wash my dirty skivvies today."


A 4-hour shift that involves some type of work was called a ...

A "watch" refers to a 4-hour shift that involves doing work in the context of Navy personnel. For example, "After my watch tonight, I'm going to shower and go right to sleep."


If someone will do as they are told, this is known as ...

If someone says "wilco" after being told a certain set of instructions, it means that they will carry out these instructions. For example, "Wilco. I'll work overtime this week."


A "swabbie" is known as a ...

"Swabbies" and "white hats" are nicknames for "sailors." For example, "Looks like we've got some new swabbies in today."


Clothes and accessories were often placed in a ...

A sea bag was often used to store clothes, accessories and the belongings of Navy personnel. For example, "This sea bag is so dirty, I should probably wash it."


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!