Do You Know Military Code Words?

By: Jonnathan Chadwick
Image: Lorado / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Before civilians were getting mad in chat rooms and social media, soldiers were saying Whiskey Tango Foxtrot over the radio as a code phrase for WTF? The battlefield isn't a pretty place, and the words needed to describe it are just as ugly. That's where code words come into play. With real bombs dropping all around, it's only fitting to replace the F-bombs with a ballroom dance and a glass of bourbon. But even before soldiers wanted unique ways to swear, members of the military were creating a robust dictionary of slang.

In the mid-18th century, when soldiers from America joined British forces, British General James Wolfe referred to them as Yankees. By 1775, the word Yankee was used a derogatory term to describe American soldiers. Today the word still exists and is in use all around the world. It's one of the first military code words put into practice, but soldiers of Ancient Rome and Greece surely had their own glossary of slang to sling.

Today's military slang sprung up as acronyms to describe uniquely military circumstances like AWOL (absent without leave) or HALO (high altitude, low opening). Then it evolved to include code words from the NATO phonetic alphabet to describe things that only military personnel would understand, like Whiskey Charlie or Bravo Zulu. And after that, military code words began popping up on their own like woobies, doolies and soup sandwiches. When you put all of it together, you get a robust glossary of military code words. Most of the words mean nothing to anyone who isn't in the military, but even if you are a normal civilian, you may be able to guess a few here and there. Take the quiz and see how well you know military code words.



Which of these is a popular code word for the United States?

What type of army vehicle is commonly known as a bird?

COP is a slang term for a police officer but in the military it stands for what?

If somebody asks for more beans and bullets, what are they asking for?

A military employee who works a desk job might be referred to as what?

What is the nickname for an F-14 Tomcat?

Who is Uncle Sam's Canoe Club?

When you're looking for the Whiskey Charlie, what are you looking for?

What is written on an alpha roster?

If a BOLO alert goes out, what does everybody have to do?

A zero-three is what type of style statement?

Who is an XO?

The U.S. Army is full of Yanks. What are Yanks?

When you want to congratulate someone on a job well done, what phrase can you use?

How do you explain something Barney-style?

Who are Uncle Sam's Misguided Children?

What are civvies?

If you obtain information through an unofficial channel, you might say you got the information through what?

A military dinner party might be referred to as what?

When everything goes haywire, it might be described as a what?

What time is Zero Dark Thirty?

When you receive a message clearly, you might confirm by saying?

If you salute an officer in the field, it is said you just did what?

What's the nickname for the Army-issued poncho liner?

A soldier who has fruit salad on their uniform has what?

What is another name for a first-year Air Force Academy cadet?

Who is Uncle Sam's Confused Group?

In the corporate world, EOD means end of day, what does it mean in military slang?

Which of the following phrases can be used to say "Thanks much"?

If you're sentenced to six months confinement, six months loss of pay and a reduction in grade, you just received what?

What is it called when enemies begin fighting each other?

Which of these animals is a code word for bad weather?

What's a POV?

If a high-ranking officer tells you to get on your face, what do you have to do?

When somebody tells you to do something on the double, what does that mean?

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!

You Might Also Like