Do You Know Your U.S. Navy Lingo?

By: John Miller

Do You Know Your U.S. Navy Lingo?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

If you happened to find yourself on board a Navy ship, would you have any idea what your fellow sailors were trying to tell you? Would you know what to do with a chit? Would you think scuttlebutt was a word meaning that people were gossipping? What might be a crank, a Cadillac or a knee knocker? 

You're the type of person that has always found different languages or dialects fascinating. You love to know more about other worlds. You have a thirst for knowledge in general, but what is more fascinating than studying the words of a group of people or a culture that is meant just for them, that others are not supposed to understand? 

So before you enlist and head on out to parts unknown while traveling through the worlds vast oceans, you might want to prove to yourself, and to us too, that you are an expert on Navy slang. 

It doesn't matter whether you wind up being a snipe, an airedale, or a bubblehead, you're going to need to prove you can hang with your fellow sailors when it comes to understanding their lingo and slang. We are pretty sure you can pass muster, but you're still going to have to take this quiz to prove it. 

What does it mean if "all hands" must report to a specific location?
It applies only to captains
It means only ensigns must show up
It means everyone aboard should be there
If you hear the common phrase, "All hands on deck" it means everyone aboard a ship must head to the deck. If you're late, you might be putting your hands on the deck, all right, as in 100 pushups.

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If a ship is leaving a dock, what is it doing?
Hedging its bets
Casting off
A ship that leaves dock is casting off. It means the boat is leaving its moorings. It's often a bittersweet moment for sailors headed to war.
Carrying on

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What does it mean if a sailor says, "Aye, aye"?
It's an acknowledgement of an order or statement
In the Navy, you'll often hear the phrase, "Aye, aye Captain." It means that a sailor understands the Captain's orders.
It means "no way"
It means it's time to launch torpedoes

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On a ship, what's the "line"?
Betting odds on whether a ship will survive a battle
A type of Navy pharmaceutical
Rope
On a ship, never call it "rope," or you'll out yourself as a novice. Line is used for all sorts of important functions on a ship, such as mooring the ship to a dock.

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If the sailors have been ordered to have a "field day," what does it mean?
It's time to pick daisies
It's time to play baseball
It's time to clean the whole ship
A "field day" sounds like fun ... until you realize that it means to clean the whole ship. Sooner or later, all sailors wind up on field day chores.

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What does it mean if someone tells you to "make way"?
Get me some coffee!
Get out of the way!
"Make way for the captain!" It means to get out of the way. This phrase is also used between ships to designate right-of-way.
Give me back my sailboat!

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What's the purpose of a ship's "arresting gear"?
To capture unruly sailors
To stop landing aircraft
Arresting gear is meant to snag aircraft that are landing on a carrier. It can be as simple as a chain or cable meant to stop the plane before it runs off of the landing surface and into the sea. Because, you know, that would be a very expensive mistake.
To cook food

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If the captain says he wants your "eyes in the boat," what does it mean?
Pay attention
"Get your eyes in the boat!" It means that you need to pay attention and do your job instead of screwing around.
Perform 100 pushups
Slap the nearest sailor

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What do sailors often call airplanes?
Lions of the Sky
Birds
"Bird" is a common military term for aircraft. Thanks in large part to aircraft carriers, birds are a vital part of a modern-day naval force.
Oysters

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What do sailors do at the "head"?
Store the anchors
Use the toilet
The head is the ship's toilet. And yes, in the old days, they smelled really, really bad.
Steer the ship

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Who lives in a "stateroom"?
The President
Officers
Officers are the lucky people who get the staterooms. As you can imagine, these quarters are typically nicer than those given to enlisted men.
New recruits

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What does it mean if a sailor is "beached"?
He's sent ashore
Sailors don't typically want to be beached. It means they've been sent ashore, possibly due to a serious mistake or infraction.
He died
He's made friends with a local whale

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If a sailor mentions the bow, he's referring to which part of the ship?
The shiny metallic part with ribbons
The front
The bow is the front of the ship. The stern is the rear side of the ship. Confuse the two and you'll be mocked mercilessly during your time on the ship.
The crow's nest

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On a Navy ship, what are "stores"?
A buildup of oil on the propeller
A Walmart and Target on the ship
About anything stored aboard
A ship's stores are just about anything that's carried as cargo or gear. During long journeys, stores are a vital part of the mission.

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The term "boat" refers to what, exactly?
An overweight captain
F-16 fighter jets
Submarines
The word boat is often used for submarines. But it can also refer to just about any seaworthy vessel that's used to travel bodies of water.

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If a ship capsizes, it does what?
"Turns turtle"
It's never a good thing if a ship turns turtle, or capsizes. But if it does, you hope it's the enemy ship instead of yours.
"Turns right"
"Turns off"

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What does the ship's "amp tramp" do?
He's a weapons specialist
He's the captain
He's the electrician
The amp tramp is, of course, the ship's electrician. When fuses blow and circuits break, the amp tramp is the guy you need.

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What do sailors do in the scullery?
Target enemy submarines
Make bombs
Clean dishes
The scullery is a space reserved for dish cleaning and other dirty housekeeping work on a ship. If you're an enlisted sailor, at some point you'll wind up in the scullery.

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What do sailors do when they "turn to"?
Yell at each other
Gently kiss
Start work
To "turn to" means to start work. It's the same routine each day -- report to duty and then turn to.

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What's the "weather deck"?
A civilian aboard a warship
The captain's quarters
Any part of the deck that's exposed to weather
The weather deck is any part of the deck that sees weather. If there are inclement conditions on the weather deck, you'd best be dressed for it.

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What's a "Navy brat"?
A nuclear torpedo
Someone who grew up in a Navy family
A Navy brat is someone who grew up in a Navy family. In many cases, Navy brats (like Army or Air Force brats) move around a lot due to their parents' occupations.
A type of naval sausage

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What does a "knot" represent?
A type of rope
A ship's speed
Knots indicate a ship's speed. It is measured as one nautical mile per hour, and no, it's not equivalent to the miles per hour units used on land.
A wedding ring

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What happens in the ship galley?
It's a brothel
It's an art gallery
It's the kitchen
The ship galley is the kitchen. On some ships, it's a place for great food. On a Navy ship during wartime the food may not be anything to write home about.

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If sailors "deep six" something, what are they doing?
Throwing it away
To "deep six" something is to discard it. It can also refer to burial at sea.
Polishing it
Eating it

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What might you call an aircraft carrier?
A turkey shooter
A bird farm
Aircraft carriers are sometimes called "bird farms." Why? Because they carry the birds (aircraft) that make the carrier such a powerful weapon.
A pigeon lifter

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In the Navy, someone who has never crossed the equator is called a _____.
Homebody
Pollywog
A "pollywog" is a sailor who hasn't crossed the Equator. In other words, they haven't really done much sailing.
Woggledoggie

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True or false, is a "Big Chicken Dinner" a delicious meal?
true
false
It's definitely not extra crispy and delicious. A Big Chicken Dinner is a Bad Conduct Discharge, and it's akin to a felony conviction.

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What does it mean when sailors conduct a "float test"?
They jump off of the ship
They discard unwanted stuff overboard
Don't want those old missiles? Give them the old "float test" and chuck them overboard. They didn't float?%0D Oh well, no one will ever know, trust me.
They eat spaghetti

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What's a "blue nose"?
A sailor whose sails cold areas
A blue nose is a sailor who has crossed either the Antarctic or Arctic Circle (or both). Their noses are "blue" because it's very, very cold in those locations.
A type of torpedo
An aircraft carrier

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What's the "deck"?
A fistfight
The ship floor
Most people would call it a floor in civilian life. But the floor of a ship is called the deck.
A deck of cards that sailors use to gamble

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You Got:
/30

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