How Well Do You Know the Military Alphabet?


By: Annette

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

When it comes to the military, there is a whole new language with a common yet vastly different alphabet to go by. You're likely familiar with the basics "Alpha, Bravo, Charlie" but, what about "V" or "G" or "X?"

 Each letter corresponds to a word or name, but how many do you know? So, what's with all this phonetic confusion? Well, the military alphabet has been designed to actually avoid confusion between letters such as "E" and "D" or words such as "Me" and "Knee."

You're up for the challenge. You've either served in the military or have seen your fair share of war movies. But, what if you get thrown a little twist. You see, the military alphabet has changed through the years. During World War II, how would you have pronounced the letters "J" or "S?" Or, do you know how you would pronounce a "C" before the war?

However, understanding the letters and corresponding words is only the start. Unless you've served in any of the military's branches you may not be accustomed to their language. After all, by the end of this quiz, you may feel like it is FUBAR. Or, by the middle, you might be asking yourself Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? See how well you'd get along with the military alphabet and its lingo!

How do you say 'W'?

Famously, 'W' is pronounced as Whiskey. Here again, we say, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!


How do you describe the letter 'N'?

In today's military, 'N' stands for November. In the past, it was pronounced as Negat, short for Negative.


Throughout military history, 'X' has stood for ______ .

Throughout military history, 'X' has stood for X-ray. You can't mistake that for any other letter!


And, what does 'E' sound like these days?

'E' stands for Echo these days. In the past, it always stood for Easy.


Currently, how do you say 'D'?

The current pronunciation of 'D' is Delta. Wanna know what it looks like in Morse Code? __ . .


And 'Y' stands for ______ .

Today, 'Y' stands for Yankee. In the past, 'Y' was always associated with Yoke.


'F' is said aloud as ______ .

'F' is pronounced as Foxtrot today. In the past, it was simply Fox.


How do you pronounce 'B'?

Today, 'B' stands for Bravo. In the past, it has been pronounced as Baker or Boy.


What does 'S' stand for?

Today in the military, 'S' stands for Serpent. In previous times, it was pronounced as Sail.


And the word for 'L'?

'L' stands for Lima in the military alphabet. Did you know that in WWII it stood for Love?


Today, 'O' is pronounced as _____ .

Today, 'O' is pronounced as Oscar. In the past, it was Oboe and Option.


How do you say 'C'?

Charlie has been used for 'C' since WWII. Before that, it was pronounced as Cast.


How do you say 'J'?

'J' is pronounced as Juliet. How romantic of the military to include both Romeo and Juliet in their alphabet!


And what's the word for 'H'?

In the military, 'H' is pronounced as Hotel. In WWII, it was How, and before that, it was Hypo.


And what about 'K'?

Today, 'K' is pronounced as Kilo. In the past, it was always pronounced as King.


What's the word for I?

Currently, I stands for India in the military alphabet. In WWII, the word for it was Item.


What does 'A' stand for?

'A' currently stands for Alpha in the military alphabet. Back in the '20s, it stood for Affirmative.


What is the word for the letter 'Q'?

Today, Quebec is the word for the letter 'Q.' Previously it was either Queen or Quack.


'V' represents what word?

In today's military, 'V' stands for Victor. Previously, it was pronounced as Vice.


What does 'P' sound like?

In today's military, 'P' stands for Papa. Before that, it was Pup, Preparatory, and Prep.


What is IRSA?

IRSA stands for International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet. It's another name for the military alphabet.


And this gem: 'M' _______ A re R equired 'I' ______ N ot E ssential

Lastly, M uscles A re R equired I ntelligence N ot E ssential. Semper Fi, mo' fo's! The military knows how to tell a good joke.


How do you say the letter 'U'?

Today, the letter 'U' stands for Uniform. During WWII it was Uncle, and before that, it was Unit.


Before 1957, how did you pronounce 'D'?

Before 1957, 'D' was pronounced as Dog. Wait, do you want to see what it looks like again in Morse Code? Wait for it. __ . .


And how do you say 'G'?

'G' stands for Golf, today. Before 1957, 'G' was always pronounced as George.


N ever A gain 'V '______ Y ourself

When it comes to jokey acronyms, it doesn't get much better than this one for NAVY: N ever A gain V olunteer Y ourself.


In the '20s, what did 'M' stand for?

Not only did 'M' stand for Mike in the '20s, but it still does today; 'M' has always stood for Mike in the military.


One more hard one. What is . . . . in Morse Code?

Okay, . . . stands for 'H.' It is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot, in the English language.


The most common earlier pronunciation of 'W' was _______ ?

Before becoming Whiskey, 'W' stood for William. There should be a guy in the military named Whiskey William.


Speaking of Morse Code, what does . stands for?

. stands for 'E' in Morse Code. That's pretty much as simple as it gets!


'R' is pronounced as ______ .

Today, 'R' is pronounced as Romeo. For many years it was pronounced as Roger.


How did you pronounce 'S' in WWII?

During WWII, the 'S' was pronounced as Sugar. That's a cute way of saying it.


Which of these has been a pronunciation of 'Z'?

All of these have been the pronunciation for the letter 'Z'. The current pronunciation is Zulu.


In WWII, what was the pronunciation of 'J'?

Before becoming Juliet, 'J' was always Jig. It was never Jigger, which is a bar tool.


Before becoming Tango, 'T' stood for what?

Before becoming Tango, 'T' stood for Tare. A tare is a vetch, but what the heck is a vetch?


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