Is This Real Military Lingo or Not?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Frank Rossoto Stocktrek / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Today, the world is not a very safe place. But if you think about it, has it ever been safe? Since the beginning of time, each nation that rose to prominence did so through the use of its military forces or by the threat posed by them.

Just take a look back to the world's first really dominant military nation, the Romans. They expanded their territory through the use of force. No negotiations, no diplomacy. Just military might. The Roman army was feared wherever it went. The Huns, who eventually sacked Rome, didn't take control by talking their way through the gates of the great city; they burnt them and the city to the ground, killings thousands as they sacked Rome.

Even in more modern times, military might has remained important. Napoleon and France ... check! Japanese expansion in the Far East ... check. German expansion in Europe under Hitler ... check. All of these nations expanded their territories through their military might, in some cases forcing other countries to capitulate at the mere threat of action.

Of course, there is a plethora of military phrases, lingo and slang used by today's military forces as well as in past conflicts such as World War I and II. In this quiz, we are going to give you 35 examples, and you need to tell us if they are real or fake!

Good luck!

Are pilots who have shot down five or more enemy aircraft are known as "aces"?

Air combat was difficult; many pilots didn't survive past their first flight. Those who did and went on to down enemy aircraft became heroes with the public back home. If you managed to down five enemies, you were considered an ace.


Can you tell us if "RPG" is a real or fake military term that refers to "retired permanent general," a rank for generals who have left the armed forces?

Retired generals retain their rank and certainly don't get any strange acronyms assigned to them. "RPG" is certainly a military term but is the acronym for a rocket-propelled grenade, something U.S. forces came across often in both Afghanistan and Iraq.


Real or fake? Is an "M1" lingo for the latest fifth-generation fighter aircraft in the U.S. Air Force, the F-35 Lightning II?

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II first entered service in 2015. It's a multirole fighter primarily but can be used in ground-attack missions and has stealth capability. It's not called an "M1"... That would be the M1-Abrams battle tank, the foremost fighting vehicle in the U.S. Army.


"Army banjo": Is it a fake or real military term that was used to describe a shovel during World War II?

A shovel or entrenching tool was of critical importance to a soldier during World War II. Why? Well, if he was ever in an area without cover, he could use it to dig a foxhole for protection.


Would the term "helo" be real or fake military lingo to describe a helicopter?

"Helo" is military slang for a helicopter. They form a vital role in any military situation and have proved an indispensable vehicle, as shown to significant effect in the Vietnam War, either by bringing soldiers to contact points or removing the injured.


In World War I military lingo, was the word "Huns" used by British forces to describe Germans?

The term "Hun" was certainly used in a derogatory way by the British troops to describe their German counterparts. It's a reference to Attila the Hun.


The term "Gone Elvis" describes a soldier missing in action after a skirmish with the enemy. Do you think this is proper military jargon?

A soldier who has "gone Elvis" is missing after a skirmish with the enemy. This is also known as "MIA" or missing in action. If the soldier's body is later found, the status changed to "KIA" or killed in action.


"We have bingo ammo." Would this term often used in World War II and meaning "almost out of ammunition" be real or fake?

"Bingo" was a term which referred to an article someone was running out of. You could have "bingo" ammo, fuel, cigarettes, money ... just about anything.


From World War I, anti-aircraft fire was called "Archie." Real or fake lingo?

Legend has it pilots named the anti-aircraft guns after a popular song at the time, "Archibald, Certainly Not." It was popular in music halls, unlike the dangerous volley of projectiles from the ground into the air!


Real or fake? American soldiers called their German counterparts "Tommies"?

Tommies was the name given to British soldiers. Although it was one of the lesser-known terms U.S. troops called German soldiers, they did refer to them as Ratzys from time to time. But why Ratzy? Well, it's a combination word, actually, taking "Rat" and "Nazi" and combining them.


A soldier on "blanket drill" is having a nap. Does this statement sound real or fake in terms of military lingo?

Soldiers quickly learned, particularly those in combat areas, that sleep was to be taken whenever possible. During operations, a soldier might not get the chance to sleep for many hours. When they did, they often called it "blanket duty."


Real or fake? Aircraft are often called "flies" by ground troops.

No, they certainly aren't called flies, but if they're enemy aircraft harassing ground troops, they could be just as annoying as the insects. More often than not, ground troops and even those associated with aircraft (including pilots and maintenance people), will in all likelihood, call anything that flies and isn't a helicopter a bird.


Is "check your seven" a real or fake term used by military pilots?

Well, the term "check your seven" is undoubtedly fake, but it's just the number that is incorrect. The term is actually "check your six" and means to watch behind you, the place the enemy wants to be in a dogfight.


You don't sleep on a bed if you are a GI in the U.S. Army; it's a "dunk." Real for fake military lingo?

It's definitely not a "dunk." It's close, though; just change the first letter to a B. Yes, it's a "bunk," just like we know it to be called in civilian life.


Would you say the military lingo of "dopes on a rope" is real or fake lingo to describe air assault soldiers?

A "dope on a rope" is used by other branches of the military to describe air-assault soldiers. This phrase is derogatory. Air-assault soldiers are not paratroopers but usually alight from helicopters into battle using ropes to reach the ground.


"Eagle keeper" is a term used to describe the maintenance crew of an F-15 Eagle aircraft. Real or fake military lingo?

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle was the primary fourth-generation fighter in the United States Air Force. It entered service in 1976 and remains in active duty today. Of course, it won't fly without a maintenance crew. And they are called "eagle keepers."


The term "band aid" is a real or fake military term?

Band-aids fix anything in real life, right? Well, almost anything. In World War II, most soldiers would call for a medic, but by the time Vietnam rolled around, a medic had a slang name: a "band-aid".


A soldier asking for new "gofasters" from the supply chain wants new sneakers. Is this a real or fake military term?

No, they are not sneakers; they'are "gofasters." Although the term is common in the Marine Corps, it's also used by other branches of the military, including the Army and Navy. I bet you'll never call them sneakers again!


True or false? "Cupid's itch" was a military slang in World War II to describe a venereal disease.

There is no point hiding it: Soldiers during both World War I, World War II and every other war since contracted many different venereal diseases. This might have happened while on leave or even while on occupational duty in other countries. In World War II, this was called "Cupid's itch."


"Lima Charlie" is a term that means "left and center" and is used on the parade ground. Do you know if this is real or fake military lingo?

No, in fact "Lima Charlie" uses the military alphabet to describe the term "loud and clear." And where is it used? Mostly while communicating on radio devices.


Milk in a military canteen during World War II was called "cat beer." Fake? Real? You tell us.

It seems that pretty much every kind of drink had a nickname during World War II. And yes, milk was known as "cat beer."


Would you consider "Charlie Foxtrot" real or fake military term to describe a bad situation?

In military slang, a situation described as a "Charlie Foxtrot" means it is a cluster****! The term uses military alphabet to denote that the situation is particularly dire.


True of false? A "runt" is a term for an infantryman?

Although you might have thought you heard the term before, it's only applied to the "runt" of the litter. American infantryman are typically called "grunts."


Is the term "five-sided puzzle palace" real military lingo or fake?

Well, it has five sides and so many corridors that it might be a puzzle to get in and out, so that's a pretty accurate name for the Pentagon. The Pentagon is the world's largest office building at 6,500,000 sq ft in size! Over 23,000 people work there, both military and civilian.


Fake or real? Can you make a decision on the term "buster," which meant "get there fast" in U.S. Navy lingo during World War II?

If a U.S. Navy airman heard the term "buster" crackle over his headset, he knew he had to get to the location given as quickly as possible. As an example, he might hear "blue 2, proceed heading 180, buster, enemy bombers inbound."


Ever met the "Admiral of the Swiss Navy"? Do you think this is a legit military term or not?

Referring to someone as the "Admiral of the Swiss Navy" was a fairly derogatory statement. Not only did it mean the person who said it though that someone thought too much of themselves, but it also confirmed that they didn't like them very much. Of course, Switzerland is a landlocked country with no navy.


Was the term "G.I. Jesus" a real or fake term from World War II?

The Chaplain Corps played a very important role in the American armed forces during World War II. Not only were they there to deliver spiritual service to soldiers, but they also had the unenviable task of administering last rites or holding burial services. Chaplains trained at the US Army Chaplain School and often called "G.I. Jesus" by troops.


When a soldier receives an "alpha bravo" from their commander, they have been reprimanded. Do you think this term is real or fake?

Actually, it's an "alpha charlie." A verbal reprimand in any profession is never nice. In the military, it's downright scary. You've seen the Hollywood movies, right? A superior getting right up in the face of a private, screaming in their face, spit flying everywhere. It's also often called an "***-chewing."


Allied forces in World War I had a term for highly trained German soldiers, calling them "stormtroopers." Is that real or fake?

The German army operated stormtrooper divisions. These highly trained soldiers were used to assault high-value enemy positions during World War I and were feared by Allied troops.


In military lingo, is the term "Mike," which refers to one mile, real or fake?

Measurement terms in the military are usually referred to as "klicks" and generally mean kilometers. For instance, "10 kicks to base" mean 10 kilometers to base. "Mike" is indeed a term but refers to a unit of time: a minute. So "be there in 10 Mikes" means 10 minutes.


Do you think the term "Kpot" is fake or real lingo for a portable toilet, often seen at makeshift military camps?

While a "Kpot" sounds like a reasonable name for a portable toilet, it's nothing of the sort. A "Kpot" is actually a term used to describe a helmet. It can also sometimes be called "kevlar" or "ACH."


Is "spoon" real or fake military lingo used to describe a food-serving area?

Although a "spoon" is to do with food in military forces, it has nothing to do with a serving area, as that is generally called a "mess." A "spoon" is someone who serves food. And an army certainly marches on its stomach, as Napoleon Bonaparte once said.


Is "Roger, Roger that" a term used when calling in an airstrike on a certain target?

No, not at all. You might use the term while calling in an airstrike but only to acknowledge you understand something that has been said to you. Simply put, it means you acknowledge something and understand the command or phrase said to you.


Does the word "geardo" describe a player who decks themselves out in every available bit of gear they can?

In the military, a "geardo" is someone who has every piece of gear they can possibly lay their hands on, is even though they may not even use half of it. This is not only Army gear but additional equipment that they pay for themselves.


In military jargon, a "CP" refers to a camping place. Do you think this is real or fake jargon?

In the military, you certainly won't look for a camping spot to lay your head down. In war, it's usually the nearest foxhole. This was especially true during World War II. So what does "CP" mean in military jargon, then? It means Check Point. And the most famous of them? Check Point Charlie at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin during the Cold War.


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