Only 12% of Women Know All of This U.S. Navy lingo!

By: John Miller
Estimated Completion Time
2 min
Only 12% of Women Know All of This U.S. Navy lingo!
Image: Stocktrek Images/ Stocktrek Images/gettyimages

About This Quiz

You’ve been using the Cadillac all day to clean every nook and cranny of the USS Enterprise. And maybe in two more years, you’ll actually be done. Until then, grab some mid-rats from the roach coach, chow down, and hit the rack. This is the life of a modern-day sailor. In this briny quiz, do you recall some of the most common Navy lingo? You might have watched every Navy flick around, but you won't get all these from you viewing!

Whether you’re the wife of a sailor or a proud Navy dad, you have to know at least some of the lingo, otherwise, you’ll never know half of what the men of the sea are saying. And trust us, when they say to “nuke it,” it has nothing to do with a microwave or an attack on Russia. A “pad eye” isn’t a cosmetics term, it’s part of the ship that helps secure aircraft.

For roll call, sailors (and soldiers, too) will muster around the captain for their orders. And once they have those orders? Time for a show of gun decking, and then they can start a new water war.

Pass the chit and go below decks in this Navy quiz now! If you fail, you’ll walk the planks for piracy!

What's a Navy term for the restroom?
head
Did you eat some revolting chow in the mess hall that ruined your stomach? Better run to the head, or the restroom, before the big waves hit.
leg
foot

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What's a term for a sailor's mop bucket?
Humvee
Cadillac
In the Navy, you'll never drive an El Dorado. But you will drive a Cadillac, all right -- that nice mop bucket with the wheels. Have fun, swabbie!
Chevy

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Where on a ship does a "snipe" work?
in the crow's nest
below deck
A snipe is a sailor who works below deck. Many snipes specialize in certain ship systems, from electrical to the engine room.
on the island

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On a ship, what's the "CO"?
control tower
commanding officer
In the Navy, and in other branches of the military, the CO is God. It refers to your commanding officer.
contrail ordnance

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"Tubes" is a sometimes nickname for sailors on what sort of ship?
carrier
destroyer
submarine
On a submarine, "Tubes" has an important job. He's the the guy in charge of the torpedoes.

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What's a Navy slang term for Marines?
"coral cutters"
"bullet sponges"
The military is full of dark humor, for obvious reasons. In the Navy, some refer to Marines as "bullet sponges."
"Nazi hunters"

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What does it mean if a ship goes "aground"?
It's in a battle zone.
It strikes ground.
Captains who run their ships aground aren't in command for long. It means that the ship has struck the ground, perhaps in shallow water.
It's in a shipyard for repair.

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What's a term for "downwind"?
bow
alee
Wind is always on the minds of ship captains. If something is downwind, it's "alee."
corpsman

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A "knee knocker" refers to which part of a ship?
a door frame
The watertight doors you see on many ships have knee-high frames. Run into "knee knockers" with your shins and you'll be cursing the sea gods.
a type of liquor
an underage sailor

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What do naval aviators do with "zoom bags"?
wear them
"Zoom bags" are flight suits. In battle, naval aviators don their zoom bags in a rush and ride off into the danger zone.
eat them
puke in them

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What happens in the "brig" of a ship?
meal time
imprisonment
Drink too much and get in a fistfight while in port? You're headed to the brig, sailor … in handcuffs.
nature's call

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How do sailors earn the title of "shellback"?
They win a poker game.
They get multiple disease while ashore.
They cross the Equator.
Sailors have all sorts of traditional ways of tracking their experiences. They notch their first Equator crossing to earn the title of "shellback."

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What's the flight deck sometimes called?
"the roof"
On large ships like aircraft carriers, sailors stroll along the flight deck. It's also called the "roof."
"tanning salon"
"courtside"

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What's a "blue nose" sailor?
a sailor who has sailed into very cold areas
Blue nose sailors are the people who've gone to the ends of the Earth on ships. They've crossed the Antarctic or Arctic circles … or both.
a sick sailor
a dead sailor

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If you see a signal for Oscar in the Navy, what does it mean?
anchor is dragging
enemy ship spotted
man overboard
It's one of the scariest moments at sea -- when a sailor goes overboard. "Oscar" is the term that means man overboard.

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In the Navy, what's a term for a water fountain?
frock
scuttlebutt
Navy sailors often call it a "scuttlebutt." The water fountain is where many sailors exchange gossip and ship news.
crow's nest

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What do sailors do with "geedunk"?
kill enemy sailors
eat it
"Geedunk" is any manner of barely edible food. It might even come from a vending machine.
smear it on their faces

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An airdale is a sailor who works on or around what?
whales
aircraft
Airdales are sailors, all right. But they're also the men and women who specialize in work on or around various aircraft.
lifeboats

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True or false: Are "yardbirds" in the Navy?
true
false
Not at all. Yardbirds are civilians. They're the folks who work at shipyards, repairing the damage caused by sailors.

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In "VERTREP," ships get replenishment from which source?
large docks
helicopters
It's "vertical replenishment," because materiel comes from the skies. It's when helicopters provide ships with fresh supplies like food and ammunition.
bombers

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What's a Navy term for pushing something to its fastest possible speed?
buster
To go "buster" means to go all-out. And in the Navy, during wartime, going buster is a high priority.
slippy
snoodle

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The JAG handles which aspect of the Navy?
nuclear weapons
law enforcement
The JAG is the Judge Advocate General's Corps, which handles many aspects of law enforcement in the Navy. And yes, there was a popular TV series all about JAG.
child care

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What happens on "field day"?
The ship capsizes.
Sailors go ashore.
Everyone cleans the ship.
Sure a "field day" sounds like a lot of fun, but it's not. It means everyone is ordered to clean the ship from top to bottom.

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What's another word for a bed on a ship?
slabs
rack
By the time you get to bed, you'll be too tired to notice you're sleeping next to 100 other men. Time to "rack" out.
jungle gym

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What does "COC" stand for?
crew or chew
cruising off the coast
It's a fact of life in the military -- the chain of command, or COC. Without it, the Navy would be nothing but chaos.
chain of command

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What's notable about a "kiddie cruise"?
It refers to missions that happen on ponds.
It's combat training for schoolkids.
It's a very short mission for reservists.
It's slang for short reservist missions. Kiddie cruises are just brief outings that train reservists for their jobs.

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True or false, is it a good thing when something's "adrift"?
true
false
It's a very bad thing when something, especially a ship, is adrift. It means it's out of control.

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A "golden shellback" crosses the Equator and what boundary at the same time?
Arctic Circle
Central Time Zone
International Date Line
It's a rare achievement for sailors. Those who become golden shellbacks do so by crossing the Equator and the International Date Line at the same time.

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What's a term for when sailors get excited to leave the ship?
"jumping ship"
"channel fever"
After weeks or months at sea, it's no wonder sailors are thrilled at a chance to walk on terra firma. They have "channel fever."
"ahoy, matey"

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In olden days, what was a "pollywog"?
a very small sailor
a frog kept as pet by sailors
a sailor who hadn't crossed the Equator
Pollywogs were the inexperienced men who had never crossed the Equator. As such, they were subject to all sorts of derision from veterans.

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