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ARMY Slang or phrases list?

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Hi just doing a little reseach for some veteran friends, I want to try to make an extensive list of Army RAF and Navy slang and phrases from the 70's onwards.

I've remembered quite there are loads on line wikipeadia and ARRSE have a selection

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Glossary_of_British_military_slang_and_expressions

https://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Army_Slang

I remember there were loads more for example what was the phrase for

Underpants? was it keks, skivvies,

and there are some phrases you don't hear anywhere else like:

"Don't call me Sir, I work for a living" (if you called anyone less than an officer, Sir).

But can't remember all of them, can you think of any more words or phrases you used or kew of? localised ones?

cheers

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Have a look online for Rick Jolly's book "Jackspeak" - covers RN/Royals

He compiled it whilst serving at RNAS Culdrose after the Falklands - pretty much the definitive list for the Senior Service

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2 hours ago, Tarland said:

Have a look online for Rick Jolly's book "Jackspeak" - covers RN/Royals

He compiled it whilst serving at RNAS Culdrose after the Falklands - pretty much the definitive list for the Senior Service

True, great read

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cool many thanks,

BTW anyone know the origins of the word "Ally" meaning cool kit?

I'm assuming it's an abreviation, but of what?

I've looked online and can only find the meaning "allied", I can't think it came from.

Cheers again

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Underpants? was it keks, skivvies?

 

A stated earlier Keks were trousers.

Skivvies were underpants but American - See An Officer and A Gentleman as said by Mr R Gere.

Uk Was Shreddies for underpants

 

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A Training Area was known as 'the cud'. A rifle a 'bondook', Cpl Jones mentioned it an episode of Dads Army. Modern soldiers apparently don't use this nickname.

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One phrase in current use is 'Gucci' used to describe any desirable piece of kit, for example Snap On tools or any other quality items.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/31/2019 at 10:10 AM, Bob Grundy said:

A Training Area was known as 'the cud'. A rifle a 'bondook', Cpl Jones mentioned it an episode of Dads Army. Modern soldiers apparently don't use this nickname.

Bob, bondook is new to me but apparently  ' It originates from India and is still used in parts of the British Army that has served in India'

Edited by radiomike7

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Posted (edited)

Might be a localised thing, I never heard a rifle reffered to as a "Boondock", you'd almost certainly end up doing press-ups, if you did! It was bad enough if you even said "SA80", or "SLR" it didn't matter what Gun you were issued you were obliged to call it "Rifle".

As for training areas, "Cud"?...naah, again not heard of it.

We just used an abreviation or whatever it was actually called, for example a well known training area I went to in Norfolk was "Standford Battle area" but it was known to everyone simply as "Stanta". Probably partially because it's the same abbreviated name as seen on MoD roadsigns nearby.

but of course, it being "Dads Army"... "Cud" may be a fictional name.

Edited by webkitlover

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2 minutes ago, webkitlover said:

Might be a localised thing, I never heard a rifle reffered to as a "Boondock", you'd almost certainly end up doing press-ups, if you did! It was bad enough if you even said "SA80", or "SLR" it didn't matter what Gun you were issued you were obliged to call it "Rifle".

As for training areas, "Cud"?...naah, again not heard of it.

We just used an abreviation or whatever it was actually called, for example a well known training area I went to in Norfolk was "Standford Battle area" but it was known to everyone simply as "Stanta". Probably partially because it's the same abbreviated name as seen on MoD roadsigns nearby.

Not Boondock but Bondhook.......

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The trouble with trying to make a list such as this is that it is so variable - over time, from unit to unit and in degree of popularity.  In the 70s, for example, there was still some second world war slang among, for example, old veterans in the TA or cadet instructors, while the young were inventing their own from their own experiences in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.  And not all of it was either polite or appropriate for modern ears.  And it comes in and out of fashion - much doesn't endure at all, while, here and there, expressions linger on or become reinvented. 

Bundook (spelling varies), was certainly used by my elderly cadet instructors in the early 70s, for a rifle while "gat" was then more common in the Regular Army.  The cuds, was a generic term used by some for what the Americans called the boondocks - or the countryside, as in, "out in the cuds". 

The Falklands conflict produced its own vocabulary which enjoyed popularity for a while - it saw the rise of tabbing among Paras and yomping among the Marines, for example.  Both these terms lingered and are sometimes still used.  Ally hadn't appeared and, as far as I can remember, didn't until the Gulf War of 1991.  Gucci was more common.  KFS were gobbling rods, or fighting irons.  Ladies lingerie, particularly if it included suspenders, would have been webbing or fighting order, of course, while, if coupled with a corset, it became full marching order!  Kilometres were clicks, and probably still are and binoculars binos, rather than bins which is what they are to birdwatchers!  With food there were babies heads - steak and kidney pudding and abortions - tinned tomatoes - while Jack enjoyed chicken on a raft (fried egg on fried bread).  Lance Corporals were Lance Jacks and corporals full screws.  Boots CWW were hobbly cobblies, DMS boots - dem's ma shoes.  There were hairy Marys - shirts KF and woolly pullies.  Crap hats were both No1 Dress caps and a generic for non-Paras.  And, of course, there were the slang terms for the various regiments and corps which were always used, but which change over time.  In books written between the wars and earlier, these terms are usually included, but I don't think any of the old ones remain apart from Sappers and Gunners.  In the 70s we talked of Scaleys for Royal Signals, Reems, for the REME, Dropshorts for the Gunners,  and, in salute to It ain't 'Arf 'Ot Mum, the Ladidah Gunner Grahams - for the HAC!  But I don't think that stuck!  There were Devon and Doughnuts, the Duke of Boots and so on.  And, of course, there was the extensive collection of nicknames for people - the Dusty Millers, Dinger Bells and so on some of which have very traditional roots.

But, to make a full list would be impossible and, to be honest, rather contrived, as some slang just didn't endure while some has been in circulation for decades and longer and will remain so.  My favourite, though, is from Kipling's era and rarely still heard: "Pick up your parrots and monkeys and turn to face the boat".

 

10 68

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for that list!

You're right about "Ally", I'd not heard of that till long after my TA time i also knew nice or desirable kit as Gucci.

Also I'd not heard the phrase "Buckshee" meaning free,  we just said..."free" or nicked

There was lots of cockney rhyming slang like:

"Tea leaf", or just "leaf"  = theif

I like the CEFO and CEMO, not heard that version before!

there are many, MANY slang versions that also include swear words or "Army only" sense of humour the "tinned tomatoes" I think prtobably are on that list.

I had a serious look at all the acronyms too, there are hundreds, and as I was writing a list I realised how many are have confusinly similar or even the same Acronym for example:

"ERV  Emergency Rendevous" could depending on who was giving instructions could also mean...

"ERV Eastern Rendevous"

C.O. = Commanding Officer/  C.O. = Commisioned Officer.

C.D. Civil Defence /  C.D. Casualty Dead

I personally didn't leave East Anglia or spend any time with the Navy or Airforce, so perhaps the lingo I heard and used was more local Army focussed.

 

Edited by webkitlover

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Things like Lance-Jack, Dropshorts, etc. have been around since at least WWII as has, I think Buckshee, which is an old Arabic phrase meaning tip/gratuity. You still hear it a lot in Egypt, where they're always following you around asking for backsheesh (bqshysh). Incidentally, Egypt is where the term Gippo comes from also, short for Egyptian especially the begging / backsheesh kind. Then there's mucker which is pretty universal but is very much an Indian Army (WWII, and earlier,  era) phrase. One of my favourites, which has become wildly misinterpreted is Bint! In the WWII Indian Army Bint was Hindi for Pretty Girl. Today, especially up North, it seems to have taken on a new meaning which is closer to slag! I was in the centre of Oxford one day when I came across a Blue Mercedes with the number plate Bint 1 or something very similar. My friend spotted it first and said, "oh, that's a very unfortunate number plate", to which I replied, "probably not, it most likely belongs to an Indian girl and was probably bought for her by her Dad". To say he was incredulous at such a suggestion would be an understatement and even when I explained the background to him he was highly dubious. 

A few years ago there was a re-print of 'Service Slang', a WWII era book produced by a couple of regular's Army and RAF, I think,

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Service-Slang-Flying-Officer-J-L/dp/0571240143/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords="Service+Slang"&qid=1554246330&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

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Have to agree with 10FM68, a precise list of slang wouldn't come out right as different units have had a different interpretation of a given word.  For example he suggests the HAC were referred to as the Ladidah Gunners, whereas I would put that title to the Royal Horse Artillery.

Nick names for people seem to be a standard though.  Anybody with any connection to the military will have come across a Smudger Smith or a Dinger Bell and so on. As suggested earlier some names are deeply rooted in history and have been going for years. I can remember many from my own service days, some blatently obvious like Dusty Rhodes, Tiny Small, Bowler Hatt. etc.  Others seem more obscure, one that particularly fascinates me, because I cannot see the connection, is anybody with the surname Wilson gets to be called "Tug".  I met several during my service, anyone know where it comes from? 

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12 hours ago, Zero-Five-Two said:

Others seem more obscure, one that particularly fascinates me, because I cannot see the connection, is anybody with the surname Wilson gets to be called "Tug".  I met several during my service, anyone know where it comes from? 

It comes from the Navy.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson, 3rd Baronet VC, GCM, OM,GCVO (4 March 1842 – 25 May 1921)

Awilson.gif

Wilson's nickname of 'Tug' reputedly comes from an incident when he repeatedly ordered a battleship to try to come alongside, and in exasperation offered her captain a tug to assist. He was also known as 'Old 'Ard 'Art' for his refusal to consider the cares and comforts of officers and men.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Wilson_(Royal_Navy_officer)

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9 hours ago, MatchFuzee said:

It comes from the Navy.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson, 3rd Baronet VC, GCM, OM,GCVO (4 March 1842 – 25 May 1921)

 

Many thanks, didn't know that at all.  Amazing what you can learn on here

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Hi met some veterans ans heard a few more:

Ok so how do you take your tea/coffee?

"NATO" = Milk 2 sugars

"Julie Andrews" (in the sound of music was a White Nun=none )   White no sugar

"Whoopie Goldberg" (in Sister act was a Black Nun=none )    Black no sugar

 

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