Possessing as much military vocabulary as in mind might not only help you easily to overcome the Word Knowledge examination and Paragraph Comprehension on ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) but also assist you a lot in writing, communication, presentation, leadership, and so on. Now, let us walk you through the common word list of military vocabulary


1. The Importance Of Expanding The Military Vocabulary


Actually, it is undoubted that building a set of robust military vocabulary which improves all areas of communication – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – has a vital role to play if you are planning on enlisting in the U.S armed forces. Moreover, Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension subtests on the ASVAB require test-takers to know both military and non-military vocabulary.

military words for letters
The more terms and phrases you know, the higher scores on these tests you might achieve.

Additionally, the word knowledge and paragraph comprehension examinations comprise half of the tests used to compute your AFQT score used to assess your appropriation for enlisting in the U.S military. Keep in mind that the more terms and phrases you know, the higher scores on these tests you might achieve. For these above reasons,  it is imperative that you invest the necessary time, and put in much effort to build your military vocabulary on a regular basis. 

Note: You can take more ASVAB Word Knowledge Practice Tests and ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Practice Tests with ASVAB Test Pro. 

Additionally, The U.S. military has its own vocabulary with some unique items and concepts that civilians aren’t exposed to. Hence, if you are a service member, you might be immersed in a specific linguistic world to meet the need for expedient and clear communication. 


2. Top 100 Military Words For Alphabet


Let’s check out the Military Terms and Definitions following: 


  • Air Picket — Any airborne system tasked with detecting, reporting, and tracking enemy aerial movements within a certain area of operation.
  • Alpha Charlie — Military alphabet used to represent ass chewing. Defines getting verbally reprimanded. Recommended by user Joe Trejo.
  • Anymouse — A lockbox on Navy ships where sailors may drop anonymous suggestions.
  • Ass — Armored vehicles such as Strykers and Tanks.
  • Ate-Up — Describes a service member who follows regulations so closely that they disregard the context of the situation. Conversely, may describe a service member who doesn’t understand regulations at all.


  • Band-Aid — A Vietnam-era term for a medic.
  • Bang-bang — An Army term describing a pistol or rifle.
  • Big Voice — Term used to describe the loudspeaker on a military base. The Big Voice warns of everything from incoming attacks to scheduled ordnance disposal.
  • Bird — Slang for a helicopter.
  • Bitchin’ Betty — Most U.S. military aircraft feature warning systems that frequently utilize female voices. The phrase is derived from the same anthropomorphizing applied to GPS units in cars, only Bitchin’ Betty’s alert pilots to life-threatening situations.
  • ‘Black’ on ammo, fuel, water, etc. — A common phrase denoting a particular resource is gone.
  • Blowed up — The state of being hit by an IED.
  • Blue Falcon — A euphemism for buddy **** or buddy ****er, which is slang for a backstabber. Recommended by user jpchopper.
  • Bolo — A derogatory remark for recruits who cannot pass marksmanship training. The idea is that if one cannot use a rifle, one must resort to a bolo.
  • Bone — A B-1 bomber.
  • Bull**** Bomb — A package intended to disperse propaganda leaflets. Recommended by user Steve Neal.
  • Bullwinkle Badge — Another name for the Air Assault Badge. Recommended by user David E Windsor II.
  • Burn Bag — A bag used to hold shredded documents, designed to be burned. May also refer to a useless person. Recommended by user Gregory Waugh.


  • Cannibalize — The act of taking workable parts of one item and using them in another.
  • Chancre Mechanic — Medical officer who checks service members for venereal diseases. Recommended by user jloman42.
  • Charlie Foxtrot — Commonly used expression utilizing the military alphabet to stand for clusterf***.
  • Chem-Light Batteries — A mythical object that would be extremely, functionally pointless. Often the source of fruitless hunts embarked upon by hapless privates. Recommended by user Nick_1.
  • Chest Candy — Slang for ribbons and medals worn on a uniform. Can be insulting or applauding.
  • Chicken plates — Sheets of protective material, called Small Arms Protective Inserts, which are used in the Interceptor body armor system.
  • Comics — Term used to describe maps presented by military intelligence. The term is fairly derogatory in nature as a slight against the accuracy of the maps. It also refers to the brightly colored layouts and symbols usually included.
  • Commo — Communications equipment or the individuals who operate it. Usually given to communications officers on U.S. Navy vessels.
  • Crank — Navy term for a sailor pulling temporary duty in the galley.
  • Crumb Catcher — Military slang describing the mouth.
  • Crusher — Hats worn by pilots during World War II. The hat’s wide top brim would need to be crushed down to allow for headsets to be worn.


  • Dear John — a Common term referring to a significant other breaking up with a service member through a letter. Recommended by user wilburbythepsea.
  • Demilitarized Zone — A specific area in which any type of military force — including but not limited to personnel, hardware, and infrastructure — is banned.
  • Digit Midget — Usually used with a number as a prefix. X digit midget refers to the number of days till an individual goes on leave or retires. Recommended by user Steve Pinder.
  • Digies — Digital camouflage worn by soldiers and Marines.
  • Dittybopper — A term in the Army referring to signals intelligence radio operators trained to utilize Morse code. Also used as a verb to describe soldiers marching out of synch with a cadence.
  • Dope on a Rope — Derogatory term used for air-assault soldiers.
  • Dust-off — Specifically, a medical evacuation by helicopter.
  • Dynamited Chicken — Term originating in the Navy referring to chicken cacciatore or chicken a la king.


  • Embed — When a reporter stays with the military in order to conduct journalistic business. They typically are provided with security and basic necessities provided by the unit they are embedded with.
  • Expectant — A casualty who is expected to pass die.
  • Eagle Keeper — Maintenance crew chief of an F-15.


  • Fang — A verb to describe being rebuked, called out, or otherwise disparaged.
  • Fangs — A Marine Corps term for one’s teeth.
  • Fart Sack — Refers to a sleeping bag or an airman’s flight suit.
  • Farts and Darts — Refer to the clouds and lightning bolt embellishments found on Air Force officer caps. Recommended by user NGH144.
  • Fashion Show — A Naval punishment where a sailor is required to dress in each of his uniforms over a period of several hours.
  • Fast Mover — Slang for a jet fighter. Aptly named due to the rapidity of a jet fighter’s movement.
  • First Light — The time of nautical twilight when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon.
  • Flaming ***hole — An Air Force term to describe the fiery effect of a jet plane turning on its afterburners during combat or any other military operation.
  • Flight Suit Insert — Air Force slang for a pilot.
  • Fitty — Slang for an M2 .50 caliber machine gun.
  • Five-Sided Puzzle Palace — Slang for the Pentagon.
  • Football Bat — An individual or way of doing things that are particularly odd.
  • Force Projection — The ability of a nation-state to extend military force beyond its borders.
  • Fourth Point of Contact — From rolling after a successful parachute drop: a term to describe an individual’s buttocks. The first three points are the feet, calves, and back of the thigh. Recommended by user elisemorgan.
  • Fruit Salad — Slang for a service member’s display of medals and ribbons on a dress uniform. Recommended by user DL_in _DEN.
  • Fugazi — Completely out of whack, ****ed up, screwy. This term originated during the Vietnam War and experienced limited use by civilians.


  • Galloping Dandruff — An Army term used since World War I to refer to crab lice.
  • Geardo — An Army term for a soldier who spends an inordinate amount of money on gear, regardless of actual need.
  • Gedunk — Refers to snack foods, such as candy and chips, as well as the place they’re sold. Associated with the Navy and can be used in the phrase “gedunk sailor” as a pejorative remark for inexperienced sailors. Recommended by user bensonmccloud.
  • Gofasters — A term for sneakers used in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.
  • GOFO — Literally stands for “grasp of the ****ing obvious.”
  • Gone Elvis — A service member who is missing in action.
  • Grape — A term with two meanings; one for the Air Force and one for the Navy. A Navy Grape is an individual who refuels aircraft. An Air Force Grape, on the other hand, refers to an easy assignment and can be used as a compliment when a service member makes something look easy.
  • Great Mistakes — The name sailors have given the Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago. It references the closing of two other training facilities in San Diego and Orlando, which both feature far more enjoyable weather.
  • Grid Squares — A nonexistent item recruits typically are told to go find.
  • Groundhog Day — Term originating from the titular movie that refers to deployments that seem to proceed in the exact same way despite attempts to change them.
  • Gum Shoe — Navy slang for a sailor cryptology technician. The first CT school was located on top of a building where tar would get stuck to the bottom of students’ shoes.
  • Gun — Term for a mortar or artillery piece. Must never be used within the military to describe a pistol or rifle.
  • Gunner — A service member who operates a crew-served weapon, such as a piece of artillery or ship’s cannon. Recommended by user John Alfred.


  • Hangar Queen — An aircraft that is used primarily for spare parts to repair other planes. Recommended by Steve Pinder.
  • Hardball — A hard-surfaced road.
  • Hardened Site — A structure usually built under rock or concrete designed to withstand conventional, nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks.
  • Hat Up — To change one’s location. Refers to the need to wear a hat for the intended destination. Recommended by user JimBrown1946.
  • Hawk — Term for cold weather. Commonly referred to as “the hawk.”
  • Helo — Short-hand term for a helicopter.
  • High Speed — An individual who is highly motivated and at or near peak efficacy. Can be used sarcastically. Recommended by user Sara.
  • Hit the Silk — Ejecting from an aircraft and utilizing a parachute.


  • Inactive Status — Members of the Reserves who are unable to train for points, receive payment and cannot be considered for promotion.
  • Ink Stick — Marine Corps term for a pen.
  • Iron Rations — Rations used in an emergency survival situation.


  • Jawa — Term for an Army soldier who is stationed in a desert area, named after the desert-dwelling aliens of “Star Wars.”
  • Jesus Slippers — Military-issued shower footwear.
  • Jockstrap Medal — Derogatory term for medals given by the military to active CIA members.
  • Joe — Army term for a soldier. Shortened from G.I. Joe.
  • Joint Operation Planning — All types of planning involving joint military forces in regard to military operations, including, but not limited to, mobilization, deployment, and sustainment.


  • Kinetic — Slang adjective meaning violent.
  • Klicks — Kilometers.


  • Latrine Queen — Air Force specific term for a trainee in basic who is in charge of the team responsible for cleaning bathrooms.
  • Left-Handed Monkey Wrench — A nonexistent tool. Often the object of fruitless searches undertaken by recruits at the behest of more experienced service members. Recommended by user John Alfred.
  • Long Pig — Slang for when a human being is used as a source of food. Typically this happens in extremely desperate situations.


  • Major Nuclear Power — Any nation-state with a nuclear arsenal capable of being delivered to any other nation in the world.
  • Meat Identifier — A dish or sauce that identifies what type of meat is being served. For example, cranberry sauce indicates turkey while applesauce indicates pork chops.
  • Meat Wagon — Slang for an ambulance or any other medical emergency vehicle. Recommended by user 5712540.
  • Moonbeam — Marine term for a flashlight.
  • Moving Like Pond Water — Moving so slowly that a unique term is required to describe it. Recommended by user 31320680.
  • Mustang — Term referring to any officer who was promoted from the enlisted ranks. Can be used respectfully or pejoratively.


  • Nut to Butt — The instruction used to tell soldiers to line up in a tight, forward-facing line wherein one’s nuts is in extreme proximity to the butt of the soldier before them.


  • Officer’s Candy — Navy term used by sailors to describe the scented cake placed in urinals.
  • Officer of the Deck — Any officer charged with the operation of a ship. Reports to the commanding officer, executive officer, and navigator for relevant issues and concerns.
  • Over the Hill — Missing in action or someone who officially has gone missing from their post.
  • Oxygen Thief — A biting piece of slang for someone who’s useless or talks too much.


  • Pad Eye Remover — A nonexistent item used by sailors to trick new service members into a fruitless search. Pad-eyes are used to secure airplanes with chains.
  • People Tank — A U.S. Navy term for the inner hull of a submarine.
  • Pill Pusher — A U.S. Navy term for a hospital corpsman.
  • Pink Mist — A distinct effect created by certain types of gunshot wounds.
  • Pogey Bait — Snack food. A “pogue” is an individual who does not serve on the frontlines and performs non-combat-oriented roles. “Pogey bait” is, subsequently, a bribe given to these individuals in exchange for expedited or high-quality services.
  • Pollywog — A sailor who has not crossed the equator on a U.S. Navy ship. Recommended by user Terry Thomason.
  • Puddle Pirate — Member of the Coast Guard. So-called due to a fallacious belief that the Coast Guard never operates in deep water.
  • PX Ranger — An individual who purchases, from the Post Exchange, paraphernalia unique to certain prestigious ranks or occupations and passes them off as though they earned the items. Recommended by mw1968.


  • Quay — A man-made structure between a shore and land that can be used by ships to berth and is typically an area for handling cargo.


  • Rainbow — A new recruit in basic training. Recommended by user wilburbythespea.
  • Red Team — A body of experts on a specific topic who are instructed to research and suggest alternative methods regarding a planned course of action.
  • Remington Raider — A somewhat derogatory term used for Marines given the harrowing task of performing office duties.
  • Rocks and Shoals — U.S. Navy rules and regulations.
  • Rotorhead — Slang for a helicopter pilot. Recommended by user Bob Pante.
  • Ruck Up — “Ruck” is short for “ruck sack,” which refers to backpacks service members sometimes wear. To “ruck up” is to get through a particularly challenging or stressful situation. Recommended by mw1968.


  • Salad Bar — References the service ribbons found on a military uniform.
  • Scrambled Eggs — Refers to the embellishments found on some officer’s caps. Recommended by user NGH144.
  • Self-Propelled Sandbags — A derogatory term for a Marine based on their emphasis on fighting on the front lines. Recommended by user Nathan King.
  • Shavetail — A term referring to second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. It primarily refers to the haircuts received in Officer Candidate School. The term’s origins date to the time when the Army used pack animals, and handlers shaved the tail of newly broken animals to distinguish them from those more seasoned.
  • Shellback — A sailor who has crossed the equator on a U.S. Navy ship. Responsible for turning all Pollywogs into Shellbacks once they cross the equator themselves. Recommended by user Terry Thomason.
  • Snake Eater — Member of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
  • S*** on a Shingle — Slang for a piece of toast with gravy. Recommended by user Mike W.
  • Sky Blossom — A deployed parachute.
  • Slick Sleeve — Refers to a sailor who has not yet earned a rank that requires decoration on the sleeves.
  • Smoke — To punish a service member with excessive physical work due to a minor infraction.
  • Snivel Gear — Any equipment meant for use in cold weather. Recommended by mw1968.
  • Soap chips — A psychological operations (PSYOPS) tactic where fake letters from an enemy’s home country are written and placed on bodies and battle wreckage. They include sentimental content, hint at the infidelity of loved ones back home, and are designed to demoralize combatants.
  • Soup Sandwich — Used to describe an individual, object, situation, or mission that has gone horribly wrong. The thrust of the term’s meaning derives from the fact that it is incredibly difficult, some would say impossible, to make a sandwich out of the soup. Recommended by user David E Windsor II.
  • Swoop — Marine term for a weekend trip off base.


  • Taco — An Air Force term for receiving an “unsatisfactory” grade on a training exercise due to the vague taco shape of the letter “u.”
  • Tango Uniform — Slang for “tits up,” which is the position dead bodies tend to face. The term can be applied to the deceased as well as broken pieces of equipment. Recommended by users 10741875 and staff.
  • Target Discrimination — The capability of a surveillance or guidance system to choose certain targets when multiple options are presented.
  • Trench Monkey — A derogatory term referring to a member of the U.S. Army.
  • Twidget — A sailor who repairs electronic equipment. Suggested by user X-USN-DS1.


  • Un-Ass — To move immediately or leave one’s current position.
  • Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club — A U.S. Navy term for the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Unit Identification Code — An alphanumeric, six-character string that identifies all active, reserve, and guard units of the United States military.


  • Voice in the Sky — Term referring to military base announcements broadcast over speakers. Recommended by user MrsMSgt.
  • Voluntold — An assignment that is technically voluntary but understood to be mandatory.


  • Weapons of Mass Destruction — Weapons that can cause destruction or death beyond the ability of conventional weapons. These typically are nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological or high-yield explosives in nature. This definition does not include the vehicle, or transportation method, of delivering the weapon.


  • Zone of Action — A smaller section of a larger area. Typically these are under the purview of a tactical unit, usually during an offensive maneuver.
  • Zoomie — A term used by non-flying service members for anyone who operates a flying vehicle.


3. Some Must-Know Tips To Broaden Your Vocabulary


Here are some tips to help you enrich your new military vocabulary. Let’s check them out: 


3.1. Form a reading habit


military terms alphabet
Reading as much as possible is the easiest way not only to help you broaden your horizons.

First and foremost, you can amass a huge amount of military new vocabulary by reading every day. Actually, Reading as much as possible is the easiest way not only to help you broaden your horizons but also to build your vocabulary in context so as to answer the vocabulary-based  ASVAB questions better. Actually, putting a word in context may help you take more insight into its meaning and usage in lieu of seeing the word in isolation. 


3.2. Use the dictionary and thesaurus


military terms and definitions
Dictionaries and thesauruses are useful resources to widen your vocabulary.

Dictionaries and thesauruses are useful resources to widen your vocabulary. For each word on both online and paper dictionaries, its meaning, definition, pronunciation, synonyms, antonyms, examples, and so on will be presented clearly and fully. 

>>> Read More: Must-know Essential Military Requirements


3.3. Take Online ASVAB Word Knowledge and Reading Comprehension Practice Tests


military words for alphabet
Keep a list of the different words you learned when practicing.

ASVAB Test Pro provides you with ASVAB Practice Tests covering different subjects. If you want to study military vocabulary, head over to ASVAB Word Knowledge and Reading Comprehension practice tests and keep a list of the different words you learned when practicing. Furthermore, on our leading website, all questions are displayed interestingly and appealingly as a game to make you enjoy learning new words. 


3.4. Use flashcards


Another way to build your large vocabulary is to study a number of words via flashcards. You can easily create your own set of manifold flashcards online via Quizizz. Learning new words every day to convert them into your long-term memory. 


3.5. Practice using new words in conversation


Besides, the English words seem varied and rich, so you can’t memorize them all for a long time without knowing what they really mean, how to use them in some contexts, and practicing these words in real life. When you come across a new word in your reading, try your best to use the words in conversation. Thereby, you can remember the word length, and use it fluently for a particular context. 

To sum up, a list of military vocabulary is proposed in this article. Take time to learn these words if you aspire to achieve high scores on your ASVAB exam.