June 10, 2013

Submarine Slang

"Blow Job" can mean "Emergency blow or emergency ventilate" or emergency main ballast tank blow. as seen regarding USS Pittsburgh above courtesy Wikipedia. See short Youtube
As submarine crews have until the last few years been totally male and are close-nit much of the slang is earthy in tone. The quite long list provides very brief reflections of many aspects of life aboard submarines.

The following slang phrases and words are not for the faint hearted. Although I've removed many of the spicier language in the list below.  If some words offend you please do not read the list. The list below and links appear to be mainly US Navy judging by the number of nuclear related terms.

The list is much reduced https://www.facebook.com/notes/randy-pace/submarine-slang-terms-and-phrases/10151136788588486 and inspired by on other sources including Wikipedia and those below.

A much longer slang list for the whole US Navy is:  http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Glossary_of_U.S._Navy_slang.

Whole US Navy is also at http://goatlocker.org/resources/nav/navyslang.pdf

US and other English speaking navies http://www.hazegray.org/faq/slang1.htm and http://www.hazegray.org/faq/slang2.htm

UK Royal Navy http://www.rnsubs.co.uk/Dits/Jackspeak/index.php

Submarine, Nautical Terms and Glossary is from "Perch Base" http://www.perch-base.org/glossary.htm

The submarine slang list:

25 knots - The maximum speed of a submarine that is allowed to be told to someone outside the submarine community.

400 feet - The maximum depth of a submarine that is allowed to be told to someone outside the submarine community.

“Air in the banks, shit in the tanks, ready to submerge below... sound the diving alarm!” – An abbreviated, unauthorized, to report the submarine is ready to dive.

Angles and Dangles – The time when the submarine is making radical depth changes. Usually done during sea trials and pre-deployment underway period to ensure everything is stowed for sea properly.

Baboon ass – slang for corned beef due to it’s color and consistency.

Bagged – as in “I got bagged” by the off going watch. Meaning you got left with something that someone else was suppose to do.

Balls to the wall - Flank Speed.

Blow and Go – To emergency blow the main ballast tanks.

Blowing a Shitter - Inadvertently "flushing" a toilet while sanitary tanks are being blown overboard. This caused excrement and toilet paper to be blown all over the head to the delight of the rest of the crew.

Blow Job - Emergency blow or emergency ventilate.

B.O.C.O.D. - Beat Off Cut Off Date.  The date before returning home from a deployment to stop masturbating in order to save it up for your wife or girlfriend.

Boomer Fag - Crewmember of a Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN). Usually used by jealous fast boat sailors.

Boomer Widow – Used to describe an SSBN sailor's wife looking for a temporary fling, often with another sailor. Also see WestPac widow. In some cases the wife would take on a lover from the other crew, thus negating her chances of getting caught.

Boy butter – Slang term for silicone grease.

Broke-dick - Technical term describing malfunctioning or inoperable equipment. Example: "The fuckin' aux drain pump is fuckin' broke-dick."

Bubblehead – Internationally recognized term of endearment for a submarine sailor.

Bunk Bag - They were originally elongated bags, designed for horizontal passageway storage and hung from the tubular bunk frames on diesel boats. In later years they were hung inside racks and usually used for dirty clothes or to hide porn and patrol socks.

Bunkie – a term of endearment for your bed, bunk, or rack.

Burn the flick – Indicates to start the movie.

Burn Run - An organized evolution to dispose of the classified material stored in burn bags.

Cadillac - A mop bucket, usually with wheels and a wringer.

“Cake and cock and we’re outta cake.” – A humorous comeback by Mess Specialist when asked what is for chow when it is clearly posted in the Plan of the Day. Usually used when serving bratwurst, kielbasa, hot dogs, etc.

Casino Night – a night designated to play casino games such as poker, black jack, etc to raise money for the recreation committee.

Channel Fever - Said if a sailor is anxious when approaching port to get leave.

Check Valve – Also known as a “one way check valve”. A submariner who does things for himself/herself but does not reciprocate.

Chicken Switches - Emergency Blow Actuation Valves.

Clean Sweep - Refers to having "swept the enemy from the seas," a completely successful mission. It is traditionally indicated by lashing a broom to the periscope of a submarine.

Clear your baffles - Look behind you.

“Close enough for horseshoes, hand grenades or Polaris Missiles.” – A highly technical slang term used when a job is good enough to call complete. Also known as “Close enough for government work.”

Cluster Fuck - Refers to when a group performs some task in a severely disorganized manner, usually with poor results. May also be used to describe any person or thing that is in a state of general disarray. "That kid is a walking cluster fuck." Can be indicated using the NATO phonetic Charlie Foxtrot for CF.

C.O.B. – Chief of the Boat, Crabby Old Bastard, Clueless Overweight Bastard. The senior enlisted on board a submarine.

Comshaw, cumshaw - something extra or free, given as a favor or gift comes from the pigeon expression using the Chinese word for grateful, thanks, "kamsia".

Comanche Bollocks – Royal Navy Jack speak for 'Tin Tomatoes'.

Coner - A submarine crewman who is not part of the engineering department, especially Torpedomen, because they are stationed in the forward cone of the Sub. Also known as "Forward Pukes" (as opposed to "Fuckin' Nukes") or M.U.F.F.s (My Up Forward Friends).

Cow - A refrigerated fixture in the galley that dispenses something like milk.

C.O.W. – Chief of the Watch. In charge of the ballast, air and water systems while underway.

CPO Spread - The worlds most useless and uncomfortable rack/bunkie sheet. See "Rack Burn".

Countdown calendar – used to count down the days until returning to port. Can be an actual calendar, chain made of paperclips, etc.

Crab bridge – dental floss strung between bunks whenever a shipmate was found out to have gotten crabs. The dental floss was a humorous way of building a bridge for the crabs to travel on and infect other crew members.

Crank - Mess deck worker, typically a new transferee to a submarine assigned to mess deck duties while qualifying for a regular watch. Also see NUB.

Crazy Ivan - Demonstrated in the movie The Hunt for Red October. Russian submarines would quickly turn 180 degrees while underway to see whether any American submarines were following.

Crotch crickets – scabies, lice, crabs.

C.R.I.S. – Cranial Rectal Insertion Syndrome. Having one’s head up one’s own ass.

Crotch Novel – A book of pornography. Usually well worn.

Cumshaw - Obtaining by bartering outside of official channels and paperwork.

D.A.D. – Day After Duty. Usually a day off after duty afforded to sailors who worked throughout the night.

D.B.F. - Diesel Boats Forever. An unauthorized pin showing a non-nuclear submarine. Worn proudly by diesel boat sailors and generally tolerated by senior officers.

Dicking the dog - putting a "half-assed" effort into a task (refers to improperly securing the "dogs" on a watertight hatch when passing through. Such a lax procedure could spell doom for a sinking ship if hatches were not absolutely watertight). Also said as "poking the poodle". Not to be confused with "screwing the pooch" which refers to royally messing up a task.

D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F. - Does It Look Like I Give A Fuck? Universal acronym, but widely used in the Navy.

Diver's 1MC Announcement - "There are divers over the side, do not rotate screws, cycle rudders, take suction from or discharge to the sea, blow flood or vent any tanks, or operate any underwater equipment or activate sonar. There are divers over the side."

Dog and Pony show - A special show put on for inspecting senior officers. Normally sailors are instructed not to ask questions of the senior officers even if requested by the inspecting officer.

Double Digit Midget - A short timer. Someone who is less than 100 days from retirement, EAOS, being discharged to civilian life, or returning to port.

EAB – Emergency Air Breathing. Akin to the fires of Hell, wearing this mask and going around plugging it in was/is a submariner’s worst nightmare. Known as “sucking rubber” this mask could give you a headache and attitude adjustment in the worst way just inside 30 seconds. Making matters worse would be looking around at all the drill monitors not wearing theirs.

Family-grams – The one way communication given to family before a submariner left on deployment. Family grams changed over the years, but were usually limited to 20-50 words depending on operational priorities. Family grams were sent from the loved one and were screened for anything that might upset the receiving submariner. They were usually read over and over and sometimes misinterpreted causing much stress with the sailor.

Fightin’ gear – Eating utensils.

Finger wave – Prostate exam.

Firing Point Procedures - The announced point at which target motion analysis has been completed on a target and a solution has been generated to the point of making preparations to shoot a torpedo. In reality it is the time at which new Weapons Officers often reevaluate and over-think the solution and make adjustments that will ultimately result in missing the target.

Fish – Torpedoes or Submarine Warfare Qualification Ensignia.

Gilly - Illegal pure grain alcohol. Also known as "Torpedo Juice".

Goat locker – A term of endearment for the Chief’s Quarters. As in that is where the old goats live.

Grape signature – Refers to a qualification checkout that was less than adequate but the system expert signs off the qualification anyway.

Green board – When the status on the ballast control panel indicates all hull opening are shut (a green slash) and the submarine can be submerged. Also known as a "straight board".

Grotopotamus - The rather large ladies that graze around the Groton, CT area. Similar to a Bremerloe.

Grottweiler - see Grotopotamus.

Gun decking the logs - Filling out a form or log with mostly imaginary data. Usually done out of laziness or because they got behind. See also “Radioing the logs” and “Pencil Whipping”.

Halfway night – The designated night that marked the halfway point in a deployment. Usually, halfway night was marked with a special dinner and entertainment from the crew. Often in conjunction with Casino Night.

“He/She made Chief when Noah was a cabin boy” – Refers to a very old Chief. Many variations exists.

“He's/She’s dumber than a box of rocks!” – Self explanatory universal phrase for a dumbass.

“He's/She’s so full of crap the birds won't land on him!” – Also self explanatory and used for a constant bullshitter.

Hockey pucks – Swedish meatballs.

Hogans Alley - The berthing section of the after battery on diesel boats that doesn't have any traffic. Like a dead end street, only one way in and out.

Holidays – Mythical days of the year that are non-existent while on deployment.

Hollywood showers – A long and normally unauthorized shower utilizing as much water as the offender wants. Normally attributed to Sonar Technicians and Radiomen.

Hot Cock - The latest news or rumors. Also known as "the skinny" or "scuttlebutt".

Hot Racking or Hot Bunking - Sharing racks. When one goes off, the other takes his place, thus the rack never gets cold. (Three men share two racks).

“How's your wife and my kids?” – Usually used by boomer sailors from opposite crews. A way of getting under their skin, but sometimes true.

"I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard any Navy vessel" - Standard answer given to civilians when they ask whether the submarine is carrying nuclear missiles.

"I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you" - Another standard answer when a submariner is asked about specific missions they have been on.

“I had it, you got it. Any questions, I'll be in my rack” - A common abbreviated, unauthorized turnover from watch stander to another. Usually used when the off-going watchstander was extremely tired.

“If it don’t move, paint it” – Poking fun at the Navy’s relentless need to paint everything.

“I'm so short, when I look in the mirror, I'm not there!” – Phrase used by sailors getting close to their separation date or another important event.

"In the Fan Room, no one can hear you scream!" - A 'threat' to a non-qual who is less than motivated.

"I was never there, not aware, and have no knowledge of any particular operation" - Standard reply to question about special operations.

Joe Navy - Another term for a lifer with no life outside the Navy.

J-5 = steak

Lieu-fucking-tenant - Illustrates Navy practice of including a swear word INSIDE another word. Another favorite - Abso-fucking-lutley.

Lifer - A name given to both officers and enlisted men who love the Navy and make it clear they want to be in for 20 or more years. Lifers will try to convince others to re-enlist. Also, lifers say things like "there is nothing a Sailor needs that is not in his sea-bag" this usually is a comment implying a Sailor does not need to see his spouse or children.

Lifer cup - Also know as THE Cup. A porcelain white coffee cup with blue stripes usually stained brown by repeated use. Never washed, except as a prank by disgruntled juniors.

Mail Buoy - A fictitious buoy that mail for a ship is left on. Usually new sailors are given a mail buoy watch for the entertainment of the more seasoned sailors.

Make a hole! or make a hole, working Navy! – used to get people to clear a path in a cramped area.

Mandatory fun – When attending a ship’s function, such as a picnic or party was mandatory.

M.A.R.F. – Make a Round Fucker. Often used by Missile Technicians to get their Roving Watch to make a round through the missile compartment.

Meat Gazer - A senior enlisted person that has to watch crewmembers give their urine samples all day.

Men Working  in the Sail 1MC announcement -  "There are men working in the sail. Do not raise, lower, rotate or radiate from any mast or antenna. There are men working in the sail".

Metric fuck ton – Another highly technical measuring term used when something weighs a lot. Also known as a “butt ton”, “shit ton”, and “that’s fucking heavy”.

Mouse House - Ballistic Missile Submarine slang description of areas usually occupied by Missile Technicians. Also used to describe MCC (Missile Control Center).

N.U.B. - Non Useful Body or ‘Nuther Useless Body.  A sailor who has not yet earned his Submarine Warfare Qualification (Dolphins).

Nut to Butt - Slang used to describe packing the line in tighter.

Occifer - Pronounced "ossifur". It is a derogatory reference towards officers in general, particularly junior officers…unless you have a lisp.

Patrol shoes – Any type of shoe other than Navy issue that is worn underway only. Example include tennis shoes, bowling shoes, and cowboy boots.

P.E.B.K.A.C. - Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair (always popular in radio and sonar). Loose interpreted, operator error.

Pecker Checker – Navy doctor or Corpsman.

Pencil whip - Filling out a form with mostly imaginary data. Usually done out of laziness or because they got behind. Also know as “Gundecking or Radioing the logs”.

Periscope Liberty – Viewing the outside world through a periscope. The longer you have been at sea the better it is. The best periscope liberty usually involved beaches, topless women in pleasure craft, and viewing whales while underwater.

P.F.M. - Pure Fucking Magic. Normally used when something seemed to “fix itself” or an answer came about without the use of logic.

Ping Jockey - Term used to describe Sonar Technicians.

Poking holes in the ocean - Underway on a submarine.

Poopysuit - Blue overalls worn when deployed out to sea.

Prairie chicken – rabbit.

“Prepare to ventilate the boat!” – A phrase used to bring fresh air into the boat but more often used as a phrase after someone has let loose an obnoxious fart. Also used in conjunction with “Pressure in the boat" and "Crack the hatch”.

Puka - Sailors speak used to indicate a small storage location or hole.

Rack - Bed.

Rack Burn - Reddish marks seen on the face of a sailor who has just emerged from sleeping in his/her rack. Scorned upon if he/she was not supposed to be there. Often caused by the ridges in a CPO spread.

Rack Hound - Derogatory but usually with a hint of envy term used for someone who sleeps a lot. Sailor that spends more than his/her fair share of time in the "Rack". Usually spoken when seeing somebody with Rack Burns; "You are such a Rack Hound!".

Racki-dexterous - the ability to get shit out of your rack foot locker without getting out of your rack.

Racking Out – Going to bed.

Rain locker – A shower stall.

‘Rats – Short of Midrations. Food for the midnight to 6 am watch that usually consists of leftovers, sandwich fixings, beanie weanies, etc.

“Reveille, reveille, up all bunks. Drop your cocks, put on your socks, it's daylight in the swamp” – Old phrase used when waking up the crew. Extinct.

Rig for red – In the old days of submarining certain spaces in the boat would be rigged for red (all red lights) prior to going to periscope depth, when surfacing at night, or all the time in sonar. The red lights helped adjust eyes to the dark. Unfortunately, in later years studies found that the red light was actually irritable to the eyes and made people more aggressive. Other colors were tested and used, such as blue, yellow and eventually low level white (dirty gray).

Rig for sea - To get the all submarine systems lined up for sea and to ensure the boat is stowed for sea.

Rig for silent running - Turning off all unnecessary equipment so as to make the submarine as quite as possible. Also known as "ultra quiet".

Rig ship for lady visitors - Before women were allowed on submarines the crew would be informed of women visitors so as to not say or do anything inappropriate and to put away all smut locker material.

R.O.A.D. Program - Retired On Active Duty. Refers to a sailor who is getting ready to retire and is not doing much more than taking up space until that time.

Roast Beast - Roast Beef, or any meat served aboard the ship that even the cooks who prepared it don't know what it is.

Rock - Term used to describe a sailor that acts as though he hasn't learned anything.

Rumor Control - The often wildly inaccurate rumors that concern fictitious changes to the ship's schedule.

Sail she may, shine she must – Old sailor term used to describe the monotony of shining brass and chrome when it felt like the priorities were more import to clean and shine rather than get underway to sea.

Sailorproof – Meaning a sailor cannot break this. Unfortunately, this is much like a unicorn, the Loch Ness monster, and Bigfoot…it has never been found. Many engineers have tried to make things sailorproof but with only limited/no success.

S.A.P.F.U. - Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups - see S.N.A.F.U. below.

S.C.R.A.M. - Safety Control Reactor Axe Man.

Screwed, blued, and tattooed – Old Navy term meant to describe what sailors did on shore leave or liberty. Screwed – get laid, Blued = get drunk, and Tattooed = get a tattoo.

Scuttlebutt - Drinking fountain or rumor (originated from the rumors that would be spread on board ship while gathered about the water barrel). Also known as "hot cock" or "the skinny".

Sea Daddy - Senior, more experienced sailor who unofficially takes a new member of the crew under his wing and mentors him.

Seaman Schmuckatelli - Generic name for a sailor, used in a similar manner as "Joe Blow" or "John Q. Public". Example: "You're working on an electrical system without tagging it out, when along comes Seaman Schmuckatelli, who energizes the circuit and ZAP, you're fried calamari."

Sewer Pipe Sailor - Diesel Submariner. Derives from the smell achieved from riding in a diesel boat.

Shaft seals - A mythological creature that lives in shaft alley.

Sherwood Forest – Slang term used to describe the missile compartment on an SSBN.

Single digit midget – A person who is down to less than 10 days from getting back to port, exiting the Navy, etc.

Shipmate - Any fellow Sailor. Also, used as a derogatory term against all junior enlisted personnel i.e. E-5 and below. An Officer, Chief or First Class will use this to show they think so little of you, they haven't bothered to take the time out of their day to learn your name. Sometimes when used for a less than stellar sailor the term “shipwreck” will be substituted.

Shower Tech - Sonar Technician.

Skate – A sailor who avoids work in general while not being detected; for example the ability to "skate" out of work undetected while being assigned to a 14 man working party.

Slept out – When you have slept so much that you can’t sleep anymore. Not applicable to Sonar Technicians, Radioman, and Navigation Electronics Technicians.

Sliders - Mess deck/chow hall hamburgers/cheeseburgers, so named for their high grease content and purported ability to 'slide' through the alimentary canal.

S.N.A.F.U. – Situation Normal All Fucked Up or Situation Normal All Fouled Up.

S.S.N. - Saturdays, Sundays, and Nights. In reference to SSN (fast attack) submarines working 7 days a week.

Starters or Commencement Cream - British submarine names for K.Y. Jelly.

Steel Beach Picnic - Celebration on the topside of a submarine usually involving a swim call and barbecue.

Steely-eyed Stealthy Killers of the Deep - Submarine sailors.

Still - Evaporator.

Submarine Shower – A shower consisting of turning on the shower for a few seconds to wet down, turning off the shower to lather up and turning on the shower again for a few seconds to rinse off. Used to conserve water.

Sweat pumps - When someone is worrying too much and they are always running at full speed. An excitable person, or one who takes humorous situations too seriously. "They're sweat pumps are in high speed".

System heavy – A submariner that is known for his extensive knowledge of certain submarine systems.

System light - A submariner that is known for his less than extensive knowledge of certain submarine systems. Often sought out by non-quals that are delinquent or trying to skate by.

“Take her up to broach depth” – Unauthorized phrase used for Diving Officers that have a reputation for broaching the submarine (breaking the surface of the ocean with the hull) thus exposing the boat to detection, or when the weather and sea state are extremely bad and broaching is expected.

Target - Term to describe any ship or boat on the surface.

TDU it – Trash Disposal Unit. To throw something in the trash. All known as deep sixing in the surface Navy. Sometimes pronounced "tadooing it".

Ten punches in the Hacker Card – A hacker card is for submariners who sit through extremely bad movies. The number of punches indicates how bad the movie was rated as.

"There ain't no slack in a fast attack" - In reference to the heavy sea time schedule fast attack sailors keep, and their thought that they do the job better than everyone else.

The Skinny - The latest news or rumors.

T.I. Mast - Telemetry Instrumentation Mast. Attached to S.S.B.N.s during missile testing. The T.I. mast sticks above the water line even while the submarine is submerged at launch depth so as to transmit/receive launch and range information.

TLD - Thermo-Luminescent Dosimeter used to determine exposure to radiation.

Torpedoman's Tweeker – A very large wrench.

“Train like you fight, fight like you train” – Most common submarine phrase found on a poster in just about any training building.

Trim Party – A prank often perpetrated on a newly-qualified Dive Officer or Chief of the Watch, where men and other weights are shifted fore and aft to affect the trim of the boat.

Tweener - Affectionate term for Missile Technicians on Ballistic Missile Submarines. Usually called out during the "Coner" and "Nuke" throwbacks, since the Missile Compartment is "between" the Forward (Coner) and Engineering (Nuke) spaces.

Twidget - Sailor in the Electronics or Electrical fields of job specialties.

Two fisted gagger – Used to describe an incredibly bad movie.

Typewriter repair man - Cryptological Technician, spook or special operations rider.

Ustafish - General term for a previous submarine command one has served in. Often used as "That's not how we did it aboard the USTAFISH." Generally followed by various short, forceful comments from others present.

Water slug - refers to shooting a submarine's torpedo tube without first loading a torpedo. Often used as a joke to play on new non-quals. Shooting a water slug usually results in the shooter getting to clean out the torpedo tube.

WESTPAC widow - Sailor's wife looking for a temporary fling, often with another sailor. Also see “Boomer widow.” Could often be found in the Navy Club the very night the husband went to sea. WESTPAC being Western Pacific not an Australian bank name.

“When I get home from patrol I take 99 pennies and throw them in the yard and tell the kids don't come back till you find 100” – Phrase used by a submariner to indicate a way for him to have some alone time with the wife after returning from sea.

"Won't rust, bust, or take on dust" - An equipment or tool that is damn-near sailorproof.

“Works fine, fails safe, drains to the bilge” – A general phrase normally used when describing when a piece of equipment is repaired and put back in operation. Many variations exists.

W.T.F.O. – What The Fuck, Over?

“You have a green card. You will be there.” One of the most hated phrases meaning that you have a Navy identification card, are the Navy’s property and you will be here no matter whether you had plans scheduled already.

"You're So Vain" - Song by Carly Simon reportedly used by a submarine commander on the underwater telephone decades ago after someone searched for him in vain.

“You smell that boy? That's amine, ain't no smell in the world like it.... smells like... field day!” – Another phrase said by a salty old submariners to a non-qual to indicate how dedicated they are. A take off from the movie, Apocalypse Now, whereas Colonel Kurtz says, “You smell that? That’s napalm and there’s no smell like it in the world. It smells like…victory”.

Zulu 5 Oscar - Personnel making a deliberate attempt to board a ship unauthorized, usually at the direction of higher authority to test security procedures. The standard intruder drill."

The End

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