We’ve seen plenty of movies where it looks like sailors have their own language and we are there trying to find out what the meanings are by the context but it’s sometimes hard. Knowing the common Naval phrases is essential if you are a sailor but it is also very cool if you are with your friends and you start spouting out some phrases to confuse them.
Below you will find some of the common term’s sailors use in their day to day life.
Abaft- Farther aft
Aft- Toward the stern
Ahoy - Call for attention
All hands - The entire ship’s company
ASN - Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Astern - Behind a ship
BAH - Basic allowance for housing
BAS - Basic allowance for subsistence
Below - Beneath (“lay below” means to go downstairs)
Billet - Location where a sailor is assigned
Bow - Forward end of a boat or ship
Bridge - Room from which a ship is commanded
Brig - Jail on a ship
BUPERS - Bureau of Navy Personnel
CENTCOM - Central Command
Chow - Food
CIC - Combat information center
Davy Jones’ locker - Bottom of the sea
DC - Damage control
Dead Ahead - Straight ahead
Shellback - Person who has crossed the equator.
Offing - This means when there is an open part of the sea that is in sight but also, it’s a safe distance from the shore. It can also mean a position or a course.
Three Sheets in The Wind - When you had too much alcohol and you became drunk.
Pipe Down - Remain silent or lower your voices.
By and Large – The ability of the ship to sail towards and away from the wind.
Groggy – When one is tired or weak
Aloof – This refers to sailing away from the shore due to hazards
A1 – The best type of quality
DEERS - Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System
DoD - Department of Defense
DoN - Department of the Navy
Forward – Going towards the bow
FOUO - For official use only
FSA - Family separation allowance
General quarters (GQ) - Full readiness for battle
Helm - Steering the wheel of the ship
IC - Interior communications or internal communications
IFF - Identification of friend or foe
Jetty - Structure built out from shorelines to change water currents
Jacob’s ladder - Rope
Knot - 1 nautical mile per hour
Lay - Movement of a person
Main deck - Uppermost complete deck
MARCENT - U.S. Marine Forces Central Command
Mate - Fellow crewmate
Muster - Roll call
NEX - Navy Exchange
OCS - Officer Candidate School
OPSEC - Operational Security
Overboard - Over the side of the boat
PCS - Permanent change of station
Shipshape - Neat, clean
Sick bay - Area aboard ship that serves as a hospital or medical clinic
SR - Seaman Recruit
Stern - Back part of a vessel
Turn in - Heading to bed
If you are thinking on joining the Navy, then one of the best things you can do before you go is to know your lingo. This will give you the edge on your other crewmates. Although you will not use these terms every day you will have the knowledge under your belt.