We’re a funny breed, us soldiers, so I thought I’d put together a little list of some Army words that will become part of your daily routine if you join up – and a helpful reference if someone you know or love has joined. Some of these words or phrases might only be used at work, but many of them will slip out of your soldier’s mouth without warning.

For a much bigger list, check out THIS wiki page.

A lot of this stuff IS funny, and can take some getting used to, but this really is language that us soldiers use on a daily basis. And it’s funny how we don’t understand why civvy’s (see below) don’t know what a brew,a gumpy or a goffa is.

Ack – short for “Acknowledged”. One term my wife and I use these days. Brilliant for when someone says something that doesn’t really require a response, but it would be nice to let them know you heard. i.e. “When we go to the shops, we should get more toilet paper”. Ack would be a PERFECT response.

A.J. – “Ay-Jay”. Short for Army Jerk, referring to anyone in the Army. In a similar vein to the word “NIgga”, it’s ok to call someone an A.J. if YOU are one. If not, it’ll probably start a fight.

Arc Up – Usually means to open fire, but also relates to either starting something or yelling at someone. ie: You can “arc up” and Xbox (meaning to turn it on) and if you’ve been bad, the Sergeant might “arc up” at you (meaning to yell).

BHQ/RHQ – Battalion Head Quarters / Regimental Head Quarters. Where the Commander and other Officers work within a unit.

Boozer – the “bar” run by the unit. Also can refer to any pub or bar.

Brew – Cuppa. A brew is either a coffee or a tea. Can also mean a beer.

Bug Out – Leave wherever you are. Usually in a hurry.

Champ – A (usually derogatory) term for someone you don’t know. “What’s YOUR problem, champ?”

Civvy – “Siv-ee”. A civilian. A group of people that soldiers hate – yet yearn to be.

Choco – (Short for “Chocolate Soldier”). An Army Reservist. Another group that soldiers hate but want to be, since they get to choose what military activities they are “available” to attend.

Cluster – Short for Clusterfuck. A complete and utter balls-up.

Dirk/ed – To be assigned a (usually unwanted) task by a superior.

Eating Irons – Knife, fork and spoon (often abbreviated to K.F.S.).

E.K.O. – Early Knock Off. Expected EVERY Friday.

EX – Short for Exercise – a training activity conducted by soldiers.

Farter – Somewhere to sleep. Usually a sleeping bag.

Gat – A weapon.

Goffa – A soft drink.

Grunt – A term for an Infantryman (usually considered derogatory unless you are one: as per AJ or Nigga)

Gumpy/Gumpy Bar – A chocolate bar.

Heartlidge – Another derogatory term, this time for someone with no heart or “guts”. People like this are said to have “pulled a heartlidge”.

Jack/Go Jack – to do something for yourself with utter disregard for anyone else. Like making yourself a brew and not asking anyone else if they want one.

Jube – A new or inexperienced person. When you get to Kapooka, you WILL be considered a Jube.

Jubie/Jubie Juice – Cordial. Since it’s the most exciting thing recruits are allowed to drink at Kapooka for the first month or so.

NATO – Not what you’d think. It means “Milk with two sugars”. Nobody knows why.

Numpty – A hopeless or unco-ordinated person.

Old Mate/Ol’ Mate – Someone you’re talking about whose name you don’t know. i.e. “Check out Old Mate. He’s forgotten his shoes!”

Oxygen Thief – Someone so utterly useless that their mere existence deprives the rest of humanity of valuable oxygen.

Paper/Scissors/Rank – A great game, along the lines of paper/scissors/rock, where “Rank” trumps everything.

Pineapple – Similar to being Dirked or Stabbed. Being made to do something you hate. “The Sarge just gave me a pineapple. I’m washing vehicles all day”.

Quey – “Kyoo-ee”. The term for someone who works in the Q-store (where all the stores and equipment are held).

Regi – “Red-jee”. A term for someone who is very “down the line” and sticks to the rules no matter what.

Rock Show – An utter balls-up, usually relating to an organised activity. i.e. “This Ex is a Rock Show”.

Seen/Not seen – used to indicate whether you have (or haven’t) seen what someone is talking about. Used in the Army for things like a reference point, but great for when your wife is navigating as you drive. ie “Turn left at the Caltex”. If you see the servo, you would say “Seen”

Stabbed – (see dirk/ed). To be assigned a (usually unwanted) task by a superior.

Wait – used to indicate you need to wait for a very short period, usually only a few seconds. Again, great in everyday life when you’re listening to a news story and someone starts talking. A simple “wait” lets them know you’re busy. My wife used to think I was rude until I explained this one to her, now she – and my kids – use it on a daily basis.