U.S. Military Slang To Know If You Want To Avoid A "Soup Sandwich"  

Donn Saylor
3.1k votes 470 voters 20.3k views 20 items

List Rules Soldiers and veterans only: vote up the slang terms and phrases that are actually used in the armed services.

Anyone who has spent time in the armed forces can attest to the fact that it feels like a separate world. Soldiers even have their own language, full of military slang and terms that seem largely foreign to the rest of us. Soldier slang is nothing new; it's been employed as far back as the American Revolution, and some terms have made their way into mainstream vernacular. "Boots on the ground," "in the trenches," and "no man's land" are all soldier phrases that either come from the Marines, Army, Navy, or another military branch.

Given that serving in the military is such an exclusive experience, having a common, coded language inspires camaraderie. Military code words and slang are especially useful when describing military training programs or what it is like to endure unusual military hygiene regulations. Language is a unifying resource for U.S. servicemen and women. And if you're more of an airman or woman, be sure to check out our list on US Airforce slang you should know.


Meaning: A bathroom. On ships, the toilet was often placed at the bow, or head, of the vessel. The term "head" is used primarily by the Navy and other maritime forces, while the Army calls it a latrine.

Use It In A Sentence: "Winters chugged three Diet Cokes and then made a beeline for the head."

Is this real soldier slang?
Barracks Rat

Meaning: Military personnel who choose not to leave the barracks during downtime. Often they will stay in, watch TV, and play video games. 

Use It In A Sentence: "Don't bother asking Jenkins to come along. He's a barracks rat and has a hot date with his PlayStation."

Is this real soldier slang?
Fart Sack

Meaning: A sleeping bag. The name likely derives from the fact that if a soldier has to pass gas, it will become trapped in the insulated sleeping bag.

Use It In A Sentence: "It's 0500! Get out of your fart sack!"

Is this real soldier slang?

Meaning: Slang for the Army-issued poncho liner when it is used as a blanket instead of its intended purpose. Most woobies are made of a polyester filling encased in two layers of nylon. First employed during the Vietnam War, it is still a popular Army essential.

Use It In A Sentence: "My woobie kept me warm all night. Don't know what I'd do without it."

Is this real soldier slang?