When I first started working for the Reserve Forces and the Cadet Association I hadn’t realised that working in a military environment would not only meant I have to decipher the thousands of acronyms, but also understand the strange world of British military slang.
So I thought I would shed some light on what some of the phrases mean!
10 British military phrases that you may never guess the meaning of
1. ‘This is bone’ – This is a common Army phrase that refers to something being pointless. This can pretty much refer to anything, from writing risk assessments to ironing!
2. ‘Ally’– this word describes how cool someone or their equipment looks.
3. ‘Bag rats’ – sounds nasty right? Well what it actually stands for is bagged rations, in other words a packed lunch
4. ‘Interview without coffee’ – in simple words it means being told off by a superior.
5. ‘Rack time’ – A navy term for going to sleep .
6. ‘Doby’– this is an Army term that mean doing the washing. Interestingly this comes from an Indian word from the British Army’s time in India.
7. ‘Make-a-mend’- A navy term for time off from duties to do chores
8. ‘This is not a drill’ – in other words this is for real. I’m not joking.
9. ‘Gucci’ – Not surprisingly this refers to something that is good, so “that backpack is Gucci”
10. ‘‘Pull up a sandbag and swing the lantern’ – This phrase refers to a soldier who tells (possibly tall) stories about operations, exercises and ‘fishermen’s tales’ of heroic exploits
This gives you a little insight into the confusing world of military phrases so in the case that you ever have the good fortune to overhear a colourful conversation you may just be able to understand it
For more on military slang, watch the video above created by the Royal British Legion.