It is no secret that every branch has their own little quirks. From what boot camp is like to what kind of policies they adhere to, each individual sect of our armed forces is a culture within itself.
Interestingly, each branch has its own language as well. From ways to describe things to methods of acknowledging one another, there is no more curious a language than that of Marines. Here are a few examples.
1. Oorah (and variations):
The equivalent to the Army’s “hooah”, “oo-rah” or “rah” can be universally used to do anything from agree to ask a question. More versatile than “okay”, “rah” transcends the need for punctuation.
2. Err: The lazy form of “oorah”, “err” is the sawed-off shotgun of agreement.
3. Kill: Another enthusiastic way of agreeing in the most Marine way possible, “kill” is also used as a greeting.
4. Moto: Short for motivated, it generally refers to something or someone perceived as “gung-ho”.
5. Fire Watch Ribbon: Another name for the National Defense Service Medal, this is usually referred to in a negative way towards the fact that one only needs to finish boot camp — complete with guard shifts known as “fire watch” — to get the award.
6. SITFU: “Suck it the f*** up”. Usually used to inform someone to stop whining and do their job.
7. Boot: Although it once meant the beginning of a one’s tour in Vietnam, “boot” evolved to refer to someone undeployed or fresh out of boot camp. New Privates are often referred to as “boots”.
8. Semper Gumby: A play on “Semper Fidelis”, Semper Gumby pairs the Marine Corps Motto of “always faithful” with the flexible claymation character, resulting in “Always Flexible”. This is particularly used when plans repeatedly change.
9. Lance Corporal Underground: The Marines’ equivalent of the Army’s Private News Network (PNN), the Underground is the Marine Corps’ rumor mill, where often tiny forms of rumors become outlandish stories.
10. OFP: Short for “Own F***ing Program”, the term refers to someone who is not working as a team and pursuing their own interests.
While these are but a few of the great examples of USMC lingo, the Corps is filled with different sayings, phrases and acronyms that have been passed down from Marine to Marine for generations. Regardless of whether or not you can understand them, just be glad they are on your side.