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Typed handout sheet, Terminology vertical file, Navy Department Library.

  • Ranks, Rates, and Ratings
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  • Finding Aids Glossaries Guides
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Plank owner - Sailor who stays on one ship.

White rat - A man who "rats" on his shipmates to officers.

4.0 mark - A perfect mark, as in examinations.

Sound off - Give your name, rate and horsepower.

Light the smoking lamp - In old Navy a lamp was lit when smoking was allowed; now they pass the word over an announcing system.

Paid off - Discharged.

Flake out - To lie down.

Out of bounds - Forbidden.

To foul up the detail - To make a mistake.

A mustang - A full commissioned officer who rose from the ranks by merit.

To caulk off - To sleep.

Chow - Food.

Bellyrobber - The ship's cook.

Scuttlebutt - Navy drinking fountain; gossip.

Greaseball - Mess cook.

Sea lawyer - Sailor who gives unwanted advice.

Hashmarks - Diagonal stripes worn on sleeves. One for each four years.

Ship over - Re-enlist.

Java, jamoke, mud - Coffee.

Rubber sock, boot - A new recruit.

Kickout - Dishonorable or bad conduct discharge.

Brig - The ship's jail.

Skipper, Old Man, His nibs - The Captain.

Doc. - Any pharmacist's mate.

Insect - A boot Ensign.

O.O.D. - The Officer-of-the-Deck.

Bucket of blood racetrack - A low class dance-hall.

Holy Joe, sympathy issuer - The Chaplain.

Five for seven man - Navy loan shark.

Sailor's bible - A bluejacket's manual.

Cutter - A long, fast boat, used for racing.

Tin can - A destroyer.

Pig boat - A submarine.

Mosquito boat - A very fast torpedo boat.

Ham 'n eggs boat - A refrigerator ship.

Airdales - Navy aviators.

Lower the boom - To knock someone down.

Hack driver - Chief Petty Officer.

Jack-o-the-dust - The commissary steward.

Gyp joint - The ship's service store.

Slumgullion - Stew.

Money-bags - The paymaster.

Lucky bag - Where lost clothing is kept.

Make a speed run - Have a gay time ashore.

Tin fish - A torpedo.

W.P.A, men - Navy reserves.

Shove off - Scram, beat it.

Ash can - A depth charge.

Navy Chest - A protruding stomach.

Show a leg - Get out of your bunk.

Take in the slack - Take it easy.

Shipshape - Neat.

Get under way - Get going.

Blow a fuse - Get angry.

Irish pennant - A loose end.

Monkey drill - Calisthenics.

4 on and 4 off - Standing watch and watch.

On the mat - Called up for punishment.

Go to the mast - Before the Commanding officer for trial.


On the report - To be reported for an offense.

Busted - Reduced in rank.

Surveyed - Discharged for medical reasons.

Mate - Your pal.

Go over the hill - To run away, desert.

Civvie - A civilian.

Skivvies - Underwear.

Captain of the head ? Toilet room cleaner.

Sugar report - A letter from the girl friend.

Bellbottoms - Widely flared non-reg pantaloons.

Acey-deucey - Navy game similar to backgammon.

Overleave - To overstay shore time.

"48" - Week-end liberty.

Foxtail - A mustache.

Smoke-stacking - Telling big windies.

To get your ears lowered - Get a haircut.

Happy hour or smoker - A card of fights, wrestling, and entertainment.

All-Navy - A regulation-abiding sailor.

Chinaman - Sailor who works in the laundry.

Dungarees - Working denims.

Racketeer - Sailor who has a money-making sideline.

Marlinspike seamanship - Knowing knots and splices.

Dogging the watch - Splitting the watch in half, to make it rotate.

Stand by - Take a shipmate's duty so he can go ashore.

Section leader - Senior man in a section.

Billet - Your bunk and locker number.

Ropeyarn Sunday - In old Navy, this was a half day off to sew and perform personal tasks; now is a half-holiday.

Thirty-year bag - Large canvas bag in which a man's clothing is packed.

Slick, shave, and shine - Get cleaned up for liberty.

Goonie - A married man.

Field day - Day of general cleaning.

A salvo - Broadside from all guns.

Coming on the range - Approaching firing position.

Officer's Country - That part of the ship, usually aft, where officers live.

Bugle - Your nose.

A one-nighter - Sailor who is suffering from a hangover.

Quarterdeck - Part of the upper deck used for ceremonies.

Topside - The weather deck.

Technician - Sailor who thinks he is very good at his trade.

Lubber - Inept sailor, or landsman.

Old salt - An old sailor.

Cruising the town - Seeing the sights.

Taking a bearing - Ascertain your whereabouts.

Breakwater sailor - Sailor on a ship which seldom goes to sea.

Homeguard - Married sailor.

Sea gulls - Girls who follow the fleet.

Sea-going - One who gets plenty of time at sea.

Freedom chit, or liberty card - A pass to go ashore,

"84" - Naval prison.

Dummy run - A false start.

To secure - Make fast, or tie up.

Haul out - To tie up to a boom.

Gangway ticket - A man's discharge paper.

Ginmill - Lowclass cabaret, or booze joint.

Collision mat - Navy hot cakes.

P. I. man - Sailor who is supposed to have political influence.

Shore patrol - Sailors on duty to keep the peace among sailors ashore.

Landing force - A large liberty party.

Graveyard watch - The 12 to 4 at night.

Man-o-war's man - An alert, up-to-the-minute sailor.

Muscle man - One who pulls in a racing boat.

Politician - Sailor with an easy job.



Published: Fri Aug 10 13:48:38 EDT 2018