Eagle Industries

Mudge Smash Monday – Words Dumb People Use To Make Themselves Sound Smart

Let’s face it, throughout our military careers we have run across those that misuse words, or worse yet, use made up words, to make themselves sound smarter. Mudge gets annoyed when someone says “orientate” as in , “once you get off of the cattletruck, properly orientate yourselves and then move out in a military manner.” Wouldn’t it be much easier to just say, “get off the truck, figure out where you are, and then get moving to the next objective.”


As another example, while I’ve never had the nerve to tell Mudge that it would “behoove” him to do anything, I’m sure he’d get a little angry over that one and trust me, you won’t like Mudge when he’s angry.

Which military words, terms and phrases, real or imagineered, get under your skin?


135 Responses to “Mudge Smash Monday – Words Dumb People Use To Make Themselves Sound Smart”

  1. J. says:


  2. Mike says:

    “Granular” or “granularity” as said by a lot of senior staff planners…just say “details” or “specifics” instead.

    “Optics” when referring to how something will appear to other people e.g. the “optics” of an operation to the local populace.

    • Haji says:

      I’d never heard “optics” used that way. That is truly horrible. So is “granular” for that matter…reminds me salt.

  3. NT says:

    Reminds me of when I watched Hurt Locker and the director commentary used the phrase “unpack in a granular manner” instead of “show.” Made my face hurt.

  4. The Stig says:

    Ah, the old behoove. I love it when folks use that one to try to sound educated. Whenever I’m told it would behoove me to do something, I tell them it would befit them to shut the f up.

  5. DSM says:

    Paradigm shift

  6. Steve says:

    Gouge, as in “The Gouge” meaning the straight dope or something like that. It seems to be a phrase that only a few people use but those users go crazy for it.

  7. Jack says:

    POG. It’s Pouge. It’s not an acronym.
    Woobie. It’s a poncho liner. A ‘woobie’ is the blanket of a small child.
    ‘Cho liner. Honestly, I’d rather you call it a woobie than a ‘cho liner.

    • SSD says:

      Thank you

    • straps says:

      I resemble that remark, and for that reason prefer the term POGue–for the benefit of the refined AND the rabble.

      • SSD says:

        Pogue, it is! I don’t get this propensity to turn everything into a damned acronym.

        • BillC says:

          Because that’s how Lt. Colonels get to be full bird Colonels.

        • Riceball says:

          I’ve always thought that it was an acronym, POG – Person Other than Grunt or something to that effect.

          • SSD says:

            No, it’s Pogue, some dumbass who was too lazy to write the whole thing out shortened it and then a staff guy saw it and made it into an acronym.

  8. bob says:

    System of systems. = it costs to much, and won’t work as advertised.

  9. the hobbit says:

    “Moving forward.” Outside of the box.” Niche.”

    • straps says:

      In dealings with a rogue S-3, we came up with two terms to preface the whack plans he’d unveil in WARNOs:

      “Extradoctrinal,” a plan that was out there past “out of the box.”

      “Extra-doctrinal,” which was the BC’s response when the S-3 briefed one of his famously “extradoctrinal” plans.

      By the time the S-3 was canned (and replaced by a creative and flexible up & coming Captain who the BC could trust with some doctrinal flexibility), everyone understood the subtle difference that hyphen made.

  10. DSR says:

    “Ascertain” i.e. to find out, “be advised” completely unnecessary, “irregardless” not even a word.

  11. Badjujuu says:

    “nefarious” (the INS conducted nefarious activities IVO…)
    “dazzle me” (SGT, you need to dazzle me with information)
    “fluid” (see, you need to be more fluid)
    “gingerly” (once you offload the truck you will gingerly navigate to)
    “SHARP” (self explanatory)

    • Haji says:

      “Gingerly”? Really? What’s that even supposed to mean? In the context of the example, it would mean “gently” or “softly” and “carefully”. I don’t even understand what the intent was…

  12. I had a Drill Instructor that thought “behoove” was “be hoove.” “It would ‘be hoove’ of you to…”

  13. Jon says:

    How about all these words together in a phrase-

    “I was outside the wire a lot downrange.”

    Means to me you probably suck.

    It also brings about a series of questions. You had wire? Like power lines running from a generator? Or maybe the defensive-type that you probably complained about (to some, bragged to others) if you had pull guard along in an air-conditioned tower. Did you want to go outside of these wires?

    And what were you downrange of? Are you equating yourself to a silhouette placed in someone’s sights regularly? Maybe you meant that you were just on a giant piece of real-estate (with power and defensive wire) that sometimes had rockets fired at it? Why would you want to be down on a range unless you were prepping or pasting targets safely?

  14. Will says:

    “At This Time” – unless otherwise stated what other time?

    “Interrogative” – I understand the use with 5k Sat but why use it otherwise?

    • SSD says:

      My man

      • Toby says:

        Poor knowledge of radio verbage. The word “roger that” was a dirty word in Robin Sage. Lol, I hate the use of radio verbage in common talk. Lol.

        • Crayon eating booger eater says:

          Haha! After spending a long time working the radio, I would find myself saying, “Roger, Over” in normal conversation, as if I weren’t face-to-face with them. Good times.

    • Haji says:

      Is “interrogative” supposed to mean “further information”?

  15. Chuck says:


    In the shit

    Weapon system

    Make movement

    • Chuck says:

      Also, “be advised” along with any other extraneous, overly wordy shit people start saying as soon as they’re allowed to have a radio.

  16. Sean says:

    Calling combat “the two-way range”. Just stop. Please. You aren’t Costa or Haley, just be yourself for once.

  17. Explosive Hazard says:

    Any time anyone uses the phrase “Leads the Way!” to describe anything other than Rangers. Such as “31B’s lead the way!” or “Sappers lead the way!” (and I happen to be a 12B in a Sapper company). Get your own damn slogan and stop believing your own fantasy of being “in front of” the infantry.

    • Philip says:

      Hey, AF medics can lead! Maybe not at an infantry level, but at other things. Like the front of traffic on a 96-hour pass, at the line for Dunkin’ Donuts, and holding you guys up at the FOB chow hall demanding our second order of food be cooked to order…

      *runs back to clinic and hides*

  18. BillC says:

    All of them. Just speak English and talk like adults. The “H” word is the worst though. It’s just a damn noise.

  19. Chuck says:

    CAVEAT. Hate it.

  20. Common Sense says:

    The big problem is that “orientate” is ridiculous. It’s “orient”. Orient your map to the ground etc.

    It’s also not called “foilage” unless it’s made of tin, it’s fo-li-age.

    “lots of moving parts”
    “we’re all cogs in the wheel”
    “big picture stuff going on”

    “operator”- not everyone is a fucking operator, “soldier” will do fine

    • Toby says:

      I HATE that f’n word. It is used for everything and guess what? The term comes from ONE unit and it is not for anyone else.

  21. Luke says:

    “Socialize” seems to be the current buzzword used to replace staff or staffing XYZ out and instead it’s “socialize” it amongst the leaders.

    • Mike says:

      Ugh, good call- I forgot about that one. Save socializing for the barroom, not the conference rooms.

  22. Weaver says:

    People saying “recticle” or “reticule” when they mean “reticle.”

    The first isn’t a word, and the second is a small woman’s handbag.

    Neither have anything to do with a telescopic sight.

  23. The Dude says:

    As much as I despise those who use the word “orientate” it is technically proper english, as in the UK or Great Britain. I can’t say that I’ve ever run into an individual that uses the word frequently that knows the difference. Dictionaries are a dangerous thing….. So are stupid people.

    • Canadian says:

      It is ONLY proper in the UK- in the US and Canada the word is “orient”.
      They are considered synonyms, but are not acceptable in both places. The same is true of other words and phrases-

      ex. “tabled” as in a bill or plan- in Canada and the UK tabled is to propose something as in “lay it on the table”, whereas in the US it generally means that the plan has been put on hold “we’ll table this for now”.

  24. Stanley says:

    “Cheetah Flips” and “To Easy” need to go the way of the do-do.

  25. Toby says:

    I can not stand the word Dynamic. It has been a catch word for Magpul’s videos and now all of these people out there who blindly follow Costa and Haley seem to drink Cool Aid a little too much (nothing against Costa or Haley). Perhaps these phrases as used originally by the very men who are the plank holders if you will of that time are now just frivolously used in order to sound good or fit in. With anytime there is such attention drawn to men of action the look, sound, and demeanor of these individuals are not only emulated but copied.
    It has gone beyond using the lessons learned, it has become a way of fitting in or validating yourself amongst your peers. Let’s face it, not everyone is a “SME” or an “Operator”. I am most certainly not and I have been doing what I do for the last 20 years and I learn something new everyday. I remember in 96 I bought a Shemagh in Aqaba, Jordan when I was a young Recon Marine. Now every movie and every other guy who ones a gun whether they have been “down range” or not owns one because its cool. All this is part of the pattern of fitting in and validating you have a pedigree or experience whether you do or do not have.
    I am not hating but rather illustrating the fact that we are not all super bad asses, I am most certainly not. I have done what I have done and take a silent pride in my time serving with the finest men in GOD’s creation.
    Perhaps all we can do is just laugh at ignorance, crack a smile when something is copied in order to sound experienced, and shake our heads at what is clearly stupidity. Oh even though I use the word in my business name I now regret the use of the word “Tactical”, so that finger is ment to be pointed at me, wish I never would of used that one, lol. EVERYTHING is tactical now a-days.

  26. Scubasteve says:

    Incidences. It’s incidents.

    Center of Excellence. What is that supposed to mean, really? If you could back it up with an excellent product, maybe it would make sense.

    ‘Say again, over?’ If you’re not on the radio, just say ‘What?’

  27. GMK says:

    Decomplexify. You mean simplify?

    Situational awareness.

    Tracking. You’re keeping up? Good for you.

    • Haji says:

      Wow…never heard “decomplexify” before…must be because it does no such thing. Holy cow…

  28. Dan says:

    I still haven’t heard a single person in the military or in classes say “peripheral” correctly. It’s not “parithial,” “perifal,” “perphal,” “purple,” or whatever vision. Per-if-er-al. Why is that so hard? If it’s to painful, just say look at something out the corners of your eye or something.

  29. paul says:

    Most commanders love redundancy, and they sound stupid.

    added bonus
    blatantly obvious
    general consensus

    “in the process of” – no, you’re either doing it, or not

    joint cooperation

    plan in advance – no shit, all planning is in advance

  30. Russ Anderson says:

    Hooo Ahhh!!!
    When did that start in the Army??
    I know the Corps has a similar saying but did not notice Army getting on this bandwagon till around the 80’s
    Have to say I hate it. Sounds retarted. And as you are probably well aware “you never go full retard”

    • Riceball says:

      Yeah, the Corps has Oorah but that’s more of a grunting kind of noise than anything. Supposedly, Hooo Ahhh is actually an acrnoym, it’s HUA for Heads Up Acknowledge. But that’s just what I read somewhere once, having never been in the Army I can’t attest to the accuracy of that.

      • SSD says:

        Once again, someone making up a bullshit acronym. It’s hooah there hooah.

        • Jon OPT says:

          HUA? The retard who crafted POG came up with that disorientated shit, it would behoove them to stop socializing their ideas 😉

          Jon, OPT

  31. Mark says:


    • Desert Lizard says:

      That’s actually a real word, although I’m sure it gets used incorrectly. It’s the title of FM 4-0.

  32. AGL Bob says:

    “Good to go” and an oldie but goody, “hunker down”.

    • Alecks says:

      Even worse is when ‘good to go’ is shortened to “G to G”, because single syllable words are so hard to say you need to shorten them into just letters, but then again we’re called bubble heads for a reason, although it could just be the australian way of making everything shorter.

      My all time most hated, everytime I hear it, seriously want to punch the knuckle dragging neanderthal who said it in the junk and try to explain using small words and lots of colorfull pictures how idiotic they sound……
      ‘HDND’ ‘Hard Dicked Navy Diver’ !! = I have a tiny penis and love to tell everyone I’m SF when all I really do is asset management, go to the gym, drink lattes, and freak out when my umbilical gets fouled or have to dive in zero vis.

      SF – again, special forces isnt so hard to say that you need to shorten it.

      • Toby says:

        Well apparently Special Forces is pretty much anyone, I mean any one. Ask the media or any military support cat who didn’t make it through selection. I hate the use of Special Forces to describe any one other than SF proper. Don’t get me started on the Ranger thing either. I have been to that school and that does NOT make me a Ranger. Again everyone has to be a special snow flake, why can’t people just be proud of who they are. If you didn’t earn it then leave it alone or man up and start walking.
        This crap can go on all day, hate hate hate hate.
        Silky Johnson would be proud of all the hate in this room. Lol.

  33. Philip says:

    “Head on a swivel”
    “Mission first” (when used by those who are self-centered and undermine the mission by constantly only looking out for #1)
    “Toxic” — way overused
    “Work smarter, not harder” (but continue to hold up the works by denying and or delaying every effort to do so)
    Any and all other generally annoying boot/motard speech.

  34. JB says:

    “Warheads on foreheads”
    “Flash to bang”

    “Dynamic…Adaptive…Disruptive…New catchphrase to sell shit to airsofters and wannabes”

  35. Shea says:


    I’m a soldier thank you very much.

    • Mike says:

      Thank you. No need to re-brand what is supposed to be a professional Soldiering organization and make it sound like we’re a bunch of Vikings.

      • Teddy says:

        I don’t mind this so much, but it fucking irk’s me that its used as a blanket statement for every fucking cunt in the army.

  36. SW says:

    Orientate. You could preventate saying orientate by getting a dictionary, fucker. Initiate movement. Just say ‘Go.’ The H—- sound, which is a primal grunt that is supposed to mean …? roger? right away? WTF mate. “rollup” (CO’s favorite, as in, I’m going to need a rollup of ___________).

    Special mention: ‘huh huh, it’s not my first RODEO… :P’ usually said by some fat fucker of a 13 year specialist with two tours to low impact theaters, as he explains how he is the expert at everything, survivor of countless firefights, etc. Makes me want to stab a motherfucker in the face.

  37. Bill F'n Murray says:

    Maybe the professionalism and drive to sound and be percieved as more intelligent, rather than a blundering 4 letter word slinging neanderthal would benefit many of you, and TONS of ‘SOLDIERS’ in the Military currently. The Army and Marines especially embody this Moron mentality of ROGER SARGE, WHATEVER YOU SAY SARGE, CHARGE THE HILL, YOU SAY? ROGER THAT!!! Maybe striving to sound more intelligent will at some point motivate people around you to actually be more intelligent.

    Be the positive Change Fella’s.
    oh PS – don’t get me wrong, I HATE NERDS, but I hate uneducated idiots even more.

  38. JG says:

    Anything with the -ability added to the end. Seems to infest PowerPoint slides, or anything you are trying to promote/get passed through some approval authority. “This weapon system has enhanceability built in.”

  39. Scubasteve says:

    Anyone else notice this thread sounds like we’re talking about almost every sidebar conversation ever had at the Sergeant Major Academy?

  40. bill says:

    “physical year”, as in, “we can’t submit that purchase request until we start planning the next physical year calendar”. It’s “fiscal”, dammit!!!

  41. JP says:

    Foilage instead of foliage

    Ambidextree-us instead of ambidextrous.

    Fuckin’ tards and Costa is one of them

  42. Fat Operator says:

    “War Fighter.”

  43. This Gentleman says:

    Use of the phrase “Combat Environment” when describing training conditions that are anything but.

  44. DanW says:



    Tactical Operator


    Hooah/HOORAH/HUA/whatever the Navy says

  45. Alan Covey says:

    Any of you bomb-throwers says NU-CUE-LER one. More. TIME!

  46. AbnMedOps says:

    I’m very sick and tired of “warrior”. I’m a soldier, in the properly constituted army of a duly constituted nation-state. I’m not a village-pillaging, feather and paint bedecked maurader in a loosely organized savage horde (although that some days that sounds more fun..)

    Also, I’m tired of the Army’s brand of forced bad grammer and assaults on literacy, exemplified by spelling soldier with a capital s (“Soldier”), or family with a capital f (“Family”), and now, civilian with a capital c (“Civilian” ! -if you can believe that $%it!).

    Oh, and PLEASE, let’s get rid of “dinfac” when speak of a mess hall!

    And another thing..since when did Army forms replace “SEX” with “GENDER”?? That is a prime example of illiteracy right there!

  47. RayForest says:

    An instructor in a Special Forces course once told me, ” we don’t say hooah, we just say cool”. Kinda sums it up well I thought.

  48. JD says:

    “as per” and “irregardless” (yes, I know websters made it a word – and I don’t care)

  49. Paul says:

    Every op order must use the word, “robust” at least once.

  50. Desert Lizard says:

    This page needs to be printed and displayed in every barracks in the army to teach the Soldiers. Great page!