Exploring the World of Military Vocabulary: How It Can Benefit English Learners

Elly Kimreviewed byIryna Andrus / more about Editorial Process8 min
Created: Mar 21, 2023Last updated: Jan 22, 2024
Military Vocabulary

Service members often use military vocabulary to communicate with each other effectively and efficiently. However, these terms can also be a valuable resource for those studying English as a second language and for native speakers. This article will explore the benefits of incorporating military vocabulary into your language studies and provide practical tips for learning and using these terms.

Why It’s Important to Know Military Terms

There is a common thought that learning military-related words is only necessary for people related to this field. And we won’t argue with that – these terms are not the number one priority for ESL students. But we will tell you that learning such vocabulary can benefit your studying process. Here are the most common advantages. 

  1. Members of the military use many specific army terms to communicate with each other. By learning them, you can better understand people in service and show them your respect. 
  2. You can hear numerous military terms in news and media reports related to operations, conflicts, wars, and geopolitical events (let’s not forget that this is the world we live in). Knowing this vocabulary allows you to stay tuned and easily understand vital information.
  3. Learning military words and meanings is essential if you want to join the military or work in a related field. It can help you prepare for training and understand the language used in job postings and interviews.
  4. For English learners, studying new specific words is a great way to expand their vocabulary and broaden their horizons in general. The more knowledge you have in a particular area, the more confident you feel during unexpected conversations.

Only these four advantages are enough to look at some common and cool military words. And as always, we are here to help you with that! Below you will find many terms and expressions from this field. So without further delay, let’s dive into this intense and severe world and see what new words we can learn. 


Army Vocabulary for Beginners

Of course, it would be better to start with the basics. There is no need to begin learning with complex and challenging terms if you do not yet know the simple ones. Here is the list of the most common words you can hear in the actual army or military movies.

  • ​​Soldier – an army member who serves in a ground combat unit.
  • Officer – a commissioned member of the army who holds a leadership position.
  • Enlisted – a military member who has not been commissioned as an officer.
  • Rank – a system of hierarchical titles given to military personnel.
  • Drill – a series of exercises soldiers perform to practice and improve their skills.
  • Deployment – the process of sending military personnel and equipment to a specific location for a mission or operation.
  • Mission – a particular task assigned to an army unit.
  • Base – a military installation where soldiers live and work.
  • Uniform – a standard attire worn by soldiers to identify themselves as army members.
  • Weapon – a tool or device soldiers use for offense or defense, such as a rifle or grenade.

You can use most of these terms even in non-military conversations. But now you also know their origins and belonging to a specific field. And now, it is time to get acquainted with these words in actual use. 

Examples of Military Words In Action

As we said, you can use the abovementioned words even in conversations that have nothing to do with military service. Here are some examples of using those terms in different dialogues. 

  • The soldiers marched through the field, their boots pounding against the ground. My grandfather was a soldier in World War II.
  • The officer gave orders to the troops, directing them to take cover and prepare for the enemy’s advance. The CEO of the company is the highest-ranking officer
  • The enlisted soldiers followed the officer’s orders, positioning themselves behind the barricade and loading their rifles. The new hire was an enlisted team member, not yet promoted to a management position.
  • The drill sergeant barked orders at the recruits, pushing them to their physical limits with a grueling series of exercises. The basketball coach had the team practice a drill to strengthen their passing skills.

We bet that you imagine people in the military as serious and even grumpy. But it is not valid! And the best proof of it is the variety of funny military slang terms they use almost every day. So let’s move to this excellent topic because we are actually excited about it.

Military Slang and Jargon

Slang is integral to modern culture; almost every profession has specific terms. And the military is no exception. There are tons of jargon expressions soldiers and officers use for communication with each other. And today, you can also look at these funny military slang terms.

  • FUBAR. 

It is an NSFW acronym for “F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition.” People in service use it to describe a hopelessly messed up situation.

  • Charlie Foxtrot.

You might think this is just someone’s name, but it is not. It is common slang for the army, describing a chaotic or disastrous situation. 

  • Blue Falcon. 

Since military people might be more severe than regular citizens, their jargon terms can sometimes be derogatory. For example, this one describes someone who betrays or lets down their fellow service members. 

  • Roger that, over and out. 

This phrase is typical of what radio communication officers use to indicate that a message has been received and understood and that the conversation is now over.

  • Bravo Zulu. 

It is a phrase used to congratulate someone on a job well done. It comes from the International Code of Signals, where the letters “B” and “Z” are used to represent “well done.” 

Discover Army Vocabulary And Military Slang

Tips for Learning Military Vocabulary

Now you know much more soldier slang terms and military vocabulary in general. But how to remember them all? Since this topic is very specific, it might be a little challenging for those who are not yet fluent in English. But we have some useful tips that might help you simplify this task and easily remember numerous military words. 

  • Start with the basics. Begin by learning the most common military terms. They will provide a foundation for more complex military vocabulary.
  • Use online resources. Many online platforms with tutors offer military glossaries, dictionaries, and training materials. 
  • Watch military-themed movies and TV shows. It can be an engaging way to learn military vocabulary in context.
  • Practice with a language partner. Find a language mate familiar with military terminology to practice using the terms in conversation. And if you don’t know such people, don’t worry! Join a Conversation Club to discuss the military and many other topics from all over the world. 
  • Study the context. Understanding the context in which military terms are used can help you remember them more easily. 
  • Use flashcards. Creating flashcards with military terms and definitions can be an effective way to memorize new vocabulary.
  • Learn by doing. Finally, you can participate in military simulations or games. It can be a fun way to learn military terminology while also practicing English language skills.

These simple tips can help you learn not only the military but any specialized foreign vocabulary. Just remember to be persistent and do your best to reach your goals. And if you feel like you might use some help, keep reading! We know how to help you with that. 

Promova As Your Ticket Into The English Fluency

Studying foreign language sometimes seems challenging – you must be well-prepared to overcome all the difficulties. English-learning beginners might need help from someone more experienced in a particular area. So if you are wondering where to find this special someone, we already have a suggestion. We are happy to introduce you Promova – an international language-learning platform with many options to choose from.

For example, you can seek help from our team of professional tutors – they will be glad to cover your back in personal or group lessons. For those who prefer individual studying, Promova offers a convenient mobile application available on both the App Store and Play Market. 

And, of course, don’t forget to visit our blog from time to time! We regularly update it to provide you with the most up-to-date information, popular trends, and much more. There are numerous things to choose from – so what are you waiting for?


All in all, it’s up to you to decide whether you want or don’t want to study specific military terms and phrases. Some people don’t think it’s useful, while others are fond of the army even though they’ve never been in service. We hope that this article reaches its audience. And if it’s you – please, share your favorite military slang terms in the comments. We are thrilled to learn something new!


What is the origin of military slang and jargon, and how has it evolved?

Military slang and jargon have their origins in the need for soldiers to communicate quickly and effectively on the battlefield. Over time, the language has evolved and changed to incorporate new technologies, tactics, and cultural references. Today, military slang is an important part of the culture and can be heard in both formal and informal settings.

What are the best pop culture products to learn military terms?

There are a lot to choose from. For example, the best military-themed movies (in our opinion) are Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, and American Sniper. As for TV shows, we recommend watching NCIS or JAG. Finally, many army-themed video games like Call of Duty and Battlefield can also be useful in your learning process. 

Can civilians use army slang and jargon outside military conversations?

Of course, they can! But if you are not an army member and want to use military slang, make sure you know its meaning and are talking to an appropriate audience. It is important to avoid saying things that can be offensive. And also, you need to ensure that using those words doesn’t sound mocking.

How can civilians interested in military culture learn more about the meanings and uses of military vocabulary?

The best way to do it is to find an English-speaking person related to the army who will be able to help you with your goal. There are also many online platforms with professional teachers who can discuss this topic with you. The main point is to seek the information you are interested in from credible sources – it will prevent misunderstandings and unpleasant situations. 


PromovaFeb 6th, 2024
"Bravo Zulu" is a phrase used in military communication to congratulate someone on a job well done, originating from the International Code of Signals where "B" and "Z" represent "well done."
Roger StoutFeb 6th, 2024
What does "Bravo Zulu" ?
Ramm Aug 3rd, 2023
The author has done a fantastic job explaining military jargon in a straightforward manner!