South African Military Dictionary – Glossary of Military Terms
Category : Articles
Created for the benefit of those not always understanding the langauge of a South African soldier.
The following list of words, terms and phrases will probably never be truly complete, or exhaustive. Readers are cordially invited to help expand this ongoing ” work in progress ” for the benefit of posterity, by using the Edit function on this document.
For the sake of convenience / easy reading, the list is in alphabetical order .
Please note this list contains words that can be judged as offensive and objectionable – however as a historic document to capture the slang and terminology we need to beas objective as possible.
SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE FORCE TERMINOLOGY AND SLANG :
Aapjas – A long, hooded coat usually with a fake fur lining ( post 1983 issue version ).
Aapkas (1) – metal platform / cage , sited on a radio mast in SWA / Angola ops bases; used as a lookout post / fire director station for base defence mortars.
Aap Kas (2) – also know as the jump simulation cable rig at 44 Para
Aangekla/kla-ed aan – Put on a charge.
AB – Navy.Able Seaman (Lance Corporal)
Adjudant – ( 1 ) commissioned officer appointed as executive officer to unit OC / 2IC .
Adjudant – ( 2 ) abridged Afrikaans form of address for rank of Warrant Officer ( SA Police ).
AFB – Air Force Base
Afgekeur – Turned down, rejected.
Afkak – a state or condition in which you will not enjoy yourself – literally to ‘shit’ oneself
Afkak-kamp – An unpleasant camp
Afkak parade – Punishment parade
African bangles – handcuffs ( SA Police slang ).
Air Pollution – Paratroopers
AK – 47 – Avtomat Kalashnikova assult rifle
Akedis Dorp – Lizard City. The name given to the transit camp at 1 SAI
Alley – Navy….Any passage on a ship where the crew would walk.
Alouette – French designed helicopter gunship , Also known as “Draadkar”
Antinov – Soviet transport aircraft series.
AO – Afrikaans form of address for rank of warrant officer ( SA Police : pre 1994 )
APM – Anti Personnel Mine
Armscor – Armaments Corporation of South Africa
Asdic – Navy.. Submarine searching equipment by bouncing signals off their metal hulls underwater.
AWOL – Absent Without Official Leave.
Babbelaas – A hangover
Bakgat (also “BG”) – Good, great, ok, nice.
Bakkie – Light delivery van
Bakshee – For free (from the Arabic word)
Balkie – Corps colours worn on the beret under unit badge
Ballas – Balls/Testicles.
Balsak – literally ball bag ( as in soccer ball bag ) : military canvas kitbag / duffel bag
Basics. – Basic training, usually lasting about 10 weeks
BSM – Battery Sergeant Major – artillery corps equivalent of a CSM.
B & O – Bestuur en Onderhoud – Driving and Maintenance course.
Ballas Bak – “Ball baking” or laying around doing nothing and taking it easy
Bataljon aantreeparade – battilion forming up on a parade ground
Battle Jacket – SADF patten 83 battlejacket
Battle Jacket-pouches for Ammo-rat pack-bandages-flares-radio etc
Bedford – The large truck dating from the 1950’s. Renamed a ‘Samel’.
Befok – Mad or Fucked
Belay that – Stop what you’re doing.
Berede – Mounted Infantry-Horse/motorcycle
Beskadiging van Weermag Eindom – Damaging military property – including yourself – a very serious offence
Bevelvoerder – Officer Commanding
Bicycle – Second lieutenant – any officer you could stand on like a bicycle – being the lowest commissioned office
BIG DAD- Bedford–SAP terminology in Rhodesia
Biltong – dried meat (USA – pemmican / jerkie)
Bidparade – church parade / prayer service.
Binnacle – A metal stand on the bridge which would hold the gyro compass in a free floating position so it always remained flat no mater how badly the ship was pitching or rolling.
Bivvy – one-man field / bivouac / pup tent.
Black is Beautiful – matt black camouflage paste, used for personal camouflaging.
Black Widow – type of anti personnel mine
Blesbok – a dropside logistics carrier version of the Casspir mine resistant APC, mainly used by the SA Police on border duties. Also nicknamed a ” Casspir bakkie “.
Bliksem – Hit, smack, punch. Also tough / hard person – “he’s a real bliksem! Also a mild cursing expression ( eg : jou bliksem !….literally, thunder )
Bloem – Bloemfontein
Blood Box – a field ambulance
Blougat – a troop who was no longer a ‘roof’ and not quite a ‘ouman’
Blou-jobs – South African Airforce Personnel
Bluestone – This was a ‘myth’ referring to an ingredient (usually in coffee) to reduce sex drive
Bobbejaanloop ( lit. ” baboon walk ” ) – field stealth movement, requiring moving crouched down / on all fours.
Boer – a terms to describe an Afrikaans person meaning ‘farmer’
Boerewors – An SA sausage
Boertjie – slang for a Afrikaaner – literally ‘little farmer’
Boet – Brother / male friend
Bokkie – Girlfriend
Bokkop – member of the Infantry Corps ( named after the springbok head corps badge ).
Bom Verband (Afikaans) Bomb Bandage (English) – packaged bandage for high trauma blood injury
Boma – recreational area enclosed by thatch
Bombadier – The artillery equivalent of a corporal.
Bombevok – shell-shocked / stir crazy.
Bone – method of shining shoes
Border, the – the South West African border with Angola
Border Tour – usually a 1-3 month stint in the SWA Operational Zone
Boom – Marijuana
Boompie Toer – Punishment in the form of a run to an earmarked tree and back.
Bosberaad – a meeting in the bush
Bos Bussie – a vehicle in the bush following punishment session.
Bosbefok – Literally ‘Bush Crazy’ – addicted to combat
Boshoed – SADF nutria brown bush hat, worn with ” browns ” ( battledress uniform )
Boeshoed Poes – the stitching line measning ‘pussy’ on the boshoed which had to face backwards when worn
Bosbok – a AM.3 light aircraft used primarily for targeting, intel and forward air control
Bossies – bush mad or ‘combat crazy’
Bosuns whistle/pipe – A whistle used to signal commands.
Bos Oupa – a soldier who has completed two border tours
Bots – Botswana
Bowline – a type of knot used for securing a running rope to a fixed position.
Bra – Shortened version of ‘Brother’ – meaning ‘mate’
Braai – A barbecue
Brake Shoes – Provita Biscuits.
Bravo Wiel – military signalling terminology for a Buffel APC .
Bren – The BrNo 7,62mm machine gun
Bru – another shortened version of ‘Brother’ – meaning ‘mate’
Broom – Navy….A broom flown upside down from the flag halyard from the main signal halyard indicates a “clean sweep” lit: “all the enemies have been destroyed or sunk”.
Brow – When anyone crossed the brow of the ship (where the gangplank was) you would turn and salute the National colour on the jackstay fora’rd.
Browns – the general fatigues worn by the SADF
Buffel – South African made 4X4 mine-resistant armoured personnel carrier (APC )
Burger Sake – Civic Action – “hearts and minds” campaign
Buddy – Friend or fellow platoon member
Budgie Club – South African Air Force members
Budgie – The cap badge of the South African Air Force.
Bulkhead – Navy Any wall anywhere or any metal wall seperating cabins/compartments.
Bunker – enclosed defensive position, usually made of sandbags; usually below ground.
Bungalow Bill – a representative of a bungalow elected to liaise with Officers and NCO’s
Bunting Tosser (TO-T) – Navy….Telecommunications Operator Tactical the Signalman who handled NATO and INTERCO signal flags, Semaphore, Aldis lamps, Colours and Sunset and the Encryption and Decryption of coded signals
Bush Pips – Cloth shoulder slip on officers insignia for ‘bush’ operations with embroided ‘pips’.
Buster Power – term used by fighter pilots for full power
BX – Navy….Bravo X-Ray sent as a flag signal lit: “splice the main brace”…real meaning “give the men their rum ration”…latterly “everyone have a drink”.
BZ – Navy….Bravo Zulu as a flag signal lit: “Extremely well done”
Casevac – Casualty Evacuation
Casspir – A mine proof IFV.
Camos – Camoflauge fatigues or dress
CB – Confined to barracks.
CC – Coloured Corps (should be CCC)
CF – Citizen Force.
Cheetah – Atlas developed fighter jet for the SAAF adapted from the Mirage III using Israeli Kfir technology
Chest webbing-pouches for loaded R4/5 magazines-pencil flare-box of R4/5 ammo 30 rounds-flap on the back for maps etc
Chicken a la Landmine – derogatory reference to chopped / shredded chicken stew with bones.
Chicken Parade – Picking up litter and cigarette butts in an area
China – Friend – comes from English cockney rhyming slang ‘china plate – mate’ picked up during the Boer War
Chommie – Friend
Chop – an idiot
Choppermanne – helicopter crew
Civvies (1) – Civilian Cloths
Civvies (2) – the general public not serving in the army
Civvy Street – Civilian Life
Claymore mine- small curved mine used for ambushes
Clicks – Kilometers
Clutchplate – ( 1 ) negative term for a Afrikaaner.
Clutchplate – ( 2 ) tinned hamburger patty.
CO – (1) Commanding Officer
CO – (2) Candidate Officer
COIN – Counter Insurgency
Commcen – The communications centre.
Com Ops – Communication Operations
Comms – Communications
Contact Contact Wait Out – Command to have radio silence whilst report is being prepared after initial contact with enemy, usually at section level.
Cozzie – swimming costume or trunks
Crest – Every ship would have a crest at the Quartermasters position depicting the ships name and heraldry
Crunchie – a derogatory term for a Afrikaner
CSM: Company Sergeant Major
Cuca shop ( SWA / Angola ops ) – informal grocery / general dealers shop, varying in size / stock.
Dagga – Marijuana
Dak – Dakota DC 3 transport aircraft
Dankie Tannie Organisations: Meaning ‘Thank you Auntie’ – The Southern Cross Fund and similar organisations.
Dankie Tannie mes – Swiss Army style penknife, gifted by the Southern Cross Fund .
Dankie Tannie Pakkie – A goodie bag issued to soldiers at Christmas by concerned civilian organisations
Dapper Duisend – members of the Riot / Internal Stability / Public Order units ( SA Police slang ).
Daraclor – A brand of anti-malaria pills (legend had it they turned the skin yellow)
Damduiker – Translation ‘Dam Diver’, nickname given to the SA Navy Marines
DB – Detention barracks.
DD1 – official SADF pro-forma document, used to record disciplinary offences.
Dear John – Term used for the ‘break-up’ letter from a girlfriend or wife
Deck – Navy…any floor or anywhere you walked whether aboard ship or not.
Deckhead – Navy Any ceiling.
Dems – Demolitions
Depth charge or Depth charge mortar – A device that was fired up to 1000 meters from the ship and set to a particular depth for explosion.
Devil dodger – member of the Chaplains service.
Diepseun – an introspective / introverted chap; on his own wavelength.
Dikbek – Fed up, grumpy
Dikkop – literally ” thickhead “; a stupid, dimwitted person.
Dinges – Thingami-bob, whats-its-name
Disco Biscuit – Narcotic drugs
Divisions – Navy term – the crew on a ship were divided into Port and Starboard Division and operated on a watch system
Dixie – mess / tiffin tin set, for eating from in the field.
Doctor Shock – Psychiatrist.
Doff – Stupid, thickhead
Dog biscuit – large, square, coarse wholegrain biscuit, found in ration ( “rat”) packs.
Doggie – ( 1 ) punishment routine, involving carrying / dragging / otherwise moving truck tyres.
Doggie – ( 2 ) colloquial nickname for a dog handler ( both SADF and SAP ).
Dog Tags – The two metal plates worn on a chain around your neck which indicated your name, army number, blood group and religion
Doiby – plastic helmet liner / inner.
Dominee – Dutch Reformed Church Minister
Domkop – an idiot, literally dumb head
Donder – ( lit. ” thunder ” ) a mild curse, or a threat to strike ( donder ) somebody.
Donderbuis – thunderflash
Doodsakker – Killing ground
Dooies – Dead
Doos (1) – Derogatory term for female genetalia
Doos (2) – A stupid person
Doos dief – A civilian who ‘steals’ your girlfriend whilst your in the service.
Dop – A drink of alcohol / to fail with something.
Dop en Dam – any alcholic drink, mixed with water.
Dop en Tjop – a braai / BBQ , with alcohol consumption.
Doppies – The cartridge cases left over from shooting
Dowit- Dud/unexploded ammunition
Draadkar – Alouette 111 helicopter .
Drol – Turd, usually describing somebody in a derogatory way.
D Tank – corrugated steel water storage tank, usually mounted on a scaffolding tower.
DSB – Deep sea boat
Duiker – a fuel bowser / tanker version of the Casspir mine resistant APC, used by the SA Police.
Dutchman – A derogatory term for an Afrikaner.
ECC – End Conscription Campaign
Eenvormig – Term whereby everything had to be uniform
Eina! – Ouch!
Eish! – Zulu origin – an expression of resignation
Ek sê – I say!
Eland – Armoured Car also known as a Noddy Car
Engelsman – Englishman
Engine Mountings – Braised Steak
Ensign – Navy (1) The Navy flag which flew at the stern of the ship, the battle ensign was much larger.
Ensign – Navy (2) The lowest ranking Officer in the Navy equiv to a 2nd Lieutenant.
ERA and ERM – Navy….Engine Room Artificer/Engine Room Mechanic.
Esbit tablets / pille – compressed paraffin solid fuel tablets, for cooking with in the field.
Esbit stove – rectangular fold-open miniature one-man field cooker, fuelled by esbit tablets.
EWO – Navy….Electronic Weapons Operator (Missiles or electronic quick firers/gatlings)
Fakkel – a Flare
FAPLA – Peoples Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola
Fashion parade – where every piece of kit is used in an opfok the night before an inspection
Firing-in – Weapons sighting
Fire bucket – aluminium mug with fold-up handle, fitted over the military canteen / water bottle.
Flash (1) metal badge worn on stepouts shoulder/ sleeves depicting unit
Flash (2) tupperware shoulder flash depicting unit worn on fatiques (browns or camos)
Flossie -The C130 Hercules
Flying Meatballs – Derogatory term for the parabats.
Fly Spy – nickname for SADF members tasked with spraying insecticide in border bases.
FNLA – National Front for the Liberation of Angola
Fok – Fuck
Foghog – A fan mounted on the rear of an SAP ‘bakkie’ which blows CS powder onto crowds of rioters.
FUBAR – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.
G1K1: Medically healthy and fit for service, perfect cannon fodder.
G2K1: Healthy but wearing glasses or hearing aid or had bad eyes, physically in good condition – perfect canon fodder too.
G2K2: As above, they thought there may have been something else wrong but did not investigate.
G3K3: Usually asthma sufferers were G3.
G3KFcukedUp – The Infantry slang for a G3.
G4K4: These were soldiers with serious medical problems.
GT: Temporary deferment due to medical grounds.
G5/GP: The army considered you dead, you were of no use to them at all. Medically discharged.
G3 – An older 7,62mm assault rifle made by Heckler and Koch and also known as the R2
Gashfanny – rubbish recepticle on board a ship.
G5 – 155mm Howitzer Artillery – backbone artillery peice of the SADF
G6 – 155mm self propelled gun – also known as the ‘Rhino’
Gatvol – fed up, had enough.
Gemsbok – an armoured recovery vehicle, based on the Casspir mine resistant APC, used by the SA Police.
Geen skerp punt ammunisie, doppies of dele daarvan in my besit nie – Weapons safety phrase in Afrikaans, meaning ” no sharp point ammunition, cartridge cases or parts thereof in my possession’.
Gharrie – Land Rover (from the Arabic word picked up by SA troops in World War Two in the desert.
Gippo / gyppo – taking chances, skiving, getting out of doing something.
Gippoguts – diahorrea / upset stomach
Go Cart – Fibreglass toilet shells which were placed over a hole dug in the ground.
Gogga – SAAF Officers Course phrase for extended period of excercise
Gomgat – Redneck
Goof or Goef – to go for a swim
Goolies – Testicals
Grondseil – ground sheet : forming flooring section of a bivvy / larger tent.
Grootjas / aapjas – long khaki / green serge military greatcoat ( pre 1983 issue ).
Grootsak – ( literally ” big bag ” ) : large square rucksack , attaching to webbing harness, for carrying majority of kit ( earlier pattern webgear ). Later pattern, referring to the H frame backpack.
GOS – Afrikaans abbreviation for the English JOC ( Joint Operations Centre ).
Gumba – nickname given to police riot control / mass transit trucks ( SA Police slang ).
Gunner – A private in the artillery.
Gunship – Alouette helicopter with door mounted armament ( also see K Car ).
GV (Grens vegter) – A Rambo type.
Haak-en-steek – a type of thorn bush
Haasman / Haasvrou – civilian/ member of the public ( SA Police slang ).
Hase – ( plural ) civilians / members of the public ( SA Police slang ).
Hardegat (Afr): Hardassed, stubborn, non conformist.
Heads – Navy…..Toilets.
Heave to – Navy…stop the ship ( has reference to ancient times when the sails were heaved closed or the oars pulled in to stop rowing)
HE – High Explosive
Hindernis Oorsteking – Obstacle crossing.
Hoezit / howzit – Hullo.
Hoofdeksel – i.e. head-gear – beret, hat or helmet
Hoofhek – Main Gate
Hopper – frequency hopping radio
Hot Area – Area with confirmed enemy presence
Hotbox – a rectangular steel container, used to transport hot food from base to the field / to dish food up from in base.
Honey Sucker – A large tank with a pump to empty latrines, sewers and manholes.
Houding – Character, style.
Hundreds – meaning ‘I’m fine’
Hurry up and wait – military sarcasm for been rushed and then doing nothing
Impala – Italian designed Aermacchi MB 326 fighter jet
Impimpi – isiZulu language term for a police informer.
In sy moer – Damaged, destroyed, “buggered” (considered a mild swear word)
Inkata – Inkata Freedom Party
Intel – Intelligence
Intreetoetse – Entry Tests
Isit – meaning ‘is it’ usually a expression of surprise
Jack – Navy….The National Flag which was flown on the prow of the ship and the pole it was hung on was known as a Jackstay…a Jackstay was also any fixed pole on the ship used to secure a line for rigging purporses for example.
Jaff – olive green personal camouflage cream, supplied in tubes.
Jags – sexually aroused ‘horney’
Jam stealer – member of the supply services / logistics corps ( origins : British and Rhodesian military).
Jammy – a ‘car’ from English rhyming slang ‘Jam Jar – car’
January intake: National Serviceman Intake scheduled for January – 2 intakes each year
Jati – a long strip on the border cleared by bulldozer
Jiffy – Condom
Jiffy Bag – Body Bag
Jimmy – member of the Signal Corps ( origins – British military ).
Jimmy – Navy….The First Lieutenant. XO normally (Executive Officer) The Skippers 2 IC. For example Prince Philip was the Jimmy on HMS Whelp before she became the SAS Simon van der Stel.
Jippogat – An avoider of duties.
Jirra – From Afrikaans for ‘Here’ – the Almighty
Jislaaik! – Expression of surprise.
JL’s: Junior Leadership Course – Officer and NCO intensive training.
JOC – Joint Operations Centre ( combined all services command centre / post ).
Jol – To party / have fun
July intake: National Serviceman Intake scheduled for July – 2 intakes each year.
Jungle Bunny – Highly derogatory term for an African
Jumpers – Special heavy boots worn by parabats
Jungle juice – tinned fruit juice concentrate, diluted with water, served at tea breaks / meals.
Junior Rates – Navy….Any sailors from Leasing Seaman downwards (Corporal).
Just Now – a SA phrase meaning ‘I will do it sometime .. just not now .. maybe never’
Kak – Shite, crap, rubbish, nonsense (vulgar)
Kak houding – Bad or shit attitude (vulgar)
Kak off – Shit off (vulgar)
kakgat – a latrine literally ‘shit hole’ (vulgar)
Kakhuis Offisier – Candidate Officer translation meaning ‘Shit House’ or ‘Toilet’ Officer
Kamper – a SADF member performing periodic one to 3 month reserve callups, for ” camps “.
Kanondonkie – ( gun donkey ) a member of the Artillery Corps.
Kaplyn – ( lit. cut line ) reference to cleared strip demarcating the SWA / Angola border.
Kapoen – Kapoen was the beret colour of one of the PSC (Personnel Service Corps) and is best described as a clay shit brown. Kapoen derived because it was “tussen kak en pampoen” (a mixture of shit and pumpkin).
Kas (1) – Prison Cell
Kas (2) – Steel Cupboard
Kateefie – The mixture of tea, coffee and cocao served in galvanised rubbish bins with the condensed milk time chucked in with just the lids removed.
Kay – Kilometer
K Car – nickname for the helicopter gunship derivative of the Alouette III light helicopter.
Kiff – Cool or Great
Killick – Navy…Leading Seaman (Corporal)
Kippie – someone who does basic errands for a more senior NCO or Officer – also known as ‘Kippie the cunt’ as it was not seen as a highly prized role – army sarcasm
Kitskonstabel – derogatory nickname for SA Police special constables.
Klaa aan/on – to be charged with contravening the military disciplinary code
Klaarstaan – time period from sunset to last light, when personnel in operational area bases ” stand-to “, manning perimeter defences.
Klap – To smack / hit.
Klaar – Finish
Klaar in – Report for Duty
Klaar Out – to finish national service or clear out of a unit
KO – Kandidaat Offisier – Candidate Officer abbreviation
Koevoet – The South African Police anti-terrorist unit – translation ‘Crowbar’
Koffiemoffie – slang for a homosexual flight steward
K*nt grabbas – Hands.
Kontak – Contact with the enemy
Kommandant – Lt Colonel
Kop smokkel – lit. ” smuggling with my head “. Confusing / misleading someone.
Korporaal – Corporal
Kort Diens – Short service for 3 to shorten ‘camp’ commitments.
Kos tiffie – alternative nickname for members of the Catering Corps / military chefs.
Kraal – rural communal village / settlement, fenced -in group of traditional African huts.
Kranskakker – rude nickname for members of the SADF Commando reserves ( due to badge design).
Kwaai – Cool, excellent
Kwela kwela – nickname for SA Police riot trucks ( SA Police slang & township ” tsotsitaal ” ).
Kwevoel – mine resistant armoured derivatives of the SADF SAMIL 50 / 100 military truck series.
Kydaar – a derogatory term for a Afrikaaner meaning ‘look there’ – usually given to holidaymakers
Lag – laugh
Landmine stew – derogatory reference to stews made with chopped beef / mutton, bones included.
Langarm – conservative dance style used at military balls
Lapbaadjie – member of the CID / detective branch / plainclothesmen 9 SA Police slang ).
Lance Bomb – ( 1 ) Artillery Corps nickname for lance bombardier rank / eqv : lance corporal.
Lance Bomb – ( 2 ) SA Police nickname for lance sergeant rank / eqv : SADF sergeant.
Lance Jack – nickname for a lance corporal ( British military origin ).
Lank – lots, many
Larny – the boss, main man / something fancy or smart.
Lebbo – a South African with Lebanese origin
Leeukos ( lit.” lion food ” ) – disrespectful term for a senile person ( SA Police slang ).
Lekker – Nice, good, great.
Leopard crawl – field stealth movement, requiring crawling forward in cover, flat on the ground.
Lighty – a young male child / male juvenile…literally, a light-weight.
Light Duty – member placed on limited / restricted activity schedule by a military doctor.
Lighteplighte- Person on Light Duties.
Likkewaan – members of the SA Prisons Service / Correctional Services ( SA Police slang ).
Line – Navy….Any larger rope…a small rope on a whaler for example was called a painter.
Links – Left
LMG – Light Machine Gun ( either a Bren or FN MAG ).
Loadies – uniformed SAAF load masters
Location – an african township
Long drop – latrine trench / pit toilet.
Long Tikkie- method used for making free calls from a telephone booth
Looi – thrash, bomb or get the better of
Loopas March – Double time/on the double
Loopgraaf – trench
Loot – A loot was a lieutenant.
Luitenant – Lieutenant
LSD : Lam, Siek en Dooies ( Lame, Sick & the Dead ) – derogatory term for light duty members.
Lunar Ops – combined SAAF / paratroop COIN operations, by night in Owamboland.
LWT – The transport park
MAG – A 7,62mm belt fed machine gun.
Magsnommer – Force or Service number allocated to all serving members
Makalani palm – indigenous species of palm tree, common to SWA / Angola ops area.
Makorro – traditional African dugout canoe, found in the Caprivi area of SWA.
Mahangu beer – Owambo made home-brewed sorghum beer ( SWA / Angola ops area ).
Mal – mad, crazy, insane
Mampara – Idiot, stupid
Manne – men
Marine – Navy….Seaborne Infantry.
Matelot – Navy Personnel
MBV – Myn Bestande Voertuig – translated to Mine proof vehicle
Meat Bomb – Paratrooper
Meat Pie – Military Policeman.
Menasiespeurder – member employed in police messes ( lit. mess detective ) ( SA Police slang).
Messdeck – Navy….The place you lived, ate and slept.
Mielie – Maize / corn cob
Mik en Drik – translation ‘aim and fire’
Mills Sight – removable sight for mortars
Min Dae – Only a few days left – translated into an ‘attitude’ when nearing the end of service
Min Gespin – not bothered / couldn`t care less.
Mirage – French designed fighter flown by the SAAF – Dassult Mirage III , F1 AZ & CZ (Flamgatte)
MLOS/MAOT – Mobile Air Operations Team
Muis en Sluitstuk – The breech block and slide of an R1 rifle.
Muggie – gnat / midge / bug
Moegoe – stupid person
Moffel – a mine resistant logistics carrier version of the Buffel APC ( also called a Buffel Bakkie ).
Moffie – male homosexual (derogatory)
Moer – Hit
Moer in – mad, angry
Moering tool – an object used for hammering with ( usually a hammer ).
Moer strip – to become annoyed / be annoyed by someone or something.
Moer-toe – Messed up, destroyed
Moerass Padda – Military Policeman.
Moerse goed – very good or excellent
Mog – nickname for the SADF Mercedes Benz Unimog light utility 4X4 truck.
Mooi Moois – Step outs, as in beret, stable belt, putties and cravat.
Meat Pie – Military Police
MP – Military Police
MPLA – Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola
Mugu – A fool or perhaps more aptly… a useless fool.
Munt – Highly offensive term of an African ( Rhodesian slang ).
Muntus – Highly offensive term for a group of Africans ( Rhodesian slang ).
Muti – Medicine, ointment. (Pronounced “mootie”)
MVL/MRL – Multiple Rocket Launcher
NAAFI – Abbreviation for No Ambition And Fuck-all Interest
Naai the beat – To stand guard.
Nagsig – carrots ( fresh or tinned ).
Nasrec – National Recreation Centre from where persons from Johannesburg where mustered for service
NCO – Non Commissioned Officer
NDP /NSM – Nationale Dienspligtige or National Serviceman in English.
Necklacing – Insurgency practice of placing a tyre around a person neck with fuel and lighting it – usually an informant.
NG Kerk – The Dutch Reformed Church, the official religion of the SADF.
Noddy car: Eland 90 armoured car-based on a French Panhard
Nogal – what’s more
Nooit – never
Number 5 – The most popular Ration Pack, it contained a can of Cocktail Sausage.
Nutria – The ‘Brown’ colour used on all SADF combat fatigues
Nyala – armoured riot control vehicle used by the SA Police, succeeding the Casspir APC.
OC – Officer Commanding
OH Drills – Onmiddelikke Handlings drills meaning Immediate action drill in English
Oke – guy
Olifant – mk1B main battle tank
Olifant Ore – ‘Elephant Ears’ dust filters on a helicopter
Om die kakhuis gaan – Punishment – to run around the shithouse.
Omkeer – Command to ‘about turn’
One-liner – a Lance Corporal
Oom – Term of respect for an older man, literal translation ‘uncle’
Oortjies – Little Ears
OP – observation post.
Opfok – literal meaning ‘fuck-up’ – term given to punishment excersise
Oppie – abbreviation of a ‘Opfok’ – term for punishment excersise
Ops – Operations
Ops Medic – Combat Medic with additional training
Ops Room – Operations Room – command control centre
Ops Officer – Commissioned Officers controlling Operations
Oorlog – SADF, or its members ( SA Police slang ).
OS (Ordinary Seaman), however once course qualified they were automatically promoted to AB.
Oshivello – A base inside the operational area in South West Africa
Ou (plural ouens) / oke – Man, bloke
Ouballie / outoppie – Father, old man
Ouman – a veteran SADF conscript , with more than one year`s completed service.
Oumanne – a group of veteran conscripts – literal meaning ‘old men’
Owambo burgers – A meal made from the thick type dog biscuits, vienna sausages and the cheezie, backed in the biscuits tinfoil packaging on a bushfire or esblit. Quite tasty actually.
Owambo piele – Vienna sausages.
Owambo Rico – extremely potent homebrewed liquour, distilled from sap of the makalani palm tree ( SWA / Angola ops. area ).
Paal PT ( ” pole PT ” ) – fitness / punishment physical training , involving use of logs / poles; carried collectively, or individually / used as weights during calesthenics.
Packed out swastikas – running with arms and legs pumping
Pakkie – Package or Parcel
Pap – Maizemeal porridge.
Papa – military signalling terminology for a road ( SWA / Angola theatre ). (eg : die Wit papa ).
Paraat – Well disciplined / has “houding”
Parabat – A parachute battalion member
Pass – permission for a short break to go home
Passout Parade – the parade to dismiss all for a short break to go home
Patrol bag / patrolliesak – a smallish square green canvas utility bag, clipped onto the webbing harness, or carried slung over the shoulder / chest.
Patrol Mortar- 60mm mortar (bubble distance indicator and small foot/base plate)
Pay tiffie : member of the Financial Service Corps / pay clerk.
PB (Afr): Plaaslike Bevolking. Local population.
PB landmine – jagged stumps of trees / shrubs felled for firewood by the local population ( PBs ) in SWA / Angola. Notorious for puncturing vehicle tyres.
PE – Plastic Explosive
Peleton Piel – translation to Bungalow Bill, a person nominally in charge of a platoon / a bungalow.
Pentiffie – member performing admin / clerical duties.
Perdeparade – horse parade
Personeeldiens – Personnel Services
Permanent Force (PF’s) – PF’s where career soldiers
PF – Pickled Fish (Rat pack)
Piemp – rat on
Phillistines – Rhodesians
Pie hole- Mouth
Pikstel – stainless steel interlocking cutlery set.
Pislelie – ( ” pee lilly ” ) – plastic lily / trumpet shaped field urinal pipe, set in sand.
PK, the – affectionate name for the SAS President Kruger which sank in 1982 after colliding with the SAS Tafelberg, 16 lives lost.
PKM – Russian machine gun
Plakkies – sandals ( aka flip-flops, from their sound ).
Plaaslike bevolking (PB’s) – local population
Plat pote – Flat feet
Pluk – State of bliss induced by drugs
PO – Navy….Petty Officer (Sergeant) next one up was CPO known as “Chief”…Chief Petty Officer (Staff Sergeant)
Poephol – arsehole
Poep voer – to fool / trick somebody / take them for a ride. ( lit. ” feed a fart to ..)
Poes (1) – Offensive term for female genetalia
Poes (2) – Offensive insult to someone
Poes Boekies – Photo picture libraries with reference to a woman’s genitals.
Polisiekoffie – brandy and Coke ( SA Police slang ).
POM-Z – a type of mine
Pongo – Sland for Army i.e. where the army goes the pong goes
Porra – Portuguese person
PORG – Person of Restricted Growth i.e a short person.
Port – the left hand side of a ship
Posparade – parade where mail is recieved
Potjie – Traditional open fire stew in a three legged pot
Potjiefakkels – trip flares in small ‘pots’
Pronutro – The Pro Patria Medal awarded for service in a combat zone
PSC/PDK – Personnel Services School/Corps
PT – Physical Training
PTI – Physical Training Instructor
PTSD – Post Traumantic Stress Disorder
Puddle Pirates – South African Navy
Puma – A general purpose helicopter used by the South African Air Force
Pussy Pink – Army issue floor polish
Putco – Super Frelon helicopter
Quartermaster – (1) Person in command of logistics supply operations in a unit ;
Quartermaster – (2) Appointment / muster title : SA Navy.
Quartermaster Store ( QM Store ) – unit logistics / supply storage facility.
R1 – The 7,62mm assault rifle modeled on the FN Rifle.
R4 – The 5,56mm calibre assault rifle modeled on the Israeli Galil.
R5 – The 5,56mm calibre assault rifle – shorter barrel version of the R4.
Raak die draad – to touch the wire. Punishment running up to the fence, touching it and then running back
Ratel 20 – A locally produced armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) armed with a 20mm cannon, 3 X 7,62mm Browning machine guns and 4 smoke launchers. It could carry 8 infantrymen or a section.
Ratel 60 – A IFV with a turret mounted 60mmm mortar. Ratel is the Afrikaans name for a honey badger
Ratel 90 – Also a IFV with mounted a 90mm turret mounted anti-tank gun. Ratel is the Afrikaans name for a honey badger
Rat pack – Ration Pack
Rating – Navy….Any sailor Killick and below also known as Junior Rates.
Rats – Rations
Re-rat – re-rationing to troops in the field
Recce (1) – A member of the Reconnaissance Unit
Recce (2) – the act of reconnaissance
Red Eye – BM – 21 missile
Red Doiby – a red helmet inner worn by personnel on detention or confined to barracks drill
Regs – Right
Regsom – Command for ‘right turn’
Regte Po*s – Regimental Police
REMF – Rear Echelon Mother F*&kr – Non Combat Personell
RENAMO – Mozambique National Resistance
Rev/Revved-usually referred to when a base was attacked by enemy RPGs and mortors
Revetment – a fortified retaining wall
Rhino – G6 – 155mm self propelled gun
Ride Safe / Ry Veilig – national project for personnel on pass to be picked up/ dropped off at designated points by motorists ( random hitchhiking in uniform was prohibited ).
Rinkhals – Armoured mine proof ambulance
Rooikiem – Reg Germ: derogatory term for a regimental policeman
Rioolpyp / Rioolpadda – literally ” drainpipe / drain frog ” : derogatory term for a regimental policeman, based on their RP brassard / armband.
RM-Reaksie Mag-Reaction Force
Robot – a traffic light
Rock – a derogatory term for an Afrikaner
Rockspider – A derogatory term for an Afrikaner.
Romeo Mikes – 101 Battalion’s ‘Reaction Force’
Rondfok – Literally – to be fucked around
Rondom verdediging – All around protection. Encircling an object with troops for protection.
Rondomdom – lit. dumb / stupid all around / in all directions. Indicates total stupidity
Roof – a SADF conscript with less than one year`s completed service, literal meaning ‘scab’.
Roof / Roofie Ride – trip by truck for new intake conscripts, during which they are given a ” shakeup ” with bad driving ( heavy braking / sharp cornering, etc.)
Rooi Gevaar – Meaning ‘red danger’ term given to the ‘Communist Threat’
Rooinek – (red neck) – A derogatory term for an Englishman.
Rooi Oog – alt. Afrikaans nickname for the 122mm Katyusha / Stalin Organ MLRS.
RP’s – Regimental Police
RPD – Russian Machine Gun
RPG – Rocket Propelled Grenade
RSM – Regimental Sergeant Major.
RTU / Return to unit – soldiers not completing training courses at corps schools; returned to unit of origin.
RV – military abbreviation for map grid reference ( read as a series of numbers ).
RZ – military abbreviation for rendezvous ( point ).
SAAF – The South African Air Force
SACC – South African Coloured Corps
SADF – The South African Defence Force.
SAGDOS – The South African Medical Service Training Corps
SAI – South African Infantry
SAM – Sergeant Major
SAM 7- Soviet ground to air weapon
SAMIL – series of general purpose military trucks used by the SADF. Further identified by numbering equalling their tonnage , ie : SAMIL 20 ( 2 tonner ), SAMIL 50 ( 5 tonner ), SAMIL 100
( 10 tonner ).
Samewerking/saamwerk – Co-operation, teamwork.
SAN – South African Navy
Sandbag PT ( ” sandsak PT ” ) – fitness / punishment activity, with participants carrying filled sandbags while running / performing excercises .
SANDF – The South African National Defence Force.
Santa Maria – SADF issue mens underpants
sak – drop
Sak vir tien/vyvfig – Drop for 10/50 pushups.
Sat – Tired, dead (Pronounced “sut”)
Sapper – A private in the Engineering Corps / colloquial term for Engineer Corps members.
Saracen- personnel carrier
Sarmies – Sandwiches
Sausage machine – Mounted on a casspir this machine consisted of two spinning discs which fired rubber bullets which were fed into it like a string of sausages.
SAWI/SADFI – South African Defence Force Industries
Shona or oshona – local name for a dry open area or large pool in Angola
Shosaloza (Zulu) – An African working song popular in the army
Section 8 – Insanity Dischange.
Seven Single – A very large or misformed beret
Shaki – A colour described as being between Shit and Khaki (see Kapoen).
Shilka – Russian made self propelled AA.
Shrapnel – tinned mixed vegetables
Shrapnel Chicken – Shredded chicken.
Sieltiffie / siel mechanic : member of the SADF welfare services .
Sien jy daardie boom? – Do you see that tree? – Military sarcasm which usually meant a punishment run was about to begin
Sif – dirty, does not pass inspection
Sies / “sis” – expression of disgust, disappointment.
Silwer Slyper – ” promotion ” awarded to a Super Slyper, for better ” performance ” ( see below ).
Sitrep – situation report
Sjambok – whip
Skaapdra – carry a heavy weight or ones buddy
Skeef – Crooked, gay.
Skop, skiet en donner – “action – kicking, shooting and beating people up” / action movie.
Skelm – Crook, or secret lover.
Skietbaan Bingo – field punishment, where troops run to target number signboards and back.
Skietbalkie – Shooting medal award – the badge is worn above the name tag
Skietpiet – a member of the Infantry Corps.
Skietgat – The area of the shooting range behind and underneath the targets.
Skietwal – The high earthen wall behind the shooting range
Skinder – Gossip.
Skipper – Navy….the Captain of the ship normally a Commander (Lt Colonel)
Skollie – slang term used in the Cape Province, denoting a criminal / rogue.
Skraal – Very hungry, very thin.
Skrik – Fright.
Skuinsdraad – wire used as an aerial on the B25 (sometimes Claymore wire, very good reception)
Skutter – rifleman / rank equivalent to private in the Infantry Corps.
Slapgat – Careless, lazy, a weakling.
Slap tjips – fried chips (as opposed to crisps which are known as chips). Pronounced “slup chips”.
Slops. Navy cash store. Where one can buy spare personal equipment, badges and the like.
Smaak – To like something or someone.
Smaak stukkend – to like something or someone very much.
Smash – dehydrated powdered form mashed potatoes.
SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fucked Up
Snoepie – small shop/tuck shop
Snotklap – to threat to slap someone across the face in such a way that snot will run
Snotneus -The American 40mm M79 grenade launcher.
Snuffeltiffie – member of the Intelligence Corps. Sniffs out information!
Soek Steek Stok – A stick with a wedge shaped tip used to probe for mines.
Sokkiejol – Town Dance
Sommer – For no reason / just because.
Sopboetie – a derogatory term for a Afrikaner – derived from holiday makers in natal minding thier kids heads on street sign-boards
Soutie – a derogatory term for an Englishman – shortened version of ‘Soutpiel’
Soutpiel – A derogatory term for an Englishman – meaning someone with one foot in SA and one foot in the UK and their penis hangs in the ocean – literal ‘salty penis’
Sparker. Sparkey/Sparks – Navy….The Signalman responsible for sending and receiving morse code via radio including encrypted messages, also responsible for monitoring other ships traffic and tracking Non NATO forces.
Spick and Span – Luncheon meat
Spoegbakkie – a small stainless steel drinking cup, without handle, used with the mess tray.
Spook en Diesel – rum and Coke.
Spookloop ( lit. ” ghost walk ” ) – field stealth movement technique, requiring very slow, soft footfalls.
Spookpatrollie – Drill whereby engineers would search for signs of mining on tarred roads in operational areas while in vehicles. Opposite to clearing unsurfaced areas on foot.
SSB – Special Services Battalion, Panzer or Armoured Corps
S&T – Dailey allowance for sustinance and transport
Staaldak – the SADF steel helmet
Staaldak, webbing en geweer – A command to don your Helmet, webbing and rifle
Staan by jou bed! – A command to stand by your bed
Staan Op Troep! – Literally Stand up soldier! Usually used when entering a bungalow of sleeping troops or when entering a room. Always bellowed at the top of the voice.
S Tank – a collapsable rubberised PVC temporary water storage tank, on ground level.
Stalin Organ – truck mounted multiple rocket launcher
Stand to – period before sunrise when a unit is on full stand-by for attack
Starboard – the right hand side of a ship.
Starjumps – part of an opfok
Stasie blompot – derogatory nickname for members of the SA Railways & Harbours Police.
States, the – another name for back home when posted to the operational area i.e. RSA
Steerable – a type of parachute
Stepouts – More formal dress than ‘browns’ or fatigues usually worn in an office environment, on parades or to go on weekend pass
Stig ‘n TB! – Form a TB (Tydelikke Basis or Temporary base).
Stompie (1) – A cigarette end.
Stompie (2) – A squat bottle of beer – Castle or Lion Larger
Stoortiffie / stoorman – members assigned to the Quartermaster Store / Ordnance Supply Corps.
Stopper Group – deployed with an attack group, usually to stop enemy escape
Streef – Strive
Strek – a way of acknowleging higher rank
STRIM – colloquial term applied to enemy rifle grenades.Specific = Yugoslavian made models.
Stryk – iron
Super Cs – energy lozenge sweets, found in ration ( “rat” ) packs.
Superfrelon – Large French manufactured helicopter, also known as the “Putco”
Super Slyper – someone who ducks and dives / sees without being seen / keeps a low profile.
Suurstof dief – Literally an oxygen thief, one who is so sick or such an idiot they are seen as stealing air from the healthy.
SWA – South West Africa, the name formerly given to Namibia.
Swabbies – Navy Personnel
SWAPO – South West African Peoples Organisation.
SWAPO Airforce – Any flying beetle or insects.
Swart Bed – meaning ‘Black Bed’ literally – A bed made up with only a blanket. Usually made on laundry day or when going on pass.
Swart Gevaar – threat of black power or rule
Swerf Wag – Roving sentry
Swerver – mine resistant armoured patrol vehicle, with Landrover engine, used by the SA Railways & Harbours Police, then taken over by the SA Police. Hugely unpopular, due to unreliability.
Takkies – Sneakers
Tampax Tiffie – Slang term for a medic.
Tannie – a term of respect for an older woman – literally ‘aunty’.
Taxis – sections of blanket / similar material , used to shine barracks floors with.
TAZ – Navy….Torpedo Anti Submarine…the Asdic/Radar/Torpedo tracking operators…known as a “TAZ rate”
TB – temporary base ( Afrikaans = tydelike basis ).
Tein Ops – Meaning Coin Ops in English – Teen Insurgensie Operasies or Counter Insurrgency Operations.
Terrs – Terrorists
Terrapins – rooms with mosquito netting instead of windows and a tin roof
Thunderflash – non fragmentation explosive devise also known as a ‘flashbang’ grenade
TIA – Sarcasm for ‘This Is Africa’
Tiekiebox – public telephone
Tiffie – A member of the TSC/TDK (Tegniese Diens Korps/Technical Service Corps).
Tokkeltou – a 5ft. white braided nylon utility rope, with loop and toggle closure, used as a towrope.
Toktokkiegeweer – SA Army 106 mm recoilless gun 9 also known as a ” 106 ” ).
Toppie – an old man
Township – an african suburb or ‘location’
Township Duty – duties performed in a african township, anything from road blocks to riot control
Toyi-toyi – a dance that signifies uprising
Transnet – Formely South African Railways and Harbours
Tree Aan! – Afrikaans command to form a squad
Trek af plak toe – take target down and close the holes – meaning, end the argument and move on
Troep – troop
Trommel – metal military trunk / footlocker
Trompoppies – drum majorettes
Tsotsi – a crook / gangster
Tuckshop – small store or caffeteria
Tune – to give someone lip
Two-liner – a full corporal
Uitkak – a telling off – literally ‘shit out’
Uitklaar – procedures surrounding completing military service , demobilisation
Uitpak inspeksie – Afrikaans command for an Inspection where your kit is laid out on your bed.
Uittree – Afrikaans command for Dismiss.
Uitveer Squad – nickname for members of the Security Branch; those who use rubbers to sign their names.
Unimog – two tonne 4×4 general purpose truck
UNITA – National Union for the Total Independance of Angola
US – Unserviceable
VVVVVVV – Navy…If a series of V’s are sent by morse the sending ship is enquiring what ship you are ie what is your callsign. Callsigns were normally 4 letter groups.
Vangwa – police patrol van .
Vaak – ( lit. dozy / sleepy ) : either being tired, or being dozy / ignorant.
Vaakseun – a dozy, dopey chap, slow on the uptake.
Vaaltuin – ( lit. a barren garden ) : somebody boring, drab, dull, unexciting.
Valk – two helicopters flying in loose formation – translation – hawk
Varkpan – stainless steel cafeteria / mess tray
Vasbyt – ( 1 ) ( lit. ” Bite Fast ” ) hang in there, bite the bullet : term of encouragement.
Vasbyt – ( 2 ) name given to a torturous route march at the end of the Junior Leaders courses.
Varkpiel – Portable immersion heater usually plugged into any convenient light socket in a tent or bungalow.
Vasbyter – nickname given to the bullnosed model of the military Bedford truck.
Verberging en Vermoming – Afrikaans phrase for Camouflage and disguise.
Vir Inspeksie, hou geweer! – Afrikaans version of command ” For inspection…present arms !”. Usually used when declaring that there were no rounds in the rifle
Verkramp – Conservative
Vetseun – fat boy
Victor Yankee – Vyand, usually non SWAPO like Cuban Forces.
Vlamgat / Vlammie – nickname given to the Atlas Aviation Impala Mk II ground attack jet.
Vleisbom – Afrikaans slang for a paratrooper.
Vloek – swear
Voertsek – Go away, bugger off.
Volk en Vaderland – a nationalist cry for ‘People and Fatherland’
Volume Control – The castle above a sergeant’s stripes that indicated that they were a staff sergeant.
Vomit Comet – a derogatory nickname for the C47 Dakota transport plane.
Voorste Posisie Af! – This is supposed to be “Voorsteun Posisie Af!” as in “Front Support Position.” This was flat on the ground in preparation for doing pushups.
Voort – forward
Voorwarts Mars – Afrikaans command for Forward march!
Vorm D – The “D” Formation. Used for anti riot operations.
Vrot – Bad, rotten, putrid, sometimes referring to being drunk.
Warrant – abridged address form for the rank of Warrant Officer ( SAAF, SAN and SA Police ).
Wannabe – someone who did not serve or embelishes his service somewhat … a fake.
Wasp – Westland Wasp Helicopter
Water breek – A water break usually used to take a smoke break
Web Belt – The general purpose belt and the the basis of a stripped down webbing
Weerman – Private
Wena – Zulu origin meaning ‘you’
Wet – Navy….An alcoholic drink of any kind..ie “lets go and have a wet”
When-we’s – Rhodesian expats
White gold- toilet paper
Windgat – cheecky or arrogant
Wors – sausage
Woes – wild, untidy, unkempt, unruly, agitated
Wolf- similar to a Casspir
WSK – Army Sports Complex
Wussies – whimps
Wyk – area
Yatti – strip of cleared ground 5 kilometres north and south of the SWA / Angola international border; originally demarcating a foot and mouth disease control corridor.
Yebo – Zulu origin meaning ‘yes’
Yellow Mellow – Township nickname given to Police Casspir vehicles because of their yellow paint
Ysterbaadjie – SAP Uniform Branch member; derived from the tunic worn ( SA Police slang ).
Ystervark – ( Porcupine ) light anti-aircraft gun mounted on a modified Bulldog APC chassis.
Zaarm – A sandwich.
Zol – Handmade marijuana cigarette rolled with old newspaper or paper.
2,4 – “Two comma four” kilometer run – The standard army fitness test.
40 days – Based on the popular song by Cliff Richard, it referred to the long awaited time when a soldier had 40 days left before demobilizing.
50 Browning – Pronounced “five oh”. The .50 Cal Browning heavy machine gun.
1000 ft colour/illumination flare-hand held
B 25 – radio
A 53 – VHF radio
A 72 – ground to air radio