Kudos to a fellow blogger Bianca Befana (“BB”) for coining the above as well as TextAge in her HuffPosts.

Recent generations of mobile phones (formerly and sometimes currently “cell” phones) brought us the age of texting. Tie texting into other forms of social media and you have the sister and brother watching a movie with their father texting and posting to Facebook rather than looking up and speaking to one another. I get that in some situations one would prefer to text than dial the phone and speak to the other person i.e. breaking off a relationship (shame!!).

The drive to communicate by the written (digital) word has spawned a slew of texting abbreviations. They run the gamut from simple shortcuts – L8R, GR8, B4N, CYA* and OMG to capturing a little of today’s conversational idioms – TMI, Dilligas, LMAO and ROTFL.

None of these, though, provide the amusement found in military acronyms. Spawned over generations and led by the DON (Department of the Navy)(not Corleone) one sees the full expression of the military experience.

We can begin with MSG – decades old it means what it means today – Message. Though many today order their food without it. We have TFOA – Things Falling Off Aircraft. I really like that one. One can only imagine its genus – a bomb, a wheel, spare fuel tank, hand held compass tumbling from the skies. Well known today is the acronym Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or “WTF.” Same meaning. From there we move on to Charlie Foxtrot aka Cluster F—. With emphasis we have FUBAR (F—ed Up Beyond All Repair) and SNAFU – Situation Normal, All F—ed Up.

More illustrative is BOHICA – Bend Over Here It Comes Again!


The desperate search for demonstrative acronyms gives us VERTREP. Take a guess? It means eating standing up – Vertical Replenishment. Really brilliant!

And for those who have spent any time in Naval Aviation or the Air Force a common punishment when you pissed off your superior was FOD duty. Jet engines suck up a lot of air on take-off and thus paper or other litter needs to be removed from near the aircraft. A regular duty punishment was walking the flight line picking up cigarette butts and other litter to prevent FOD – Foreign Object Damage. The litter was sometimes known as Foreign Object Debris but that pre-supposes the non-foreign object is domestic. More recently FOD also has also come to be known as a Friend of Dechert generating an assortment of value judgments.

You may have noticed my starring of CYA. Generally it is used in texting to mean See Ya. Less frequent is “Cover Your A–.” However, for some us, CYA meant Catholic Youth Association – a group which often sponsored sporting leagues like basketball. Among my friends when you referred to “Covering Your A–” you often used the expression Catholic basketball. A description which takes on new meaning in light of the abuse scandals. We segue into new territory though and rather than cause any Barney we will leave Cockney rhyming slang to another time.



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