• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

British terms...


Sr. Member
Reaction score
I‘ve heard/read some British terms, and occasionally heard/seen them repeated in the CF, though not always.

I am wondering what the origin of some of them are, and if they are in common use in the CF...

"Rupert" - meaning an officer. Haven‘t heard this anywhere but Britain, wondering where it came from. If you said "Rupert" to a CF soldier, would they "get it"?

"Brick" - meaning a 4-man unit. What is the Canadian term? Half-section? Does anyone know how "brick" came about?

"Scaley" - a term for a signalman. Is this used in the CF at all?

"Longs" and "Shorts" - meaning rifles and pistols/sub-mg‘s. Seen this in Brit books, seems to make sense, after all, no need to get technical when describing enemy infantry weapons... used at all in the CF?

"Stag" as in "put on stag" or "to be on stag" - Sentry duty. Used at all in the CF? Anyone know the origin?

"Tab" - meaning to march/run a distance with kit. Used at all in the CF? Anyone know the origin?

Are there any uniquely Canadian terms that one wouldn‘t find in everyday language anywhere but the CF?

Any help is welcome... thanks for your time -- not only am I trying to get a heads up as to the vernacular I could expect to hear used, but I‘m interested for interest‘s sake as well.
In all my years, I can‘t honestly say I haven‘t heard these terms. But as for common practice, I would say no, we don‘t use any of them. I‘m familiar with the term brick, but probably more through reading about certain Brit outfits. I‘m guessing being four guys and a brick having four sides and being the basic building block, may be the reason for the term, but I‘m not sure. I have heard some journalists calling JTF 2 groups as bricks, but this is probably more wishful thinking, trying to add to the mystique and trying to equate them to certain UK spec ops groups. The terms may be used by the infantry, for example but they are not common in the Corps. Of course every one who has taught in the CF or told stories in the mess can relate to Buddy and Bloggins, just ask Skin over in the Snake Pit.
Canadian - Pongo, Herbie and Zipperhead

If you have to ask you need TI
Tab - that little ring thingy on top Beer Store canteens, you have to pull to get at the golden libation within.

Rupert - the thud that broke my jeep when I was‘nt there. :D
Here are some of the Canadian equivalents of some terms:

"Rupert" - Pointy Head,Whistle Head

"Brick" - Group ,a Section is made up of 2 Groups

"Scaley" - Jimmy,named for the little guy on their cap badge.

"Longs" and "Shorts" - Thunder stick for rifles,Roscoe, Gat, or just "9 mil" for pistol

"Stag" - "Shift" as to be put on shift.

"Tab" - "hump" as in to hump or "man that hump was a bitch!!!" Comes from the hump-backed appearance of a soldier walking with full kit while being bent over with the load.

SomeCanadian terms

Secret Squirrels- JTF 2 types some times known as "The Wind" from an episode of the TV series MASH featuring Col. Flagg from Army Int...you had to see it to appreciate it.

WOG: A term used by Infantry types to describe any non-Combat Arms types.Loosely translated as WithOut Guts.

Junk: Describes both equipment and personnel of sub-standard design as in "The LSVW is Junk..or Pte Bloggins is frigg‘n Junk"

Numpty: See Junk

Bloggins: A term for a person who you don‘t know the name of

Buddy: see above as in "Me and Buddy attacked the trench...or I remember when me and Buddy..."

There are dozens more that I cannot think of off the top of my head right now.
Thanks for the colourful descriptions!

Haven‘t heard "bloggins" before, but I think everybody knows "Buddy" ...

I‘ll share a few I‘ve picked up working with customs, if anyone is interested:

"Cloak & Dagger" - An intelligence officer

"Old Charlie" - The ****‘s Angels skull logo, on their patch/colours... as in "I searched that biker and he had a jacket with Old Charlie on it"

"Scrote" - As in scrotum-bag... a person of low worth or character

"Ya ya" - Female anatomy, esp. as a means of concealment for narcotics ("The cocaine was in her ya ya")

"Horsemen" - The RCMP (also "Guard de Giddy-up", "Gravel Road Cops")

"Oh Dot" - The O.P.P., as in "Oh, dot, Pee, dot, Pee, dot"... or "Ordinarily Patrolling Pavement"

"Aggie" - Agriculture inspector, from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"Tin" - To show a badge or ID, "My tin got me in..."

"Pinch" or "Collar" or "Grab" - To arrest someone

"Peeler" - either a Peel cop, or a stripper (sometimes the same... a little double-meaning there)

"98" - A personal search, or "strip" search of someone... (from the section # of the Customs Act)

"FTL" - Free to leave.

"OFTB" and "OFTG" - A referral "for the boys" or "for the girls", ie. a good looking traveller, and not a legitimate referral

"Bananas" - A supervisor... because of the two gold bars they wear on their epaulettes

Now when you go through customs you‘ll know what they‘re saying about you behind your back... :)
"Thud" - shorten version of ThudFuc* - see numpty but a little more dangerous
"Rupert" From the childrens story, Rupert the Bear, the unworldly, simple, ungaintly little bear, who could never dress himself properly, good god that describes a Second Lieutenant! Back in the 1960‘s I heard it in the Canadian Guards and the Queens Own Rifles

"Brick" - meaning a 4-man unit. As another gentleman stated the basic building block. It comes from the Second World War in the British Airborne Divisions (including 1 Cdn Para Bn), describing half a section, or in the SAS describing the basic patrol. Has continued on post WWII, since the Brit, Aust and NZ SAS use it as a term to describe the basic unit in CT operations I would say JTF-2 has taken it on.

"Scaley" - a term for a signalman. This is a very old term dating from pre Great War to describe a Post Office linesman, in the days when all telephone cables were up on poles, therefore the linesman had to scale them - ‘Scaley", was a common term in all the Commonwealth armies in the Great War and after. The Royal Canadian Signals had a newsletter between 1919 and 1939 called "Jimmy and Scaley", ie.despatch riders and linesmen, the most common forms of rapid communication.

"Stag" as in "put on stag" or "to be on stag" - Sentry duty. It comes from the stag in Scotland, the male animal who has his harem of females. He the only adult male is always on guard protecting his harem by himself. There the soldier who protects his comrades is on Stag.

"Tab" - meaning to march/run a distance with kit. Actually used to be TABB, Tactical Advance By Boot, never to describe a run always a march, usually cross country with full battle load including weapons of all sizes. In 3PARA in the late ‘60‘s we used to do a WOMBAT TABB, that was all six of the bn‘s 120mm WOMBAT AT guns were carried by manpower, with ammunition (also all 6 L16 81mm, all the Charlie Guts aches, and the GPMGs in SF mode), the WOMBATS weighed 650lbs, each round with container 77lbs, so the support pls were divided between the three rifle coys. We would start at dawn, at the end of each month, to do 20miles across country, as soon as we finished - off on weekend pass. Some quite amazing times were recorded?
Thanks, all, for the contributions - again.

Yes, I have seen "Rupert", the comic strip, in issues of "OK!" lying around at work (midnight shifts are boring, you‘ll read ANYTHING)... The lad does seem a bit daft.