Jackspeak: Certain words or terminology that is used in the Canadian Navy.
The Canadian Navy has it's own terminology and slang that is still evolving to this day. Much of the language used is still derived from the Royal Navy, although as Canadians many local customs and slang have come about.
Please choose a letter from our index:
Gadget - NATO codeword meaning "electronic gear".
Gaff - 1. Gaff rig: The spar that holds the upper edge of a four-sided fore-and-aft mounted sail. 2. Fishing gaff: A hook on a long pole to haul fish in. A gaff hook.
Gaff Off - To blow off or ignore something.
Gaggle - A disorganized mass of people who aren't doing anything productive.
Gaiters - Leggings.
Galleon - A large, multi-decked sailing ship used primarily by European states from the 16th to 18th centuries.
Galley - The kitchen of a ship.
Gangway - An opening in the bulwark of the ship to allow passengers to board or leave the ship.
Gannet - Someone who eats quickly and often. Named after the squawking seabird that does the same.
Gash - 1. Extra, leftovers, and garbage. 2. The act of disposing of unwanted waste. eg. "Gash those old uniforms".
Gate - An uncomplimentary term for mouth or mouthing off.
Gear - Equipment, clothing or other possessions
Gen - Information. Someone who knows what's happening is in possession of good gen.
General Alarm - The general alarm is a signal used on board ship in times of emergency, such as fire, flood, man-overboard, action stations, etc.
Gertrude - An underwater telephone, it allows communications by voice or whistle signals to a submerged submarine.
Get Out Your Web Feet - A piece of advice offered to novice seamen when heavy weather is expected.
GI - Gunnery Instructor.
Gig - A boat on naval ships at the disposal of the ship's captain for his or her use in transportation to other ships or to the shore. ie. The Captain's gig.
Gimbal - The pivoted support that allows the rotation the gyro-compass about a single axis.
Gin Pennant - (RN) An unofficial flag flown to signify that a wardroom has a celebration underway. Usually green, with a wine or cocktail glass on it.
Gingerbread - 1. Voice imitative radio deception. 2. Decorative carving and scrollwork on the stern of a traditional sailing ship.
Girded - A dangerous condition whereby a tow-line becomes near to, or at right angles to a vessel, causing a transverse pulling moment and the potential for loss of stability and capsize.
Give Way - Under the Nautical Rules of the Road, the act of a ship maneuvering to let another ship to pass safely.
Give Way Together - An order to a team of oarsmen in a boat to begin pulling.
Global Positioning System - GPS. A satellite based radionavigation system providing continuous worldwide coverage. It provides navigation, position, and timing information to air, marine, and land users.
GMT - 1. General Military Training. Non-specific training on military matters. 2. Greenwich Mean Time. Designated by the letter "Z" and also known as Zulu time.
Go Round the Buoy - 1. Having failed a training course, going back for a second try. 2. Having a second helping at a meal.
Go Upriver to Spawn - A term referring to a port visit in Portland, Oregon during the highly anticipated Rose Festival, which is held annually in June.
Goat Locker - Chief and PO's and Mess.
Gob - Slang term for a sailor.
Goblin - NATO code word used to report that an undersea object has been detected.
God Botherer - The Chaplain.
God's Chosen - A narcissistic view taken by members of the Deck Department. eg. "God's Chosen... the Boatswains".
Golden Rivet - The mythical final commemorative rivet which completes a ship, an idea doubtlessly adapted from the "golden spike" that was driven at the completion of the transcontinental railroad. On a naval ship, the normal folklore is that the special rivet is found in the depths of the engineering spaces, usually somewhere where the victim has to bend over to get a good look at it. Once bent over, the victim is at the mercy of the pranksters.
Golden Shellback - One who has crossed the equator at the International Date Line.
Gone to Ground - Asleep
Gong - 1. Slang for any sort of medal. 2. The action alarm.
Goofing Stations - A pipe peculiar to the Canadian navy, usually made to alert off-watch members of the ship's company that there is something unusual to be seen from the upper deck. The term originated in HMCS Labrador, the icebreaker/arctic patrol ship, during her first voyage through the North-west Passage in 1954. The pipe was made to the crew so they would not miss the sight of polar bears, walruses and icebergs close at hand.
Goofy Time - A way to describe the effect of a lengthy evolution on crew vigilance. For example, near the end of a long running replenishment at sea, the crew may tend to get careless. Also called "stupid time".
Gooseneck - Fitting that attaches the boom to the mast of a sailing vessel, allowing it to move freely.
Gopping - (RN) Awful, horrible.
Grab a Granny Night - A night at the local legion, or at a bar with older clientele.
Granny Knot - A badly tied square knot. Where a square knot is relatively secure, a granny knot is not.
Grapeshot - Small balls of lead fired from a cannon, analogous to shotgun shot but on a larger scale.
Grapnel - A pronged hook for retreiving gear over the side, or for dragging the bottom.
Grave - To clean a ship's bottom.
Graving Dock - A narrow basin, usually made of earthen berms and concrete, closed by gates or by a caisson, into which a vessel may be floated and the water pumped out, leaving the vessel supported on blocks; the classic form of drydock.
Grease the Skids - Refers to the practice of lubricating the ways (or skids) upon which a ship was built, just prior to her launching, so the ship slides into the water smoothly.
Green Maggot - Army green mummy-style sleeping bag.
Green Pyjamas - A collective term for the former green combat dress.
Green River Knife - A seaman's knife with a broad flat blade approximately five inches long.
Green Scrubby - A dark green nylon scrubbing or scouring pad.
Green Sea - An unbroken wave.
Green-to-Green - A passage of two vessels moving in the opposite direction on their starboard sides, so called because the green navigation light on one of the vessels faces the green light on the other vessel.
Greenie - A wave that breaks over the ship.
Grey Funnel Line - Commonly used slang for Her Majesty's Canadian Ships. Originated in the Royal Navy.
Gripe - Temporary eye in a line.
Grippo - A freebie.
Grog - One part rum mixed with two parts water. Named after the British Admiral named Vernon who, in 1740, ordered the men's ration of rum to be watered down. He was called "Old Grogram" because he often wore a grogram coat, and the watered rum came to be called "grog".
Groggy - Drunk from having consumed a lot of grog.
Ground Pounders - Members of the Infantry.
Grounding - When a ship accidentally touches the bed of the sea.
Growler - A small iceberg or ice floe which is barely visible above the surface of the water.
Growlies - Slang for food.
GRUNT - Members of the Land Forces (Army). Seen as an acronym for "Government Reject Unfit for Naval Training".
Guard - 1. International distress radio frequencies, including 243.0 MHz and 121.5 kHz. 2. To maintain a specific type of listening watch on a radio net or circuit.
Guard Boat - A boat which makes the rounds of a fleet at anchor for security purposes.
Guard ship - 1. A warship stationed at a port or harbour to act as a guard there. 2. In the days of sail, a Royal Navy ship which received men impressed for naval service, often the flagship of the Admiral commanding along the coast.
Guesstimate - A best guess. A combination of the words guess and estimate.
Guffers or Goffers - Soft drinks.
Gulpers - In the days when tots of rum were issued, it was commonplace for sailors to pledge a portion of their rum ration to another shipmate, possibly to settle a debt. The donor would indicate how much he was allowing the other to take with one of the following phrases: "Sippers" - Take a Sip. "Gulpers" - Take a Gulp. "Sandy Bottoms" - Drink it all.
Gun Busters - Naval weapons technicians.
Gun Deck - 1. Up through the 19th century, a deck aboard a ship that was primarily used for the mounting of cannons to be fired broadside. 2. On smaller vessels (of frigate size or smaller) up through the 19th century, the completely covered level under the upper deck, even though in such smaller ships it carried none of the ship's guns.
Gun Run - A historical demonstration or a race where a crew of sailors disassemble, re-assemble and fire a naval cannon.
Gundecking - To mark a maintenance log or checklist as complete without doing the work, especially when intentionally falsifying logs or records.
Gunner - Term for weapons specialist.
Gunnery Jack - A weapons or gunnery officer.
Gunport - The opening in the side of the ship or in a turret through which the gun fires or protrudes.
Gunroom - Junior officer living or lounge space. Historically, the midshipmen and junior lieutenants actually lived on the gun deck, usually behind a partition in an area which was known as the gunroom.
Gunwale - Upper edge of the hull.
Gut Wrenches - Cutlery.
Gybe or Jibe - A sailing term meaning to change from one tack to the other away from the wind, with the stern of the vessel turning through the wind.
Gyro Compass - A directional instrument that always indicates true north.
Gyro Toppled - Drunk to point that a person can't walk straight. Refers to the gyro compass, which normally spins straight and upright like a top, but when it "topples" it wobbles out of control.
If you have any input to this list, please feel free to get involved. Submit your feedback through our contact form