Jackspeak

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:

0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

O-Boats - Slang term for the Oberon Class Submarines that served in the Canadian navy from the 1960s to the late 1990s.

Oak Leaves - Used in insignia as a tribute to the days when ships were built of oak.

Oakum - Jute or hemp fiber. Material used for caulking hulls. Often hemp picked from old untwisted ropes.

OAO - A sailor uses this acronym to refer to their "One and Only".

OBE - Order of the British Empire. A decoration that one might see on the uniform of a WWII veteran.

Obey the Last Pipe - A saying that is used to remind seaman that when a situation arises where conflicting orders have been received, always obey the most recent order.

Occulting - A flashing navigation light in which the light is on longer than it is off. Contrasted with "Flashing".

OD - Slang for an Ordinary Seaman. Derived from the term "Ordinary Deckhand". Often pronounced as "ode".

Odds and Sods - Miscellaneous anything. eg. "On the port we have the Deck Department, on the Starboard we have the Engineering Department, and midships we have the Odds and Sods."

Off Caps! - The order that was once given to remove headdress a service tribunal, such as Defaulters. Today the order given is "Remove Headress". Still, the sentiment is there.

Off Watch - Not on watch.

Offshore - 1. At some distance from the shore; located in the sea away from the coast. 2. Of a wind, blowing from the land to the sea.

Oggie (Oggin) - The ocean. eg. "I accidentally dropped my cap in the Oggie."

Oh Dark Stupid - Refers to the hour that most military personnel have to wake up.

Oh Dark Thirty - Very late at night, or very early in the morning. Used to describe a time frame that represents the middle of the night.

Oilskins - Foul-weather clothing made from cloth which has been made water-resistant by impregnating it with linseed oil.

Old Man - Common slang for the Commanding Officer. When used, it is not actually seen as derogatory. When the Commanding Officer is a women, the term "Old Lady" is sometimes used, however it is often seen as much less flattering.

On Beam Ends - Specifically, means that a ship has gone through 90 degrees of roll, where her deck is now perpendicular to the water. However, in such case a ship could capsize, therefore it is more commonly used to refer to extreme rolling of the ship, even if less than 90 degrees.

On Station - A ship's destination, typically an area to be patrolled or guarded.

One Black Ball - A day shape hoisted up the mast in this way indicates that the vessel is at anchor. At night, the corresponding signal is one or two white anchor lights, depending on the vessel's length.

OOD - Officer Of the Day. Responsible for the ship when secured alongside either at home or in a foreign port.

OPFOR - The opposing force in an exercise, war game or in real life.

OPI - Usually referred to as Office of Primary Interest, but sometimes also refers to "Only Person Interested".

Opposite Number - The term for the person that relieves you on watch. Also known as your "Oppo".

Ops O - Operations Officer.

Orange Force - The opposing force in a war game exercise. Originated during the cold war. Orange was used as it was felt that saying "Red Force" would be too close to actually referring to the enemy as the Soviets. See "Blue Force".

Order of the Blue Nose - One who has crossed the Arctic Circle in a ship.

Order of the Golden Dragon - A fraternal order made up of those who have crossed the equator at the International Date Line, in a ship.

Ordinary Seaman - The Ordinary Seaman (OS) is the equivalent of Private untrained in the Army or Air Force, and is the lowest enlisted rank in the navy. There is no rank insignia for Ordinary Seamen, which makes them rather ordinary indeed!

Oscar - 1. The kapok stuffed dummy used for man overboard drills. 2. The international signal flag hoisted for "man overboard". 3. Phonetic alphabet for "O".

Oscar Brothers - (USN) The Commanding Officer and Executive Officer (CO and XO).

Other Ranks - An older term for Non Commissioned Members. It has somewhat fallen out of use.

Outboard Motor - A motor mounted externally on the transom of a small boat. The boat may be steered by twisting the whole motor, instead of or in addition to using a rudder.

Over a Barrel - In the days of sail, sailors were often flogged while bending over the barrel of a gun. See "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter".

Overbearing - The act of sailing downwind directly at another ship, and stealing the wind from its sails.

Overfalls - Dangerously steep and breaking seas due to opposing currents and wind in a shallow area of water.

Overhaul - 1. To examine and repair. 2. To manually pull two blocks apart when the distance between them has been shortened. 3. To rake the embers of a fire in an effort to prevent the fire from re-flashing. 4. To overtake.

Overhead - The ceiling of any enclosed space below decks in a vessel, which on a warship usually contains a mass of ducts, pipes and wiring harneses.

Ox-Eye - A cloud or other weather phenomenon that may be indicative of an upcoming storm.

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Jackspeak of the Royal Canadian Navy
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