Upon entering a new occupation, a person
usually is faced with a need to learn the
vocabulary of the trade to understand and be
understood by his or her co-workers. The Navy,
especially, has a language all its own.
This glossary is printed for your convenience.
You may notice the absence of some common
Navy terms, as the glossary is not intended to be
Naval Weapons Publication 3 (Revision E),
Naval Terminology, is an excellent source of
information for the definitions of naval terms and
AA Abbreviation for antiaircraft.
ABAFT Farther aft, as Abaft the beam.
ABEAM On a relative bearing of 90 degrees
(abeam to starboard) or 270 degrees (abeam to
ABOARD In or on a ship. Extended to use
ashore, as aboard a naval station.
ABREAST Same as abeam.
ACCOMMODATION LADDER A ladder
suspended over and inclining down the side of a
ship to enable people to board the ship from
ADRIFT Loose from moorings and out of
control. Applied to anything that is lost, out of
hand, or left lying about.
AFT Toward the stern. Not as specific as
AFTER That which is farthest aft, as after
AFTERNOON WATCH The 1200 to 1600
AGROUND When any part of a ship or
boat is resting on the bottom. A ship runs aground
or goes aground.
AHOY A hail or demand for attention, as
ALEE In the direction toward which the
wind is blowing; downwind.
ALIVE Lively, energetic.
ALL FAST Tied or lashed down as
ALL HANDS The entire ships company.
ALOFT Generally speaking, any area above
the highest deck.
ALONGSIDE By the side of the pier or ship.
AMIDSHIPS An indefinite area midway
between the bow and the stern. Rudder amidships
means that the rudder is in line with the ships
ANCHOR (1) Any device used to make a
floating body fast to the bottom. (2) The act of
so making fast. (3) The act of securing or fixing
the lower end of a guy or stay or the lower end
of a shore.
ANCHORAGE An area designated to be
used by ships for anchoring.
ANCHOR BALL A black circular shape
hoisted to indicate that the ship is anchored.
ANCHOR BUOY A small float secured to
the anchor by a light line to mark the position of
ANCHOR CABLE The line, wire, or chain
that attaches a vessel to its anchor.