ASVAB Test Blog

Nov 25th, 2021

Top 100 Military Vocabulary!

top 100 military vocabulary

Must-Know Military Vocabulary!

If you are planning to enlist in the armed forces, you must have the relevant military vocabulary in mind. Even for the ASVAB exam, it is important that you enter the exam with the most common military vocabulary.

Whether it is for the word knowledge or paragraph comprehension domains of the exam, you must know both military and non-military vocabulary. The more terms and phrases you know, the better. Nor is it enough to try and memorize words without knowing what they really mean. Instead, you must put the time and effort into learning and practicing these words.

Reading is clearly one of the best ways to improve military vocabulary and answer vocabulary-based ASVAB test questions. If you do not understand a word or phrase, write it down and come back to it later. Avoid the temptation of ignoring these words and phrases. Furthermore, always try to practice any new words or phrases you learn. The people to whom you are speaking will not even know that this is what you are doing. And, moreover, they may even ask you what that word or phrase means. This is excellent practice – and it can, over the coming weeks and months, improve your ability to soak up more words and phrases.

Given that word knowledge and paragraph comprehension comprise half of the tests used to calculate your AFQT score; it is imperative that you invest the necessary time to build your military vocabulary.

Top 100 Military Vocabulary to Know!

VocabularyMeaning
Advance Forward movement of a military unit toward the target enemy.
ArmorProtective covering used to protect either military personnel or vehicles.
ArsenalCollection of weapons or military equipment.
ArtilleryHeavy military weapons that are large-calibre guns used on land.
AmphibiousInvolving forces that have landed from the sea.
ArmisticeA truce between two sides of an opposing war to halt military activity.
BallisticRelating to projectiles and their flight – for example: ballistic missiles.
BattalionUnit of troops ready to engage in battle.
BarracksBuilding or buildings used to house soldiers and/or other personnel.
BarrageConcentrated artillery bombardment over a relatively large space of land.
BatteryA tactical unit of artillery.
BombardmentMass attack on an area of towns and buildings and combatants and fortifications; typically delivered by a range of artillery, both ground and aerial.
BivouacA military camp.
BrigadeA military formation composed of three to six battalions.
CamouflageConcealment and visual deception of the presence of military units.
ConvoyGroup of ships or vehicles travelling together; typically accompanied by armed protection of some kind.
CasualtyPerson killed or injured in war.
CavalrySoldiers who fight on horseback.
ConscriptionCompulsory enlistment to enter a state’s armed forces.
DecodeTo convert a coded message into an intelligible message.
DestroyerSmall, fast warship; often equipped for defense against aircraft or submarines.
DetonateTo cause to explode.
DraftTo require citizens of a certain age to enter the country’s military service.
DeploymentMovement of troops to a designated location ready for battle or engagement.
EncampmentLocation of temporary accommodation for troops.
EnvelopmentAttacking the enemy’s rear to prevent them from withdrawing. Pincer movement and encirclement are both examples of envelopment.
EmbarkationLoading a ship or plane with military personnel.
EnsignFlag or signal that indicates the nationality of the military.
EpauletteAn ornamental shoulder piece worn by members of the military.
EnlistTo be enrolled in the armed forces.
EvacuateTo remove someone from a place of danger to a place of safety.
FlankThe right or left side of a body of military forces.
FlotillaSmall feet of ships.
FormationA tactical arrangement of the armed forces.
FurloughExtended period of leave for military personnel to return home.
FortificationWork to strengthen a position against enemy attack.
GarrisonBody of troops stationed at a given location.
GuerrillaA non-military force engaged in action against conventional military forces.
Hang Fire Delay between triggering of a firearm and the ignition of the propellant.
HeadquartersThe installation from which a commander controls and organizes his forces.
HowitzerCannon artillery capable of high-angle and low-angle fire.
H-HourThe specific hour that an operation commences.
InfantryArmy specialization whose personnel engage in military action on foot.
InsigniaA badge indicating mark of office or honor.
Insurgency An attempt to subvert a government or occupying power.
InvasionA military offensive in which a large number of combatants on one side enter the territory of the enemy.
JeepFour-wheel drive vehicle often used for reconnaissance or other army duty work.
LieutenantLowest rank of commissioned officer in most armies of the world.
Magazine A storage device for ammunition.
MarksmanMilitary person skilled in precision shooting.
ManeuverMilitary movement; especially as it relates to training for war.
MissionOperation put together by a high-ranking official of the armed forces to achieve a specific goal.
Mount A stand on which a weapon is secured to hold in position for rapid fire.  
MunitionsAll ammunition products or components used for national defense or security.
MissileRocket-propelled weapon designed to deliver an explosive warhead with accuracy.
MuzzleFront end of a barrel; the mouth of the barrel.
OrdnanceMilitary supplies which include weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and maintenance tools and equipment.
PatrolA small unit sent out for purposes such as reconnaissance or combat.
ParatrooperMilitary parachutist; an individual trained to parachute into a military battle.
Purple HeartMedal presented to service members who have been injured or killed whilst serving in the US military.
PlatoonConsists of up to 50 troops who are often organized into one or more squads and led by non-commissioned officers.
Plunging FireFire that strikes the ground at a sharp angle.
PentagonA five-sided building in Washington DC that contains the offices of the US armed forces.
Prisoner of WarA non-combatant held captive by a belligerent force.  
Propaganda A form of communication deliberately designed to communicate a specific set of messages to the population.
QuartermasterSenior soldier who monitors military stores and ammunition and oversees their distribution.
Raid (Depredation)Quickly attacking an enemy force location and pulling back sharply.
RadarDetection device that uses radio waves to establish the speed, position, and direction of objects.
ReconnaissanceTo obtain information about the enemy using a variety of detection methods.
RegimentBody of troops, often led by a colonel.
Reserve Group of military personnel or units who are not active in battle, but who are ready for combat and who may be called upon if needed.
RevoltA military rebellion.
Reverse SlopeAny slope that descends away from the enemy.
RoadblockA barrier erected to limit the movement of vehicles.
SabotageDeliberate action to undermine the effort or organization of an armed unit, which may even come from within.
SalvoSimultaneous discharge of both artillery and firearms to overwhelm an enemy force.
Screen Fire Curtain of smoke that protects military forces from enemy observation.
SniperA marksman who engaged an enemy target from a distanced position.
ShellA steel-metal projectile that contains an explosive.
SiegeMilitary blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering it by attrition.
SeditionIncitement of rebellion against the ruling government, or the attempt to overthrow that government.
SkirmishersA line of troops in extended order during a tactical exercise or attack.
SquadronA unit that comprises a number of units, such as a defined number of aircraft.
StaticElectrical disturbance that interferes with radio communications.
Terrain A tract of land.
TrajectoryDirection and angle of flow toward a target; for example: from a projectile.
Traversing FireFire distributed across an area by changes in the direction that the weapon is pointed.
Topographical CrestHighest point of an elevated terrain.
Task ForceA unit or formation put together to work on a specific and defined task or goal.
UniformStandard dress worn by members of the US armed forces.
UnitA group put together to work on a target combat operation; often a support role within a wider operation.
VeteranA person who has served in the military and has since been discharged and returned to civilian life.
Warrant OfficerIn the US Navy, a warrant officer is above the rank of petty officer but below the rank of ensign.
WarfareMilitary operations between two opposing forces.
Wedge Formation Also known as a V-formation in which the point is toward the enemy and there is a formation of elements to both of its flanks.
WoundAn injury to living tissue.
WithdrawalMovement where a force disengages from a military battle, as commanded.
Zone of ActionAn area over which a military unit is to act and to which it has been given responsibility to meet a target objective.
Zone of Fire An area of land in which personnel are prepared to deliver fire.
Zulu TimeA term that refers to Universal Coordinated Time (UCT) – also known as GMT. Zulu takes its name from Z in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
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