Monday, March 7, 2016

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Polite Scatology

The Tina Fey movie which opened last week uses a bit of polite scatology for the title: In the phonetic alphabet it stands for "what the fuck" which is an expression indicating total surprise. Actually, some other militarily-derived polite scatological expressions have crept into everyday usage. There's B.S., and you can figure that one out.

Actually, L.S.U. awarded me a B.S. degree too. Or maybe there's a connection. Psych majors get no respect.

Anyway, here's the military phonetic alphabet:

A - Alpha                    N - November
B - Bravo                    O - Oscar
C - Charlie                  P - Papa
D - Dog                       Q - Quebec
E - Easy                      R - Romeo
F - Foxtrot                 S - Sierra
G - Golf                      T - Tango
H - Hotel                    U - Uniform
I - Iota                        V - Victor
J - Juliet                    W - Whiskey
K - Kilo                       X  - X-ray
L - Lima                      Y - Yankee
M - Mike                      Z - Zulu                

Just to confuse people, you can use phonetic letters for other terms besides scatological ones. How about Hotel Charlie for "holy cow."

We could politely express old Army acronyms: Sierra November Alpha Foxtrot Uniform
Foxtrot Uniform Bravo Alpha Romeo, etc. Anyway, those acronyms were themselves ways of somewhat politely engaging in scatology. And, likewise, some new slang:

Do you have a place in your heart for Sierra Lima Uniform Tango? At least this might help further correct spelling.


John Hill said...

In aviation, Delta, Echo and India are used for D, E and I.
Companies often incorporate letters into their aircraft tail numbers like vanity plates. All of Hy-Vee's grocery stores corporate jets end in Hotel Victor (HV). Winnebago uses Romeo Victor (RV). The State of Iowa used to have N10WA (One Zero Whiskey Alpha for Iowa), and there are many others.

Mike said...

Ah the alphabet for spotty radio transmissions. Maybe cell phone users should learn this.

Cloudia said...

You should seriously be a social researcher specializing in slang idioms! You can go Hawaii fo study da kine pigin, eh!

Linda Kay said...

Oh, my....yet another language to learn! I'm still struggling with my Spanish.

Sinner Bob said...

Military acronyms are common fare, and some get an extra foxtrot in the process.

Bilbo said...

When I was in the military ... actually, it started back in college ROTC ... two of our favorite expressions were Yankee Golf Bravo Sierra Mike ("you've gotta be shittin' me") and Delta Bravo Golf Mike November Sierra Yankee ("don't be givin' me no shit, yeah!").

eViL pOp TaRt said...

I am awed by such creativity!