Oorah (Marines)

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Oorah is a battle cry common in the United States Marine Corps since the mid-20th century. It is comparable to hooah in the US Army and hooyah in the US Navy and US Coast Guard. It is most commonly used to respond to a verbal greeting or as an expression of enthusiasm.


There are several potential sources from which the word "oorah" originated.

  • The term may have originated from early use in Australia. In World War II injured US Marines were treated in northern Australia. The term 'oorah' is said to be local slang for 'farewell' or 'until then',[1] although it is likely to be a mishearing of the more common 'ooroo'.[2]
  • The term may have been derived from the Ottoman Turkish phrase "vur ha" translated as "strike" or the Mongolian word "urakh" meaning "forward." It was used as a battle cry of the Ottoman Empire army and adapted as a Russian battle cry "ura".[4]


Owing to its relatively recent adoption by British and American military culture, it is less common for U.S. Marines who served in the Vietnam War or earlier to be familiar with "Oorah!", but most post-Vietnam War U.S. Marines and Vietnam War U.S. Marines who continued to serve after the war will have learned it throughout their careers.[citation needed]

A couple of shortened versions of "Oorah!" can come out as a short, sharp, monosyllabic guttural "Er!" or "Rah!"

Another phrase similar to "Oorah" is the bark, also commonly used by Marines, due to the nickname "Devil Dogs" from the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I.[citation needed]

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