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This article is about the slang term. For people named Pogue, see Pogue (surname). For the band, see The Pogues.

Pogue is pejorative military slang for non-combat, staff, and other rear-echelon or support units.[1] "Pogue" frequently includes those who don't have to undergo the stresses that the infantry does.

History and etymology[edit]

It has been used in the United States Navy and Marine Corps since before World War II, entering Army usage around the time of the Vietnam War.[2] In the Canadian Forces a pogue is referred to as a WOG, short for "without guns" or "without guts". Conversely, in the United States military the original term (POG) originated when infantry units/commanders declared that "there are only two types of soldiers: Grunts (infantrymen) and Personnel Other than Grunts (POG's)" The later 1970 and 1980's derivatives of the acroynym "POG" were the result of younger soldiers being called the term or hearing the term on base and assuming that "POG" was a slang word and not the acronym it truly was intended as.

Originally, the term was a sexual insult in early twentieth century gay culture, as "pogue" was slang for a young male who submitted to sexual advances.[3]

Due to having lost contact with its linguistic source, the modern military vernacular has turned "pogue" into a retronym/backronym. "Pogue" is now sometimes described as the pronunciation of the acronym POG, or Person Other than Grunt, or Posted On Garrison.[2] It is also sometimes retronymed out to "Person On Ground with Unused Equipment" (hence the spelling). Sometimes used as "People Of Good Use Elsewhere."

Another possible source of the word is from the term "Pogey Bait", a reference to sweets or candy, which was in usage in the military as early as 1918.[4] The "Pogue" in "Pogey Bait" can refer to children, homosexuals, or insects.


  • REMF, or Rear Echelon Mother Fucker
  • Fobbit pejoratively denotes one who never leaves one's forward operating base, or FOB. It is an amalgamation of the word FOB and the race of hobbit from J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit - a creature that rarely leaves its home.

See also[edit]

  • FNG – "Fucking New Guy"


  1. ^ "pogue definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta". Encarta.msn.com. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  2. ^ a b "Listserv 14.4". Listserv.linguistlist.org. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  3. ^ The Other Side of Silence: Men's Lives and Gay Identities, A Twentieth-Century History. John Loughery. A John Macrae Book; Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1998 (page 6).
  4. ^ http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/comments/1918_words/

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of pogue at Wiktionary