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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 applies to those who do not have to undergo the risk and stresses of combat as the infantry does.

History and etymology[edit]


Some have suggested that "Pogue" was originally spelled "pog", or that it was an acronym, meaning "Personnel Other than Grunts".[citation needed]

Most older troops maintain that POG was a backronym applied later, raising to prominence during the Global War on Terror (GWOT).[citation needed]

Gay Culture[edit]

In early twentieth century gay culture, the term was an insult: "pogue" was slang for a young male who would submit to homosexual advances.[2]

Military Usage[edit]

The term is said to have been used in the United States Navy and Marine Corps since before World War II, but it did not enter Army terminology until some time after the Vietnam War.[3]

Due to having lost contact with its linguistic source, the modern military vernacular has turned "pogue" into a retronym/backronym (Personnel Other than Grunts) or (Person Of Greater Use Elsewhere).

"Pogey bait" is a reference to sweets or candy, which was in usage in the military as early as 1918. The term alludes to food (and other luxuries) rarely afforded to grunts in the field.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "pogue definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta". Encarta.msn.com. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  2. ^ The Other Side of Silence: Men's Lives and Gay Identities, A Twentieth-Century History. John Loughery. John Macrae Book; Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1998 (page 6).
  3. ^ "Listserv 14.4". Listserv.linguistlist.org. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2010-06-29. [unreliable source?]
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of pogue at Wiktionary