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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 supposedly has been used in the United States Navy and Marine Corps since before World War II, but did not enter Army terminology until some time after the Vietnam War.[2]

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

"Pogue" was never originally spelled "pog", nor is it an acronym. The spelling change from "pogue" to "POG" may be a confusion with the verb "póg", meaning "to kiss" in Irish Gaelic. The common Irish insult "póg mo thóin" literally means "kiss my ass." The Irish punk band "the Pogues" derived their name from that phrase.[4] Coincidentally, the spelling itself is anglicized "pogue", since "pog" is pronounced like the word "rogue."

Due to having lost contact with its linguistic source, the modern military vernacular has turned "pogue" into a retronym/backronym. "POG" is said to stand for "Personnel Other than Grunt" or "Posted On Garrison." The spelling "pogue" itself is sometimes "retronymed" out to "Person On Ground with Unused Equipment" or "People Of Good Use Elsewhere."

"Pogey bait" is a reference to sweets or candy, which was in usage in the military as early as 1918. The term simply alludes to food (and other luxuries) rarely afforded to grunts in the field.[5]

In the Canadian Forces the equivalent term for "pogue" is a "WOG," short for "without guns" or "without guts." In Australia , however, "wog" (spelled and pronounced the same way) is a pejorative term usually used Middle Easterners and Eastern Europeans immigrants, while in the United States it refers to Asians.


  • REMF: An acronym that stands for Rear Echelon Mother Fucker
  • Fobbit pejoratively denotes one who never leaves one's forward operating base (FOB). It is an amalgamation of the word FOB and the race known as hobbits from J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit—a people known for rarely leaving their homes mainly in fear for their safety.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "pogue definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta". Encarta.msn.com. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  2. ^ "Listserv 14.4". Listserv.linguistlist.org. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2010-06-29. [unreliable source?]
  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.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/documentaries/pogues.shtml
  5. ^ http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/comments/1918_words/

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of pogue at Wiktionary