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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]

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.[2]

In early twentieth century gay culture, the term was an insult: "pogue" was slang for a young male who would submit to homosexual advances.[3]

Some have suggested that "Pogue" was originally spelled "pog", or that it was an acronym, but there is no evidence to support these assertions. 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 (originally named Pogue Mahone) derived their name from that phrase.[4] Coincidentally, the spelling is anglicized as "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 (Personnel Other than Grunts).

"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.[5]


  • 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. John Macrae Book; Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1998 (page 6).
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of pogue at Wiktionary