What Does The Army Saying “Hooah” Mean? Where Did It Come From? (2023)

By the late 1980s, the ” hooah ” battle call had rapidly extended to the bulk of the army’s major and subsidiary commands through leadership development institutes and more difficult courses like Airborne, Pathfinder, and Air Assault. What does the army saying “Hooah” mean, and where did it come from?

The army saying, “hooah,” translates to “everything and anything except no” and “heard, understood, acknowledged” and has various possible origins. Army personnel uses it on the training field, as a form of communication, and as a battle cry to indicate that the soldiers are ready for battle.

The language of the military is made out of official abbreviations, acronyms, and everyday expressions made up by soldiers as they try to keep the long stretches of boredom humorous before the terrifying call to active duty comes along. ”Hooah” is part of the military’s vernacular, often used in military films, heard across bases all over the country, and uttered by the nation. What does “hooah” mean?

The Meaning Of “Hooah”

The word “hooah” doesn’t mean much to a regular person. To the army, it means the world. It’s a call to action, a call to respond, and a word that replaces many. To army men, a “hooah” can mean “yes,” “I don’t care, but you outrank me, so yes,” “whatever,” “thank you,” “affirmative,” “loud and clear,” “Roger,” “welcome,” or “anything and everything, except no.”

“Hooah” can also mean “Eh?”, “That’s cool,” “You’ve taken the correct action,” “solid copy,” “good,” “all right,” “glad to meet you,” or “that’s hooah – meaning that’s ok.” One word represents so many meanings that only military personnel can truly decipher, depending on how it’s spewed. “Hooah” means buckle up; the ride is about to get bumpy.

Depending on how ”hooah” is used, it can either get army personnel off the hook or earn the user a meeting with the ground to do some well-deserved pushups. There’s a popular saying in the army “When in doubt, use “hooah.” It’s a powerful word many soldiers use to confirm that they “Heard, Understood, Acknowledge” an instruction.

(Video) What is "Hooah"?

“Hooah” Is A Call To Action

The word “hooah” is a call to action. The word is often used to evoke the common binding spirit within the members of a certain group, to inspire a group, to motivate a group, a call to protect the honor of a group and to inspire each other to greatness.

According to the former Army Chief of Staff General Gordon R. Sullivan, who isn’t even sure how to spell it, it means the following “It means we have broken the mold. We are battle focused. Hooah says, ‘Look at me. I’m a warrior. I’m ready. Sergeants trained me to standard.”’

When soldiers are about to enter the battlefield, a group “hooah” is often heard. It serves as a reminder of togetherness, boosting morale and assuring your buddies that you have their back no matter what. Like a war cry in medieval times, it’s shouted to get the blood flowing, steady the nerves, and remind everyone that this is what they trained for.

“Hooah” Is The Army

The word “hooah” represents the military. You won’t hear it uttered by personnel from sister services; you won’t hear it proudly shouted by Seals or Marines; it belongs to military men and the Airmen in the US Air Force.

It’s a term shouted while training the next generation of soldiers and echoes during Army award ceremonies. It’s bellowed when formations are formed. “Hooah” is earned through sweat, blood, and tears. It’s a word of honor. It’s a word that communicates a range of emotions, and it’s a word that brings brave men and women together – united as one.

Civilians, celebrities, or Instagrammers using the term “hooah” is frowned upon by the military; it’s looked on with disdain, as most soldiers can only use the term after finishing a basic course. A basic course that will break most of the willy-nilly “hooah’ers.”

(Video) What is Hooah?

Where Did The Army Saying “Hooah” Come From?

Origin stories always seem to differ, depending on who you ask. It’s the same when you try to figure out who said ”Hooah” for the first time, where it was first uttered, and what was meant with the iconic saying when it was used initially.

Some state that it was born from a Mongolian war cry, “Hurree,” others refer to the “Huzzah” of the British Infantry, ask any army man if it’s important to know, and the answer will be no. What’s important to understand about “hooah” is the meaning and how to communicate with it.

As there’s no official army document that stipulates the above, as expected, there are various popular origin stories when the birth of ‘Hooah’ comes up for discussion. The following are the most popular ones in circulation:

‘’Hooah” Is An Acronym For “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged”

Widely believed to be an acronym for “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged,” which sounds like “Hooah” when uttered in response to a question, instruction, or call to arms. The first is said to have arisen from the 82nd Airborne Division during WWII when soldiers would respond to commanding commanders’ commands with “HUA.”

“Hooah” Was Born During The Vietnam War

Many believe that the word ”hooah” originated during the Vietnam War. The American soldiers picked up a Vietnamese (Vietnamese-French) word or two during their time on foreign soil. One commonly used term was the Vietnamese word “Vang, “which means “yes,” pronounced “u-ah.”

The soldiers used this “u-ah” when answering their commanders or to acknowledge when a task was assigned to them, and over the years after the Vietnam war, it changed to the “hooah” we hear today.

(Video) Hooah Defined

‘’Hooah” Originated During The Second Seminole War

Another origin story that many believe to be the birth of the powerful army chant involves an Indian Chief called Coacoochee and his close associate John Cowaya (John Horse), who was the leader of a maroon (free Africans) community.

The origin of the word “hooah” is credited to the Second Dragoons, who were part of a banquet arranged after a meeting with the Seminoles to put an end to the Second Seminole War in 1841. At the banquet, many of the Garrison officers made a toast before drinking, including “Here’s to luck.”

Chief Coacoochee asked John, his interpreter, what the toast meant, and John replied, “How d’ye do?” The Chief replied with his throaty voice while lifting his cup for a toast, “Hough,” and an army chant was born.

“Hooah” Came Into Existence On Ohama Beach, D-Day

The following story is one of miscommunication between soldiers on a day that must have been nerve-wracking for all involved, D-Day 1944. A section of Rangers, part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, was positioned on Obama Beach when General Cota, assistant division commander of the 29th Division, jogged towards them.

He asked the Rangers where their commanding officer was, to which the Rangers replied, “Down there, Sir,” pointing as they spoke. General Cota replied with a “Lead the way, Rangers!” And here comes the miscommunication part, probably down to the howling wind; the Rangers reportedly shouted, “Who, us?”

General Cota mistakenly heard “HOOAH” and was very impressed with the calm, reassuring response and loved the cool sounding saying that he decided to use it going forward.

(Video) Hooah Soldiers VS Hood Soldiers !!!!! 😂

What Saying Is Used By The US Marine Corps?

The US Marine Corps call to arms is the saying of “Oorah.” There are many origin stories for this US Marine Corps saying, as is the case with the army’s “Hooah.” Many credits the saying with a mistranslation of a 16th-century German term for “hurry.”

Other sources indicate that the word originated in Australia during the Second World War, where injured Marines were treated, where the locals used a slang term of “Ohh, rah” when they said “goodbye.” Some believe it’s a play on a Turkish word that translates to “kill” or “forward.”

What Saying Is Used By The US Navy?

The US Navy, especially the Naval Special Operations units like the Seals, SWCC, SAR, EOD, and Diver call to arms and battle cry is “hooyah,” a phonetic transcription for the sound of a siren. Before operating combat stations, sailors would hear the loud warning “gaHooyah.”

Who Uses The Term “Hoorah”?

“Hoorah!” It is commonly used by United States Navy Corpsmen, Master-at-Arms, and Seabees and is a green-side Navy term, not Marine-related, used by sailors that work closely with the “Oorah” Marines. Some claims the call stands for “heard, understood, recognized, and acknowledged.”

To ‘’Hooah” Or Not To “Hooah”?

To fully appreciate the word “hooah,” and what it truly means and stands for, you must have served in the military. The term should be reserved for the brave men and women who willingly enlist in the military, the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect their country, and those who have earned the right to communicate with it.

If this is not you, and you haven’t gone through at least a basic army course, then find another word to replace ‘’hooah” something like “hooray” might keep you out of trouble with the real men and women defending our country.



Where did the army term hooah come from? ›

#DYK “Hooah” was originally spelled “Hough?” It's said the expression started as "How d'ye do!” with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in the Second Seminole War. A more current interpretation is Hooah represents an acronym “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.”

When did the US Army start saying hooah? ›

Originally spelled "Hough", the battle cry was first used by members of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment during the Second Seminole War in 1841, after Seminole chief Coacoochee toasted officers of the regiment with a loud "Hough!", apparently a corruption of "How d'ye do!" Since WWII, the word has been widely used throughout ...

What does hooah stand for? ›

Heard Understood and Acknowledged

Some say the term "HOOAH" is another way of spelling H.U.A. —which is an acronym for Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged.

Does the army say Hooah or Hoorah? ›

Military slang can vary by branch or take hold military-wide. While Soldiers say “Hooah,” U.S. Marines shout, “Oorah” as a battle cry and Navy seamen say, “Hooyah!”

What does Hoo Ha mean in the military? ›

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. (Source: Wikipedia.)

What does hooyah mean in the military? ›

Hooah is used by the U.S Army and means “yes” or “understood.” According to army.mil, it means “anything or everything except no.” A common belief is that it comes from the acronym HUA, which stands for “heard, understood, and acknowledged.” Instead of saying each letter of the acronym, it is pronounced as a single ...

What do Marines call Army guys? ›

Three such words are “gyrenes,” “jarheads,” and “grunts.” Their times of origin and usage differ somewhat, but each has the same role in the Marine Corps culture. They have become a source of pride for all Marines.

What is the Army version of Semper Fi? ›

As the oldest branch of the U.S. military, the U.S. Army's motto is steeped in a long history of service to this country. The phrase “This We'll Defend” was first used by the War Office of the Continental Army during the American Revolution in 1778.

Where does Hua come from? ›

During World War II, soldiers would reply to orders from their commanding officers with “HUA,” an acronym for “heard, understood, acknowledged.” Some say that HUA really stands for “head up ass,” or HOOA, for “head out of ass.”

What is the motto of army? ›

U.S. Army: “This We'll Defend

As the oldest branch of the U.S. military, the U.S. Army's motto is steeped in a long history of service to this country. The phrase “This We'll Defend” was first used by the War Office of the Continental Army during the American Revolution in 1778.

How do you say hello in military? ›

Errr... - (U.S. Marines) An abbreviated or unmotivated "Oorah". Often used as a form of acknowledgment or greeting. Yes, we really do walk around saying "Errr" at one another in the way normal civilized humans say "Hello."

What are some common army sayings? ›

Here are some military sayings and quotes that started in the Armed Forces that are now commonplace in American conversation.
  • “On the Front Lines” This phrase is rooted in military history. ...
  • “No Man's Land” ...
  • “Got Your Six” ...
  • “On the Double” ...
  • “Balls to the Wall” ...
  • “Bite the Bullet”
Jul 13, 2021

What do Marines say when a Marine dies? ›

Once a Marine, always a Marine!

MSgt Paul Woyshner has been credited with this quote.

What is the response to Semper Fi? ›

Yet, if it's said to you, saying Semper Fi in response would suffice as a sign of respect. Another common response to Semper Fi is the Marine chant – “Oorah!” which is not to be confused with the “hooah!” of the Army or “hooyah!” of the Navy and Coast Guard.

Can non Marines say Hoorah? ›

Absolutely! If you are encountering a Marine or simply using it as a greeting “in the know”'. Be aware that when you say that word, you are communicating that you have some insider knowledge of Marine corps sayings and such.

What does Pho mean in military? ›

The command appoints a Preliminary Hearing Officer (PHO) to conduct the hearing. In most cases, the PHO is a JAG attorney. The command is represented by the Trial Counsel, also a JAG lawyer.

Why do Marines say Booyah? ›

Hooyah is the battle cry used in the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard to build morale and signify verbal acknowledgment. It originated with special forces communities, especially the Navy SEALs, and was subsequently adopted by other Navy divisions.

How do Marines greet each other? ›

“Rah.” or “Rah!” or “Rah?” Short for “Oohrah,” a Marine greeting or expression of enthusiasm similar to the Army's “Hooah” or the Navy's “Hooyah.” Rah, however, is a bit more versatile.

Who invented hooyah? ›

The History Of The Hoodie

While hooded garments originated before the common era, the hooded sweatshirt or “hoodie” that we know today was invented in the 1930s by Knickerbocker Knitting Company, which eventually became the brand 'Champion'.

What does Hoyah mean? ›

In 2015, a Viner posted a video where one person shouted, "can I get a hoya?" ( meaning, "can I get an oh yeah?"). Then another person jumped from the top of the stairs onto a mattress screaming, "hoya!"

What is a Hoyah? ›

Many years ago, when all Georgetown students were required to study Greek and Latin, the University's teams were nicknamed "The Stonewalls." It is suggested that a student, using Greek and Latin terms, started the cheer "Hoya Saxa!", which translates into "What Rocks!" The name proved popular and the term "Hoyas" was ...

What do Marines call the toilet? ›

The Navy Department Library

The use of the term "head" to refer to a ship's toilet dates to at least as early as 1708, when Woodes Rogers (English privateer and Governor of the Bahamas) used the word in his book, A Cruising Voyage Around the World.

What are female Marines called? ›

As of 2006, women made up 4.3 percent of Marine officers and 5.1 percent of the Corps' active duty enlisted force. Today, they are no longer referred to as "female Marines." They are, simply, Marines.

What is the nickname for a woman Marine? ›

They were often nicknamed "Marinettes", and helped with the office duties at the Headquarters Marine Corps, so the men who usually worked the administrative roles could be sent to France to help fight in the war.

What is the Army's creed? ›

Soldier's Creed

I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit.

Who fights more Army or Marines? ›

The Army has a force of roughly 500,00 active duty Soldiers, while the active duty Marine Corps is under 200,000. . The Army is composed of multiple subgroups, including the Infantry, Special Forces and the Army Rangers.

What does semper fortis mean? ›

Semper fortis (Latin: Always courageous), an unofficial motto of the United States Navy.

Do you get nicknames in the military? ›

Nicknames have long been part of military lore. Evidence suggests soldiers have given pet names to their buddies or themselves since the Civil War or earlier. Some sobriquets applied to entire groups: doughboys, grunts, jarheads.

Who started Hoorah? ›

The recon Marines, who heard this sound often, started using it as a motivational tool during runs and physical training. Over time, the word "Aarugha" came to be too much of a mouthful, and eventually molded itself into the familiar "Oorah," according to Maj. Gary Marte, a retired Marine.

What is the history of hooyah? ›

Hooyah is the battle cry used in the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard to build morale and signify verbal acknowledgment. It originated with special forces communities, especially the Navy SEALs, and was subsequently adopted by other Navy divisions.

What do soldiers say before battle? ›

Hooah /ˈhuːɑː/ is a battle cry used by members of the United States Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Space Force.


1. Army hooah🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
(keep it 8 yr vet)
2. Army Terminology and Slang Hooah?
3. Hooah Meaning
4. hooah meaning and pronunciation
(The WTF Channel)
5. Can I get a Hooyah origin?
(Ask About SPORTS)
6. U.S. Army Reserve "Capture Your Hooah" Video Competition
(U.S. Army Reserve)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Stevie Stamm

Last Updated: 27/08/2023

Views: 6550

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Stevie Stamm

Birthday: 1996-06-22

Address: Apt. 419 4200 Sipes Estate, East Delmerview, WY 05617

Phone: +342332224300

Job: Future Advertising Analyst

Hobby: Leather crafting, Puzzles, Leather crafting, scrapbook, Urban exploration, Cabaret, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is Stevie Stamm, I am a colorful, sparkling, splendid, vast, open, hilarious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.