Show Slang
Pronounced 'A-wall'. Absent Without Leave. The state of not being where one is supposed to be or ordered to be without permission, such as approved leave or a pass. One who is AWOL for more than 30 days is considered to have committed desertion, which is a much more serious matter.
Short for 'Business Girl.' Another term for prostitute
Bag Him:
Phrase meaning to employ an artificial respirator device to force air into a patients lungs. This can be a stand alone device or part of the anesthesia dispensing system. "He's not breathing. Bag him!"
Bird (Colonel):
A full Colonel as opposed to the lower ranking Lt. Colonel. The term is derived from the insignia. The full Colonel's insignia is a silver eagle. The insignia for a Lt. Colonel is a silver oak leaf. Potter is a bird colonel, whereas Henry Blake was a Lt. Colonel.
Bug Out:
The process of rapidly packing up the facility and moving it elsewhere. A bug out is generally ordered when the facility is in imminent danger of enemy attack or being overrun by the enemy.
Verb meaning to reduce a soldier's rank as a disciplinary measure for a serious infraction that does not merit a court martial.
Military term for a soldier who performs duties similar to that of a civilian hospital orderly.
Another term for 'surgeon.' A 'chest cutter' would be a thoracic surgeon.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Official name of North Korea.
Short for evacuation. In the context of MASH, once patients have undergone surgery and are stabilized, they are evacuated (moved) to a more permanent medical facility for further treatment or disposition. From the 4077th, patients are evacced to the 121st Evac Hospital in Seoul.
Flag Officer:
A military officer who has attained the rank of Brigadier General (one star) or higher.
Gas Passer:
Another term for anesthesiologist.
Short for Kitchen Police. An undesirable assignment doing menial work in the kitchen of the mess facility. Usually involves food preparation, such as potato peeling, as well as cleaning. Usually assigned as a disciplinary measure for minor infractions.
Military term for any type of toilet facility. At the 4077th, the latrine is essentially an outhouse that accommodates multiple users.
Locally Indiginous Personnel. Person or persons native to the area being occupied by a military unit.
A portable stretcher consisting of a large piece of canvas mounted between two long wooden poles.
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. A temporary, relocatable hospital facility positioned close to the front lines of an armed conflict. The facility's proximity to the fighting allows wounded soldiers to get comprehensive medical attention more quickly, increasing their probability of survival.
Military term for food service. At the 4077th, the staff takes their meals in the mess tent.
Military Police. The military police perform law enforcement functions within the military.
The officers club. At the 4077th, enlisted personnel are welcome as well. The officer's club at the 4077th is a bar that is run by the unit as a morale and recreation function. It also has a juke box, an out of tune spinette piano and two nickel slot machines. On occasion, meetings may be held at the club, or other events, such as a poker game or going away party. On permanent installations, the O-club usually has food service, a banquet room, and other amenities such as a barber shop and small convenience store.
Officer of the Day. At smaller military installations where no provost marshal has been assigned, the officer of the day is a detail rotated each day among the unit/post's commissioned officers to oversee security, guard, and law enforcement considerations. At the 4077th, being the OD is considered to be an annoying nuisance, other than to Major Burns.
Short for "operating room." Sterile facility where major surgery is performed.
Verb meaning to clean or neaten. "Police the compound!" means to pick up trash and/or other debris in the compound and dispose of it properly.
Short for Post-operative ward. After completing surgery, patients recover in post-op under the care of the medical staff until they are stable enough to return to their unit or be moved to a more permanent facility.
Rest and Recuperation or Rest and Recreation. An authorized absence that allows the service member to get away from the day to day routine of their duties or to recover from injuries or wounds. Usually bestowed as a reward for superior performance or after a stressful period of continuous duty with little or no rest. At the 4077th, those going on R&R usually go to Seoul or Tokyo.
Regular Army:
Contrast with 'reserve.' Regular army officers are those with a career orientation within the Army. Col. Potter and Major Houlihan are Regular Army, having been in te Army for a number of years. The doctors (Pierce, Hunnicutt, Burns, Winchester, Blake) are draftees and part of the US Army Medical Corps (USAMC.) They are technically in the US Army Reserves, but have been called to active duty. The subordinate nurses are likely reservists as well, but volunteers in order to gain experience in the nursing profession, as females were not subject to the draft at the time.
Republic of Korea. Official name of South Korea.
A substitute for government issued legal tender that is recognized in a specific area as valid currency. Scrip is used in war zones to prevent actual currency from getting into enemy hands, the black market and other illegitimate channels. It also serves to control the local indiginous economy which can be adversely affected by a large influx of outside currency. If compromised, a series of scrip can easily be invalidated by issuing a new series of scrip, usually in a different color.

The staff at the 4077th is paid in military scrip. The soldiers then use it as though it were regular currency, even for gambling. Some local merchants, such as Rosie's Bar, accept it as well, as Rosie has a number of illegal ways she can convert it should it become necessary.
Section 8:
Numbered section of the regulations concerning discharge from military service. Section 8 concerns itself with discharge for psychiatric seasons. Klinger spend a great deal of energy attempting to get a Section 8 discharge by dressing in women's clothing among other odd behavior.
Two meanings:

1. Universal distress call. Used for it's easily recognized pattern in morse code: . . . - - - . . .

2. In the mess tent it refers to creamed chipped beef on toast, usually served at breakfast. The term SOS means Sh*t on a Shingle.
Stars & Stripes:
The name of the official newspaper published by the US Military and distributed to all military units. The paper is considered an official source of information regarding news and events in the military. Critically, it can not be considered objective as it presents only the official military point of view.
Medical term for 'immediately.' "Get this patient in the OR stat!"
The Swamp:
How the surgeons affectionately refer to the tent they live in. It is usually messy and disorderly except for the area occupied by Major Burns and subsequently Major Winchester.