Survival Dictionary

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are currently 186 names in this directory beginning with the letter A.
A-Frame Tent
Structure of a tent that resembles the letter ‘A’ from the outside. Usually constructed with a central pole over which the tarp sheet drops on both sides.

Alterations and additions to the structure, rigging and equipment of a warship.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “All after” (used after question mark to request a repetition)

AA Battery
Also called a double-A battery, it is a standard size single cell cylindrical dry battery, common in portable electronic devices. It is 49.2 to 50.5mm long and 13.5 to 14.5mm in diameter. Alkaline cells have a weight of roughly 23gm, lithium cells around 15gm and rechargeable Ni-MH cells around 31gm.

AAA Battery
Or triple-A battery is a standard size of dry cell battery used in low drain portable electronic devices. They are 44.5mm long and 10.5mm in diameter. Alkaline AAA batteries weigh around 11.5gm, lithium batteries weigh about 7.6gm and rechargeable nickel-metal hydride ones typically weigh 14 to 15gm.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “All before” (used after question mark to request a repetition)

Toward the stern, relative to some object.

Abandon Ship
Command to leave the vessel immediately, in the face of imminent overwhelming danger and is usually the last resort after all other actions have failed.

All Bets Are Off. Similar in connotation to SHTF or TEOTWAWKI.

Airway Breathing Circulation - the three elements of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Abominable Snowman
Term was coined in 1921 when Lt Col Charles Howard-Bury led the British Mt Everest reconnaissance expedition and wrote about crossing footprints that “were probably caused by a large ‘loping’ grey wolf, which in the soft snow formed double tracks rather like a those of a bare-footed man”. According to his sherpas they were of ‘The Wild Man of the Snows’.

Above Ground Level (AGL)
Usually used in aviation to measure the height with respect to the ground. AGL is different from Above Sea Level or altitude since it calculates the distance from the ground at any point to the aircraft, for instance when flying over mountains.

A bleeding wound that is superficially on the skin. It is less serious than other kinds of bleeding wounds, but care has to be taken to keep it clean so that it does not become affected.

The process by which a climber can descend a fixed rope. Also known as rappelling.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “About”

Area Commander.

Fear of bugs and insects.

Acclimate or Acclimatise
The process of the body adapting to vertical change in altitude.

Sold under the name Diamox, it is used for a lot of ailments. For adventurers, it is often the prescribed medicine for altitude illness.

Achilles Heel
A weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall.

Achilles Tendon
Tendon at the back of the leg and the thickest in the body. Attaches calf muscles to the heel bone and can rupture and get inflamed. Depending on the seriousness, recovery from an Achilles tendon injury can take a year and a half to heal.

Fear of darkness.

Acid Rain
Mixture of suspended chemical contaminants in the atmosphere that comes down with rain.

Acid Reflux
Normally, the valve at the entrance to the stomach closes as food passes through it. If it doesn’t close or opens too often, acid produced in the stomach can move up into the esophagus causing a burning chest pain or heartburn.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support. A set of clinical interventions for the urgent treatment in the case of a cardiac arrest, stroke, as well as the knowledge and skills to use these interventions.

Fear of heights.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
A common thermoplastic polymer that is extremely lightweight, impact resistant and tough and works within a temperature range from −20° to 80°C.

Actinic Conjunctivitis
Inflammation of the eye due to prolonged exposure to actinic (ultraviolet) rays. Symptoms are redness and swelling of the eyes.

Action Camera
Compact, rugged and waterproof it is a digital camera designed for filming primarily video action with minimal control from the videographer. Associated with outdoor sports, they are often attached to helmets, surfboards, handlebars, etc to become an integral part of extreme sports.

Activated Charcoal
Charcoal is processed through machines to have a large number of small pores to increase the surface area and to aid in the absorption of chemical contaminants. In emergencies it can be used to treat some kinds of poisonings.

Army (Airman) Combat Uniform is the battle uniform worn by the United States Army and some units of the US Air Force and the US Navy such as SEALs and sailors assigned to army units. ACUs are made of 50% nylon and 50% cotton.

Acute Altitude Illness
Physiological changes occur in every person who goes to altitude, like hyperventilation, shortness of breath during exertion, increased urination, changed breathing pattern, waking frequently at night, dreams, etc. If not treated this can lead to Acute Altitude Illness. It is a self limiting condition though in extreme cases can lead to fatality.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Same as Acute Altitude Illness, AMS is the more common term to describe conditions affecting the body’s physiology at altitude. It is still not clear why it affects some and not others. Just because one has not suffered before, does not mean one cannot suffer in the future.

Asian Development Bank.

Asia Disaster Preparedness Centre.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Address”

Adrenal Gland
A major organ of the endocrine system located on top of the kidneys, chiefly responsible for the synthesis of hormones released into the blood stream during a stress response. Cortisol is the major hormone released by the adrenal gland.

A substance that is released in the body of a person who is feeling emotions such as excitement, fear or anger causing the heart to beat faster, giving the person more energy.

Adrenaline Rush
A surge of strength and energy brought on by a dangerous situation, as if by the release of adrenaline in the body.

Floating without any navigation or steering control, particularly in the open sea.

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)
Training programme for management of acute trauma for initial assessment, care and treatment to prevent fatality. The purpose is to stabilise the victim till evacuation to a medical facility.

Exciting, unusual, bold, risky experience, with an uncertain outcome, with potential for physical danger.

Axe-shaped cutting tool with the cutting edge perpendicular to the handle, used for smoothing or carving wood. The short handled hand adze is swung with one hand. The long handled foot adze delivers powerful swings using both hands.

Aerobic Exercise
Also known as cardio, it is physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.

Hibernation during the summer months.

Should not be used in radio communications since it can be confused with NEGATIVE. Instead, the proword ROGER is used.

Establishment of a forest in an area where there was no forest.

Rearmost but onboard part of a boat or ship.

Earthquakes immediately after a major one. Sometimes aftershocks can be significant and as large as the initial earthquake.

Fear of insanity.

The stiff pieces that are at the two ends of a shoelace.

Fear of pain.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Again”

God of fire and acceptor of sacrifices in Hindu mythology.

Agonic Line
A line of zero compass declination, where the compass points to both true and magnetic north.

Fear of wild animals.

A naval cry to draw attention.

Fear of needles or pointed objects.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Air Draft
Distance from the water surface to the highest point on a vessel. The clearance is the distance in excess of the air draft to the bottom of a bridge to help it pass without collision.

Air Dry
Drying food with air to remove moisture so that it can be stored for consumption later.

Also Known As. Used for pseudonyms, aliases, nicknames, working names, pen names, maiden names, titles, etc.

A ledge on a hillside surrounded by vertical rocks on three sides.

The distance between outstretched arms. It is an old Mongolian measurement.

Aldis Lamp
A signal lamp for optical communication, typically using Morse code, named after Arthur Cyril Webb Aldis who invented a widely used design.

An acronym for All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment which can be fitted to belts and harnesses to carry equipment.

A device that allows one to sight a distant object and use the line of sight to measure the angle to the object from some reference point. Angles measured can be horizontal, vertical or in any chosen plane.

Alkaline Battery
Type of battery that works on the reaction between zinc and manganese oxide. Rechargeable alkaline batteries allow reuse of specially designed cells.

All After
A proword in radio communications signifying “Please repeat the message you just sent me beginning after the word or phrase said after this proword.”

All Before
A proword in radio communications signifying “Please repeat the message you just sent me ending before the word or phrase said after this proword.

All Hands On Deck
Something said when all available help is required to complete a task in a short period of time.

All Wheel Drive (AWD)
An AWD vehicle is one with a powertrain capable of providing power to all its wheels, whether full-time or on-demand, with two, three or four axles.

A crocodilian with only two living species - the American alligator and the Chinese alligator.

Action Learning Project.

The highest ranking individual is designated as the alpha. Males, females, or both, can be alphas, and when a male and one female fulfill this role together, they are referred to as the alpha pair. Other animals in the group exhibit deference or subordinate behaviours towards the alpha(s). They have preferential access to food and sex or mates.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot
Adios, motherfuckers.

Alpine Style Climbing
Mountaineering in a self-sufficient manner, carrying food, shelter, equipment, etc, and not using fixed ropes, porters or oxygen.

An instrument to measure elevation above mean sea level using barometric pressure.

The elevation of a particular location with reference to mean sea level.

Fear of heights.

Aluminium Foil
Often incorrectly termed tin foil, aluminium foil or kitchen foil, it is made of layers of aluminium. It is often used to wrap hot food to maintain heat, water resistance and insulating properties.

AM (Amplitude Modulation)
A way of broadcasting radio signals in the form of electromagnetic waves. AM works by modulating (varying) the amplitude of the signal or carrier transmitted according to the information being sent while the frequency remains constant.

AM/FM Radio
Radio waves transmit sound by radiating electromagnetic energy. An instrument that has a receiver or a transmitter or both is called a radio. The waves are transmitted either in Amplitude Modulation (AM) or Frequency Modulation (FM). An AM/FM radio can send and/or receive in both frequencies.

Amadou or horseshoe fungus is a spongy, flammable substance prepared from bracket fungi. It is used as tinder and also, when smouldering, as a portable firelighter.

Ambient Temperature
Temperature of the surrounding environment.

Someone who can walk about on his own.

In the middle of a ship or boat.

Cold-blooded vertebrates like frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, etc. Similar to reptiles, amphibians have an aquatic gill-breathing larval stage, followed by a terrestrial lung-breathing adult stage, which reptiles do not.

Anabatic Wind
Warm wind blowing up a steep slope or mountain side, driven by heating of the slope.

Anaerobic Exercise
A physical exercise intense enough to cause lactate to form. It promotes strength, speed, power and muscle mass, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last from seconds to up to about two minutes.

The figure 8 pattern formed of the Sun if a photograph is taken at the same time and from the same place each day for an entire year. The figure changes by location and time of day. It is formed due to the Earth’s 23.5° tilt and its elliptical orbit.

An allergic reaction that comes on quickly and can cause death. Symptoms are itchy rash, swelling of the throat or tongue, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness and low blood pressure. Causes include insect bites and stings, poisonous foods and medications.

Instrument to measure wind speed. It is particularly useful since the temperature perceived by the skin can be well below the air temperature due to the wind.

Animal Highway
Animals in the forest follow fairly predictable routes, particularly those that lead to water. These routes form definitive patterns and are referred to as animal highways and are good to set traps in and around.

Animal Repellents
Products designed to keep animals away. These can be natural, improvised or manufactured. The objective is to present a deterrent to the animal by presenting something that it is not used to or fears an encounter with.

Ankle Sprain
When the ligament in the ankle gets stretched or tears, it results in an ankle sprain. It is painful and can make walking difficult.

Annu Miarabilis
A remarkable or notable year in history; a year of wonders and miracles, used to speak hopefully of the future.

Annular Eclipse
Occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring surrounding the dark disk of the Moon.

Waterproof, hooded, pullover jacket without a front opening and with drawstrings at the waist and cuffs, without zippers. It retains body heat more because less heat can escape.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Antenna”

Antarctic Circle
A line of latitude located at 66°30’ South.

Anthropogenic Hazard
Contrasted with natural hazards, anthropogenic hazards are caused by human action or inaction that may adversely affect humans, other organisms, biomes and ecosystems. There are certain societal hazards that can occur by inadvertently overlooking a hazard, a failure to notice or by purposeful intent by human inaction or neglect. Criminal behaviour, civil disorider, terrorism, war, industrial and engineering hazards, waste disposal, power outage, fire, hazardous material disposal, transportation related accidents, etc are examples of human induced or anthropogenic hazards. These can also be termed man made disasters.

Used to treat bacterial infections.

Also called antibacterials, they are antimicrobial drugs used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infection. They are not effective against viruses and may be harmful.

Used to kill or prevent further growth of fungi.

Agents that kill microorganisms (microbicidal) or inhibit their growth (biostatic).

Medications that treat parasitic infections.

Bone like structure that grows from the skull of a male deer. Antlers are not horns.

The region where the occluding body appears entirely contained within the disc of the light source. An observer in this region experiences an annular eclipse, in which a bright ring is visible around the eclipsing body. If the observer moves closer to the light source, the apparent size of the occluding body increases until it causes a full umbra.

An emotion that is expressed as a reaction to a potential threat in the future.

Body structure longer than monkeys, they usually have an upright posture with long arms to swing between branches. No ape has a tail, but have opposing thumbs and can make and use tools for nut-cracking, hunting and play. There are only about two dozen species of apes.

Apex Predator
A predator at the top of a food chain. The apex predator is not preyed upon by any other predator.

For a body orbiting the Sun, the point of greatest distance is the aphelion.

Goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology.

The maintenance of honeybees to collect honey or beeswax is called apiculture and the person an apiarist.

A fear of bees.

In the Book of Revelation, John receives the revelation of ultimate victory of good over evil and end of the present age That is the primary meaning of the term. Today, it is commonly used in reference to the end of the world.

Point of the greatest distance between the Earth and the Moon.

God of archery, music, poetry,, prophecy, medicine and the God of the Sun in both Greek and ROman mythology.

Apparent Solar Time
Apparent solar time or true solar time is based on the apparent motion of the actual Sun and is based on the apparent solar day, the interval between two successive returns of the Sun to the local meridian.

Automatic Position Reporting System.

Farming of aquatic plants and animals performed under controlled conditions, unlike fishing in open lakes, rivers and seas.

A method of farming where aquaculture and hydroponics are combined in a symbiotic relationship. Water from aquaculture is fed to a hydroponic system where by-products are broken into nutrients to be utilised by plants.

Man-made channel of pipelines, canals, tunnels, etc to carry water from one location to another. An aqueduct bridge carries water over obstacles like ravines, valleys, gorges, etc.

An underground formation or group of formations in rocks and soil containing ground water to supply wells and springs.

A class of arthropods having eight legs. There are over 100,000 species, including spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites, etc.

A fear of spiders and other arachnids such as scorpions.

Goddess of the forests and the animals that dwell within them in Hindu mythology.

A professional practicing arboriculture, the cultivation, management and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines and other perennial woody plants. They generally focus on individual plants and trees, rather than managing forests or harvesting wood.

Administrative Reforms Commission.

Arc of Visibility
The portion of the horizon over which a lighted aid to navigation is visible from seaward.

A group of islands clustered together.

Arctic Circle
A line of latitude located at 66°30’ North.

Goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the Gods in Roman mythology.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Also called Shock Lung, it is a life-threatening condition resulting from inflammation in the lungs due to trauma or disease.

A thin, almost knife-like ridge of rock typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys. The edge is sharpened by freeze-thaw weathering, and the slope on either side is steepened through mass wasting events and the erosion of exposed, unstable rock.

Arid Zone
An area where evaporation from the soil is more than the precipitation.

According to the Book of Revelation, it will be the site of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end of the world. The term is used in a generic sense to refer to any end of the world scenario.

Armillary Sphere
A model of objects in the sky, in the celestial sphere, consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth or the Sun, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features such as the ecliptic. With the Earth as center, an armillary sphere is known as Ptolemaic. With the sun as center, it is known as Copernican.

Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Around”

Thin, long projectile with a sharp head in front, released using a bow. It was used in war and for hunting and now more for sport. Comprises a shaft, an arrowhead, fletching and a nock.

A deep gully, normally in arid desert regions, cut by a stream that flows for part of the year. Also referred to as a dry gulch, a wady or a wash.

Goddess of the Moon the hunt and young maidens in Greek mythology.

Thick walled blood vessels that carries pure blood from the heart to other parts of the body.

Animals with hard exoskeletons, segmented bodies and jointed limbs. Includes insects, arachnids, myriapods and crustaceans.

Personification of the reddish glow of the rising Sun, which is believed to have spiritual powers. The presence of Aruṇa, the coming of day, is invoked in Brahmin prayers to the Sun God in Hindu mythology.

As Soon As Possible.

Mechanical devices for ascending on a rope.

Solid remains of fire after complete combustion Wood ash, an end-product of campfires. The darker the ash, the higher the content of remaining charcoal, due to incomplete combustion. Ash is also a disinfecting agent and is recommended as alternative to soap.

Ashley Book of Knots (ABOK)
A comprehensive collection of knots written and illustrated by Clifford W Ashley in 1944. With almost 4,000 knots, this is the definitive guide to knots. People refer to knots by the number in this book. For instance, the Bowline is referred to as ABOK 1010.

Native American Athabaskan Earth and Nature Goddess, and the first woman to walk the Earth.

Above Sea Level. This denotes the altitude or height or distance of an object from the surface of the sea. This is different from AGL or Above Ground Level.

Asses and Elbows
When everyone is busy, such as while cleaning.

Behind a boat or ship.

Minor planets orbiting the Sun, particularly in the inner solar system. The majority of asteroids are found between Mars and Jupiter, including ones that co-orbit with Jupiter.

Asteroid Belt
Lying between Mars and Jupiter, it is estimated that there are between one and two million asteroids larger than a kilometre in diametre.

Asteroid Impact
Several asteroids have collided with earth in recent geological history. The Chicxulub asteroid is said to have caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. If such an object struck Earth it could have a serious impact on civilisation, including the possibility that humanity would be completely destroyed. For this to occur, the asteroid would need to be at least 1km in diameter. Asteroids with a 1km diameter have impacted the Earth on average once every 500,000 years.

Fear of fainting or weakness.

An elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers and navigators to measure the inclined position in the sky of a celestial body, day or night, to identify stars or planets, to determine local latitude given local time, to survey, or to triangulate. It was effective for determining latitude on land or calm seas, although less reliable in rough seas. The mariner’s astrolabe was developed to solve that problem.

Astronomical Clock
A clock with special mechanisms and dials to display astronomical information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets.

Astronomical Unit
149.6 million kilometres, the mean distance from the centre of the Earth to the centre of the Sun.

Hindu Goddess of good luck, joy and happiness.

Air Traffic Control.

Athapaskan Deadfall
A deadfall trap used to hunt animals. The term is derived from the Alaskan Athapaskan tribe who were the first to use this form of trap.

Goddess of war, wisdom and useful arts in Greek mythology.

Athlete’s Foot
Fungal infection that usually starts between the toes and occurs when feet become sweaty while being confined in tight-fitting shoes. Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. It is contagious and can be spread via contaminated floors, towels or clothing.

Spear-throwing tool with a bearing surface allowing the user to store energy during the throw. It may comprise a shaft with a cup at the end to support and propel the butt of the spear. It is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. It is a long-range weapon and can effect projectile speeds of over 150 kmph.

Advanced Trauma Life Support.

Envelope of gases surrounding the Earth based on temperature. These layers are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere. A further region at about 500km above the Earth’s surface is called the exosphere.

Atmospheric Pressure
Also called barometric pressure, it is the pressure put by the weight of air in the atmosphere at the point of measurement. With rise in altitude, the atmospheric pressure reduces. The standard atmosphere is 101325 Pa or 1013.25 hectopascals or millibars.

A coral ring forming an island in an ocean.

Aurora Borealis
Also called Aurora or Polar Light or Northern Lights, it is a natural light display in the sky, seen in Arctic and Antarctic regions. They occur when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, precipitating into the upper atmosphere where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying colour and complexity.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
Portable electronic device that diagnoses life-threatening cardiac conditions and is able to treat through defibrillation, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Automotive Battery
A rechargeable battery that supplies electric energy to vehicles. Traditionally called an SLI (Starting, Lighting, Ignition), its main purpose is to start the engine. Modern batteries are lead-acid and provide 12.6 volts of direct current, nominally 12 V. The battery is actually six small batteries, or cells, connected in series.

The practice of eating oneself, either intentionally or unintentionally. In times of starvation, the body starts eating fats and muscles to maintain energy levels. Also called autophagy.

A self amputating behaviour of some animals who shed or discard one or more of their own appendages,usually as a self-defense mechanism. The lost body part may be regenerated later.

A large sliding or falling mass of material usually associated with snow and ice.

A serious type of abrasion or laceration, it creates a flap on the skin which when lifted shows deeper tissues. It needs to be contained to prevent blood loss and infection.

So low in the water that the water is constantly washing across the surface.

A long pointed spike, usually made of metal, that is used to makes holes in wood or leather or for stitching thick material together.

Absent Without Official Leave.

A wedge shaped material with a metal head, a wooden handle and a sharp edge used to shape, split or cut wood. Also used as a weapon. Axes are bigger than hatchets.

Axial Tilt
Also known as obliquity, it is the angle between the Earth’s rotational and orbital axis causing one pole to be directed more towards the Sun on one side of the orbit, and the other pole on the other side, thus resulting in seasons. Earth’s axial tilt is between 22.1° and 24.5° on a 41,000-year cycle. It is currently 23.44° and decreasing.

Aye, Aye
Yes, I heard the order, I understand the order, and I intend to obey/carry out the order.

The degree of compass bearing from the current position to a landmark. This is calculated in degrees, read clockwise. There are two kinds of azimuth readings - True Azimuth and Magnetic Azimuth. The former is the degrees of the object clockwise from True North while the latter is the measure of degrees as read on a compass dial.

Azimuthal Equidistant Projection
A map projection where all points are at correct distances and azimuths from the center point.

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    1. wilderness survival kit canada

      The term “survival kit” may also refer to the larger, transportable survival kits ready by survivalists , known as “bug-out bags” (BOBs), “Individual Emergency Relocation Kits” (PERKs) or “get out of Dodge” (Good) kits, which are packed into backpacks, or even duffel bags. These kits are developed especially to be more simply carried by the person in case alternate forms of transportation are unavailable or impossible to use.

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