Dictionary of South Pole English

When you go to Cheech you might hear somebody saying things like: “I finally got PQ’ed. Left CONUS 2 days ago for CHC. They had my POO mixed up and I had to drive to LAX. I met my PI today at the CDC to get our ECW. Heard the AMANDroids boomeranged twice from McMurdo and have to bagdrag again tonight.” Comprende?

The dictionary was originally written by the 1999 winter-over crew. Since then I added new items.

airdrop n. An old South Pole tradition of supplying, via C-141 aircraft, freshies and mail to moribund Polies during the dead of winter. Most often conducted during the full moon nearest winter solstice. Due to budget restraint this fantastic tradition was terminated in 1995 and is only used in cases of emergencies.
alien mating call n.
AASTO, an instrument which measures cloud altitudes by use of a
variable frequency sonar. The sonar emits audible chirping
sounds and is often suspected of attracting aliens.
See also: "them"
all call n.
Announcement over the South Pole public address system. Also
used to inform the station when someone is drunk or to find a
movie which is in somebody”s room instead of the place where it
See also: Black Box
Antarctic Muon And Neutrino Detector Array; the
most complex of all the instruments at the South Pole, AMANDA is
a gigantic array of detectors buried up to 1 mile deep in the
polar Ice. As the name implies, it is designed to detect
neutrinos, the most elusive, yet most abundant particle in the
See also: Dark Sector, MAPO
AMANDroid n.
One who works with the AMANDA project.
See also: AMANDA

Antfucking Arctica n.
A term of endearment for our lovely continent and home.
See also: Ice
a-pole-ogy n.
A South Pole apology. When you offend or do wrong you give an
a-pole-ogy. Some Polies are better at this than others.
ARO n.
Atmospheric Research Observatory, also known as “Clean Air”. As
the name implies, atmospheric and climatological research is
conducted here.
See also: Clean Air, Slushies, clean air sector

ASA n.
Antarctic Support Associates, the contract company which managed
the South Pole station until March 2000. Now Raytheon Polar
Services (RPSC) holds the contract.
ASS n.
Antarctic Station Savers.
Antarctica Submillimeter Telescope/Remote Observatory; looking
much like a satellite TV dish, AST/RO observes gigantic
molecular clouds where stars are born and die, using
electromagnetic wavelengths in the microwave range.
See also: CARA, Dark Sector

August n.
One long fucking month.
See also: Cheech

aurora n.
Upper atmospheric light displays caused by the interaction of
free electrons in the earth”s magnetic field and atmosphere.
BAC n.
Big Ass Cookie, the term given to the large and delicious
cookies for which the South Pole galley is famous. Unitl 1998
aircratf would park right in front of the Dome and they crew
would come in to get their BACs from the galley. Now the flight
deck is further away from the Dome. Runour has it that this is
the true reason for the bad flying season 2000/2001.
bag and barrel n.
Located at remote buildings with no indoor plumbing. Used to
store human fecal matter, often placed outside the buildings
where contents are frozen solid.
See also: U-barrel
bag drag v.
Pre-deployment torture test. Baggage check-in for travel to
Antfuckingarctica. Often conducted the day before departure
from Christchurch to McMurdo, or McMurdo to Pole or
vice-versa. In McMurdo one has to go uphill with all belongings.
balaclava n.
A fabric tube closed at the top end and often made from
fleece. The balaclava protects the neck, face and head from
cold. Regularly becomes clogged with frost, frozen snot and
spittle. Never mistake someone else”s balaclava for your
See also: neck gaiter
banana sled n.
An elongated fiberglass snow sled, painted red or blue, used for
hauling around station supplies and trash. Usually pulled by a
person, but can be connected to a snowmobile.
See also: Nansen sled

beeker n.
Term of endearment. All South Pole scientists
are called beekers.
See also: Beeker Box
Beeker Box n.
A large, two story, elevated dormitory remote from the South
Pole Dome. Originally used as summer only housing for visiting
scientists. Starting 1999, it is used for winter-over housing as
the South Pole winter population increased from 28 to now 52
See also: Blue Box, El Dorm, beeker, suburbs
beaking v.
To conduct science or work on a science project.
See also: beeker
bear claws n.
Oversized mittens, technically referred to as fur backed
. Found to be the warmest mittens for the hands.
During outside work requiring high finger dexterity, these warm,
oversized, cumbersome mittens are often removed, resulting in
frost bite.
BIF n.
Balloon Inflation Facility. A large building in which the
meteorological department and NOAA prepare helium balloons for
our respective programs. Meteorology launches daily MET sondes
and NOAA launches weekly ozone profiling sondes.
Biomed n.
The South Pole medical clinic, also known as the Hard Truth
Medical Center
or Club Med and in general, the place
to go when you need an excuse not to work.

Black Box n.
Used to be the South Pole movie library. Now that the South
Pole has gotten a full time recreation person a check out system
was introduced. Some of the movies were moved to the store. The
selection of these “special” movies will forever remain a
mystery to Polies. The movies not chosen to be in the store are
now scattered throughout the station and it is impossible to
find a certain movie. The old Black Box systems used to be so
blue boots n.
One of two styles of US Antarctic Program issue boots. Also
referred to as “Frankenstein Boots” This style is constructed
mostly of thick, blue, quilted fabric with a hard rubber
sole. Often considered to be warm. Users can be seen tripping,
falling and/or slipping over the sastrugi snow fields on their
way to work.
See also: bunny boots
Blue Box n.
The South Pole elevated dormitory.
See also: Beeker Box, El Dorm, beeker, suburbs

Blue Room n.
A space in the food storage archway originally used for storage.
The site of a South Pole death when a summer cook, clearing snow
from a ventilation shaft, was crushed by the falling snow. The
room is no longer used as it is considered to be haunted.
Bone Yard n.
Outdoor parking area for machines not used during the winter
season. Good luck getting these machines started.
boo n.
Bamboo. At the South Pole, bamboo sticks are used as flag
poles, flag/rope lines and markers for items or locations which
may be covered by drifting snow.
boondoggle n.
An unauthorized trip from one Antarctic station to
another. Folks working at McMurdo Station may convince an Air
Guard pilot to smuggle them onto a flight to Pole. Often results
in loss of job.
See also: sleigh ride
bunny boots n.
One of two styles of US Antarctic Program issue boots. This style is constructed mostly of layered rubber sheets between which are insulating materials. As a result of its rubber construction, these boots retain moisture, causing smelly feet or in the worst cases, trench foot.

Legend has it that world famous heavy equipment operator Jake Speed was born in bunny boots.

See also: blue boots

burnt v.
Frost bitten.
See also: nipped
cannibal n.
A Polie who eats toast.
See also: toast
Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica. The
organization which manages all astronomy projects at the South
Pole station.
cargo berms n.
Location for outside storage of materials and supplies. During
the winter months the cargo berms are almost entirely covered in
drifted snow. GAs spend the entire summer season shoveling snow
to clear the materials from the drifts.
See also: Cargoid, GA, materials

Cargoid n.
A Polie responsible for tracking incoming and outgoing cargo.
Often found scratching head at the cargo berms or in front of a
computer screen displaying MAPCON, looking for lost cargo.
See also: MAPCON, cargo berms, materials
case v.
Short for, “buy a case of beer”. Polies who are late to work or
miss a power plant watch are often cased.
Cat sand n.
The mushy, soft snow left after a Caterpillar tractor rumbles by
and difficult if not impossible to walk on. Most common near
the entrance to the heavy shop garage.
CDC n.
Clothing Distribution Center. Located at the Antarctic Center,
Christchurch, New Zealand, were all Ice bound people receive
their ECW gear, conduct bag drag and wait for a flight to
McMurdo Station.
See also: Cheech, ECW gear, bag drag

Cheech n.
(CHC), Kiwis insist that it is called Christchurch. Also known
as the garden capital of New Zealand. Cheech is the primary
staging point for the US Antarctic Program and here Ice bound
personnel experience their first bag drag. Due to their
extraordinarily pale (transparent) skin, post-Antarctic
personnel, especially Polies, stand out amongst the local
population. Remarks often heard in Cheech are, “you must be
from Antarctica”. At the South Pole, during the fucking long
month of August, reference to Cheech is heard in an oft-repeated
question, “what you gonna do when you get to Cheech?”
See also: August, bag drag
Christmas in July n.
A South Pole holiday occurring on or around July 25. Polies
often attend festivities in toga costume and exchange gag gifts.
Clean Air n.
The atmospheric laboratory before the modern ARO facility was
built. Also in reference to the air coming from upwind South
Pole station, often referred to as the Cleanest Air on Earth.
clean air sector n.
Located upwind from the entire South Pole station, it is the
region between grid 340o and
110o. Considered the “cleanest air on earth”, it is
the primary resource for atmospheric and climate related science
at the South Pole. Also the region from which snow is procured
for Friday evening Slushies.

See also: ARO, Clean Air, Slushies

coffee n.
At the South Pole: Mud, blood, medicine, nectar of da Gods, go
juice, Antarctic amphetamine, drug of choice, the “Force”, the
dark shit found in the pot each morning. Also in reference to
coffee: Paper money (coffee filters), galley dirt (coffee
grounds), catastrophe (no more coffee).
cold adj.
When the outside temperature drops below
See also: warm
comms n.
South Pole communications, site of HF radio, satellite and
internet phone links to “them”. Also known for its Saturday
night old-time jam sessions.
See also: "them"

construction debris n.
No one knows what this is.
Continental USA. In a Polie”s memory, a long time ago, a place
far, far away.
CTS, TCN, Julian date, WBS… n.
What the hell are all these numbers anyway? No wonder we can”t
find anything around here!
DA n.
Dining Attendant. Perhaps the lowest ranking position in the
world, in every sense of the word. But hey, if you want to get
to the South Pole.
See also: GA
Dark Sector n.
Located about one half mile from the Dome and on the opposite
side of the skiway. The area and the buildings are dedicated to
astronomical observations.

diamond dust n.
Ice crystals suspended in mid-air. Diamond dust wreaks havoc on
outdoor flash photography during the dark winter months.
dinner list n.
A South Pole end of season tradition of passing a notebook
around the dinner table to collect each Polie”s home address and
contact information. In modern times this information is
gathered through station-wide e-mail announcements.
disregard n.
Announced over the station public address system after a false
fire alarm.
See also: all call

Do Not Freeze, used by Cargoids to mark boxes full of precious
freshies or sensitive scientific equipment. DNF also designates
the heated summer Jamesway used for storing DNF cargo but more
commonly used for Saturday night parties. DNF can also be
called “good common sense” for South Pole living.
See also: 300 Club, ECW gear
Dome Brew n.
Home brew made at the South Pole station.
See also: Dome Brewers Association

Dome Brewers Association n.
The people who brew beer at the South Pole station.
See also: Dome Brew
dome slug n.
A Polie who lives and works under the South Pole dome. Some
dome slugs have been known to stay inside the dome for their
entire winter season! One is compelled to ask “why didn’t you
stay in CONUS and live in a closet for nine months?”
See also: August, CONUS, domie

dome thunder n.
The noise heard inside the dome during strong wind events which
rattle the dome panels.
Domie n.
A Polie who lives and works under the dome.
See also: dome slug
Dormie n.
A Polie who lives in the Elevated Dorm.
See also: Beeker Box, Blue Box, El Dorm, suburbs
Dragqueen n.
A Caterpillar Challenger used to grrom the runway. Considered
fast compared to the other vehicles
drift n.
Short for snow drift.
See also: sastrugi
DV n.
Distinguished Visitor; often a high level government official or
foreign dignitary who absorbs everyone”s limited summer time
with requests for photo-ops, tours and general attention giving.
See also: sleigh ride
ECW gear n.
Extreme Cold Weather gear, government issue clothing distributed
to all US Antarctic Program personnel. Useful for keeping
See also: CDC, DNF, balaclava, bear claws, blue boots, bunny boots
El Dorm n.
The elevated dormatory, a blue, two story, insulated, Spanish
villa used as housing for summer and winter personnel. The gray
water filter system in the El Dorm is often found clogged with a
mysterious fibrous plug.
See also: Beeker Box, Blue Box, Dormie, suburbs
fingy n.
[pronounced FIN-jee] From FNG, Fucking New Guy/Gal. Everyone”s
a fingy during their first week at Pole. Come October
25th this station will be overrun with fingys. God
help us!
flag line n.
Bamboo flags and rope put up before dark to mark paths to ARO,
MAPO and the suburbs.
flapping v.
Used to describe the poor Internet connection during satellite
overlap periods, most prevalent when both TDRS and GOES are
up. The Internet routers cannot decide which satellite to use so
no information is passed.
Flying Pig n.
An old Navy term for the LC-130.
See also: Herc

FMC n.
Facilities, Maintenance and Construction. Senior summer FMC
personnel are most often found gathered for meetings at the very
convenient hour of 4am.
free cycle v.
To sleep whenever tired, work whenever awake. A common result
of continuous light or darkness at the South Pole. For many
Polies dinner becomes breakfast, breakfast becomes dinner and
midnight snack becomes lunch.
freshie n.
Any fresh fruit or vegetable found at the South Pole. Freshies
are most common during the summer season when LC-130 flights
bring a sporadic supply. Following a long winter Polies are
known greedily devour freshies brought in on the first flight,
then spend long periods in the head.
See also: freshie shack, head

freshie shack n.
As the name implies, the place where freshies are stored. Also
known as the South Pole”s heated refrigerator.
See also: freshie, grocery store
frosty adj.
What a Polie is called when frost coats the face, eyebrows,
eyelashes, mustache and beard and snotsicles hang from the
See also: snotsicle

Fuelie n.
An attractive woman responsible for transferring JP-8 from or to
an LC-130 or any other airplane at the South Pole.
See also: JP-8
GA n.
General Assistant, i.e. snow shoveler, summer only. Perhaps the
second lowest ranking job on the planet, in every sense of the
word. But hey, if you want to go to the South Pole.

galley n.
The place where we eat, socialize, host parties and listen to
See also: housemouse
going fishing v.
To sound the outfall at the very end of the utilidoor, i.e. to
make sure Lake Patterson is not backing up.
See also: Lake Patterson
go shopping v.
To go about the food storage areas of the dome collecting
ingredients for the next meal. The cooks are often heard to
say, “I need to go shopping for tomorrow”s dinner.” A dedicated
banana sled is often used as the shopping cart. Smart Polies
are wise to heed the words inscribed on this sled which say
“Galley use Only – Don”t piss off the cooks!”
got bit v.
To have gotten frostbite.
See also: burnt, nipped
grocery store n.
Another name for freshie shack, also refers to a heated
storeroom for DNF food items.
See also: freshie shack
halo n.
A beautiful summer sky display created by the interaction of
sunlight and airborne ice crystals.
hamm patch n.
A hamm radio to telephone connection which State side volunteer
amateur radio enthusiasts set up to allow Polies to communicate
with family and friends. The advent of satellite communications
which allow for private e-mail and intern phone has relegated
hamm patch communications to nothing more than a quaint old
fashion method.
See also: comms

hand warmers n.
At the South Pole, the “Grabber Mycoal, 7+ Hours Instant Heat”
dry chemical heat source for gloves and boots. Also used on
cameras, flashlights and anything else exposed to the extreme
head n.
South Pole unisex bathroom.
Herc n.
Short for LC-130 Hercules aircraft. The primary aircraft to
transport people and materials from McMurdo Station to the South
See also: Flying Pig

Hollywood shower n.
Any shower lasting longer than two minutes.
house mouse n.
1. The name given to a general kitchen assistant. During
the winter season, housemouse duties are assigned to all station
personnel on a rotating basis. With 39 available candidates
(cooks being excluded) a Polie can expect to be called upon
every 39 days. Duties include washing dishes, mopping floors,
bussing tables, vacuuming, stocking cereal and cookie supplies,
filling salt and pepper shakers, etc. and most importantly,
selecting galley music for the entire work day. 2. The
name given to a Polie responsible for cleaning public spaces in
the general living quarters, the lucky Polie selected on a
rotating basis. Responsibilities include cleaning toilets,
sinks, showers, mopping floors, restocking paper towels, toilet
tissue and laundry detergent and vacuuming public hallways, etc.
Housemousing abilities vary according to a Polies upbringing and
sense of community responsibility.
Ice n.
As in “The Ice”.What experienced Polies call Antarctica, the
continent in which 98% of the land area is covered by snow and
ice 365 days per year.
See also: Antfuckingarctica
ice grass n.
Summer only; small ice crystals which grow from the snow
surface, found after long periods of calm weather and intense
ice quake n.
Miniature quakes, heard more often than felt, caused by shifting
Ice time n.
An individual”s accumulated time working and living on
Antarctica. Large amounts of Ice time may indicate an
unbalanced life. But who really knows what”s normal
Inner City n.
The South Pole dome, most often populated by dome slugs.
JP-8 n.
The primary fuel for generating South Pole”s heat and
electricity. Everything on station smells like JP-8.
Kiwi n.
A New Zealander. Some of the friendliest people on the
planet. Many Polies spend some time in New Zealand before or
after “The Ice”. Some of them get stuck in New Zealand for a
live time. On Antarctica Kiwis can be found at New Zealand”s
Antarctic Research station, Scott Base, walking distance from
McMurdo station.
See also: Ice
Call sign for the South Pole radio station, 87.5 on the FM dial,
playing music 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, all winter long. Music
is selected from a random play, 100 CD disc changer.
Lake Patterson n.
The South Pole sewage outfall, located near the rodwell.
See also: going fishing, rodwell

love shack n.
Summer only, also known as ski shack and rut hut.
A small solar heated shack furnished with a bed, table and
chair, dragged two miles from station and used as a resting
point for hikers and skiers, or for anamored South Pole couples
(usually male and female) looking for a private escape.
Mac Town n.
McMurdo Station, Antarctica. A dusty, ugly, whoring town on the
coast of Antfuckingarctica. Also referred to as McMud.
Populated by McMurdites. McMurdo is often referred to as
“an unfortunate layover on the way to Pole.”
See also: McMud, McMurdites, McMurdo crud, bag drag

MAPCON n. also=”Cargoids, Materials, cargo berms”
A 1950s era inventory and equipment tracking software program,
version 247.18.3.X.beta, programmed in COBOL.
Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory. A large laboratory located in
the Dark Sector and housing SPIREX, VIPER and AMANDA research
See also: AMANDA, CARA, Dark Sector, SPIREX, VIPER

materials n.
The people working with South Pole materials and supplies.
Often found scratching heads in front of a computer monitor
displaying MAPCON.
See also: MAPCON, cargo berms, cargoids
McMud n.
McMurdo station during the summer.
See also: MacTown, McMurdite, McMurdo crud

McMurdite n.
One who lives and works at McMurdo Station. Not a true
Antarctic experience since McMurdo Station rests on an island
removed from the actual continent of Antarctica. Don”t ever let
a McMurdite tell you he/she has been to Antarctica.
See also: MacTown, McMud, McMurdo crud
McMurdo crud n.
Upper respiratory infection contracted by exposure to new people
from all over the world. Polies often contract this vile
sickness during their unfortunate MacTown layover on their
journey from Christchurch to Pole or vice-versa.
See also: MacTown, McMud, McMurdite

MET n.
South Pole meteorologic department. Most commonly recognized as
the official arbiter of 300 Club membership status.
See also: 300 Club
midrats n.
Summer only, midnight meal served to the construction crew on
the night shift. Midrats often offers the best meals.
mogas n.
Gasoline. Carried to the South Pole in barrels and used to fuel
snowmobiles and other small, gasoline powered machines.
See also: motorcycle, pre mix
motorcycle n.
A snowmobile.
See also: mogas, pre mix

Nansen sled n.
A sled constructed of wood with metal runners, less common than
the banana sled.
See also: banana sled
neck gaiter n.
A fabric tube open at both ends, often made from fleece, used to
protect the neck and face from the cold.
See also: balaclava
nipped n. To be frost bit See also: burnt, got bit
NSF n.
National Science Foundation, the government agency which
finances and administers the United States Antarctic Program.
OAE n.
Old Antarctic Explorer, a person with lots of Ice time.
off deck/on deck v.
Summer only, in reference to the status of airplanes enroute to
South Pole. When a plane departs McMurdo Station the comms tech
will make a station wide announcement, “PXXX off deck, enroute
to South Pole, ETA XX o’clock.”; When the plane arrives the
comms tech will announce, “PXXX on deck.” Polies are most
interested in this information if they know mail is on board a
flight, or if the arriving flight is their plane home!
Old Pole n.
The remains of the original South Pole station, abandoned in
1975 and now completely buried by snow and ice. Old Pole is
located about one mile from the dome, on the opposite side of
the skiway. Officially off limits to all Polies.
opening day n.
Parole granted, release imminent.
orange bag n.
The large, canvas duffle bag issued to all US Antarctic Program
personnel for holding extra ECW gear. Often found overpacked,
over weight and impossible to carry.
See also: bag drag, orange bag it
orange bag it v.
Euphemistic expression implying, “I’ve had enough, I”m
getting the hell out of Antfuckingarctic!”
See also: bag drag, orange bag
P001 n.
A numbering system used to track LC-130 flights to the South
Pole. P stands for Pole, the number stands for the Nth flight
of the season, therefor P001 is the first flight to Pole earch
summer season. Each succeeding flight is numbered in the order
from which it departs McMurdo Station.
papa 3 n.
A check-in point for LC-130s enroute to South Pole. Papa 3
designates that the airplane is 20 minutes out from Pole.
PI n.
Principle Investigator; the senior beeker on each science project.
See also: beeker
polar mail n.
An old fashion communication method used by Polies to send and
receive news from home. Used when e-mail was not wide spread, a
dedicated couple in the states would receive e-mail messages
from the South Pole and snailmail them to the friends or
relatives to whom the letter was addressed. The couple running
polarmail would also transcribe letters written to Polies and
have it sent by e-mail to the South Pole. No longer in use as
most people back in the States now have access to e-mail.
pole cat n.
A person who lives at the South Pole.
See also: Polie
Polemart n.
The South Pole store. Stocks a wide variety of beer and liquor
which helps most Polies through the long winter.
See also: August
Polie n.
A person who lives at the South Pole. Usually an alcoholic,
sexual deviant, social outcast and loner.
See also: Pole Cat
POO n.
Point Of Origin, from where one started the long journey to the
South Pole. Common points of origin include mental hospitals,
recovery clinics, 12 step programs, alimony court or jail.
See also: CONUS
premix n.
A mixture of mogas and two stroke oil for the motorcycles. Mixed
in mactown by mcmurdites who forget were at 10000 feet and they
are at sea level therefore making the mixture way too rich so
the mechanics have to run out and change sparkplugs three times
too often when a motorcycle just died on someone.
See also: mogas, motorcycle
psych n.
The psychological exam required of all Antarctic winter-over
personnell. Usually considered a joke. Since they don”t
release results of the exams, one is led to ask, “Is it the
crazy people they let winter, or the sane ones? seems like the
crazy ones?” The shrinks can be easily recognized as the look
totally out of place.
See also: Pole Cat, Polie

R&R n.
A winter-over Polie”s week long vacation to MacTown prior to
South Pole station closing.
See also: MacTown
redeployment date n.
The day when a Polie is scheduled to depart the South Pole,
marked by joy and sadness.
Red Zeppelin n.
Used to fly the instruments for the SPARCLE experiment. Known to
scare the Hercs away.
See also: Herc, SPARCLE, Trailer Park
rodwell n.
The South Pole water well. Formed by pumping heated water into
the ice forming a subsurface, cavernous bulb of melted snow
which supplies the South Pole station with all its water needs.
Located near Lake Patterson.
See also: Lake Patterson

ROS date n.
Required On Station date, used to schedule personnel and cargo
arrival dates. Never used in practice.
sastrugi n.
Snow drifts formed on the open polar plateau by wind and blowing
See also: drift
sitrep n.
Situation Report. A useless administrative document required of
all South Pole department heads each Saturday morning.
skiway n.
The South Pole airplane landing strip. Called skiway since all
airplanes land with skis instead of wheels. As the longest and
smoothest straightaway found at the South Pole station, the
skiway is also used for high speed snowmobile races.
skua .
1. n. A coastal Antarctica bird resembling an oversized
seagull, most often found near the back doors to the McMurdo
kitchen and around various dumpsters, searching for discarded
food. 2. v. To find something useful that was thrown
away. At the various Antarctic stations one may find a skua
where people purposefully discard unwanted items in
hopes that someone else may find a use for it. 3. v.
To steal.
sky lab n.
The tall, orange structure found outside and upwind from the
dome. Used as a laboratory for atmospheric and aurora research
and also as a lounge. The sky lab lounge is known as the only
room, accessable from inside the dome, which has windows and
often the preferred location for the annual sunset and sunrise
sleigh ride .
1.n. To go for a snowmobile ride.
2.n. A boondoggle from McTown to Pole [archaic].
Slushies n.
A Friday night tradition at the South Pole. Polies hike to ARO
to enjoy mixed drink “Slushies” using snow from the clean air
sector, often referred to as “The Cleanest Snow on
The tradition originated in the 1970s when NOAA
first began making atmospheric and climatological measurements
at the South Pole. See also: ARO, Clean Air, clean air sector
snotsicles n.
Found hanging from the nose after extended periods of time
outside. Snot hanging from the nose, frozen into the shape of
an icicle.
See also: balaclava, neck gater

snow mine n.
Area near Lake Patterson from where snow is collected for use in
snow melters, supplying buildings in summer camp and the
elevated dorm with water.
solar toilet n.
Summer only; a solar insulated hut containing a bag and barrel
and/or U-barrel.
See also: U-barrel, bag and barrel
South Pole Area Manager, summer designation for the South Pole
manager. Personality suits the designation.
South Pole Atmospheric Radiation and Cloud Lidar Experiment. One
of the catchiest acronyms at the
Pole. A lot of brain storming went into that name after the PI
Stephen Warren realized that any respectful experiment needs a
catchy acronym to be successful. The original acronym was IRASP
for Infrared Radiation at South Pole.
See also: Red Zeppelin, SPARCLE houseboat, Trailer Park

SPARCLE houseboat n.
The shack that houses the SPARCLE experiment. The carpenters
built a nice bridge with two live rings.
See also: Red Zeppelin, SPARCLE, Trailer Park
South Pole Air Shower Experiment. Run by the AMANDroids.
See also: AMANDA, AMANDroid, SPASE walk

SPASE walk v.
Term used by AMANDroids to describe their freguent walk from the
dome to Spase 2.
See also: AMANDroid
South Pole InfraRed EXplorer. The most normal looking South
Pole telescope, a short fat tube with a shiny mirror at one end.
Designed specifically to observe objects in the thermal infrared
spectrum, SPIREX is mostly dedicated to researching star
formation, galaxies and transient events such as gamma ray
bursts or super novas (if they occur). SPIREX will be
decommissioned during the 1999-2000 summer season.
See also: Dark Sector, MAPO

stitch and bitch v.
A weekly gathering of Antarctic women, no men allowed.
suburbs .
1. n. The elevated dorm.
2. Living outside the dome (inner city).
See also: Beeker Box, Blue Box, El Dorm, Inner City

Summer Camp n.
Living quarters for summer employees and/or tourists, composed
of a group of buildings, mostly frame and fabric jamesways,
located downwind from the dome.
Summer Solstice n.
Dec. 21; get these damn tourists outta here!
Sunday Science Lecture n.
A Sunday afternoon tradition where South Pole scientists present
popular lectures on the various research projects underway at
Pole. Most common during the summer season but also organized
during the winter.
sunrise n.
Happens once per year on or around September 22, the Southern
Hemisphere”s vernal equinox, preceded by a month of continuously
intensifying twilight.
sunset n.
Happens once per year on or around March 21, the Southern
Hemisphere”s autumnal equinox, proceded by a month of
continuously diminishing twilight.
"them" .
1. n. Used in reference to some unknown or ficticious
person (associated with the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.) who has been
messing around the South Pole station without anyone being
aware. 2. n. Anyone not living at the South
Pole. 3. n. Aliens who live at the South Pole.
300 Club n. Known in short as
the 300 Club. A traditional South Pole winter-over right of
passage in which a Polie sits in the sauna at the ungodly
temperature of +200oF, then runs outside to the top of
the dome entrance snow drift when the outside air temperature is
measured at -100oF or colder. Bragging rights go to
those Polies who run all the way to the South Pole geographic
marker before returning to the dome, a round trip of over 300
See also: MET
toast adj.
Also, toasty. A term used to describe a Polie who has
been at the South Pole too long. Toasty symptoms include
forgetfulness, slow or slurred speech, short attention span,
staring, lethargic and/or antisocial behavior and self
absorbtion. Polies are most commonly afflicted during the month
of August.
See also: August, cannibal

tourist .
1. n. South Pole summer only personnel. 2.
n. Anyone who is not a winter-over Polie. 3. n. DVs
4. n. “them”
See also: "them", DV

Trailer Park n.
The area were the SPARCLE experiment is being conducted.
See also: Red Zeppelin, SPARCLE houseboat, Trailer Park
triwall n.
Very large, triple walled cardboard boxes used for as trash and
recycleable recepticals and placed in a variety of places
throughout the station.
turbo toilet n.
High suction, low water volume toilets used in the el dorm and
summer camp.
Twatter n.
Twin Otter. A small, dual propeller, ski equipped airplane used
for servicing remote field camps throughout the Antarctic
U-barrel n.
Urine barrel. A barrel with a large funnel placed at the
opening. Used in remote buildings such as ARO and MAPO which
have no indoor plumbing.
See also: bag and barrel

United States Antarctic Program.
See also: NSF, RPSC
utilidor n.
An underground labyrinth of tunnels located below the South Pole
dome, used to route plumbing, electrical wires and communication
wires throughout the dome. Also rumored as a favourite hangout
for the aliens.
A microwave telescope looking much like a satellite TV dish, its
name meaning nothing, but it sounds cool. VIPER is tasked with
the important work of measuring the subtle variation of the
universe’s background radiation. This radiation, given off when
the universe was only 300,000 years young, is a good indication
of how the mass was distributed. Based on this early mass
distribution one can infer a total mass of the universe.
See also: Dark Sector, MAPO
volleybag n.
A version of volleyball played in the South Pole gym using a
stuffed bag in place of a ball. As a result of the low ceiling,
low net and short distance between walls, a low action, fabric
bag creates a much more competitive volley game.
warm adj.
When the outside temperature rises above above
See also: cold
water run v.
To collect snow from the snow mine.
See also: snow mine

whiteout n.
A low visibility condition caused by high winds and blowing
Winter fly-in. Early flights to McMurdo Station which bring
in extra personnel and supplies in preparation for the summer
season. Usually begins on or around August 19.
winter-over .
1. n. A Polie who spends the winter at the South
Pole. 2 v. to winter over.
See also: August, cannibal, toast

Winter Solstice n.
June 21; halfway there pal, hang in there.
Another of these great job titles: work order
Zulu .
Also UTC Universal Time Coordinate or Greenwich Mean Time. Most
science experiments at the South Pole run on UTC time.

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One Response to “Dictionary of South Pole English”

  1. scoled
    April 29th, 2009 21:12

    Good list, but your missing all of the special holiday celebrations. In 03′ we celebrated cinco de montho every month and had “practice parties” twice a week to get ready for saturday night. Not to mention the wheels up party, talk like a pirate day, urinal crawl, full moon hash, Sunrise party…etc.
    Koson Wanks!

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