These Are The Secret Code Words And Phrases You Aren't Supposed To Know

By Dave Basner

February 18, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Code words are all around us and many people even use them daily - from screaming "OMG" when something exciting happens to yelling "Mayday" when something is going wrong. However, there are also many secret phrases out there - some you might even hear in everyday life but have no idea that it means something else.

The most common places where these secret codes are communicated are where you might find large crowds - airports, cruise ships, malls, amusement parks, hospitals and businesses. Here are some of those secret words and phrases that you're not really supposed to know the true meaning of.

Photo: Getty Images

With thousands of people on one vessel and hundreds of crew members tending to those passengers as well as the ship, cruises need secret codes and phrases to be able to quickly pass along sensitive communications to workers without upsetting or alerting guests. Among these phrases are:

"Oscar, Oscar, Oscar," which is what is shouted if a passenger goes overboard. "Mr. Mob" might also be used (MOB= Man OverBoard).

"Operation Rising Star," which is uttered if someone has died.

"Code Red" means there is an outbreak of a serious illness on the ship.

"Alpha, Alpha, Alpha" is what is used when there is a medical emergency. Other secret phrases to denote this include "Code Blue," "Star Code" and "Mr. Skylight."

"Echo, Echo, Echo" could mean that a collision is imminent, but it is also used as a warning for very high winds.

"Brave, Bravo, Bravo" means there is a fire or another serious situation onboard.

"Pan-Pan" is what is said if there is a problem that isn't dire. "Mayday" would be used in a situation where lives are at risk, but when it is less severe, they go with "pan-pan."

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You've possibly heard announcements at malls letting customers know about specials that are going on or how much time is left before the stores close, but there have also been some secret phrases used there too. Like these:

"Code Adam," which means there is a missing child. It is used not just in malls, but many places with large crowds.

"Time Check" is said if there is bomb scare.

"Code 10" is what cashiers at some stores will say if they suspect someone is committing credit card fraud. They might even call the card issuer and ask for a Code 10 authorization request.

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Air travel can be very stressful, and airlines don't want to add to that by freaking out passengers who might overhear radio communications, so they use a bunch of secret phrases.

"7500" is something you never want to hear - it means that the plane is being hijacked.

"7600" is not as bad, but not great - it means there is a problem with the radio communications.

"Code Bravo" is what is used in airports as a general security alert.

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Many companies have their own IT department to handle any technical issues, but they don't always employ the nicest. Some like to complain about the workers they help, and since don't want say anything that could get them in trouble, they have their own secret phrases.

"PEBKAC" is their way of saying that the issue with your computer is you. It is an acronym that means "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair."

"Code 18" is another way to say you are what is wrong with everything. The "18" refers to the problem being 18 inches from the screen.

"EEOC" is one more way to call you dumb. It's an acronym for "Equipment Exceeds Operator Capabilities."

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Disney resorts are supposed to be the happiest places on Earth, and to keep them that way, they use secret phrases like:

"Treasured Guest," which refers to someone at the park who is being especially difficult.

"Protein Spill" is what is used to describe the aftermath of someone getting sick. It can also be called a "Code V."

"Code Winnie" is what it's called when someone has peed in the pool.

Keep an ear out for some of these secret codes and phrases now that you know what they mean.

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