Jihadi Codewords you Should Avoid

When an eggplant is a rocket-propelled grenade

All the incessant chatter about how the American government is secretly surveilling its citizens has everyone rightly spooked. Are agents sifting through your emails, texts and phone calls? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is certain: If you are sprinkling secret terrorist code words into your online conversations, the odds that the government is watching you are definitely higher.

The following are a few words and phrases Vocativ has assembled that you might be using in your online or cellular communication but should not. They are actually secret terrorist slang.


Newlyweds Juanita and Neil Ross pose for wedding photos near the flooding Bow River in Calgary

Want to See an Example?

This term's use is very widespread, and suicide bombers often use it in their farewell videos, with the idea that they are marrying the maidens of paradise in blowing themselves up for God.  CLICK HERE TO SEE A VIDEO

Say you’re planning your bestie’s nuptials, or are getting ready to debut as a drunk and dashing groomsman. You’ve probably said the word wedding plenty. We should tell you it’s getting suspicious. Wedding is slang frequently used by jihadis to refer to “terrorist attacks.” (Grooms, you are the “terrorist bombers.”) Najibullah Zazi, who pleaded guilty of conspiring to bomb the New York City subway, sent conspicuous emails loaded with the term to Pakistan that got him noticed. And don’t even think of mentioning a wedding gift! If the wedding is the attack, you can imagine what the gift is.


rpg, food

Fun Fact

Jose Padilla went by the Arabic nickname Abdullah al-Muhajir, which literally means Abdullah the Immigrant... even though he was born in Brooklyn.

Vegetables are equally dicey. In particular, baba ghanoush lovers need beware. The mere mention of the word eggplant—jihadi slang for “rocket-propelled grenade”—could plant you on some terror watch-list or worse. The jihadist cell of would-be “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla used eggplant prominently in their coded phone conversations, which confirmed the suspicions of famished federal agents, who were listening in on the terrorists’ transmissions. Stick to hummus and show your intentions are kosher.



Yeah, tourism. In extremist terminology, the word alludes to taking part in jihad. But it’s actually a bit more complicated when it comes to the great outdoors and jihadis. In pursuit of their holy war on infidels, just about every imaginable outdoor activity now connotes jihad, including going on a picnic and smelling fresh air. Even our nation’s soccer moms aren’t safe from inadvertently piquing the interests of overworked government analysts.

“Little Girl”

This one is so beyond obvious, terrorists. Of course you can’t go around typing little girl and texting about little girl. But when secret cells of religious zealots go on and on about needing to quickly get their hands on a little girl, it is not just the stuff of a Law & Order episode—it’s actually meant to imply the procurement of a fake ID or a forged driver’s license. Which is just baffling.


mclovin terrorist

“Afterlife” (Slang that is OK)

Terrorism? What Terrorism?

Officially, the Department of Defense classified Nidal Malik Hassan's shooting of fellow servicemen as workplace violence rather than an act of terrorism. Apparently, since 9/11, the DOD has been waging the Global War on Workplace Violence. Who knew?

Here is a bonus secret word. It’s not even very coded or covert at all. In fact, use it freely in your electronic communiqués without fear of anyone spying on you: afterlife. Don’t believe it? It’s a bit of a counterintuitive, perhaps, but you can apparently talk about being dead in the near future without fear of reprisal. The Ft. Hood shooter—US Army Major Nidal Hasan—told a leading Al Qaeda cleric that he couldn’t wait to chat with him over non-alcoholic wine in the afterlife. But two separate FBI offices received intercepts of those emails and deemed the contents innocuous. The emails were sent to Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Al Qaeda operative who at the time was near the top of the US government’s target list (and eventually droned into oblivion in September 2011). Move along, nothing to see here.


Respond Now
  • Who’s reading this? Let me know!

  • can I have the name of the artist that made the header picture with the computers/floppy disk? thank you!

  • Source, please.

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    • The sources are embedded links throughout the piece.

  • eggplant wedding little girl tourism. Actually that does seem suspicious. Those words together could not possibly mean anything good, or natural for that matter. Maybe “Little Girl’s Wedding of Eggplant and Tourism…Inc.”

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