army brat

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noun Informal.
the child of an army officer or enlisted person, especially one who has grown up on army bases or in military communities.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does army brat mean?

An army brat is the child of someone (usually an officer) serving full-time in the army or another branch of the military, especially a child who grew up living on military bases.

The word brat usually refers to a poorly behaved child, but its use in army brat doesn’t carry any of the negative meaning—it just refers to a kid. There is a culture surrounding army brats, since they share childhood experiences that are unlike many others, especially if they moved from place to place.

Example: Michael credits his grasp of several languages to a childhood spent as an army brat moving around to different military bases.

Where does army brat come from?

The origin of army brat is uncertain, but its first recorded uses come from the 1930s. The word brat in the phrase has been linked to the acronym for British Regiment Attached Traveler, but there’s little evidence that this is the origin of the word. Records of brat meaning “a rotten kid” go back to the 1500s.

The life of an army brat is often characterized by numerous moves, perhaps 10 or more times during a childhood due to their parent or parents being transferred to different locations. Another aspect is growing up on military bases, which comes with the challenge of having to balance military life and culture with civilian (nonmilitary) life. The term can be used for children whose parents are in branches of the military other than the army. However, army is sometimes substituted for another specific branch, as in air force brat. Army brats often self-identify as such and are proud of the label, especially when sharing their experiences with other army brats.

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What are some synonyms for army brat?

  • military brat

What are some words that share a root or word element with army brat?

What are some words that often get used in discussing army brat?

How is army brat used in real life?

Army brat is the most common term for a child of a military officer who has grown up living on bases. When used by army brats themselves, it’s typically used as a source of pride.



Try using army brat!

Is army brat used correctly in the following sentence?

My grandfather was in the military, so I consider myself an army brat.

How to use army brat in a sentence