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 323 names in this directory beginning with the letter S.
Saddle
It is the area generally found around the lowest route on which one could pass between the two summits.

Saddle Bag
Typically bags hung over or around the saddle of a horse carrying clothes and other essential gear. In modern days, bags attached to a long distance motorcycle rider is also referred to as saddle bags.

Safe Harbour
A harbour which provides safety from bad weather.

Safety Match
A match with a coated head that ignites only when rubbed against a specially prepared surface.

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
Formerly the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, it classifies hurricanes into five categories by the intensity of sustained winds. To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 64 knots (Category 1). Category 5 has winds exceeding 136 knots. The classifications provide indications of the potential damage a hurricane will cause upon landfall.

Sailing
Propulsion of a watercraft by means of sails and steering it over water by using the power of the wind by adjusting the angle of the sails with respect to the direction of the wind.

Sailmaker
Craftsman who makes and repairs sails, working either on shore or aboard a ship.

Salinity
The amount of salt dissolved in water.

Sally Ship
Method of freeing a vessel grounded on mud in which the crew forms a line and runs back and forth to cause her to rock thus breaking the mud’s suction and freeing her with little or no hull damage.

Salt Marsh
A type of marsh between land and an area with salty or brackish water.

Salt Water
Water from a sea or ocean. On average, sea water in the has a salinity of about 3.5%. Every kilogram (roughly one litre by volume) of sea water has approximately 35 grams of dissolved salts.

Saltine
A very dry, crisp, thin, usually square cracker made from white flour, yeast and baking soda with perforations over its surface.

Salting Food
Salt pulls in moisture and this is a property that is used to preserve some foods to increase shelf life and longevity. Most potentially pathogenic organisms cannot survive in a highly salty environment.

Saltwater Sore
Result from break in skin exposed to saltwater. May also occur at areas with binding clothes like waist, ankles, groin, wrist, etc. May form scabs and pus. Do not open or drain. Flush with freshwater, if available and air dry. Apply antiseptic for relief.

Salvor
Person engaged in salvage of a ship or items lost at sea.

Sand Bar
A long and shallow ridge, sometimes underwater, in a body of water.

Sandals
Designed for hot and tropical climates, usually using robust rubber outsole, suitable for any terrain with EVA or Super EVA foam insole and shaped to support the arched contour of the foot. The straps are usually made of polyester or nylon webbing for quick drying. Also suitable for many adventure sports and activities where quick drying and reduced perspiration is required, including rafting, travelling, paragliding, skydiving.

Sandfly
Colloquial name for any flying, biting, blood-sucking insect in sandy areas. Sandfly bites may leave large, red, itchy bumps that may turn into a rash. These bumps are itchier than mosquito bites and tend to last longer.

Sandstorm
Sand gets lifted from the surface and blows in the wind obscuring visibility. The suspended sand particles get deposited in another location.

Sanitary Napkin
Absorbent item worn by ladies during the menstrual cycle to absorb blood discharge. The same principle is used by survivalists as a bandage to soak blood from of an open wound.

Sanitation
The process of maintaining hygiene by preventing contact with human waste, grey water waste, solid waste, excreta, etc. Maintaining good sanitation extends to treatment and disposal of sewage. This is extremely important in daily life, but more so in a survival situation when bad can turn to worse very quickly.

SAR
Search And Rescue. Usually refers to a group of people who swing into action to locate and retrieve lost person(s). In many countries this is a specialised dedicated force comprising land, air and water resources and personnel.

SART
Search & Rescue Transponder is a self contained waterproof transponder intended for emergency use at sea and can be either radar or GPS based.

Satellite Phone
Device enabling voice, text and data (limited) data exchange using satellites instead of cell phone towers. These may be portable handheld versions or more elaborate rack mounted versions mounted on large ships.

Saturated Zone
The underground area below the water table where all open spaces are filled with water. A well placed in this zone will be able to pump ground water.

Savanna
Rolling tropical grasslands with scattered shrubs and isolated trees. Not enough rain falls on a savanna to support forests.

Savitri
Hindu Mother of Civilisation.

Saw Scaled Viper
A venomous viper found in Africa, Middle East, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka. They have a characteristic threat display, rubbing sections of their body together to produce a “sizzling” warning sound.

Sawdust
By-product of cutting, grinding, drilling, sanding wood. Also the byproduct of certain animals, birds and insects which live in wood. Good tinder and insulation material.

Sawyer Mini
It is a proprietary water filtration device, weighing a little over 50gm, capable of filtering substances up to 0.1 micron. It can be used to filter almost 400,000 gallons of water making it the equipment of choice among many adventurers.

Say Again
A proword in radio communications signifying “I have not understood your message, please SAY AGAIN”. Usually used with prowords “all after” or “all before”.

Scarp
An almost vertical slope along the beach caused by erosion by waves.

Scent
The scent carried by the wind. It is better to be downwind while hunting so that the hunter’s smells does not carry to the hunted.

Schizophrenia
A chronic and severe mental disorder affecting thinking, feeling and behaviour. Victims may seem like they have lost touch with reality with symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, dysfunctional ways of thinking, agitated body movements, difficulty sustaining activities, reduced speaking etc.

Scorpion
Predatory creatures, scorpions are at the heart of many fearful adventurers due to their painful bite. The sting is painful but usually harmless to adults. Roasted or fried scorpions are edible.

Scoville Heat Unit
Scale used to measure effectiveness of capsicum-based defensive pepper spray.

Scrambling
Walking up steep terrain using one’s hands, somewhere between hiking, hillwalking, mountaineering and rock climbing.Canyoning often involves scrambling.

Screwing the Pooch
Making a huge mistake.

Scrim Net
A bandana like scarf made of netted material. Worn around the neck for warmth, it can be used for camouflage and multiple other uses.

SCUBA
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Scuba Diving
Mode of underwater diving in which the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus to breathe, usually compressed air, allowing greater freedom of movement and longer time underwater.

Sculling
Method of using oars to propel watercraft in which the oar(s) touch the water on both the port and starboard sides of the craft.

Scupper
Hole allowing water to drain from ship’s deck.

Scupper Trout
Sewage solids which have washed overboard. Also called Brown Trout.

Scuttlebutt
Rumour, idle gossip.

Scuttling
Making a hole in the hull of a vessel or opening seacocks, especially in order to sink a vessel deliberately.

Sea Anchor
It stabilises a boat in heavy weather. Instead of the boat being tethered to the seabed, the sea anchor increases drag and acts as a brake, preventing the vessel from turning broadside to the waves and being overwhelmed.

Sea Level
The normal level of the sea’s surface, halfway between mean high and low tide levels.

Sea State
General condition of sea surface with respect to wind waves and swell at a certain location and time, including wave height, period and power. Typically, records of 100 to 1,000 wave-periods are used to determine the statistics. It can vary from Code 0 with a wave height of zero feet, to Code 9 with waves of over 46 feet in height. The sea states from Code 0 to 9 are Glassy, Rippled, Smooth, Slight, Moderate, Rough, Very Rough, High, Very High and Phenomenal.

Seaboots
High waterproof boots for use at sea.

Seamount
An underwater mountain that rises at least 1,000 metres above the sea floor.

Search and Rescue Transponder (SART):
A self-contained, waterproof transponder intended for emergency use at sea. These devices may be either a radar-SART, or a GPS-based AIS-SART (automatic identification system SART). The radar-SART is used to locate a survival craft or distressed vessel by creating a series of dots on a rescuing ship’s radar display. A SART will only respond to a 9 GHz X-band (3 cm wavelength) radar. It will not be seen on S-band (10 cm) or other radar. Shipboard Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) include one or more search and rescue locating devices.

Seasickness
A form of motion sickness experienced due to the rocking motion of a watercraft. Eyes show a still world while ears send signals of movement, causing the mind to send an alarm. Generally ceases once the two stimuli are synchronised. This can be aided by concentrating on the horizon until things appear fixed and horizontal.

Seasons
The Sun’s position relative to the Earth results in different regions having different seasons at different times of the year. When the Sun is over the Southern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. Common seasons are summer, winter, monsoon, autumn, spring, etc.

Seasteading
The concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. Most proposed seasteads have been modified cruising vessels. No one has yet created a State on the high seas that has been recognised as a sovereign State. The Principality of Sealand is a disputed micronation formed on a discarded sea fort near Suffolk, England. The closest things to a seastead that have been built so far are large ships called “floating cities” and smaller floating islands.

Seaweed
Refers to several species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae. Seaweeds can also be classified by use as food, medicine,fertiliser, filtration, industrial, etc.

SED
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Said”

Sediment
Small particles of soil or rocks that are transported by water or wind.

Sedimentary Rock
Rock formed by hardening of deposited material.

Sedimentation
Particularly in water, is the process of allowing suspended solid matter to settle at the bottom of the liquid with the passage of time. When collecting doubtful and murky water, letting it sit for some time will allow it to sediment making the water clearer.

SEEDS
Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society.

Seelonce Distress
Indicates that you are relaying or assisting a station that has placed a MAYDAY call and you are requiring radio silence from all other stations not assisting you or the station in distress.

Seelonce Feenee
Indicates that emergency communications have ceased and normal use of the frequency may resume.

Seelonce Mayday
Indicates that your vessel has an emergency and that you are requiring radio silence from all other stations not assisting you.

Seep Well
Digging a hole close to or near a water source will see it gradually fill with water, particularly if the bottom of the hole is lower than the surface of the adjoining water. The seeped water is largely disinfected from the potentially contaminated source by the earth, soil, sand, etc it has to pass through to seep into the well.

Sehnsucht
Of German origin meaning the longing for a far, familiar land one can identify as one’s home.

Seiche
A standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbours and seas. The key requirement for formation of a seiche is that the body of water be at least partially bounded, allowing the formation of the standing wave.

Seismic Zone
An area with a fairly common possibility of seismic activity resulting in earthquakes which may vary between frequent and rare.

Selachophobia
Fear of sharks.

Self Rescue
Process of extricating oneself from a potentially dangerous situation without external help.

Self-reliance
The possession of knowledge and skills required to face a potential dangerous and unforeseen survival situation can turn it into a self-reliant one where the person relies on knowledge learnt and skills known to tackle the essentials.

Semaphore Line
A system of sending messages using using towers with pivoting shutters. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the shutter is in a fixed position. They were a precursor of the electrical telegraph.

Semiarid
Region receiving between 10 and 20 inches of annual rainfall.

SEOC
State Emergency Operations Centre.

Sepsis
A life-threatening condition as the body’s response to infection that injures its own tissues and organs. Symptoms include fever, increased heart and breathing rate. Severe sepsis is sepsis causing poor organ function or insufficient blood flow.

Septic Shock
A serious medical condition that occurs when sepsis leads to dangerously low blood pressure and abnormalities in cellular metabolism. The primary infection is most commonly by bacteria, but can also be by fungi, viruses, or parasites, and can be located in any part of the body.It can cause multiple organ failure and death.

Septic Tank
Small-scale sewage treatment system in areas that lack connection to main sewage pipes, a type of onsite sewage facility. “Septic” refers to the anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the tank which decomposes or mineralises the waste discharged into the tank. Periodic maintenance is required maintain efficiency.

Serrated Blade
Found on saws and some knives. Unlike a smooth blade, a serrated blade has many points of contact with the material being cut making the cutting effect greater. Though the edge remains sharper than a straight edge, it is more difficult to sharpen.

Set and Drift
Characteristics of the current or the velocity of water in which a ship is sailing. Drift is the magnitude, or speed of the current, and set is the bearing in the direction the current is flowing.

Sextant
The primary use in navigation to find the angle between a celestial object and horizon to arrive at the position on a nautical or aeronautical chart. It commonly determines the angle of the Sun at noon or Polaris at night to arrive at current latitude.

SEZ
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Says”

Shadow Stick
Determining cardinal directions by measuring the shadow cast by the Sun of a vertically placed stick.

Shaftment
The measure of a clenched fist with the thumb extended. Also called Fistmele.

Shallow Water Blackout
A loss of consciousness caused by cerebral hypoxia towards the end of a breath-hold dive in water typically shallower than 16 feet, when the swimmer does not experience an urgent need to breathe and has no other obvious medical condition that might have caused it. It can be caused by taking several very deep breaths, or hyperventilating, just before a dive.

Shamurai
A master of shamming.

Shark
Group of fish with a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head and pectoral fins. There are over 500 species from the dwarf lantern shark, less than 7 inches long, to the whale shark, the largest fish in the world, 40 feet long. They are found in all seas and are common to depths of 6,600ft. Great white sharks, tiger sharks, blue sharks, mako sharks and hammerheads are apex predators, at the top of their underwater food chain.

Shelf Life
The period of time that processed food can be stored before changes in colour, flavour, texture or the number of micro-organisms make it unacceptable.

Shelf Sea
Area of relatively shallow water which is an underwater landmass extending from a continent.

Shell Shock
Term coined during World War I to describe soldiers who suffered from the trauma of war often producing feelings of helplessness, panic, fright, inability to sleep, walk, talk, etc. It is now termed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Shellback
Someone who has crossed the Equator.

Shelter-half
A simple tent designed to provide a temporary shelter. Two sheets of canvas or tarps or even ponchos fastened together to form a larger surface. Also called a pup tent in America.

Shemagh
The Keffiyeh or Shemagh is a head dress fashioned from a square cotton scarf, used traditionally in the Middle East, but adopted by the armed forces of various countries and by survivalists from around the world.

Sherpa
Ethnic group from the most mountainous Solokhumbu region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas. Very hardy people, they have become synonymous with mountaineering, acting as guides for expeditions, due to their hardiness and ability to withstand high altitudes better than other communities.

Shipwright
Person who designs, builds, and repairs ships, especially wooden ones.

Shipyard
A facility where ships or boats are built and repaired.

Shit Can Liner
Plastic bag to put in a shit can.

Shit Hot
Slang for someone who is outstanding, hardcore, tactically proficient.

Shiva
One of the most revered Hindu Gods, he is the Destroyer or Transformer.

Shoal
Also known as sandbanks, sandbars, or gravelbars, they are submerged ridge, bank, or bar comprising unconsolidated sediments like mud, sand, gravel, etc rising from the bed of a body of water to near the surface.

Shock
A potentially (one in five can succumb) life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow leading to cells and organs not getting enough oxygen and nutrients to function properly.

Shooting Star
When a comet, asteroid or meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed typically in excess of 72,000 kmph, heating produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles in its wake. This is a meteor or shooting star.

Short Term
Relating to a short period of time in the future.

Shortlived
Lasting for a short time.

Shoshin
A Zen Buddhism word meaning “beginner’s mind” referring to having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. According to the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Shotgun
A firearm that is designed to be shoulder fired, firing either a number of small round pellets or a projectile called a slug. They come in a wide variety of calibers, ranging from .22-inch up to 2.0-in bore, and can be breech loaded, single or double barrelled, pump, bolt or lever-action, semi-automatic and even fully automatic. It is generally a smoothbore firearm, which means that the inside of the barrel is not rifled.

Shovel Patrol
Leaving with a spade in order to defecate.

Shrubland
A plant community with vegetation dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, herbs and geophytes. Shrubland may either occur naturally or be the result of human activity.

SHTF
Shit Hits The Fan. When things go horribly wrong due to natural or man-made crisis.

Sidereal Month
The period of the Moon’s orbit as defined with respect to the celestial sphere. It is the time taken by the Moon to return to a similar position among the stars.

Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform
Shut The Fuck Up.

SIG
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Signal or signature”

Signal Flare
A flare is a type of pyrotechnic device that produces a brilliant light or intense heat primarily used for signalling in distress situations. Flares may be hand held, projectile based or parachute suspended.

Signal Lamp
A visual signalling device typically using Morse Code. Most commonly used on naval vessels and in airport control towers.

Signal Mirror
A signal mirror is a mirror or any other shiny surface that is used to send a visual signal. It is used primarily to send a distress message.

SIGS
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Signals”

Silence Period
All stations using the maritime distress frequency of 2182 kHz were required to maintain a strictly enforced three-minute silence and listening period twice each hour, starting at h+00, h+30. This allowed any station with distress, urgent or safety traffic the best chance of being heard at that time, even if they were at some distance from other stations, operating on reduced battery power or perhaps reduced antenna efficiency, as for example from a dismasted vessel.

Silica Gel
Granular, vitreous, porous form of silicon dioxide made from sodium silicate. In dry form it is called silica xerogel but is often used interchangeably. It is used as a desiccant to control humidity to avoid rust.

Silo
Structure for storing bulk material for later use. Typically silos are used to store grain, cement, coal, woodchips, sawdust, food products, etc.

Silt
Granular material, between the size of sand and clay, about 3 to 60 micrometers in diameter. It may occur as a soil or as sediment mixed in suspension with water or deposited at the bottom of a water body.

Siltation
Accumulation of silt. It is generally considered a pollution of the waterbed due to accumulation or soil or clay carried down by the current. If not controlled, the depth of the water body can reduce to a point where it starts to dry out.

Silver Oxide Battery
A primary cell with a very high energy to weight ratio. Usually available as “button” cells.

Sinkhole
It is a hole in the ground formed by the collapse or erosion of the top layer of the Earth’s crust and can vary in width and depth, from a couple of feet to over 3,000 feet. They can happen over time or suddenly.

Sintering
The process of compacting and forming a solid mass of material by heat or pressure without melting it. It is useful when building a quinzee.

SitRep
Situation Report.

Situation Awareness
Being aware of what is happening in the environment to understand how it can impact goals and objectives. Lack of it can result in accidents.

Six
Behind a person. Covering your back by watching your six. Comes from the fact that 6 o’clock is behind a person. Saying “watch my six” is to cover one’s back.

SK
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Out” (prosign), end of contact

Skateboarding
An action sport involving riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.

SKED
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Schedule”

Skiff
A light rowing coastal or river boat, typically for one person or a small crew, used for leisure or fishing. They can be powered by sails or oars. Sailing skiffs have developed into high performance competitive classes.

Skiing
Travelling over snow on skis, as a sport or for recreation or travel in snow bound areas.

Skinning
Process of removing the skin from animals. Proper skinning is used to preserve the skin as fur for clothing or for tanning.

Skinning Knife
A specialised knife, typically with a short sweeping blade with curved tips, that is used primarily for skinning an animal while preserving the skin and the underlying muscles and tissue.

Skivvies
Underwear.

Skydiving
Method of exiting an aircraft and returning to Earth with the aid of gravity, then slowing down during the last part of the descent by using a parachute.

Slack Water
A short period in a body of tidal water when the water is completely unstressed with no movement either way in the tidal stream, occurring before the direction of the tidal stream reverses.

Slackline Yoga
Takes traditional yoga poses and moves them to the slackline. To balance on a 1-inch piece of webbing lightly tensioned between two trees is not easy and doing yoga poses on it is even more challenging. The practice simultaneously develops focus, balance, power, flexibility and confidence.

Slacklining
Walking along a suspended length of flat webbing tensioned between two anchors. Slacklines differ from tightwires and tightropes in the type of material used and the amount of tension applied during use. Slacklines are tensioned significantly less than tightropes or tightwires in order to create a dynamic line which will stretch and bounce like a long and narrow trampoline. Tension can be adjusted to suit the user, and different webbing may be used in various circumstances.

Sleeping Bag
Insulated and lightweight covering closed with a zipper to form a tube and serve as a portable bedding by providing warmth. It can have a water and/or resistant cover to protect against wind and rain.

Sleeping Bag Liner
Lightweight cloth sacks fitted inside sleeping bags to provide comfort, hygiene and protection.

Sleeping Sickness
Also called African Trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by the bite of a tsetse fly. In the first stage, one to three weeks after the bite, there are fevers, headaches, itchiness and joint pains. Weeks to months later the second stage starts with confusion, poor coordination, numbness and trouble sleeping.

Sleet
Raindrops that freeze to ice before reaching the ground.

Slingshot
Also called a catapult, it is a handheld projectile based weapon. Two rubber strips are attached to a Y-shaped frame with a pouch joining the strips together and to hold the projectile which is pinched between the fingers, the rubber strips pulled back, aim taken and projectile released towards the desired target. It is a good weapon to kill small animals and birds.

Slip Knot
A slip knot is a type of knot that can slip or ride or move along the rope and can easily be untied by pulling one of the ends.

Slither
To move or slide the body by twisting over or through a surface or down a rope.

SLLS
Stop Look Listen Smell.

Sloop
Small to mid-sized sailboat larger than a dinghy, with one mast bearing a main sail and head sail and located farther forward than the mast of a cutter.

Slug
Snail-like animals that lack a shell, or have only an internal shell.

Slumber Bag
A sleeping bag made primarily for indoor use and to be used by children.

SMACK
Soldier Minus. Ability, Coordination or Knowledge.

Small Craft Advisory
A marine advisory for winds 25 to 33 knots or seas of 5 feet or more, that may be hazardous for small vessels.

Smell Your Own Musk
Person acting more important than they are.

Smog
Kind of air pollution caused by a mixture of smoke and fog in the air.

Smoke Signal
One of the oldest forms of long-distance visual communication transmitting news, danger, gathering people to a common area, or requesting rescue.

SMUG
Seriousness, Manageability, Urgency and Growth - scales for evaluating disasters.

Smultroställe
Of Swedish origin. A special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress and sadness.

SN
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Soon”

SNAFU
Situation Normal All Fucked Up.

Snail
Common name applied most often to land, sea and freshwater snails, they have a coiled shell that is large enough for the animal to retract completely into. A good source of food.

Snake
Long, legless, elongated, cold blooded reptiles, with no eyelids or external ears, covered with scales. Most snakes are not poisonous. Poisonous ones use it as a defensive mechanism or to kill prey. Venomous snakes have a triangular head to accommodate the venom glands, while non venomous ones have a more oval head.

Snake Eaters
Special Forces personnel such as Navy SEALs, Green Berets, etc.

Snake Repellents
Snakes will retreat when sprayed directly with cinnamon oil, clove oil and eugenol. The roots and other parts of Acacia polyacantha emit chemical compounds that repel animals including rats, snakes and crocodiles. For snakes, roots are placed in the rafters of houses.

Snakebite
The injury caused by the bite of a snake. Even venomous snakes may administer a dry bite, without using its venom. A bite from a venomous snake will display distinctive fang marks.

Snare
A loop made of wire or string to catch an animal by the head, neck or body.

Snare Wire
A snare to catch small animals using wire. Often snare wires are used to set traps fro squirrels on what is known as a squirrel pole.

Sneakers
Shoes primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise, but which are now also often used for everyday wear. The term generally describes a type of footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material and an upper part made of leather or synthetic materials.

Snorkel
A shaped tube attached to a diving mask, that stays above the water surface to allow breathing while the mouth and nose are below water.

Snorkelling
The sport of swimming in water with the help of a diving mask attached to a snorkel.

Snot Locker
Nose.

Snow
Snow is crystallised granular water that falls from the clouds. It is flaky and soft and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. No two snowflakes are identical.

Snow Blindness
Occurs when unprotected eyes are exposed to ultraviolet rays of the Sun, either directly or reflected off snow and sand. It is like sunburn of the cornea. It is usually self limiting by removing the cause but in certain severe cases may lead to more permanent damage.

Snow Goggles
Eyewear to prevent eyes from getting exposed to UV rays. They can and should be worn in all areas where there is a potential of harming the eyes through UV rays … deserts for instance.

Snow Stake
A specially designed stake for tying down tents and tarps in snow and sand where a traditional stake will not grip the soil. Snow stakes are much wide than traditional stakes and have holes in them through which guy lines can be attached. These holes also allow snow to fill them, thus adding to stability.

Snowboarding
A recreational activity where one descends a snow-covered slope standing on a snowboard attached to the feet.

Snowmobile
Vehicle designed for winter travel on snow and ice without the need of a road or trail.

Snowstorm
When a large amount of snow falls, often resulting in whiteout conditions making visibility impossible.

SNR
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Signal-to-noise ratio”

Soak
When water seeps through a fault in a rock.

SOC
Standard Obstacles Course. A 1600-meter course with 11 obstacles.

Sociopath
Person who has a disregard for laws and social mores, the rights of others, does not feel remorse or guilt and has a tendency to display violent behavior and is prone to emotional outbursts. They tend to be nervous and easily agitated.

Sock Club
An improvised close combat weapon where a rock is inserted into a sock which is tied to the end of a stick.

SODIS
Solar Disinfection.

SOG
Speed Over Ground, speed of the vessel relative to the Earth and as shown by a GPS.

Sojourn
Period of time when you stay in a place as a traveller or guest.

Solar Cooking
The process of cooking, heating or pasteurising using the heat of the Sun is known as solar cooking and conducted in a solar cooker.

Solar Declination
It is the angle between the rays of the Sun and the plane of the Equator. For instance, at the Equator, on the day of the Equinox, Solar Declination is zero. As the Sun travels northwards to reach the Tropic of Cancer, on the day of the summer solstice, the Solar Declination is 23.44°.

Solar Distillation
Distilling water to make it drinkable using the Sun’s energy. It is a painfully slow process for the amount of water that is distilled, but when dehydration and heat stroke is imminent, every drop of drinkable water counts.

Solar Eclipse
A type of eclipse when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun. This happens only at new moon. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon while only part of the Sun is obscured during a partial eclipse.

Solar Flare
A sudden flash of brightness on the surface of the Sun ejecting clouds of electrons, ions and atoms into space. The clouds take a day or two to reach Earth and can affect radio communications, radar operations, etc. On July 23, 2012, a massive, and potentially damaging, solar super storm barely missed Earth. According to NASA, there may be as much as a 12% chance of a similar event occurring between 2012 and 2022.

Solar Generator
A device that converts solar energy into electrical energy through photovoltaic power. It has several parts: (1) something with which to collect solar energy through sunlight, (2) convert sunlight to electricity, and (3) store the generated electrical energy.

Solar Lantern
An illumination source that does not require electricity or batteries but is charged using solar power.

Solar Midnight
The time at a particular latitude when the Sun is at its nadir in the sky. At the time of solar midnight, day and night are of equal duration.

Solar Noon
The time at a particular latitude when the Sun is at it highest position in the sky. It is different from noon that is displayed on a clock and changes each day.

Solar North
The coordinates as deduced by the movement of the Sun. Solar North is different from Geographic North or Magnetic North, since the indicated direction indicated by the Sun changes each day due to the change in the Earth’s axis of revolution around the Sun.

Solar Oven or Cooker
The equipment that harnesses the rays of the Sun and concentrates its power to cook, heat or pasteurise.

Solar Panel
A device to absorb the Sun’s rays to convert to electrical energy.

Solar Still
A solar Still harnesses the energy of the Sun to first evaporate water and then condense the vapour into disinfected drinkable water.

Solar Time
Solar time is the passage of time based on the Sun’s position in the sky. The fundamental unit of solar time is the day. Two types of solar time are apparent solar time represented by a sundial, and mean solar time represented by a clock.

SOLAS Convention
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), an international maritime safety treaty (most important of all international treaties) ensuring ships flagged by signatory States comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation.

Solivagant
Wandering alone, or a solitary wanderer, describing anyone who enjoys meandering around new countries, alone, in order to take it all in.

Solstice
Twice during the year the Sun reaches either its highest or lowest latitude relative to the Equator. On the day of the summer solstice in June and the winter solstice in December, it is the longest day and the shortest day respectively, in the Northern Hemisphere (and vice versa in the Southern Hemisphere).

Somnus
God of sleep in Roman mythology.

Sonar
Originally an acronym for SOund Navigation And Ranging, it is a technique using sound to navigate, communicate with or detect objects on or under the surface of the water. Passive sonar listens for the sound made by vessels, while active sonar emits pulses of sounds and listens for echoes.

Sonder
Realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

SoP
Standard Operating Procedures.

Sound
A wide inlet of the sea or ocean running parallel to the coastline, separating it from a nearby island.

Sounding
A type of SONAR used to determine the depth of water by transmitting sound pulses into water and recording the interval to obtain depths for charting purposes.

South Pole
Also known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, it is the point in the Southern Hemisphere where the Earth’s axis of rotation meets the surface. It is the southernmost point and lies at latitude 90°S. All longitudes converge here and all directions point North.

Southern Cross or Crux
The four stars that comprise the Crux Constellation or the Southern Cross, is the southern hemisphere equivalent of the North Star or Polaris. Shaped like an almost perfect cross, the longer bar of the cross points to the South Pole and geographic South.

Space Blanket
Or a Mylar Blanket, it is a lightweight, low-bulk blanket made of a heat-reflective thin plastic sheet. It reduces body heat loss from radiation, evaporation, convection, etc. The metallic surface can be used as a signalling mirror.

Span
Distance between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the little finger of an outstretched hand.

Spatial Disorientation
The inability to correctly determine body position and refers especially to pilots and underwater divers.

Spear
A weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be the sharpened end of the shaft itself or may be made of material that is fastened to the shaft. The most common design for hunting spears is a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle. Fishing spearheads usually have barbs or serrated edges.

Spear Fishing
Using the pointed end of a spear, often split into four prongs, to catch fish is known as spear fishing.

Speargun
An underwater fishing tool that fires spears at fish or other underwater targets.

Speed of Current
Crossing a river with fast flowing water can be dangerous, even if the water is shallow. Throw a piece of wood in the middle of the river and try walking along the banks. If you can walk faster than the speed at which the current is taking the piece of wood, it MIGHT be safe to make a crossing. If not, avoid making the crossing.

Sphagnum
A genus of about 120 species of mosses, commonly known as peat moss. Accumulation of sphagnum can store water (16–26 times their dry weight), since both living and dead plants can hold large quantities of water inside their cells.

Spice
A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or vegetable substance primarily used for flavouring, colouring or preserving food. Many spices have antimicrobial properties.

Spider
Arthropods with eight legs and with venom injecting fangs. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other orders of organisms. They are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure. They have silk glands which is It is initially a liquid when secreted and hardens as a result of being drawn out changing the internal structure of the protein. It is similar in tensile strength to nylon, but more elastic. Although spiders are widely feared, only a few species are dangerous to people.

Spinal Injury
A spinal injury is one of the most devastating medical conditions one can imagine in the wilderness. Movement is impossible and nerves are affected. Depending on where the injury is located, the severity increases … the higher the injury in the spinal column, the more serious the injury. It has been called a catastrophic injury and has long been believed to be untreatable, though medical science has made tremendous progress.

Spindle
A length of wood used to create embers in friction fire starting methods.

Spindrift
Finely divided water swept from crest of waves by strong winds.

Spine
The blunt edge of a knife, on the opposite side of the edge. The spine may be rounded or square. Square spines are preferred for batoning, fire starting, etc.

Spit Roast
To roast a large piece of meat skewered with a spit, over an open flame. The spit enables turning the meat around to help cook it evenly.

Splice
A knot formed by interweaving strands of rope.

Splicing
Method of joining two ropes together by re-weaving the individual strands of the ropes to each other.

Splint
Used to immobilise injured limbs.

SpO2
Blood oxygen saturation percentage.

Sponson
Projection from the side of a vessel for protection, stability, or mounting of armaments or lifeboats.

Spork
A hybrid form of cutlery that combines a spoon and a fork. The tines of the fork can be on the same side as the spoon or at the two ends. Different designs are manufactured and are made from stainless steel, silver, aluminum, titanium and polycarbonate plastic, etc. Sporks are frequently used by backpackers and outdoorsmen as a lightweight and space-saving alternative to carrying both a fork and spoon.

Sport Climbing
Form of rock climbing relying on permanent anchors for protection in contrast to traditional climbing where climbers place protection as they climb.Sport climbing emphasises strength, endurance, gymnastic ability and technique, over adventure, risk and self-sufficiency.

Spotting Scope
A small portable telescope for uses who require more magnification than a binocular or monocular. The larger the diametre of the lens, the greater the magnification and the more expensive the scope.

Sprain
Stretching or tearing of ligaments. It is different from a strain which is caused by the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons.

Sprayskirt
Flexible cover for a kayak or a canoe used to prevent water from entering. It is made of watertight cloth sized to fit over the cockpit of the canoe or kayak.

Spring
When water from underground seeps in through cracks in the rocks or through the surface of the soil, it is referred to as a spring and is a great source of fresh drinking water.

Spring Tide
Happens twice a month, during Full Moon and New Moon when the high water mark is at its highest and the low water mark is at its lowest. The tidal range is at its maximum at this time.

Spring Water
Water from a natural underground formation that flows to the surface.

Squall
A sudden storm with wind and rain usually associated with active weather, such as rain showers, thunderstorms, or heavy snow. They refer to an increase in the sustained winds over a short time.

Squelch
In two-way radio communications Squelch function is used to suppress channel noise when the radio is not receiving transmission.

SRI
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Sorry”

SSB
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Single sideband”

Stable Fracture
If the fracture is slight and the broken ends are almost in place and line up together, this is called a stable fracture and usually is easier to treat and takes a shorter time to heal.

Stainless Steel
It is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. It is more corrosion resistant than carbon steel and many knives are manufactured with stainless steel. The blades are more difficult to sharpen but do hold their sharpness longer.

Stamina
Similar to endurance, the ability to exert and remain active for a long period of time.

Standing End
Section of rope which is turned to form a knot, hitch, etc. It is the length that is not active in knot tying as opposed to the working end.

Standup Paddleboarding (SUP)
Similar to paddleboarding, the difference being that participants stand on the paddleboard and propel themselves using a paddle. SUP can be experienced in oceans as well as lakes, ponds and rivers, and in flat water and whitewater.

Starboard Side
Right side of a boat or ship.

Starch
A form of complex carbohydrates. Starchy foods include peas, corn, potatoes, beans, pasta, rice and grains. They are a more concentrated source of carbohydrates and calories than fruits, non-starchy vegetables and dairy, and excellent sources of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Stars for Navigation
Of the approximately 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye, 58 are given a special status in celestial navigation being the brightest. They span 38 constellations from the declination of 70° South to 89° North. A second group of 115 stars can also be used but require extra calculations. In addition to tables, star charts aid in identifying the stars, showing constellations, relative positions and brightness.

START
Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment is a triage method used by first responders to quickly classify victims during a mass casualty incident based on the severity of their injury.

Starvation
The most extreme form of malnutrition, it occurs from a severe deficiency in caloric energy intake needed to maintain life. Prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death.

Starvation Response
The body’s response to prolonged periods of low energy intake levels when it burns fatty acids along with muscle tissue to provide glucose to the brain. After prolonged periods of starvation the body begins to burn primarily lean tissue and muscle.

Static Line
A cord attached at one end to the aircraft and the other end to the deployment bag of a paratrooper.

Static Rope
Used in caving, rappelling and rescue applications and are designed for minimal stretch, not to arrest free falls.

Stay
Large rope used to support a mast.

Stay Frosty
To stay calm and alert.

Staysail
A sail whose luff is attached to a forestay.

Steel Pussy
Heavy duty steel wool used to scrub pots, toilets, rust, etc.

Steel Wool
A bundle of very fine and flexible steel filaments used as abrasive wood or metal work. It is made from low-carbon steel. In survival situations, it can be used to start fires by rubbing a battery against it to create a short circuit that ends up heating the wool and creating an ember.

Steel-toe Boot
A durable boot or shoe with a protective reinforcement in the toe protecting the foot from falling objects or compression, usually combined with a mid sole plate to protect against punctures from below.Traditionally made of steel, the reinforcement can also be made of a composite material, a plastic such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or even aluminum.

Step Slide
A method of crossing a chasm using ropes. Two additional ropes with footrests hang from the horizontal rope and are slid forward by shifting the weight on to the one not being slid.

Steppes
Ecoregion in the grasslands, shrublands, savannas characterised by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. They usually have a semi-arid and continental climate. There is a big difference between summer and winter temperatures as well as between day and night.

Stere
One stere of wood equals one cubic meter or 0.27 cords.

Stereotypy
A repetitive movement, posture or utterance such as body rocking, self-caressing, crossing and uncrossing of legs, marching in place, etc. Found in people with intellectual disabilities, autism, tardive dyskinesia and stereotypic movement disorder. Stereotypies are patterned and periodic, made worse by fatigue, stress, and anxiety.

Stern
The rearmost outboard part of a floating vessel.

Stevedore
A waterfront labourer responsible for loading and unloading ships. Also called dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie, lumper or longshoreman.

STFU
Shut The Fuck Up.

Stick-and-Groove Fire Plough
A fire plough fire starting tool using a long flat piece of wood with a groove down the middle in which a stick with a dull point is rubbed vigorously back and forth to create an ember through friction.

Stingray
Cartilaginous fish related having one or more barbed stingers on the tail used in self-defence. Common in coastal tropical and subtropical marine waters throughout the world.

STN
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Station”

Stob
A dead branch protruding from a tree trunk.

Stockpile
Accumulated stock of goods and materials for use later during a disaster or other emergency.

Stokes Litter
A rescue basket made of metal wire or plastic mesh used to evacuate people in a Search and Rescue operation, mostly by helicopter.

STOP
Stop Think Observe Plan, a process of calming the mind and deliberating on the situation instead of panicking, particularly in a potentially hazardous survival situation.

Stopper Knot
A knot at the end of a rope that prevents it from unravelling or fraying. It is also used to prevent the end of a rope to slip through a grommet.

Storage Organ
Part of a plant specifically modified for storage of energy or water. Storage organs often grow underground, where they are better protected from attack by herbivores. Plants that have an underground storage organ are called geophytes.

Storm Surge
A coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water associated with low pressure weather systems such as cyclones, the severity of which is affected by the shallowness and orientation of the water body relative to the path of the storm and the timing of tides. Most casualties during tropical cyclones occur as the result of storm surges.

Strabismus
Also being cross-eyed or squint-eyed, it is a condition that interferes with binocular vision preventing a person from directing both eyes simultaneously towards the same point.

Strain
A stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons results in a strain. It is different from a sprain which is caused by the stretching or tearing of ligaments.

Strait
A narrow body of water connecting two larger bodies of water.

Strandline
A line of washed-up seaweed or other litter or debris, marking a high water level along a shore.

Strapping
The process of applying a strap to an item to combine, stabilise, hold, reinforce or fasten it.

Strategic Optimism
When facing performance situations, strategic optimists feel that they will end well. Though they plan ahead, they plan only minimally because they do not have any anxiety to face. Strategic optimists set high expectations, feel calm and do not reflect on the situation any more than absolutely necessary.

Stratosphere
This portion of the atmosphere extends upwards from the top of the toposhere (tropopause) to about 50km and contains much of the ozone in the atmosphere. Temperatures are highest over the summer pole and lowest over the winter pole. By absorbing UV radiation, the ozone in the stratosphere protects us from skin cancer and other health damage. However chemicals once used in refrigerators, spray cans and fire extinguishers have reduced the amount of ozone, particularly at polar latitudes, leading to the so-called “Antarctic ozone hole”.

Street GPS
A street GPS or road navigator is a global positioning system designed for use in urban areas showing roads, points of interest, hotels, petrol stations, hospitals, etc enabling navigating through the streets using the in-built maps and voice guided information.

Stress
Stress is a reaction to an external stimulus that disturbs our mental and/or physical condition. It the way the body reacts to danger or threat and pings the Flight or Flight response. Continued stress can be harmful and have long term effects, though short term stress can be beneficial in facing the external stimulus.

Stressor
A chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, external stimulus or an event that causes stress.

Strike Anywhere Match
A matchstick that ignites when rubbed against almost any dry, rough surface, unlike safety matches.

Strikhedonia
The pleasure of being able to say “to hell with it!”

Stroke
Strokes occur due to problems with the blood supply to the brain, either through blockage or through ruptures, causing brain cells to die. It is a medical emergency and treatment must be sought as quickly as possible.

Stropping
Straightening and polishing the blade of a knife on a flexible strip of leather or canvas.

Stupid O’Clock
Slang referring to any time very early in the morning.

Stupor
A state of near unconsciousness.

STW
Speed Through Water, speed of the vessel relative to the surrounding water as shown by a log.

Subglacial Lake
A lake that is permanently covered by ice and whose water remains liquid by the pressure of the ice sheet and geothermal heating.

Sucking Rubber
Extended periods wearing Emergency Air Breathing devices (EABs).

Summit
The top of a mountain or rock.

Sun Compass
Device convert the Shadow Stick method into a portable system. A vertical stick stuck on a flat piece of wood is hung by cords. The shadow formed by the vertical stick indicates directions. Direction markers are marked on the wood the first time this is used.

Sun Dry
Drying in the Sun without using any other external heat source. This can be to dry food to get rid of the moisture to make it last longer.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
The SPF rating is a measure of the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. “SPF 15” means that 1/15th of the radiation will reach the skin, assuming sunscreen is applied evenly at a thick dosage of 2 mg/sq cm. Effectiveness of a sunscreen can be determined by multiplying the SPF factor by the length of time it takes to suffer a burn without sunscreen. Sunscreens with higher SPF do not last or remain effective on the skin any longer than lower SPF and must be continually reapplied.

Sunburn
When the rays of the Sun are so strong that the radiation ends up burning the skin, affecting living tissue, a sunburn occurs. This is due to excessive exposure to UV rays.

Sundial
A device that tells the time of day using the relative position of the Sun in the sky. It uses the Sun’s altitude or azimuth or both to tell time. It is a more permanent version of the on-the-fly shadow stick method that is used to tell directions.

Sunscreen
A lotion, spray, gel or other product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation thus helping to protect against sunburn. Skin-lightening products have sunscreen to protect lightened skin because light skin is more susceptible to sun damage than darker skin.They can be physical (those that reflect sunlight) or chemical (those that absorb UV light).

Sunstroke
Also known as heatstroke, is a serious medical condition when the body’s temperature rises too high as a result of excessive heat exposure. The body loses its ability to cool itself and overheats. Left untreated, it can lead to death.

Surfing
Sport of riding a wave while on a surfboard.

Survival
The process of continuing to live in the face of difficult and unforeseen environmental circumstances. It is a matter of staying alive and not succumbing to the situation.

Survival Bracelet
Woven bracelet worn around the wrist, usually made out of paracord or other cordage. It is way of carrying extra cordage in an aesthetic manner instead of dropping the same length of rope in a bag. Survival Bracelets may incorporate more than just cordage - compass, fire starter, tinder, whistle, etc.

Survival Kit
A portable kit containing gear and equipment required to make life in a survival situation easier and less stressful. Usually it contains a knife, fire starting material, cordage, tinder, compass, signal mirror, space blanket, water purification method, etc. They can be large or small, but have to be portable and light enough to be a part of the primary rucksack.

Survivalism
A movement of individuals or groups who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures that may help them survive a catastrophe.

Survivalist
A person who practices survival skills is known as a survivalist.

Suture
A stitch or row of stitches holding together the edges of a wound or surgical incision.

Swag
A portable sleeping unit, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, it is a bundle of belongings rolled in a traditional fashion and carried on the back while travelling from one place to another.

Swagman
Also called a swaggie, sundowner or tussocker, a swagman is an old Australian and New Zealand term describing a class of temporary workers, who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying the traditional swag or bedroll.

Swamp
Freshwater wetland with spongy, muddy land and a lot of water.

Sway
A vessel’s lateral motion from side to side.

Sweet Fanny Adams
Means nothing, literally “sweet fuck all”.

Swell
In the context of an ocean, a series of waves that propagate along the interface between water and air. Consists of wind-generated waves that are not affected by local winds.

Swim Ring
It is a round inflatable device used to aid people to learn swimming by keeping them buoyant. It is not designed to save individuals from drowning.

Swinging the Lead
Measuring the depth of water beneath a ship using a lead-weighted sounding line.

Swiss Army Knife
A pocket multitool featuring a multitude of knives and other tools stored inside the handle. Victorinox (and earlier Wenger) is the only company in the world that makes Swiss Army Knives.

Switch Knife
A Switch Knife or Switchblade has a folding or sliding blade within the handle released by activating the lock holding a spring mechanism. Most switch knives have a locking mechanism preventing it from folding back into the handle.

SWOT
Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats.

Synodic Month
It is the period of the Moon’s phases and is an average period of the Moon’s revolution with respect to the line joining the Sun and Earth. After completing a Sidereal Month, the Moon moves a little further to reach the new position having the same angular distance from the Sun.


Click the thumbnail below and buy the digital edition of the Dictionary:

book2-ad

If there is a word or phrase or term or acronym that you want included in the SURVIVAL DICTIONARY, fill out the form below and mail it to us.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Enter the following characters in the box below
captcha

  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.

Leave a Reply