I am getting triggered by this one thing

Right I have been having this year old debate ever since I went on this expedition to Serbia, you see my friend this Sargent(cadet Sargent, we are both cadets) from another squadron to mine keeps calling canteen ‘Naafi’ which I think just sounds god darn weird and not right and it triggers me every time he calls it GOD DARN NAAFI, whereas I called canteen, well ‘canteen’ which I think sounds much better and actually normal. Anyway please help me settle this debate by telling us the proper word for a ‘break’, I only just thought of asking here now xD

P.S. plz say canteen and not naafi

Your sergeant friend is calling it by its traditional, RAF name. The NAAFI was (and still is in a few places) the place on the station to get your food and drink, and have a shop.

Calling your sqn tuck shop a NAAFI is a little disingenuous, but it’s not a canteen either. So neither of you are wrong, and neither is right.

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There is no proper name for it. Squadrons tend to have their own habits.
We happen to call it “canteen” too. I have no idea why particularly.

I do tend to call the shop on an RAF station the NAAFI, even though it is probably a spar.
Sometimes I call it a spar, even when it isn’t a spar either.

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oof, so what is it called?

Whatever your squadron decides to call it.

What is your specific objection to “NAAFI”?

It really doesn’t matter

FYI and to explain where the name comes from NAAFI = Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes

it was this group, which formerly provided various “institutes” on MOD bases, the obvious one being a convenience store, a SPAR shop for example.

Other amenities such as laundrettes and the bars/pubs on site were also under the “NAAFI” name and management.

having a “NAAFI” break is a well recognised military term, much like getting a “wet” (a drink), seeing a Rupert (Officer), picking up a nosebag (packed lunch)

referring to a canteen break as “naafi break” is perfectly acceptable, but as identified it is neither right or wrong to call it so…

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NAFFI is the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute and it isn’t that so NAFFI is technically wrong. I use wrong words and phrases all the time though and often use NAFFI when it isn’t right

It just sounds so horrible

Indeed. Lots of words transition in use from a precise meaning to a more generic use. Just ask Hoover.


Why horrible?

It has a long established meaning in the armed forces and people like my dad and uncle looked forward to the NAAFI van coming round.

What annoys me is the word triggered, I hear cadets use it all the time and I think it’s a horrible word, but I imagine another one will come along like a number 7 bus.


All I am saying is NAAFI just sounds terrible compared to canteen, am I really the only person with this opinion?

Only because you’re not used to it and don’t know where it comes from.

Well I did know where it comes from and It still sounds horrible, I never said I didn’t know where it came from in the post

You’re only making the horrible connection probably due to the word naff that became a sitcom staple the ‘f’ word or something unpleasant, NAAFI is not unpleasant and relates to an organisation that provides and provided support for armed forces and their families where ever they are and without prejudice, and like incubus says has become one of those words like hoover. I like using the word hoover when someone has a Dyson as they hate it as doesn’t show they possess more money sense.

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I think you need to learn to let go of the little things.

This doesn’t affect you or life in any meaningful way, so it’s not worth your time and effort.

Different people use different words to describe the same thing - English is full of examples of such colloquialisms.

Almost certainly.

I have called it “NAAFI break” in the RAF for as long as I can remember.

How about calling it something else like “Scoff break” or “Nosebag” or even making something original up?

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If you’re saying it how its spelt then no wonder it sounds wrong. It should be spoken ‘NAFI’ even though the spelling is NAAFI

Surely “naffy”