What does “Roger that” mean?

“Roger that” found itself in the aviation industry and the military. The term is often used to confirm that the content of the message has been received.

Peter Otieno
Peter Otieno

The term is often used to confirm that the content of the message has been received. It also confirms that the recipient agrees with the statement or instructions.

“Roger That” origin

“Roger that” found itself in the aviation industry and the military. This slang was made famous in radio transmissions by NASA’s Apollo Missions. However, it dates back to some of the first flights ever. Pilots relied on support from the staff on the ground when flying until 1915.

The staff relied on radio transmissions to broadcast clearance. The pilot then had to confirm the message by sending the “ .-. ”. This is Morse code for “R”, which at that time meant “Received.”

Technology advanced fast to two-way radio communications. Pilots carried on using the letter “R” to confirm the statement. Some pilots started using the phrase “Roger” instead of replying with the correct word “Received.”

In 1927 the International Telegraph Conference Union came up with initials phonetic alphabets. It decided that “Roger” was an easier command than “Received” as not all pilots speak good English.

The phrase was changed when a new phonetic alphabet was introduced. It was substituted by “Romeo,” which does not mean receiving a message.

Roger military meaning

The meaning of “roger that” in the military is the same as in aviation. In the military, it is often used by troops to show they have understood the command and communication from their leader during the operation.

Using “Roger” in a conversation

Communication between the tower controller and the approaching pilot.

Tower Controller: The previous departure had an issue with the engine. I’m not sure if you can go around or want to continue with the approach (landing).
Pilot: Why don’t you just set us up for a different pattern for the south side?
Tower Controller: Roger, go around. Fly runway heading, maintain 4000.

The controller replies with “Roger” to say that he has received the message and the pilot’s intentions.

Examples of using “Roger that” idiom

Platoon (1986)
Hidden Figures (2016)
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Idioms & expressionsEnglish

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