I ran into a word recently that I never knew existed and now it is killing me that I forgot what it was.

It was a word that described what someone is wearing that looks like it is military, or of an authority or official, but isn't. Something like perhaps what people sometimes wear from Salvation Army when they ask of donations or maybe some dictators.

I think I perhaps saw it in a New York Times article or even an Economist article. Anyway, I didn't know there was a word for it. Any clues would be appreciated.

Other examples would be a doorman's uniform or Mariachi band member's uniform, seemingly military-like but not. I don't remember the word as being with negative connotation, as in impersonation or masquerading. It was more descriptive.

  • 4
    Please edit your title to make it a little bit more informative.
    – terdon
    Sep 13, 2013 at 16:50
  • "I love a man in uniform!" Or perhaps regalia - the decorations, insignia, or ceremonial clothes of any office or order. Sep 13, 2013 at 16:53
  • @FumbleFingers: +1 if you make it an answer...
    – Jacobm001
    Sep 13, 2013 at 16:55
  • @FumbleFingers yeah, I was thinking about regalia but that can refer to 'legitimate' uniforms as much as to 'fake' ones. Might as well put it out there though.
    – terdon
    Sep 13, 2013 at 16:57
  • @Jacobm001: As terdon says, regalia doesn't imply "fake", so let's see if anyone knows a term for exactly what OP is getting at. Sep 13, 2013 at 17:00

8 Answers 8


How about martial? It fits your first intended meaning of 'military-like'.

  • I think this is the winner! Ding! Ding! Ding! Sep 20, 2013 at 21:34

Regimental comes to mind.

(need more letters to post.)

  • 2
    Why not fill that space in with a definition to back it up? Or give some context as to why?
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:54
  • @Zibbobz simply 'cuz I felt the definition was provided by the OP.
    – Stan
    Sep 20, 2013 at 21:13
  • The exact definition of the word could help the OP decide whether or not that is true.
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 23, 2013 at 13:27

If you're looking to describe an individual who is in the army, you could call them soldierly, though this doesn't carry the sort of authoritary nature you're looking for.

A commanding presence could be considered militaristically authoritative, though it's more used to express a power over someone, and not explicit military nature.

If the individual is a leader with absolute power, they could be autocratic, though again, not absolutely necessarily military. Similarly for magisterial.

And my final suggestion would be imperious, which today just means having an overbearing arrogance, but has its roots in being singularly powerful, such as in an empire.


You could always use the adjective 'military-like'. If you use the adjective 'martial', or 'paramilitary', it might confuse the reader into thinking that the character is part of the military or a paramilitary. If you are describing clothes, you can also use 'military-style' or 'combat'.

Examples: "I bought some nice combat boots yesterday along with a military-style trenchcoat." "My teacher's goosestepping is military-like.


Paramilitary, is that it?

par·a·mil·i·tar·y (pr-ml-tr) adj. Of, relating to, or being a group of civilians organized in a military fashion, especially to operate in place of or assist regular army troops. n. pl. par·a·mil·i·tar·ies A member of a paramilitary force. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.



A livery /ˈlɪvəri/ is:

a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in the livery. Alternatively, some kind of a personal emblem or badge, or a distinctive colour, is featured.

(Source: Wikipedia's entry on Livery)


Military, to express the manner in which an operation is planned, utilizing resources as in military ops, people, and all other non-human assets, that through precise and careful planning, is set forth as to successfully complete a particular goal...objective...or action step. This use is usually meant as a successfully-oriented plan of action.

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How about masquerading

Example: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=539655

"NOVEMBER 11--Just in time for Veteran's Day, a California bank employee is facing federal charges for allegedly masquerading as a decorated Marine and wearing a host of bogus medals, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Navy Cross. Steven Burton, 39, is scheduled to surrender tomorrow ..." cfr: http://www.dba-oracle.com/t_fake_military_heroes_medals_uniforms.htm

More: disguised as military, using/wearing fake military camouflage or insignia, wearing a counterfeit uniform, phony war heroes, faker ...

  • 1
    The use he describes has nothing to do with masquerading. A uniformed doorman, for example, is not masquerading. He merely appears to be more authoritative or military-like. Sep 20, 2013 at 17:42
  • Well this was a federal felony.
    – Pam
    Sep 20, 2013 at 21:11
  • Yes, it was, but it still not what the questioner was asking about. Doormen and Salvation Army personnel wear uniforms, appear martial, but are not violating any laws. Sep 20, 2013 at 21:33

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