I'm new to this awesome site! There is a popular saying that, in a conversation, one is sarcastically telling someone they know everything about another that begins with I know "your rank, serial number and ?" I cant remember what the third descriptive word is. Can you help? It comes from the military.

  • 3
    As #MRS30 said, it's "name, rank, and serial number". However, I think this refers to knowing very little about a person. In the movies, at least, it's all that a POW must tell his captors.
    – James
    Aug 27, 2015 at 18:48
  • Thank you both. Yes, I am way off base here. My apologies to anyone I may have upset with respect to the military.
    – LisaBri
    Aug 27, 2015 at 18:53
  • @LisaBri - No need to apologize -- I can't imagine anyone would take offense. // By the way, if you venture out into googling, you'll find you can figure out this sort of thing pretty quickly! Aug 30, 2015 at 0:33

1 Answer 1


I believe you are looking for "Name, rank and serial number"

See convention III of the Geneva Conventions

About Convention III: One of the treaties created during the 1949 Convention, this defined what a Prisoner of War was, and accorded them proper and humane treatment as specified by the first Convention. Specifically, it required POWs to give only their name, rank, and serial number to their captors. Nations party to the Convention may not use torture to extract information from POWs.

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