MOS stands for (M)etal (O)xide (S)emiconductor, a term which describes the layers in a MOS transistor, millions of which are switching electrons inside your computer right now.

Interestingly enough, the 'M' in the Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor 'sandwich' is a slight misnomer since the transistor gate is now typically made from polysilicon, (polycrystalline silicon) and not metal.

a U.S. Army acronym for Military Occupational Specialty.

In their enormously complex on-going effort to simplify EVERYTHING, the Army gives arcane combinations of letters and numbers to those things you and I would call jobs.

For example:

  • 11B10 Infantryman, Enlisted Level 1
  • 12B20 Combat Engineer, Enlisted Level 2
  • 13D20 Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember, E-2
  • 18B30 Special Forces Weapons Sergeant
  • 19D Cavalry Scout
  • 31C Radio Operator/Maintainer
Note that anything you can think of in the Army has an MOS. For example:

  • 02L Saxophone Player

  • 02D French Horn Player

  • 02N Piano Player
During the Vietnam War, my job as a 03B20 (Entertainment Specialist) was to interview and audition 11 Bravos (Infantrymen, Footsoldiers, Grunts, Cannon Fodder) who wanted to be 02Tangos (Guitar Players) or 02Mikes (Drummers)--or bass players or singers or singer-songwriters, for that matter.

If he had enough time in the field, and if he could play like Eric Clapton or sing like John Fogerty, the lucky and talented soldier had a ticket out of the bush and a full-time gig with

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the house band for the World's First Rock n Roll War.

I guess you could say I delivered musicians from Evil, and I loved my job.

On Vietnam:


  1. I was a prisoner in a Mexican Whorehouse
  2. A long time gone
  3. How to brush your teeth in a combat zone
  4. Libber and I go to war
  5. Fate takes a piss
  6. Thanks For the Memory
  7. Back in the Shit
  8. LZ Waterloo
  9. Saturday Night, Numbah Ten


a long commute
Andy X Kirby True
a tale of two Woodstocks
Buy a Gun
Dawn at The Wall
Feat of Clay
Funeral Detail
I was a free man once, in Saigon
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
the shit we ate

Breaking Starch
Combat Infantryman Badge
David Dellinger
Dickey Chapelle
Firebase Mary Ann
Garry Owen
Gloria Emerson
Graves Registration
I Corps
Project 100,000
the 1st Cav
The Highest Traditions
Those Who Forget
Under the Southern Cross
Whither the Phoenix?

A Bright Shining Lie
Apocalypse Now Redux
Hearts and Minds
We Were Soldiers

A film term for a shot taken without synchronous sound, for use in a sound film. That is, a shot which will ultimately be dubbed, foleyed, and/or masked with music and ambient sounds in post-production. M.O.S. shots are shots for which live synchronous recording is not critical, and so they are shot silently in order to speed up production and avoid the unnecessary effort and expense of recording and synching the sound.

The origin of the term is uncertain, but there are two common theories.

One holds that M.O.S. stands for “Missing Optical Sound.” This refers to the fact that sound is printed optically onto film, and that it was originally recorded this way in the early days of sound film recording.

The second theory, which is more quaint and therefore more eagerly embraced by those who love early film production anecdotes, holds that M.O.S. came from a mockery of the speech of one or several German immigrant filmmakers who moved to Hollywood, such as Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitch, or the visiting director F.W. Murnau. It is said that some witty camera assistant produced M.O.S. as an acronym for “Mitt Out Sound,” and the phrase stuck as a standard industry term.

Incidentally, besides writing “M.O.S.” on the slate, there are two standard ways to indicate that a shot is being taken without sound. One is to use a slate without a clapper. The other is to hold the clap slate with one's fingers through the space where the clapper would normally drop, to show that the clapper will not be used.

Mos (?), n.,

sing. of Mores.


© Webster 1913.

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