Senior Member
S.King. The Dreamcatcher.

'We have some injuries,' Owen replied, 'but basically five-by'

What does it mean?
  • VadimR

    Senior Member
    Several gunships had been attacked by aliens. One of the gunships had lost (or got injured) some of their crew, another had crashed. Owen is a commander of one of the attacked gunships.
    Can it mean like a short version of five-by-five = OK?
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - US
    Earlier in the book, one of the characters uses the expression "five-by-five." "Don't worry, Pete. Everything's five-by-five."
    Five by five - Wikipedia
    "Five by five" (occasionally written "'5 by 5", "five-by-five", "5 × 5", "5-by-5" or even just "Fives"), by extension, has come to mean "I understand you perfectly" in situations other than radio communication. Further shortened forms are "five by", "fivers" and "fifers". Post-World War II, the phrase "loud and clear" entered common usage with a similar meaning.
    King seems to be using it to mean "fine, excellent, perfect" which is slightly different than what Wikipedia says.


    Senior Member
    American English
    It's also used to mean everything is okay or in order. "Dreamcatcher" frequently references the Alien film franchise (especially the use of "Ripley" after Sigourney Weaver's lead character). There is a line in Aliens (1986) where Corporal Ferro says "In the pipe, five by five" to indicate the ship is on course right before she is gorily dispatched by an alien.
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