Posts Tagged ‘nautical’

Old Salty

Old Salty

That is a crazy title, I actually struggled with it, trying to make an alliteration.  What I have for you today are some terms and phrases that are part of our vernacular;  You may not use any of them but they are part of every day language.  And they are all nautically inspired.

1. TO BE TAKEN ABACK:  “Aback” is what sailors say when the wind changes suddenly and flattens the sails against the mast. Strong gusts of wind can even blow the ship backward—thus, “taken aback.”

2. CUT AND RUN:  It’s believed that this phrase originates from sailors who were in such a hurry that they cut the anchor rather than hauling it up, then “ran” with the wind.

3. PASS WITH FLYING COLORS:  When the English Navy would sail back London with their colorful flags flying, citizens knew the latest battle had been successful.

4.  HAND OVER FIST:  Although we typically use this phrase to refer to making money, it really just means to make fast and steady progress, like when you quickly haul something up with a rope, hand over fist.

5.  LEFT HIGH AND DRY:  No support? No resources? Then you just might be high and dry, like a ship that’s been grounded because the tide went back out.

6.  THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND:  The ropes that control the tension in the sails are called “sheets.” There are four of them, but if one of the ropes isn’t under control, it will send the other three—and both sails—“to the wind,” making the boat lurch around like Captain Jack Sparrow after a rum binge.

7. SLUSH FUND:  When ship cooks finished making meals and had a sludgey mix of grease and fat left over, they would take the slush and store it until they got to port. Once they got there, the cooks sold the fat to candle makers for some extra cash.

8.  HARD AND FAST:  A ship that’s been beached so firmly that it’s stuck probably got jammed in the sand hard and fast. Now it’s immovable and unchangeable—just like hard and fast rules.

Information excerpted from an article on Mental_Floss and sent to me by my favorite sourcerer, Gail.

So there you have it Mateys, it’s anchors aweigh, ahoy, and shiver me timbers!

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