Sailor Talk


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The Nautical Origins of Everyday Phrases
by Bear Downing

A fascinating collection of entertaining essays describing the nautical origins and evolution of so many of our everyday phrases and words. Droll, informative and absorbing, these fifteen short narratives are guaranteed to provide you with a vast fund of nautical "bon mots" the next time you and your sailer friends get together.

From Bear's Introduction: "It was a quiet and peaceful lagoon, the boat swinging easily at anchor in the light evening breeze. A sailing club friend and I were sitting in the cockpit having drinks and enjoying the sunset, chatting softly so as not to disturb the reverie of the evening. After Old Sol and gone to bed for the night and the evening lights were turned on, the conversation picked up slightly but still followed a rather random path. At one point my friend mentioned a gift that he was going to get for his wife, saying he was "...going the whole nine yards." He then commented that "the whole nine yards" was something he found himself saying a lot and wondered as to the origin of the phrase. I told him what I knew it was of nautical origin and described it. From there the conversation went into the large number of terms and phrases we use in our everyday language that comes from seafarers, what he and I called "Sailor Talk." Towards the end of the evening he suggested that I write an article for the club monthly newsletter. He felt that many in our club would be as interested as he was in "Sailor Talk". The response to that first article was very positive, with more articles being requested. So I started writing a monthly column which was picked up by two regional monthly sailing magazines. Eventually fifteen articles were written, now collected into this booklet." Each article is illustrated with a contemporary woodcut.

64 pages


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