The Seafaring Dictionary: Terms, Idioms and Legends of the Past and Present

The Seafaring Dictionary: Terms, Idioms and Legends of the Past and Present

David S. T. Blackmore

Language: English

Pages: 398

ISBN: 0786442662

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Navigable waters cover almost three-quarters of the surface of our planet, and they have been home to centuries of seafarers who, being isolated from land for extensive periods, developed a specialized language all their own. Their language is a complex mixture of the strange and the familiar, including words taken from many English dialects, coined words, slang words, words used by mariners speaking other tongues, and words developed to identify occupations, titles, equipment, or activities. With its many intricate nuances, 'navalese' can be as esoteric and incomprehensible to the layperson as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs - but such a specialized language is vitally important to a profession in which complex technical concepts need to be communicated briefly and accurately from seaman to seaman. This book is an alphabetical compendium of more than 9000 nautical terms taken from numerous dictionaries, glossaries and other sources of nautical terminology, including volumes on nautical customs and traditions, ghost ships, paranormal maritime events, sea serpents, and marine monsters. Many of the entries are brief and factual, but when appropriate the author has inserted anecdotal material of colorful or intrinsic interest. The volume should be a helpful reference for researchers and laymen who want to understand nautical speech and customs, but it should also be of use for professional seafarers who cannot always be familiar with the complex vocabularies of today's specialized maritime occupations, let alone those of bygone ages. There is an appendix that discusses real and speculative sea monsters, while 17 tables cover wind and wave measurement, date and time notation, phonetic alphabets, maritime signals, navigation rules, military and naval ranks and ratings, and the process of boxing the compass.

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Flagship: [1] A warship from which the senior officer of a fleet, squadron, convoy, or other assembly of ships exercises command. [2] A passenger liner commanded by the line’s senior captain or commodore. Flags of distress: [1] A ship’s national flag or ensign flown upside down was formerly an internationallyrecognized signal of distress (it is difficult to understand how this could be done with a vertically-striped tricolor). [2] A weft at the masthead was also considered a distress signal, but this

culprit’s ankles. Another line, running from the yardarm on the other side, was secured around the victim’s chest below his arms. His wrists were bound behind his back. On the captain’s command, the victim was hoisted over the side by the chest line, which was slowly played out, while the slack was taken up by the ankle line. In this way the victim was dragged underneath the vessel’s hull, to appear feet first on the other side. As extra punishment, a cannon was often fired over the delinquent’s

deployed to intercept hostile air, surface, or submarine forces before they reach a designated line. Barrier reef: A partially-submerged coral outcrop, running roughly parallel to the shore and separated from it by deep water. Bartley’s ordeal: In February 1891, James Bartley, an apprentice seaman, was on his first voyage aboard the whaler Star of the East. Near the Falkland Islands, the lookout spotted a sperm whale and two boats were launched. One succeeded in harpooning the animal, but the

business deal. [6] An official investigative body. [7] To contract for the production of something (e.g., a work of art). Commission of War: Authorization to operate as a private warship (privateer) against enemies of the issuing authority, empowering the person to whom it is granted to carry on all forms of hostility which are permissible at sea under the usages of war. Frequently, but slightly incorrectly, called a Letter of Marque. Commission Pennant: Under Article 1259 of Navy Regulations, a

The RN has long-standing traditions and the USN an official directive (OpNavInst 1710.7) prescribing procedures for the formal dinner known as “Dining-in” or “Mess Night.” Officers wear dress uniforms and civilians black tie. Unlike military and air force mess dinners where the commanding officer presides, the ship’s captain is considered a guest in the wardroom and the second-in-command is mess president. A vice-president, known as “Mister or Madam Vice,” acts as organizer of the function and

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