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Old 20-11-2005, 17:57   #16
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Correct answer - how about "turn the tables" ?
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Old 20-11-2005, 18:23   #17
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Boarding

Like in reverse of a backgammon table?

Tables used to be the name for backgammon. The phrase comes from the practice of reversing the board so that players play from their opponent's previous position.
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Old 20-11-2005, 18:47   #18
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what now means to turn the tables on someone, or reverse the situation, was originally colonial new england referring to the table used for serving. The good side would be face up for entertaining. When it was time to send guests home, they would literally turn over the table top, showing the rough surface used for chores during the day, signalling the end of the evening. Kinda like setting up the coffee pot at night for the next morning. Subtle ?

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Old 20-11-2005, 20:45   #19
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Hey now this is really fun. Many of these are new to me.

And yeah Delmarrey, a story, not the truth eh. An old guy told me once, "Boy!, if ya gonna tell a story, ya gotta make it worth telling!!"

OK, what about "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" ????
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Old 20-11-2005, 21:42   #20
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The "monkey" was a retaining rail that allowed cannonballs to be stacked in a pyramid on deck of warships, compact and ready to use. They were made of iron. Very cold weather would cause the iron to contract just enough so that the cannonballs would jump the rail and careen over the deck.

The monkeys were then made of brass, which does not contract or expand (relatively) with temperature change. It would have to be very cold indeed to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey.

Kinda ruins a great mental image, doesn't it? I'd always imagined this saying attached to a bar's business sign in Kiev, or something.
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Oh, and Alan's story was much more entertaining than my dry etymolody.
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Old 20-11-2005, 23:09   #21
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I am glad you answered that one Jeff, as I had always believed it was a brass tray that the balls fell off. So it's good to get the correct story. Now... if I can just work out if I should believe it or not
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Old 21-11-2005, 00:34   #22
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Turning a blind eye

In 1801, during the Battle of Copenhagen, Admiral Nelson deliberately held his telescope to his blind eye, in order not to see the flag signal from the commander to stop the bombardment. He won.
.................................................. ...._/)

"Let the cat out of the bag" (To reveal a secret)

The cat 'o nine tails was normally kept in a cloth bag, and was only pulled out immediately prior to flogging, hence the phrase signifying that one has crossed some bright line of misconduct, etc.

.................................................. ..._/)

"A clean bill of health"

A certificate signed by a port authority attesting that no contagious disease existed in the port of departure and none of crew were infected with a disease at the time of sailing.

............................................._/)
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Old 21-11-2005, 09:26   #23
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Monkey

I believe the brass monkey one needs more research. The tray holding the cannon balls I think is false.
I have decided to make a new saying.
" Tripping the lift " There is a show on telly called Tripping the rift.
With a small modification I offer you a new expression that you could be the first to use. The object is to note when it first gets printed in a boating magazine, or when you hear it for the first time from someone else.
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Old 21-11-2005, 11:21   #24
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An old off-color sailor saying

Back in '62 I was in the Navy and worked around some old salts who had been in WW2 who used the expression "F--king" the dog". It was used like when someone asked where Joe was and the answer might be; "Oh, he's off somewhere f--king the dog". It meant that he was screwing around not doing what he was supposed to be doing.

I never did discover just where that expression came from, does anyone know?
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Old 21-11-2005, 15:36   #25
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B.S., M.S., Ph.D. as forms of S.H.I.T.

Just a little more to gum up the works:

"The word **** has a long and well-documented history, far older than any large-scale organized sea-trade in northern Europe. Anglo-Saxon leechdom books use scittan in reference to cattle having diarrhea. A Latin text from 1118 refers to "Lues animalium, quĉ Anglice Scitta vocatur, Latine autem fluxus interaneorum dici potest."

There are many examples of the verb from the 14th century [e.g., from 1387: ŝey wolde ... make hem a pitte ... whan ŝey wolde schite ...; and whanne ŝey hadde i-schete ŝey wolde fille ŝe pitte agen."]. The noun is attested from the 16th century, both in reference to excrement and to contemptible people.

The acronym theory of the origin of **** can't explain the related words in other languages, such as German Scheiss, Dutch schijt, Old Norse skita, and Lithuanian sikti, which come from the same prehistoric root. As far as I know, there's no corresponding acronym to "ship high in transit" in the merchant marine history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. "

From: www.etymoline.com
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Old 21-11-2005, 16:00   #26
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Perhaps they did not ship it, preferring to keep it all for themselves ?

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Old 21-11-2005, 16:02   #27
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3 sheets to the wind - assume this referred to a ship with sails caught on the windward side, but how did it come to refer to drunk ?

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Old 21-11-2005, 16:28   #28
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brass monkey????

quoted from www.askoxford.com

"What is the origin of the term 'brass monkey'? Printer Friendly Version

The story goes that cannonballs used to be stored aboard ship in piles, on a brass frame or tray called a 'monkey'. In very cold weather the brass would contract, spilling the cannonballs: hence very cold weather is 'cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey'. There are several problems with this story. The first is that the term 'monkey' is not otherwise recorded as the name for such an object. The second is that the rate of contraction of brass in cold temperatures is unlikely to be sufficient to cause the reputed effect. The third is that the phrase is actually first recorded as 'freeze the tail off a brass monkey', which removes any essential connection with balls. It therefore seems most likely that the phrase is simply a ribald allusion to the fact that metal figures will become very cold to the touch in cold weather (and some materials will become brittle)."
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Old 21-11-2005, 17:20   #29
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ok .. how come a toilet is called a head? ....jt
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Old 21-11-2005, 20:30   #30
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Ah, that one's too easy. On the old tall ships, the bow had a spot to squat so to say. This was at the "head" of the vessel, ergo, "the head". That probably could have been explained in much better detail, but I am feeling a bit "brain dead" tonight
I would really like to know about the 3 sheets to the wind one though.
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