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Old 21-11-2005, 20:50   #31
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"Three sheets to the wind". Well it's kinda like one of those sayings "his elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor". It is used to describe a drunk and when they are drunk, they tend to be untidy in apperance, like shirt hanging out and clothes in a mess etc. The reference to the Sailing ship is one that is in disarray, the sails not trimmed and the sheets loose and flapping in the wind.
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Old 21-11-2005, 20:59   #32
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I'll buy that one Wheels.
How about the "fisherman" sail.
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Old 21-11-2005, 21:13   #33
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Re: An old off-color sailor saying

Quote:
Rick once whispered in the wind:
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?
You reminded me of the saying "Screw the Pooch" from Tom Wolfe's book, The Right Stuff.

Here's a complete source:

Screw the Pooch

The phrase screw the pooch, meaning to mess up, commit a grievous error, was made famous in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff. The phrase is a euphemism from US military slang. The original expression was f--- the dog and meant to waste time, to loaf on the job.

F--- the dog dates appears in print for the first time in 1935, but in 1918 another euphemistic version, feeding the dog, appears. The original sense dates to 1918. Over the decades, the meaning shifted to the current sense and the screw the pooch wording took the place of the original phrasing.


Source: http://www.wordorigins.org/wordors.htm

Sound like the orginal source may have been military instead of naval.
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Old 21-11-2005, 21:22   #34
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Cup of Joe

This one is worth looking up:

"cup of Joe"
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Old 21-11-2005, 21:53   #35
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If I remember right, "cup of Joe was a result of the limitation of booze on navy vessels, leaving the strongest drink aboard to be coffee. This was instituted by Josephus something (i can't remember the last name)
So the fisherman sail.
The old fishing schooners used to race each other in to the fish dock. THe last ones in often lost a substantial amount of their fish while waiting to get unloaded, so this was not just friendly competition. On the way in, the nets would be raised between the spars to dry. The fisherman learned to harnes this additional area to gain speed, and eventually, a sail was designed to suit this need.

Since we are on the subject of old wooden vessels, how about the Devil to pay?
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Old 21-11-2005, 23:13   #36
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I've run into several online sources that debunk the brass monkey story. Seems that I (and a few others, I bet) have been taken in by a bit of urban legend. Too bad; I really liked that story.

There's a lack of documentary evidence to support much at all about this idiom. We may never know the true truth about this one.
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Old 21-11-2005, 23:23   #37
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Another swing and a miss…

Cup of joe is most likely a combination of the words java and mocha. The story about the tea-totalling Adm. Joe Daniels doesn't fit the timeline of the appearance of the word.

Source
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Old 22-11-2005, 06:26   #38
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Back to "fisherman", a smaller high sail flown between the two masts of a schooner, there was a larger version hoisted on the main mast which came down closer to the deck called a "gollywobbler" - no idea as to origin.

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Old 22-11-2005, 06:34   #39
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Brass Moneky

An earlier post suggested we let the original poster give the “answer” before looking it up. I have let the brass monkey go long enough.

According to the real live U.S. Navy history web site (http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq107.htm)

“It has often been claimed that the "brass monkey" was a holder or storage rack in which cannon balls (or shot) were stacked on a ship. Supposedly when the "monkey" with its stack of cannon ball became cold, the contraction of iron cannon balls led to the balls falling through or off of the "monkey." This explanation appears to be a legend of the sea without historical justification. In actuality, ready service shot was kept on the gun or spar decks in shot racks (also known as shot garlands in the Royal Navy) which consisted of longitudinal wooden planks with holes bored into them, into which round shot (cannon balls) were inserted for ready use by the gun crew. These shot racks or garlands are discussed in: Longridge, C. Nepean. The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships. (Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1981): 64. A top view of shot garlands on the upper deck of a ship-of-the-line is depicted in The Visual Dictionary of Ships and Sailing. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1991): 17.”

The site at the link above has lots of interesting stuff and it not just sea stories.

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Old 22-11-2005, 12:57   #40
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Devil to pay

I've always understood the 'devil' to be the seam running between the keel and the garboard strake and 'paying' refers to caulking such a seam with oakum (basically rope-fibre and tar). Since the seam is long and the ship would need to be out of the water (probably laid up at low tide), it would be an extremely difficult task done under the deadline of the rising tide. This would certainly be an undesirable situation - which is the meaning of the saying.
This gives rise to the saying "between the devil and the deep blue sea" - obviously not much room between the keel and the briny deep; the nautical equivalent of 'being in a tight spot', or 'between a rock and a hard place.'

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Old 22-11-2005, 14:35   #41
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brass monkey

I often heard the cannonball version, but never really bought into it. A more plausible etymology is that it is a corruption of "cold enough to freeze the brass balls off a monkey"; a 'monkey' in this sense is a type of steam engine. Took this off the 'net:

"It is a little-known fact that "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" comes from the early days of steam engines. This phrase originally referred to the state of a flyball governor in an unheated machine shop when the engine was idle. Steam engines were commonly used to drive machinery used in repairing ships, and winters in the coastal towns of New England, some of which boasted of several shipyards, could be extremely cold. A shop foreman would sometimes come to work in the morning and find that the brass flyballs had popped loose from their shafts overnight. Talking with his counterparts in other shipyards, he usually found that they had made the same observation in their shops. In that circumstance, it became the custom to say "It was cold enough last night to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_b...ages/1154.html

I've long had a fascination with etymology, but found it can throw you a lot of red herrings (another mystifying saying). I can't recall the source of this article - I used it several years ago teaching the history of naval-slang to some "snotters":

· "mind your p's and q's"
(Phrase Origins)

This expression, meaning "be very careful to behave correctly",
has been in use from the 17th century on. Theories include: an
admonishment to children learning to write; an admonishment to
typesetters (who had to look at the letters reversed); an
admonishment to seamen not to soil their navy pea-jackets with
their tarred "queues" (pigtails); "mind your pints and quarts";
"mind your prices and quality"; "mind your pieds and queues"
(either feet and pigtails, or two dancing figures that had to be
accurately performed); the substitution of /p/ for "qu" /kw/ in the
speech of uneducated ancient Romans; or the confusion by students
learning both Latin and Ancient Greek of such cognates as _pente_
and _quintus_. And yes, we've heard the joke about the instruction
to new sextons: "Mind your keys and pews."
The most plausible explanation is the one given in the latest
edition of Collins English Dictionary: an alteration of "Mind
your 'please's and 'thank you's".


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Old 22-11-2005, 14:55   #42
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Ps & Qs

Well I just happen to have the book on minding your Ps & Qs, or a guide to proper behaviour. In the foreword it says minding your Ps & Qs may have been a warning to children to take care ditinguishing between the letter P and Q, or to printers apprentices sorting type.It might have come from France when the dancing instructor would warn to mind your Pieds and Queues, your feet and wigs. Simply they are rules of behaviour or etiquette.
Rule number two on visiting. " A lady can never call upon a gentleman unless professionaly or officially. To do so would be, not only a breach of good manners, but of strict propriety "
As best I can tell I break most of the rules.
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Old 22-11-2005, 19:00   #43
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Who ever heard of a monkey operating a steam engine?
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Old 22-11-2005, 19:22   #44
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Why not? They operate power boats, don't they?
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Old 22-11-2005, 19:30   #45
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Lodesman! OUCH!
You are correct about the devil to pay, but what about between the devil and the deep blue sea?
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