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Old 20-03-2015, 10:46   #16
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

Just one more example of the MSM getting it all wrong.
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Old 20-03-2015, 10:48   #17
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

I don't think you can count on the NYT crossword for anything but a "daffynition" .


Its only a game, work it in the other direction. I learn some from them but check words that are new to me. Verify them and probably then forget them?
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Old 20-03-2015, 10:50   #18
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

Crosswords are a puzzle to solve and not a literary reference. Why would a puzzle need to be accurate?
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Old 21-03-2015, 06:37   #19
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

Well the best part of all this is the world is debating sailing stuff! education the masses is hard to do. Think about how many people on the NYT site is learning about our world!
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Old 21-03-2015, 10:02   #20
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
I'm confident that what I wrote earlier stands up. But I cannot go further without a day in the library to look at the Old English usages of sceata (sheet = sail rope or sail corner).
I found one earlier use in Middle English (dated to 1294-1295) of sheet = sail rope: a list of diverse lines and things on a ship that reads "heuedropes, sheetes, heuedwyles, yerdropes, steyes et Backsteyes, haucers"


That citation is oddly not in the Oxford English Dictionary.


In Old English, we have two usages sceatline and sceacline, both obviously = sheet line or sail rope. We don't have a clear date for those two usages. They are included in vocabulary lists known as the Antwerp-London Glossaries. The A-L Glossaries are word lists that were used in teaching (teaching clerics to be clerks, possibly also teaching adults or children from important families). We know the A-L Glossaries are from the 11th century in their present form, but they may be as old as the 7th century. The A-L Glossaries are just word lists, not text in a context.


So best I can say for now is (and working backwards in time) is that sheet = sail rope exists in written Middle English from at least 1294-95 (we cannot be exact in the year).


Some time earlier than that (at least in the 11th century, perhaps as early as the 7th century) a sail rope was called a sceatline and/or a sceacline (depending on the cleric and his preferred orthography).


I would disassemble sceatline as sceat = corner of a sail; + line = a rope with a purpose.


The A-L Glossaries do list sceata and it is glossed as sceata = pes veli (foot + sail = sail foot, which has by different people been interpreted as 'footrope' or as 'sheetline'). I don't know exactly when that gloss was inserted (? in the 11th century; in the 7th century?) But sceata is NOT glossed as veli = sail.


The shelves have several works suggesting that sceatline/sceacline has cognates in any or many of the Scandinavian and Germanic languages e.g. schotline and similar orthographies.


The existence of those cognates suggest that Old English sceatline and the cognates have a common origin, likely among the people who sailed in the North Sea and came from any of the coastal lands (eg Scandinavia, the Low German lands, northern France, Britain).


And that suggests that sail control ropes have been called sceatline/sheetline since before 7th century.


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Old 21-03-2015, 17:15   #21
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

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The A-L Glossaries do list sceata and it is glossed as sceata = pes veli (foot + sail = sail foot, which has by different people been interpreted as 'footrope' or as 'sheetline'). I don't know exactly when that gloss was inserted (? in the 11th century; in the 7th century?) But sceata is NOT glossed as veli = sail.
That part is perfect! I wish I'd had it a couple of days ago, but the NYT blog, as so many do, has moved on. But now I know. Besides, they feel that if a word is in any dictionary, anywhere, it's a fair clue, so it wouldn't have been the last word. But thank you, and I know where to go next time.
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Old 21-03-2015, 18:36   #22
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Re: Nautical Terminology in the Big Apple

What is the derivation of the phrase describing inebriation, "three sheets to the wind?"

Never mind. I subsequently Googled it and found the answer...
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