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Old 29-06-2015, 05:19   #16
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
"Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey."

A Brass monkey is the triangle thing used to store cannon balls on deck.

In cold weather the brass monkey and iron canonballs would have different contraction rates, causing the balls to fall.

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Snopes:

snopes.com: Brass Monkeys
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Old 29-06-2015, 05:52   #17
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Re: Nautical Expressions

I have not read these, but saw this today (Snopes used it for reference, in the above article linked by StuM):

Beavis, Bill. Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions.
New York: Sheridan House, 1994. IBSN 0-9244-8682-1.
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Isil, Olivia A. When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse, There's the Devil to Pay.
Camden, ME: International Marine, 1996. IBSN 0-07-032877-3 (pp. 23-24).

King, Dean. A Sea of Words.
New York: Henry Holt, 1995. IBSN 0-8050-3816-7.
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Old 29-06-2015, 05:54   #18
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Oh well. It sounded good to me.

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Old 29-06-2015, 06:41   #19
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The “devil” is a seam between the between the planking of a wooden ship, and to “pay” is to caulk pitch.

However, the other meaning of paying the Devil alludes to Faustian pacts in which hapless individuals pay for their wishes or misdeeds by forfeiting their soul. This allusion, and the everyday usage meaning 'I am in trouble now, I will have to pay for this later' predates the earliest recorded usage of 'devil' to mean the seam of a ship.
Indeed, Gord. But surely "the devil to pay and no hot pitch" specifically is a nautical term referring specifically to the "devil" being specifically the seam between the garboard strake and the keel. This makes this form of it a nautical term specifically, which may play on the earlier meaning of pact with the Devil etc. No?
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Old 29-06-2015, 06:48   #20
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Re: Nautical Expressions

Here's one I've always liked: when coming about through the wind on a tack, a square rigger must tack its yards through the wind, and at one moment th momentarily have its yards flat against the wind from ahead. If enough of them back at the same time, and this stops the ship making way in a seaway with no current, the rudder will have no water movement across its surface and the ship will temporarily be not under command, and will hang in irons until the wind gradually overcomes inertia, and she falls away again.

Hence the expression to describe this temporary state of paralysis in an unexpected moment: to be "taken aback".

This is one of the reasons that old squaresails ships would often "wear ship" (tacking by gybing) rather than perform a tack head to weather.
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Old 29-06-2015, 07:01   #21
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
But surely "the devil to pay and no hot pitch" specifically is a nautical term referring specifically to the "devil" being specifically the seam between the garboard strake and the keel. This makes this form of it a nautical term specifically, which may play on the earlier meaning of pact with the Devil etc. No?
Yes indeed.
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Old 29-06-2015, 09:42   #22
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Re: Nautical Expressions

"Trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea, the ship is on fire and no where to flee."
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Old 29-06-2015, 17:27   #23
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
I've seen three different suppositions for the origin of the brass monkey expression; this is the most nautical one. The one I was most familiar with was the device used for automatic speed control on a steam engine - a spinning device with two brass balls on rods that rose as speed increased, pushing down a valve that reduced the steam pressure.

Edit: quoted the wrong bit, but you know what I mean.
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Old 19-08-2015, 13:45   #24
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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There's often more hidden in these than is obvious - does the "devil" in this case refer to some part of a boat that I don't know?



And while I'm thinking about it, I note that the sun's over the yardarm!

Yes the devil is a plank near the keel. While underway the boat would be extremely healed and men put over the side to add pitch. Hence also the term "between the devil and the deep blue sea""


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Old 19-08-2015, 14:36   #25
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Re: Nautical Expressions

"Well, shiver me timbers!" I guess that's sailor talk for "be still, my beating heart!"
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Old 19-08-2015, 15:27   #26
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Yes the devil is a plank near the keel. While underway the boat would be extremely healed and men put over the side to add pitch. Hence also the term "between the devil and the deep blue sea""


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Almost. Not actually while "underway", else at that angle of heel the ballast would shift and the cannon likely break free and the ship capsize… rather this was performed by "careening", which involved removing almost all the gear, cannon and ballast from the ship, and then running lines from the top of the main mast sections down to winches (usually ashore, but sometimes the boat's windlass could be used with the fixed point ashore). The lines would haul the boat over to the point that the keel would be awash and the garboard strake and its associated devil seam exposed. Here's a picture of the careening windlasses at English Harbour, Antigua, corresponding to the usually maximum three masts of the vessels stationed there…
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Old 19-08-2015, 15:33   #27
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Re: Nautical Expressions

The cat's out of the bag.

Not enough room to swing a cat.
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Old 20-08-2015, 08:10   #28
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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The cat's out of the bag.



Not enough room to swing a cat.

The cat is the cat of 9 tails. It was hand made for each punishment and kept in baize bag before use.


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Old 23-08-2015, 11:38   #29
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Re: Nautical Expressions

Muckel Flugga

Thank you for the correction. The old ships of that era and life aboard have long fascinated me. It is amazing how many of the expressions continue to this day. In many, if not most, cases people have no idea of the origin.

I based my response on the phrase "between the devil and the deep blue sea". Your response, which I find more realistic, would be for the phrase "....and there will be the devil to pay" referring to recaulking that seam.

I also wasn't aware that there were more or less official careening sites. Makes sense, just didn't occur to me. Thanks for the picture.

Rich


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Old 23-08-2015, 11:48   #30
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Re: Nautical Expressions

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Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
Muckel Flugga

Thank you for the correction. The old ships of that era and life aboard have long fascinated me. It is amazing how many of the expressions continue to this day. In many, if not most, cases people have no idea of the origin.

I based my response on the phrase "between the devil and the deep blue sea". Your response, which I find more realistic, would be for the phrase "....and there will be the devil to pay" referring to recaulking that seam.

I also wasn't aware that there were more or less official careening sites. Makes sense, just didn't occur to me. Thanks for the picture.

Rich
Most welcome. I actually do think it works just fine for "between the devil and the deep blue sea" as of course to find yourself in such a position would be to find yourself under the boat! Mekes sense to me!
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