Why We Say it is # 4 Nautical Talk

Today’s Land-Lubber Language Descended from the Sea

America’s sea-faring past is never more apparent than it is in our everyday speech. Even as the USA moved away from its sea-going heritage, snippets of the language of the ocean-blue remain a part of our lexicon, in terms of individual words and even complete phrases. Many of these are expressions we use every day, and most of us haven’t a clue as to their nautical origins. And yet, learning about a few of them could even be fun – a conversation topic as you lift your favorite tipple on the aft deck of your boat 5this summer. Time to bone up now.

Here are a couple of examples:

Bail Out: A very common phrase today, where it relates to the nation’s financial community. But this term, too, comes from nautical usage. In its wet sense, the term means to remove water from a vessel, usually by using a bucket or some such vessel to dip water from the boat and empty it over the side. Incidentally, it has an aviation term as well — crews in airplanes that were in trouble would bail themselves out of a plane – that is to say, jump!

Barge In: A barge is a flat-bottomed boat often used in river commerce and in-port cargo transfer operations. It’s a work boat that is hard to steer and difficult to control. Barges will bump and bang into piers and other boats, and thus, the term… “barge in.”

Bamboozle: This one comes from the 17th century. It is the practice of Spanish ships of hoisting false flags to deceive enemies. Today it means to intentionally deceive someone.

Bigwigs: Senior officers of the British Navy wore huge powdered wigs, much as judicial officers in Britain still do, to this day. Officers who were disliked aboard ships were known as Bigwigs, and today, the term is still used for an important person who is disliked.

This article was written by Jim Truckey, owner of Good Tidings Nautical Gifts Beach,Tropical Decor

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