THE NAUTICAL ORIGINS OF EVERYDAY EXPRESSIONS
The origins of a remarkable number of everyday words and phrases are anchored in our seafaring past.Three Sheets to the Wind is an entertaining compilation revealing the maritime roots of common English expressions. The perfect companion for etymology lovers, factophiles, ocean dreamers, and the conversationally curious, the book features over 180 words that are nautically inspired. Alphabetically organized (from A to Sea) readers can also enjoy 100 original illustrations as well as relevant excerpts from the great novels of Melville, Forester, O’Brian, and others. Available May 1st. Excerpts from the book:
Three Sheets to the Wind The expression three sheets to the wind stems from the similarity between a drunken sailor staggering about, and a sailing ship moving erratically because its sheets are flying loose in the wind.
Pipe Down During the day the boatswain piped different patterns of notes on his whistle to signal various orders. Silence and lights out were among the last commands of the day. Unlike voices that don’t carry well at sea, the whistle’s high-pitch could be heard above the wind, surf, and general din of the ship.
Slush Fund Fatty scraps from boiling meat were collected by the ship cooks. The fat was intended for use by the crew to prevent chafing and rot in the rigging, but often these poorly paid cooks kept the fatty slush hidden and sold it to candle makers back in port. Today’s political slush funds are similar – they are hidden and they stink.
Cynthia Barrett is an avid sailor and has a long family history near the sea. Her great grandfather was a whaler and sailed three times around the rough seas of South America’s Cape Horn. He later served as a Commanding Officer in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. He was known as “Fighting Barrett.” Her father was in the D-Day invasion of France, where his ship was sunk off of Utah Beach. She lives in New York City.