sailing terms

Did you know how many phrases and words that we use in everyday English have their roots in nautical teminology? Here is a selection of them but if you know of any more, then email

No Great Shakes - When casks became empty they were "shaken" (taken apart) so the pieces, called shakes, could be stored in a small space. Shakes had very little value.

No Quarter - This is a term, indicative of a fight to the death, gathers its meaning from the reverse of "giving Quarter," an old custom by which officers, upon surrender, could save their lives by paying a ransom of "One Quarter of their pay."

Nippers - The anchor warp in large sailing ships (cables) were too large to bend around a capstan. Smaller lines were used to heave the cables and these were nipped to the cable by small boys, who became known as nippers.

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