Sail in Mallorca and the Balearics
Can't find what you're looking for?
Charter a yacht - Flights to Mallorca - Top destinations
Or search the site
RSS icon

Captain's Blog



Interesting phrases

English is a language rich in expressions and idioms. With a rich seafaring history in Britain and the United States, it is not surprise that many common English phrases are in fact nautical expressions or sailing terms absorbed into the language. Here are some of the phrases that the nautical world has given us.

Batten down the hatches When a sailing ship was expecting bad weather, it would seal all the hatches on the ship that lead to the lower decks or hold with long wooden battens. Thus battening down the hatches became a phrase that meant "preparing for trouble"
Cut of his jib In the Age of Sail, a ship was primarily recognised by its sail plan. This included the particular way the jib was cut and set. Since different countries and regions had different styles, the "cut of someone's jib" became an idiom for the look or demeanour
Taken aback When a ship tries to tack, it has to turn until it points directly into the wind, then carry on turning until the wind is on the other side. If it does not have enough steerage way, it will not make it through the eye of the wind, the sails will fill from the wrong side and reverse the course. This is being "taken aback" in nautical terms. It can also simply mean being stopped by a sudden windshift that fills the sails from the wrong side. The everyday English phrase is figurative, meaning to be stopped by surprise..
   
   
W3C HTML 4.10 Validated

Website copyright 2007 - 2008 Nicholas Lovell
Images reproduced by permission of Sally Dutton, Rachel Hartley, Mark Lee, Barnaby Willitts-King
Contact us - Sitemap - About site - Links


© www.sailinmallorca.com.
Please visit and let us know about your trip to the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
* * * Yacht Tripitaka available for charter: visit www.sailinmallorca.com/tripitaka.php