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When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech Paperback – 1 Apr 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine (1 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070328773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070328778
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"...this guide...will 'buoy' your spirits and help you 'learn the ropes." Lakeland Boating

Book Description

Have you ever wondered about the origin of "son of a gun," "flotsam and jetsam," or "hunky-dory"? You'll find the nautical derivation of these expressions and more than 250 others in this collection of nautical metaphors and colloquialisms. In addition, this book includes thought-provoking and entertaining examples of these words drawn from literature, movies, and song, and contains sections of legends of the sea and weather lore. Fascinating reading for sailors and language enthusiasts alike.Here's the scuttlebutt: Barge right in and swallow the anchor, and let's chew the fat and splice the main brace 'til we're three sheets to the wind. Listen, you son of a sea cook, I'm tired of minding my P's and Q's. I tell you, I'm all at sea, and this is the bitter end. Nothing I can do will keep this ship on an even keel. Hells bells! You think I didn't tell it to the old man? Delivered a broadside, I did, but he just called me a loose cannon. Maybe I caught him between wind and water. Listen, mate. You'd better bootleg a bible aboard. We're sailing under false colors, and where we're headed it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. It's Davy Jones' locker I'm talking about. The crew was scraped from the bottom of the barrel. They don't know the ropes, and anyway they're deserting like rats from a sinking ship. It's time to fish or cut bait, mate, or there'll be the devil to pay. No use flogging a dead horse. Let's stay armed to the teeth and look for any port in a storm. There'll be nothing but flotsam and jetsam when this tub goes down the hatch.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Generally speaking, if you want to track down odd expressions - and also compare those in the English language with equivalents in your own - this is a goldmine. It's obviously written by someone who not only knows what she is talking about, but also loves sharing her knowledge with others. For a non-english reader with naval interests, it is also rewarding to see how many originally naval expressions in english pop up in similar forms also in other languages. Interesting, amusing and enlightening!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Timothy Brooks on 6 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
I had hoped that I would learn some interesting new things from this book, which would add to my knowledge, and some of which perhaps I could quote at a later date. However, in a first flip-through I got a distinct impression that the author has been fairly liberal in bending sayings to fit into into her thesis, rather than properly researching their origins. For example, she gives a fairly lame explanation that minding your p's and q's is related to a sailor's pigtail - whereas I believe it's well known thta this derives from the print trade - because of the ease with which the (reversed ) type of p's and q's could verily easily be confused when sorting type back into boxes ready for re-use. Equally she quotes "Fools barge in where angels fear to tread" where 'barge' is a later corruption of the original 'rush' - which has no naulitcal connection. These very obvious errors make the whole book questionable as a reliable source. Entertaining though!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stefano Sarao on 20 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which I purchased while researching background material for a seminar on English metaphors. I found it very informative and well documented.
Many of the idioms it contains are well known and widely used, yet often obscure as to their origins. The title itself consists of 3 maritime expressions, at least one of which is deceptive in its simplicity. The "devil" is not Satan and "to pay" has no monetary connotations. This book is a very useful reference and a very enjoyable read for anyone wishing to introduce a note of "saltiness" in their prose. A common idiom that's strangely absent from this book is "the whole nine yards". While its exact etymology is much debated, many believe this idiom dates back to the days of sailing and is said to describe a ship under full sail, i.e. when all nine sails have been hoisted to the nine yard-arms.
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By Selby John Starkie on 9 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mildly amusing.
American.
Often wrong.
I'm a sailor and I hoped to learn something: I learned that people can sell quite bad books.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Brown on 3 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoying this book - many things I didn`t know - bought another for my ex-Royal Navy (33 years !)friend, he thinks it is great too !
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