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Nautical phrases and sayings explained | SailingQuiz

Nautical phrases, sayings and sailing terms with their meaning.

The sailors jargon buster

Have you ever wondered where some of our everyday phrases and sayings come from and what they mean? There are hundreds in common use in UK and around the world and we have been looking high and low to find them and their meaning. Here are 245 of them where we have cracked the sailors jargon for you. Enjoy!

What does "A clean slate" mean?

Today it means: Start again, a new beginning.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A clean slate

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A clean sweep" mean?

Today it means: Start again, everything re-newed.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A clean sweep

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A cock up" mean?

Today it means: Made a mess of things. mistake.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A cock up

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A fathom" mean?

Today it means: A fathom is 6 feet.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A fathom

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Sailing Terms

   

What does "A lash up" mean?

Today it means: A bad job, disorganised, rushed task, poorly done.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A lash up

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A leading light" mean?

Today it means: A well respected person or someone really good at what they do.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A leading light

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What is "A nautical mile" ?

Today it means: A nautical mile is one minute of latitude.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A nautical mile

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Sailing Terms

   

What is "A powder monkey" ?

Today it means: A boy in the Navy used to carry gunpowder to the guns

Nautical origin of the phrase: A powder monkey

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A shot across the bows" mean?

Today it means: A warning or a shot not intended to hit its target.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A shot across the bows

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A squadron" mean?

Today it means: A small naval unit, a cavalry unit or basic air force unit

Nautical origin of the phrase: A squadron

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    Category:

Sailing Terms

   

What does "A square meal" mean?

Today it means: A good nutritional meal

Nautical origin of the phrase: A square meal

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What is "A tot" ?

Today it means: A small drink

Nautical origin of the phrase: A tot

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What is "A tun" ?

Today it means: An old imperial unit of measure, wine or beer.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A tun

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "A.1." mean?

Today it means: Highest quality, the best.

Nautical origin of the phrase: A.1.

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "Abaft" mean?

Today it means: Abaft simply means behind.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Abaft

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Sailing Terms

   

What does "Abaft the beam" mean?

Today it means: Behind the centre point (beam) of the boat.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Abaft the beam

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Sailing Terms

   

What does "Abeam" mean?

Today it means: At right angles to your boat.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Abeam

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Sailing Terms

   

What does "Above board" mean?

Today it means: Honest, legal, not hidden, out in the open

Nautical origin of the phrase: Above board

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "All at sea" mean?

Today it means: Confused, muddled or dis-orderly

Nautical origin of the phrase: All at sea

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   

What does "All sewn up" mean?

Today it means: A task is completed

Nautical origin of the phrase: All sewn up

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    Category:

Nautical Saying

   


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