Nautical phrases, sayings and terms

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 424 of them where we have cracked the sailors jargon for you. Enjoy!

 
  • Natical Phrases
  • Sailing Terms
  • Trivia
  • Folklore
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What does "Over a barrel" mean?

Today it means: A situation where there is no alternative.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Over a barrel

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What does "Overbearing" mean?

Today it means: Overwhelming, repressive

Nautical origin of the phrase: Overbearing

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What does "Overfall" mean?

Meaning: A shoal where two currents meet.

More about: Overfall

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What does "Overhaul" mean?

Today it means: Inspect and repair, make good.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Overhaul

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What does "Overreach" mean?

Today it means: Exceed your own ability, fail by being too clever.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Overreach

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What does "Painter" mean?

Meaning: A line for securing the bow of a dinghy.

More about: Painter

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What does "Panic stations" mean?

Today it means: Make every effort to get ready, last minute effort

Nautical origin of the phrase: Panic stations

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What does "Pipe down" mean?

Today it means: Be quiet, stay silent

Nautical origin of the phrase: Pipe down

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What does "Plain sailing" mean?

Today it means: Easy, smooth progress, without problems

Nautical origin of the phrase: Plain sailing

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What does "Points of sailing" mean?

Meaning: Angle from the wind a boat may sail.

More about: Points of sailing

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What does "Pontoon" mean?

Meaning: A floating jetty.

More about: Pontoon

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What does "Pooped" mean?

Today it means: Exhausted, worn out, done for

Nautical origin of the phrase: Pooped

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What does "Port" mean?

Meaning: Left side of a vessel looking forward.

More about: Port

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What does "Pour oil on troubled waters" mean?

Today it means: To make things better.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Pour oil on troubled waters

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What does "Preventer" mean?

Meaning: A stay line attached to a boom or mast.

More about: Preventer

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What does "Pulpit" mean?

Meaning: The safety rail around the bow of a boat or ship.

More about: Pulpit

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What does "Push the boat out" mean?

Today it means: No expense spared

Nautical origin of the phrase: Push the boat out

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What does "Pushpit" mean?

Meaning: The safety rail at the stern of a vessel.

More about: Pushpit

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What does "Put through the hoop" mean?

Today it means: Trouble coming

Nautical origin of the phrase: Put through the hoop

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What does "Quarter" mean?

Meaning: The portion of a vessel between beam and stern.

More about: Quarter

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What does "Quarters" mean?

Today it means: Military house or place to live.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Quarters

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What does "Rake" mean?

Meaning: The amount by which the mast bends from the vertical.

More about: Rake

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What does "Rats from a sinking ship" mean?

Today it means: To walk away from something that appears doomed.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Rats from a sinking ship

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What does "Reach" mean?

Meaning: A point of sail depending on the direction of the wind.

More about: Reach

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What does "Reef" mean?

Meaning: Reduce the area of sail.

More about: Reef

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What is "Reefing pennant" ?

Meaning: A line used to shorten sail.

More about: Reefing pennant

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What does "Reel off" mean?

Today it means: To quote a series of facts and figures.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Reel off

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What does "Ride out the storm" mean?

Today it means: Be patient, wait and see.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Ride out the storm

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What does "Roach" mean?

Meaning: Part of the trailing edge of a sail.

More about: Roach

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What does "Rope" mean?

Meaning: Twisted strands of hemp, sisal or similar

More about: Rope

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