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 "Rudder" mean?

Meaning: A moveable part under water used for steering.

More about: Rudder

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What does "Run the gauntlet" mean?

Today it means: To face a lot of criticisms from others.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Run the gauntlet

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Running rigging" mean?

Meaning: Lines, sheets and halyards etc.

More about: Running rigging

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What does "Sailing too close to the wind" mean?

Today it means: Just within the rules, only just getting away with it.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sailing too close to the wind

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What does "Samson post" mean?

Meaning: A stout post on which mooring lines can be made fast.

More about: Samson post

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What does "Schooner" mean?

Meaning: A sailing boat with two masts.

More about: Schooner

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What does "Scraping the barrel." mean?

Today it means: No other choice, accept something inferior, take whatever is left.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Scraping the barrel.

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What does "Scrimshanker" mean?

Today it means: Shirker, sciver, work shy, avoid responsibilities.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Scrimshanker

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What does "Scrub around it" mean?

Today it means: Ignor or dismiss a problem.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Scrub around it

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What does "Scuppered" mean?

Today it means: Failed.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Scuppered

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What does "Scuttle" mean?

Today it means: Deliberatly destroy, move quickly, small metal container.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Scuttle

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Scuttlebutt" mean?

Today it means: Gossip, banter, news.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Scuttlebutt

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Sea shanty" mean?

Today it means: Work songs sung by sailors.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sea shanty

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What does "Seacock" mean?

Meaning: A through the hull valve.

More about: Seacock

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What does "See how the land lies" mean?

Today it means: Find out when 'x' happens or when you get there.

Nautical origin of the phrase: See how the land lies

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What does "Self tailer" mean?

Meaning: A winch attachment to grip lines and sheets.

More about: Self tailer

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What does "Shackle" mean?

Meaning: A metal joining link with a screw-in closure.

More about: Shackle

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What does "Shank" mean?

Meaning: The link central arm of the anchor.

More about: Shank

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What does "Sheet" mean?

Today it means: A line for trimming sails.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sheet

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What does "Sheet in" mean?

Meaning: Tighten up

More about: Sheet in

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What does "Shipshape and Bristol fashion" mean?

Today it means: Nice and tidy, everything where it should be.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Shipshape and Bristol fashion

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What does "Shiver me timbers" mean?

Today it means: Its just a saying or sailors cuss

Nautical origin of the phrase: Shiver me timbers

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What does "Shooting a line" mean?

Today it means: Telling a tall story, fiction.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Shooting a line

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Shove off" mean?

Today it means: Go away.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Shove off

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Show a leg" mean?

Today it means: Get up, get out of bed, get ready.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Show a leg

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Show your true colours" mean?

Today it means: Be yourself

Nautical origin of the phrase: Show your true colours

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Shroud" mean?

Meaning: Rigging to support the mast athwartships.

More about: Shroud

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What does "Siren" mean?

Today it means: A captivating woman with deadly charm.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Siren

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What does "Skeg" mean?

Meaning: Part of the hull supporting the rudder.

More about: Skeg

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What does "Skyscraper" mean?

Today it means: Very tall building.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Skyscraper

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Nautical Saying


   


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