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 "Sling your hook" mean?

Today it means: Go away, scarper.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sling your hook

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What does "Sloop" mean?

Meaning: A single masted sailing boat.

More about: Sloop

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What does "Slush fund" mean?

Today it means: Money put aside for dubious purposes

Nautical origin of the phrase: Slush fund

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What does "Snub" mean?

Meaning: Bring a rope under tension.

More about: Snub

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What does "Son of a gun" mean?

Today it means: Good at his job, born to it.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Son of a gun

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What does "Sou'wester" mean?

Today it means: A weatherproof hat, a direction of wind.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sou'wester

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What does "Sounding out" mean?

Today it means: Obtaining public opinion, get to know what is wanted.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sounding out

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What does "Spanker" mean?

Meaning: A sail on a ship.

More about: Spanker

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What does "Spic and span." mean?

Today it means: Good as new, clean and tidy, pristine.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Spic and span.

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What does "Spin a yarn" mean?

Today it means: Tell a story, stretch the truth, fabricate.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Spin a yarn

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What does "Spinnaker" mean?

Meaning: A lightweight triangular sail.

More about: Spinnaker

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What does "Splice" mean?

Meaning: Add to something, weave in

More about: Splice

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What does "Splice the mainbrace" mean?

Today it means: Time to have a drink

Nautical origin of the phrase: Splice the mainbrace

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What does "Spreader" mean?

Meaning: Struts at the sides of a mast.

More about: Spreader

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What does "Spring" mean?

Meaning: A warp to resist fore and aft movement of a vessel.

More about: Spring

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What does "Spring tide" mean?

Meaning: The greater tides of a lunar month.

More about: Spring tide

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What does "Spume" mean?

Meaning: Sea foam.

More about: Spume

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What does "Squadron" mean?

Meaning: A small naval unit, a cavalry unit or basic air force unit

More about: Squadron

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What does "Square up" mean?

Today it means: Repay a debt, make things correct.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Square up

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What does "Stanchion" mean?

Meaning: A metal post to support guardrails.

More about: Stanchion

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What does "Standing rigging" mean?

Meaning: All masts, stays and shrouds on a vessel.

More about: Standing rigging

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What does "Starboard" mean?

Meaning: Right side of a boat when facing forward.

More about: Starboard

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What does "Staunch" mean?

Today it means: Watertight, firm, reliable, loyal, supportive.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Staunch

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What does "Stays" mean?

Meaning: Wire or rope to support the mast.

More about: Stays

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What does "Staysail" mean?

Meaning: A triangular headsail.

More about: Staysail

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What does "Stem" mean?

Meaning: The hull of a vessel at the bows.

More about: Stem

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What does "Stern" mean?

Meaning: Aft part of a vessel.

More about: Stern

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What does "Stern line" mean?

Meaning: A line from the stern to the shore.

More about: Stern line

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What are "Studding sails (stuns'l)" ?

Meaning: Supplimental sails set outside on the yards.

More about: Studding sails (stuns'l)

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What does "Sweet Fanny Adams" mean?

Today it means: It means nothing, sweet F.A.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Sweet Fanny Adams

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