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 "Transit" mean?

Meaning: When two charted objects line up.

More about: Transit

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What does "Transom" mean?

Meaning: The after part of the hull.

More about: Transom

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What does "Traveller" mean?

Meaning: An athwartships mounted track.

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What does "Tri-colour" mean?

Meaning: A three colour navigation light.

More about: Tri-colour

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What does "Trysail" mean?

Meaning: Small storm sail.

More about: Trysail

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What is "Tun" ?

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

Nautical origin of the phrase: Tun

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What does "Turn a blind eye" mean?

Today it means: Deliberately not seeing, ignore.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Turn a blind eye

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What does "Turn your vessel through the wind" mean?

Meaning: Tacking your boat, coming about.

More about: Turn your vessel through the wind

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What does "Turnbuckle" mean?

Meaning: Tensioner for standing rigging.

More about: Turnbuckle

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What does "Two-six" mean?

Today it means: A saying to help a gang of men keep time when pulling something

Nautical origin of the phrase: Two-six

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Under the weather" mean?

Today it means: Feel ill, not very well.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Under the weather

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What does "Under your own steam" mean?

Today it means: Without assistance.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Under your own steam

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What does "Up and downer" mean?

Today it means: Argument, row, disagreement or fight.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Up and downer

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Uphaul" mean?

Meaning: A line for hauling up a spar.

More about: Uphaul

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What does "Vang" mean?

Meaning: Line and tackle for holding down the boom.

More about: Vang

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What does "Veer" mean?

Today it means: Slack away a rope (haulyard or sheet).

Nautical origin of the phrase: Veer

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What does "Veering" mean?

Meaning: Change direction suddenly, change of wind direction.

More about: Veering

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What does "Walk the plank" mean?

Today it means: Face the consequences, answer/pay for your actions

Nautical origin of the phrase: Walk the plank

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What does "Warps" mean?

Meaning: Long lines for mooring a boat.

More about: Warps

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What does "Washboard" mean?

Meaning: Boards used to close the companionway.

More about: Washboard

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What does "Wasters" mean?

Today it means: Idle, time waster, layabout, un-trustworthy.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Wasters

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What does "Weather helm" mean?

Meaning: Tendency to steer windward.

More about: Weather helm

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What does "Whisker pole" mean?

Meaning: A pole to hold out a sail.

More about: Whisker pole

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What does "Whistle in the wind." mean?

Today it means: Ask for the impossible.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Whistle in the wind.

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What does "Winch" mean?

Meaning: Mechanical device for handling sheets and halyards.

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What does "Windage" mean?

Meaning: The effect wind has on a vessel.

More about: Windage

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What does "Windbag" mean?

Today it means: Talkative, boastful, talks about nothing.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Windbag

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Windfall" mean?

Today it means: Unexpected money.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Windfall

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Windlass" mean?

Meaning: A machanical device for handling anchor chain.

More about: Windlass

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What does "Windward" mean?

Meaning: Towards the wind.

More about: Windward

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