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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Why are "Bananas bad luck on a ship" ?

Meaning: The reason is lost in the mists of time.

More about: Bananas bad luck on a ship

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What are "Bare poles" ?

Meaning: Underway without setting sails.

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What is "Batten" ?

Meaning: Sail stiffening.

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What does "Batten down the hatches" mean?

Today it means: Get ready for trouble or something big is about to happen.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Batten down the hatches

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Beaker" mean?

Today it means: Plastic glass..

Nautical origin of the phrase: Beaker

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Nautical Saying


   

What is "Beam" ?

Meaning: The widest part of the boat.

More about: Beam

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What does "Beam ends" mean?

Today it means: Broke, penny less, impecunity.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Beam ends

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Beam reach" mean?

Meaning: A point of sail when the wind is at right angles to the boat.

More about: Beam reach

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What does "Bear away" mean?

Today it means: Not really in common use.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Bear away

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Bear down" mean?

Today it means: Get close, oppress.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Bear down

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Nautical Saying


   

What is "Bearing" ?

Meaning: The direction of an object.

More about: Bearing

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What does "Bearing up" mean?

Today it means: Coping, getting better.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Bearing up

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Nautical Saying


   

What is "Beat" ?

Meaning: To sail close to the wind.

More about: Beat

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What does "Beat it" mean?

Today it means: Go away.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Beat it

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Beat to quarters" mean?

Today it means: Call to action.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Beat to quarters

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     Category:

Nautical Saying


   

What does "Beaufort Wind Scale" mean?

Meaning: A scale of wind speeds and effects.

More about: Beaufort Wind Scale

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Berth" mean?

Meaning: A vessels mooring or crews place to sleep.

More about: Berth

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Between the devil and the deep blue sea" mean?

Today it means: Caught out, nowhere to turn.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Between the devil and the deep blue sea

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     Category:

Nautical Saying


   

What does "Bi-colour" mean?

Meaning: A navigation light showing two colours.

More about: Bi-colour

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Bilge" mean?

Meaning: The lowest area inside the vessel.

More about: Bilge

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What does "Bi-light" mean?

Meaning: A navigation light.

More about: Bi-light

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What does "Bitter end" mean?

Meaning: The end of a rope that is not tied on.

More about: Bitter end

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What does "Blazer" mean?

Today it means: Jacket, school jacket.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Blazer

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Nautical Saying


   

What is "Block" ?

Meaning: A pulley around rope or wire runs.

More about: Block

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What does "Blood money" mean?

Today it means: Proceeds from a bad deed.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Blood money

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Blow you, I'm alright Jack" mean?

Today it means: I'm OK so it doesn't matter about you.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Blow you, I'm alright Jack

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     Category:

Nautical Saying


   

What does "Bollard" mean?

Meaning: A short post for tying ropes around.

More about: Bollard

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Bottle up" mean?

Today it means: Let things build up, keeping things to yourself.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Bottle up

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Bottlescrew" mean?

Meaning: A threaded rigging screw.

More about: Bottlescrew

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What does "Bow" mean?

Meaning: The forward part of a boat.

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