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 "Ebb and flow" mean?

Meaning: Falling and rising tides.

More about: Ebb and flow

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What does "Ensign" mean?

Meaning: A flag showing nationality or a rank in the Royal Navy.

More about: Ensign

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What does "Estimated position (EP)" mean?

Meaning: A specific form of navigation at sea.

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What does "Eyelet" mean?

Meaning: A hole in the sail for reefing ties.

More about: Eyelet

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What does "Fagged out" mean?

Today it means: Tired, worn out.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Fagged out

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What does "Fairlead" mean?

Meaning: A fitting which guides warps and lines.

More about: Fairlead

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What does "Fall foul of ...." mean?

Today it means: Usually when something bad has happened.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Fall foul of ....

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What does "Fathom out" mean?

Today it means: To work it out, to get to know how it works.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Fathom out

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What does "Fender" mean?

Meaning: A piece of equipment to stop the hull being damaged.

More about: Fender

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What does "Fiddlers Green" mean?

Today it means: Sailors Heaven

Nautical origin of the phrase: Fiddlers Green

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What does "Filibuster" mean?

Today it means: A long speech to block a bill in Parliament.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Filibuster

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What does "First rate" mean?

Today it means: The best, of high quality.

Nautical origin of the phrase: First rate

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What does "Flake" mean?

Meaning: To lay out rope, chain or sail in a zig zag fashion.

More about: Flake

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What does "Flaked out" mean?

Today it means: Worn out or asleep

Nautical origin of the phrase: Flaked out

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What does "Flotsam" mean?

Meaning: Disgarded object.

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What does "Fluke" mean?

Meaning: Part of the anchor that digs into the seabed.

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What does "Foot" mean?

Meaning: The bottom part of a sail.

More about: Foot

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What does "Footloose" mean?

Today it means: Nothing much to do, available

Nautical origin of the phrase: Footloose

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What does "For unlawful carnal knowledge" mean?

Today it means: Unlawful sex

Nautical origin of the phrase: For unlawful carnal knowledge

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What does "Fore" mean?

Meaning: Forward.

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What does "Foresail" mean?

Meaning: A sail at the bow of a sailing ship.

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What does "Forestay" mean?

Meaning: Stay supporting the mast from the bow..

More about: Forestay

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What does "Fractional rig" mean?

Meaning: Rigging that does not go to the top of the mast.

More about: Fractional rig

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What does "Freeboard" mean?

Meaning: Height of the boat from water to toe rail.

More about: Freeboard

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What does "Freeze the balls off a brass monkey" mean?

Today it means: Today it means really, really cold but read on. Theres more.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Freeze the balls off a brass monkey

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "From stem to stern" mean?

Today it means: The whole vessel.

Nautical origin of the phrase: From stem to stern

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What does "Full flood" mean?

Today it means: On a roll, everything is slotting into place nicely.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Full flood

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Full to the gunwales" mean?

Today it means: Full up, no more room, packed tight.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Full to the gunwales

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Gaff" mean?

Meaning: Spar supporting the top of a mainsail.

More about: Gaff

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What does "Gaff rigged" mean?

Meaning: A sail connected to two spars.

More about: Gaff rigged

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