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 "Galley" mean?

Meaning: Compact kitchen onboard a vessel.

More about: Galley

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What does "Genoa" mean?

Meaning: A large headsail.

More about: Genoa

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What does "Get hitched" mean?

Today it means: Get married.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Get hitched

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Get underway" mean?

Meaning: Start something, begin a journey or voyage.

More about: Get underway

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What does "Getting into a flap" mean?

Today it means: Excited confision, panicing.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Getting into a flap

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What does "Give a wide berth" mean?

Today it means: Steer clear, stay away.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Give a wide berth

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What does "Give some degree of latitude" mean?

Today it means: A fair amount of freedom to act.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Give some degree of latitude

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What does "Glory hole" mean?

Today it means: Un-tidy cupboard or room.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Glory hole

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What does "Go by the board" mean?

Today it means: Dispose of, no longer needed.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Go by the board

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Government" mean?

Today it means: Lead, control, govern.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Government

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What does "Grog" mean?

Today it means: A drink

Nautical origin of the phrase: Grog

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What does "Groggy" mean?

Today it means: Not at your best, dopey, sluggish.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Groggy

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What does "Groundswell" mean?

Today it means: A sudden change in public opinion.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Groundswell

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What does "Gybe" mean?

Meaning: To tack with the stern of the boat passing through the wind.

More about: Gybe

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What does "Half slewed" mean?

Today it means: A bit drunk

Nautical origin of the phrase: Half slewed

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What does "Halyard" mean?

Meaning: A line used to raise and lower a sail.

More about: Halyard

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What does "Hand over fist" mean?

Today it means: Do something very quickly

Nautical origin of the phrase: Hand over fist

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What does "Hank" mean?

Meaning: A fitting to attach a sail luff to a stay.

More about: Hank

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What does "Hard and fast" mean?

Today it means: Not to be changed, definate, not to be modified

Nautical origin of the phrase: Hard and fast

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What does "Hawse pipe" mean?

Meaning: A pipe for the anchor chain.

More about: Hawse pipe

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What does "Head" mean?

Meaning: The top of a sail.

More about: Head

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What does "Headsail" mean?

Meaning: Sail at the bow of a sailing ship.

More about: Headsail

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What does "Headway" mean?

Today it means: Progress

Nautical origin of the phrase: Headway

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What does "Heave-to" mean?

Meaning: A way to steady the boat.

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What does "Heel" mean?

Meaning: Leaning angle of a sailing ship.

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What does "Helm" mean?

Meaning: Steering position or means of steering.

More about: Helm

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What does "High and dry" mean?

Today it means: Stranded

Nautical origin of the phrase: High and dry

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Highest astronomical tide (HAT)" mean?

Meaning: The highest predictable spring tide.

More about: Highest astronomical tide (HAT)

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What does "Holystoning" mean?

Today it means: Cleaning a deck with a block of sandstone.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Holystoning

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Hot pursuit" mean?

Today it means: Give close chase, follow at speed.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Hot pursuit

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