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 "Ketch" mean?

Meaning: Twin masted vessel.

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What does "Kicker" mean?

Meaning: See Kicking strap.

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What does "Kicking strap" mean?

Meaning: Line and tackle used to control the boom.

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What does "Kiss the gunners daughter" mean?

Today it means: Old Navy punishment.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Kiss the gunners daughter

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What does "Knowing the ropes" mean?

Today it means: Learn how things are done.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Knowing the ropes

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What does "Landmark" mean?

Today it means: Noteable item, something that stands out.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Landmark

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What does "Lanyard" mean?

Meaning: A short line.

More about: Lanyard

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What does "Lashing" mean?

Meaning: A short line for tying things down..

More about: Lashing

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What does "Lay of the land" mean?

Today it means: See how things are when 'x' happens or when we get there.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Lay of the land

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What does "Lee helm" mean?

Meaning: Bear away from the wind

More about: Lee helm

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What does "Leech" mean?

Meaning: The trailing edge of a sail.

More about: Leech

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What does "Leech line" mean?

Meaning: A line threaded through the leech of a sail.

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What does "Leeward" mean?

Meaning: Sideways movement.

More about: Leeward

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What is "Leeway" ?

Meaning: Room to move, flexibility, not rigit.

More about: Leeway

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What does "Let fly" mean?

Today it means: Lash out, temper, angry outburst.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Let fly

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What does "Let the cat out of the bag" mean?

Today it means: Let out a secret or you've been caught doing wrong; but read on.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Let the cat out of the bag

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What does "Lifeline" mean?

Today it means: A rescue in any situation, to offer help.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Lifeline

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What does "Like the cut of your jib" mean?

Today it means: You like the way a person looks or acts

Nautical origin of the phrase: Like the cut of your jib

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What does "Limey" mean?

Today it means: The British.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Limey

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What does "LOA" mean?

Meaning: Length over all.

More about: LOA

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What does "Log" mean?

Meaning: Distance measuring device.

More about: Log

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What does "Loggerhead" mean?

Today it means: Being stupid, being a bit thick.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Loggerhead

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What does "Loose cannon" mean?

Today it means: Wild and un-predictable, could do anything.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Loose cannon

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What does "Lowest astronomical tide (LAT)" mean?

Meaning: The lowest predictable spring tide.

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What does "Luff foil" mean?

Meaning: A metal spar around the forestay.

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What does "Luff groove" mean?

Meaning: A groove to hold the luff of a sail.

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What is "Luff, Luff up or Luffing" ?

Meaning: Leading edge or slow down, spill the wind

More about: Luff, Luff up or Luffing

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What does "Mainbrace" mean?

Today it means: A strong rope controlling the main sail

Nautical origin of the phrase: Mainbrace

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What does "Mainsail" mean?

Meaning: The principle sail set on a mast.

More about: Mainsail

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What does "Mainstay" mean?

Today it means: Good support, hold everything together.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Mainstay

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