When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech

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McGraw-Hill Education, Apr 22, 1996 - Sports & Recreation - 144 pages
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Have you ever wondered about the origin of "son of a gun," "flotsam and jetsam," or "hunky-dory"? You'll find the nautical derivation of these expressions and more than 250 others in this collection of nautical metaphors and colloquialisms. In addition, this book includes thought-provoking and entertaining examples of these words drawn from literature, movies, and song, and contains sections of legends of the sea and weather lore. Fascinating reading for sailors and language enthusiasts alike. Here's the scuttlebutt: Barge right in and swallow the anchor, and let's chew the fat and splice the main brace 'til we're three sheets to the wind. Listen, you son of a sea cook, I'm tired of minding my P's and Q's. I tell you, I'm all at sea, and this is the bitter end. Nothing I can do will keep this ship on an even keel. Hells bells! You think I didn't tell it to the old man? Delivered a broadside, I did, but he just called me a loose cannon. Maybe I caught him between wind and water. Listen, mate. You'd better bootleg a bible aboard. We're sailing under false colors, and where we're headed it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. It's Davy Jones' locker I'm talking about. The crew was scraped from the bottom of the barrel. They don't know the ropes, and anyway they're deserting like rats from a sinking ship. It's time to fish or cut bait, mate, or there'll be the devil to pay. No use flogging a dead horse. Let's stay armed to the teeth and look for any port in a storm. There'll be nothing but flotsam and jetsam when this tub goes down the hatch.

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When a loose cannon flogs a dead horse there's the devil to pay: seafaring words in everyday speech

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Isil's lifelong fascination with sea lore has led her to produce this compendium of nautical metaphors and colloquialisms that have "washed ashore" into modern speech. However, the book doesn't always ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Olivia A. Isil was a clinical nurse specialist at Memorial Hospital, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for many years. In addition to pursuing her interest in ships, the sea, and word origins, Olivia has spent the past few years researching the "lost colonists" of Roanoke and the Roanoke Voyages of 1584 to 1587, and publishing her findings.

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