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Coog
03-03-2012, 18:09
Some sayings that have a nautical origin:

http://www.dauntlessprivateers.org/nautical_sayings.htm

Berthier
03-03-2012, 20:25
Makes you wonder if there are any English sayings that aren't nautical in derivation!

Blackrose
03-04-2012, 04:59
Hmmm, while most seem correct, I caught at least one wrong one:

"Let the Cat Out of the Bag -
Aboard ship the punishment prescribed for most serious crimes was flogging. This was administered by the Boson's Mate using a whip called a cat o' nine tails. The cat was kept in a red dyed bag. It was considered bad news indeed when the cat was let out of the bag"

This term is quite a bit older, coming from the practice of farmers bringing piglets to market in bags, that is pokes, hence a pig in a poke. Some dishonest farmers would catch a barn cat or three, and put them in the poke instead. Thus if you "Buy a pig in a poke" your buying something unseen, and it might not be what you want. If you look inside to check before buying, you have "Let the cat out of the bag" (hopefully without getting scratched too badly :) ), and revealed the scam.
Son of a Gun might also be older, since when armies started to include large amounts of artillery for field battles, i.e. the Landsknecht period (early 1500s), the artillery would travel with the trains, where the camp followers were also. Ships' companies in the slightly later period (Elizabethan) would often have sailors wives aboard too (as the ships got bigger, and were on longer voyages), and they would bunk with they're men, often on the gundeck.
Karl

Capt P
03-04-2012, 15:45
I did see a show on the History channel about these saying. But good to see them here.

Coog
03-04-2012, 16:07
Hmmm, while most seem correct, I caught at least one wrong one:

"Let the Cat Out of the Bag -
Aboard ship the punishment prescribed for most serious crimes was flogging. This was administered by the Boson's Mate using a whip called a cat o' nine tails. The cat was kept in a red dyed bag. It was considered bad news indeed when the cat was let out of the bag"

I have my doubts all the sayings came from nautical terms, but the versions given sound interesting. Their version of "Let the Cat Out of the Bag" doesn't make sense in what we refer to, a secret revealed, when we use the phrase. Sailors definately knew the "cat" was in the bag!