The Sailor's Word-Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms

A to F




The recent loss of Admiral William Henry Smyth, noticed as it was by the leading periodicals, will have recalled to many, not only the social character and amiable qualities of the compiler of this Work, but also his distinguished professional career and high reputation as an officer, a navigator, and a seaman, which will be a guarantee for the details of this posthumous publication.

When, in 1858, the Admiral reached the allotted term of three-score years and ten, yet in perfect health, he executed his resolution of resigning to younger men the posts he held in the active scientific world, and concentrated his attention, at his quiet and literary retreat of St. John's Lodge, near Aylesbury, on reducing for the press the vast amount of professional as well as general information which he had amassed during a long, active, and earnest life: the material for this "Digest" outstanding as the last, largest, and most important part of it. Had he survived but a few months more, a preface in his own terse and peculiar style, containing his last ideas, would have rendered these remarks unnecessary; but he was cut off on the 8th of September, 1865, leaving this favourite manuscript to the affectionate care of his family and friends. By them it has been most carefully revised; and is now presented to the public, especially to his honoured profession, for the benefit of which he thought and worked during the long period which elapsed between his leaving the quarter-deck and his death; as his Charts (constructed from his numerous surveys), his twenty years' Essays in the United Service Journal, his efforts to render his astronomical researches accessible to seamen,—all testify.

Admiral Smyth was what has been called a commonplacer. He had the habit of methodically storing up, through a long series of[vi] years, all that could profit the seaman, whether scientific or practical. A collector of coins, and in various ways an antiquary, he knew well, not merely that "many mickles make a muckle," but that it will sometimes chance that the turning up of one little thing makes another little thing into a great one. And he culled from the intelligent friends with whom he associated many points of critical definition which cannot be found elsewhere. Thus, in addition to naval terms, he has introduced others relating to fortification; to ancient and modern arms and armour; to objects of natural history occurring at sea, in travel, &c.: the whole forming such an assemblage of interesting and instructive matter as will prove valuable to both seaman and landsman.

This "Digest" may engage the attention of the naval officer, not merely for the information it conveys, but for the doubts it may raise in matters deserving further research. Independently of the variety of subjects treated, the author's characteristic manner of handling them will make it to his former brother officers a reminiscence of one of the true tars of the old school—the rising generation will find here old terms (often misunderstood by younger writers) interpreted by one who was never content with a definition until he had confirmed it satisfactorily by the aid of the most accomplished of his cotemporaries; the landsman will discover the meaning or derivation of words either obsolete or which are not elsewhere to be traced, though occurring in general literature. To all it is the legacy of an officer highly appreciated by men of science, who on shore as well as afloat fought his way to eminence in every department, and always deemed it his pride that no aim was dearer to him than the advancement of his noble profession.

London, May, 1867.


What's in a word? is a question which it is held clever to quote and wise to think unanswerable: and yet there is a very good answer, and it is—a meaning, if you know it. But there is another question, and it is, What's a word in? There is never a poor fellow in this world but must ask it now and then with a blank face, when aground for want of a meaning. And the answer is—a dictionary, if you have it. Unfortunately, there may be a dictionary, and one may have it, and yet the word may not be there. It may be an old dictionary, and the word a new one; or a new dictionary, and the word an old one; a grave dictionary, and the word a slang one; a slang dictionary, and the word a grave one; and so on through a double line of battle of antitheses. Such is assuredly matter for serious cogitation: and voluntarily to encounter those anomalous perplexities requires no small amount of endurance, for the task is equally crabbed and onerous, without a ray of hope to the pioneer beyond that of making himself humbly useful. This brings me to my story.

Many years ago, I harboured thoughts of compiling a kind of detailed nautical vade mecum; but a lot of other irons already in the fire marred the project. Still the scheme was backing and filling, when the late[2] Major Shadwell Clerke—opening the year 1836 in the United Service Journal—fired off the following, to me, unexpected announcement:—

"A Nautical Dictionary, or Cyclopædia of Naval Science and Nomenclature, is still a desideratum. That of Falconer is imperfect and out of date. We have heard that the design of such a work has been entertained, and materials for its execution collected, by Captain W. H. Smyth, whom, we earnestly recommend to prosecute an undertaking of such promise to the service of which he is so experienced and distinguished a member—it could not be in more competent hands."

This broad hint must have been signalled by the gallant Major in the way of a stimulating fillip, and accordingly it aroused considerable attention. Among those who were excited by the notification was my friend Captain Basil Hall, who wrote to me from Paris a few days afterwards—13th of January, 1836—in these words:

"I read a day or two ago, in the United Service Journal, that you had some thoughts of preparing a Nautical Dictionary for publication; and from your connection with that journal, or at least your acquaintance with our friend the editor, I am led to fear that the report may be true. You will understand the use of the word fear when I tell you that, for nearly three years, my own thoughts have turned in the same direction, and I have been busily preparing for a task to which I meant to buckle to with a will, and to which I meant to devote some four or five years of exclusive diligence. What I am anxious to know, as soon as may be, is the fact of your having undertaken a similar work, or not. For I assure you I am not so foolish, nor so insensible either to my own peace of mind or my own reputation; nor am I so careless of your good opinion and regard, as to enter the lists with you. I repeat, neither my feelings nor my judgment would permit me in any way to cross your hawse, if indeed, as I too much fear, you have got before me. There is one other man in the service besides yourself, and only one, with whom no consideration would induce me to enter into competition—and that is Beaufort—but his hands, I presume, are full enough, and I had somehow imagined yours were too. So much so, that you were one of the first men I meant to consult on my return to England, and to beg assistance from. I should not have minded the competition of any one else, but I am not so vain as to suppose that I could do the thing as well as either of you—and therefore, even if I were not restrained by motives of personal friendship, I should never dream of risking my reputation[3] for professional, scientific, or literary attainments by a struggle in which I should certainly be worsted."

To this hearty and laudatory interpellation, an immediate reply was returned, stating that I had long held the subject in view, but that other weighty avocations occasioned its hanging fire, and had compelled me to suspend it sine die. Still I considered such a work necessary to the current wants, as well those of seafarers as of the landsmen who evince a taste for nautical matters; and that, from his profession and literary prowess, I knew of no one better fitted for the task than himself—adding that, under the emergency, my papers were at his service, and I would occasionally give him such personal aid as might lie in my power. This was acknowledged in a long explicatory letter, of which the following are extracts:—

"I trust I know the value of a compliment as well as any man, and I can say, with perfect truth, that in the whole of my career (such as it has been), professional, scientific, or literary, no compliment—I may say no circumstance—has occurred which has given me so much honest gratification as your letter of the 3d. I know you are a man not to say what you do not truly think, nor to express yourself strongly where you have not observed carefully. I shall therefore not disclaim your compliment, but rather seek, in a kindred spirit, to work up to the mark which you assign me—and which I know but too well how far I am short of.

"I do hope, indeed, that as you say, 'we may row in the same boat without catching crabs;' but of this I am quite resolved, not to cross your hawse, nor to interfere with your project, which you have alluded to as having already commenced. That is to say, I shall not interfere unless I can be of use to it and to you, and with your full concurrence, and, as I hope, your companionship. * * * *

"What I should propose would be, that you should furnish the professional technicalities in all the different branches, and that I should endeavour to popularize them. Here and there—as in the matter of Navigation—I also might intrude with some few technicalities. But generally speaking it would be you who should provide the real solid stuff, and I who should attempt to dress it up so as to be intelligible beyond the limits of the sea-service; and also to be intelligible to those young persons whom it is very important to instruct in general and even popular views, but for whom it would be needless to write a new elementary treatise. * * * *

"This is a sketch of my plan. What think you of it? I must add one thing, however, that you must be the senior officer on the occasion. I shall act in all this matter, and in the most perfect good faith, as your subordinate."

In responding to this full and frank overture, I entered into a few more particulars respecting my progress and purpose in the projected work; and invited him—on his return from France—to come at once to Bedford and ransack my papers.

Accordingly, in the autumn of 1836, Captain Basil Hall and his family—the whole of the Schloss Handfeldt party—arrived at my house, where he was located in a quiet library, with all my materials for the Naval Dictionary before him. Here he remained in close examination of them during two days, when he promised to send me his ultimatum in writing after due deliberation. He required time for this, seeing I had fairly warned him that my onerous undertakings would necessarily throw the heavier share of our performance upon his shoulders. On the 27th of November I received a letter from Edinburgh, in which he made this statement:—

"With respect to the Marine Dictionary I think we have come to a clear understanding—namely, that for the present it is standing fast. I certainly had a notion that I was an interloper, and as soon as I saw the vast deal you had done in the way of preparation, that it became me as a man of fair dealing, to back out. This does not, however, appear to have been your wish, but on the contrary that we may still make a joint work of it by-and-by, when we have leisure, both of us, to engage in it heartily—tooth and nail. I shall therefore keep it in my thoughts, and endeavour to shape my future plans so as to meet this view, and, should I see occasion, I can write to you about it. My present notion is, that if ever we do set about it, I must come to Bedford for a season, and give myself entirely up to the work, under your direction. The work, to be worth a straw, or at all what would be expected from you and me, would require no small labour on our parts, for a considerable length of time."

We consequently lay upon our oars for some time, but occasionally pulling a stroke or two to keep to the station, and be ready for head-way when required. While thus prepared, in 1842 my excellent and highly accomplished friend was most unexpectedly assailed by an afflicting malady, which at once reduced a brilliant mind to a distressing fatuity,[5] which—after two lingering years—closed his valuable life, and clued up our arrangements.

Meantime our plan had oozed out, and too great an expectation was evoked in certain quarters, the inquiries from whence were frequent reminders. At length in 1865, most of my undertakings having been completed, and out of the way, I made an overhaul of the bulky ribs and trucks of the scheme in question. Both my judgment and feelings united in showing that it is now too late in the day for me to think of setting about such a work as was contemplated thirty years ago; yet finding myself still capable of application, and fully knowing all the bearings of the case, I feel assured that a comprehensive and useful "word-book" may be made from the shakings. On the whole, therefore, the foregoing particulars seem to be a necessary prelude to this introduction.

Doubtless a well-digested marine dictionary would be equally beneficial to the country and to the service, for the utility of such a work in assisting those who are engaged in carrying on practical sea duties is so generally admitted, that it is allowable here to dilate upon its importance, especially when it is considered how much information a youth has to acquire, on his first going afloat, in order to qualify him for a position so totally different from what he had hitherto been familiar with. In this case such a volume might justly be deemed one of the most useful of his companions, as it would at all times answer his questions, and aid that ardour of inquiry which some of his shipmates might not find it easy to satisfy. It would quicken the slow progress of experience, and aid those who take a pleasure in the knowledge and discharge of their duties. But a work of this description must necessarily require constant additions, and revised explanations, to enable it to keep pace with the wondrous alterations and innovations which are now taking place in every department of the naval service. The future of all this is utterly inscrutable!

Nor has this province been neglected, as the efforts of Captain John Smith (of mine own clan), Maynwaring, Boteler, Blanckley, Falconer, Young, and many others, testify; and however they may fall short of what naval science demands, they are full of initiative training. Indeed they may all be advantageously consulted, for honey is not the less sweet because it is gathered from many flowers; and I have freely availed myself of their various works, as far as they go, though I have adopted no[6] term without holding myself responsible for its actuality. Such a vaunt may be considered to savour of the parturiunt montes apothegm, but the reader may confidently rest assured that whatever shortcomings he may detect they are not the result of negligence.

It has been pronounced that such lexicography may be too diffuse; that to describe the track of every particular rope through its different channels, however requisite for seamen, would be useless and unintelligible to a landsman. But surely nothing can be considered useless which tends directly to information, nor can that be unintelligible which is clearly defined. Moreover, such a work may be so carried out as not only to be instructive in professional minutiæ, but also to be a vehicle for making us acquainted with the rules which guided the seamen of former times, thereby affording an insight into those which are likely to direct them in their own.

From the causes already stated, my project of a full sailor's dictionary fell to the ground; yet in course of time, and at the age of seventy-seven, finding leisure at last on hand, I thought it feasible to work my materials into a sort of maritime glossary. The objects of such a digest are to afford a ready reference to young or old, professional or non-professional, persons, who by consulting it may obtain an instant answer to a given question. Now although many of the explanations may be superfluous to some seamen, still they may lead others to a right understanding of various brackish expressions and phrases, without having to put crude queries, many of which those inquired of might be unable to solve. Nor is it only those afloat who are to be thus considered; all the empire is more or less connected with its navy and its commerce, and nautical phraseology is thereby daily becoming more habitual with all classes of the lieges than of erst. Even our parliamentary orators, with a proper national bias, talk of swamping a measure, danger ahead, taking the wind out of an antagonist's sails, drifting into war, steering a bill through the shoals of opposition or throwing it overboard, following in the wake of a leader, trimming to the breeze, tiding a question over the session, opinions above or below the gangway, and the like, so rife of late in St. Stephen's; even when a member "rats" on seeing that the pumps cannot keep his party from falling to leeward, he is but imitating the vermin that quit a sinking-ship.

This predilection for sea idiom is assuredly proper in a maritime people, especially as many of the phrases are at once graphic, terse, and perspicuous.[7] How could the whereabouts of an aching tooth be better pointed out to an operative dentist than Jack's "'Tis the aftermost grinder aloft, on the starboard quarter." The ship expressions preserve many British and Anglo-Saxon words, with their quaint old preterites and telling colloquialisms; and such may require explanation, as well for the youthful aspirant as for the cocoa-nut-headed prelector in nautic lore. It is indeed remarkable how largely that foundation of the English language has been preserved by means of our sailors.



A. The highest class of the excellence of merchant ships on Lloyd's books, subdivided into A 1 and A 2, after which they descend by the vowels: A 1 being the very best of the first class. Formerly a river-built (Thames) ship took the first rate for 12 years, a Bristol one for 11, and those of the northern ports 10. Some of the out-port built ships keep their rating 6 to 8 years, and inferior ones only 4. But improvements in ship-building, and the large introduction of iron, are now claiming longer life.

A is an Anglo-Saxonism for in or on; as a'board, a'going, &c.

A.B. The rating of Able Seamen on the ship's books: these two letters are often used as an epithet for the person so rated. He must be equal to all the duties required of a seaman in a ship—not only as regards the saying to "hand, reef, and steer," but also to strop a block, splice, knot, turn in rigging, raise a mouse on the main-stay, and be an example to the ordinary seamen and landsmen.

ABAB. A Turkish sailor who plies in coasting craft.

ABACK. The situation of a ship's sails when the wind bears against their front surfaces. They are laid aback, when this is purposely effected to deaden her way by rounding in the weather-braces; and taken aback, when brought to by an unexpected change of wind, or by inattention in the helmsman.—All aback forward, the notice given from the forecastle, when the head-sails are pressed aback by a sudden change in the wind. (See Work Aback.)—Taken aback, a colloquialism for being suddenly surprised or found out.

ABACUS. A board with balls sliding on small rods, used in China, Russia, &c., for calculating bills, &c.

ABAFT. This word, generally speaking, means behind, inferred relatively, beginning from the stem and continuing towards the stern, that is, the hinder part of the ship.—Abaft the beam implies any direction between a supposed transverse line amidships and the stern, whether[12] in or out of the ship. It is the relative situation of an object with the ship, when that object is placed in the arc of the horizon contained between a line at right angles with the keel and the point of the compass which is directly opposite the ship's course. An object—as a man overboard—is described by the look-out man at the mast-head as abeam, before, or abaft the beam, by so many points of the compass. As a vessel seen may be "three points before the beam," &c.

ABAKA. A fine vegetable fibre, with which the white Manila rope, so much used on the India station, is made. This rope floats in water, and is not subject to rot, nor does it require tarring. A frigate on the China station in 1805 had nearly the whole of her running rigging of this cordage.

ABANDONMENT of a Vessel. Deserting and abandoning her by reason of unseaworthiness or danger of remaining in her, also when grounded and cannot be saved. This never occurs but in imminent cases; therefore, before the insured can demand recompense from the underwriter, they must cede or abandon to him the right of all property which may be recovered from shipwreck, capture, or any other peril stated in the policy. Other parties entering and bringing the vessel into port obtain salvage. (Vide Derelict.)

ABASE, To. An old word signifying to lower a flag or sail. Abaisser is in use in the French marine, and both may be derived from the still older abeigh. Abase literally means to cast down, to humble.

ABATE, To. An old Anglo-Norman word from abattre, to beat down or destroy; as, to abate a castle or fort, is to beat it down; and a gale is said to abate when it decreases. The term is still used in law.

ABATEMENT. A plea by which a reduction of freight is demanded, when unforeseen causes have delayed or hindered the performance of a stipulated charter-party.

ABATIS. An obstruction used in temporary fortification, composed of felled trees deprived of their smaller branches, and secured to the ground side by side with their tops towards the enemy; applicable to the front of posts, works, or positions, and occasionally to the bars of rivers.

ABBEY-LUBBER. This is an old term of reproach for idleness, and is here quoted only as bearing upon the nautical lubber. In the "Burnynge of Paule's Church, 1563," it is thus explained—"An Abbey-lubber, that was idle, well-fed, a long lewd lither loiterer, that might worke, and would not."

ABBLAST. Cross-bow; hence,

ABBLASTER. Cross-bow man.

ABBROCHYN. The old term for beginning or broaching a barrel, cask, or any "vesselle of drynke."[13]

ABEAM. In a line at right angles to the vessel's length; opposite the centre of a ship's side.

ABEAM-ARM. For this curved timber, see Fork-beams.

ABER. An ancient British word for the mouth of a river—as Aber-brothick, Aber-avon, Aber-ystwith, and Aber-conway, &c. It also means the confluence of two or more streams.

ABERRATION. An apparent change of place, or alteration of their mean position, in the fixed stars, caused by the earth's orbital movement.—Aberration of a planet signifies its progressive geocentric motion, or the space through which it appears to move, as seen from the earth, during the time which light occupies in passing from the planet to us.—Crown of aberration is a spurious circle surrounding the proper disc of the sun.—Constant of aberration, or amount of displacement in the sun's longitude, arising from the progressive motion of light, is established at 20″·45.

ABET, To. To excite or encourage—a common word, greatly in use at boat-racings, and other competitive acts.

ABITED. A provincial term for mildewed.

ABJURATION. The oath taken till lately by all officers on receiving their commission, by which they abjured any claim of the Stuarts to the throne, the power of the Pope, and the Romish religion.

ABLE. A term not simply expressive of strong faculties, but as acquainted with and equal to perform the expected duty.—Able seaman, a thorough or regular bred sailor. (See A.B.)—Able-bodied, sound, healthy, and fit for the Royal service.

ABLE-WHACKETS. A popular sea-game with cards, wherein the loser is beaten over the palms of the hands with a handkerchief tightly twisted like a rope. Very popular with horny-fisted salts.

ABOARD. Inside or upon a ship; the act of residing afloat; to hug the land in approaching the shore.—To fall aboard of, is for one vessel to run foul of another.—To haul the tacks aboard, is to bring their weather clues down to the chess-tree, or literally, to set the courses.—To lay an enemy aboard, to run into or alongside.

ABODE. Waited for; as, ship ran to the appointed place of rendezvous and abode there for her consort.

ABORD. An Anglo-Saxon term, meaning across, from shore to shore, of a port or river.

ABOUT. Circularly; the situation of a ship after she has gone round, and trimmed sails on the opposite tack.—Ready about! and About-ship! are orders to the ship's company to prepare for tacking by being at their stations.

ABOVE-BOARD. Over the deck; a term used for open fair dealing, without artifice or trick.[14]

ABOX. A word used in veering for aback, alluding to the situation of the head-yards in paying off. (See Brace Aback.)—Lay the head-yards abox—in former times, and even at present, many good seamen prefer to lay the head-yards square, or abox, to heave-to. It brings the vessel more under command for sudden evolution, wearing, or staying.

ABRAHAM-MEN. A cant term for vagabonds, who formerly begged about under pretence of having been discharged destitute from ships and hospitals; whence an idle malingerer wanting to enter the doctor's list is said to "sham Abraham." From a ward in Bedlam which was appropriated for the reception of idiots, which was named Abraham: it is a very old term, and was cited by Burton in the Anatomy of Melancholy so far back as 1621.

ABRASE, To. To dubb or smooth planks.

ABRASION. The rubbing off or wearing away of the parts of a rock, or of the soil, by the impinging and friction of other bodies.

ABREAST. Side by side, parallel, or opposite to; generally used in opposition to abaft or afore.—Line abreast means a fleet advancing or retreating uniformly on a line parallel with the beam.—Abreast of a place, is directly off it; a direction at right angles with the keel or ship's length. In the army the term was formerly used for any number of men in front; but at present they are determined by files.—Abreast. Within-board, signifies on a parallel with the beam.

ABRID. A pintle-plate.

ABROACH. On tap, in use; spoken of barrels of beer or other liquors.

ABROAD. Synonymous with foreign, or being on a foreign station. Also an old word for spread; as, all sail abroad.

ABRUPT. A word applied to steep, broken, or craggy cliffs and headlands, especially such as are bold-to and precipitous.

ABSCISS. A part either of the diameter or the transverse axis of a conic section, intercepted between the vertex or any other fixed point and a semi-ordinate.—Abscission of a planet, its being outstripped by another, which joins a third one before it.

ABSENCE. A permission occasionally obtained, on urgent affairs, by officers to quit their duties.

ABSOLUTE. Anything free from conditions.—Absolute equations, the sum of the optic and eccentric equation, or the anomalies arising from a planet's not being equally distant from the earth at all times, and its motion not being uniform.—Absolute gravity is the whole force with which a body tends downwards.

ABSORPTION. A term formerly used for the sinking of islands and tracts of land, instead of subsidence.


ABSTRACT. A brief register of the warrant officer's stores, by which[15] the supplies, expenses, and remains are duly balanced. An abstract log contains the most important subjects of a ship's log.

ABSTRACT MATHEMATICS, or Pure. The branch which investigates and demonstrates the properties of magnitude, figure, or quantity, absolutely and generally considered, without restriction to any species in particular; such as arithmetic and geometry.

A-BURTON. The situation of casks when they are stowed in the hold athwart ship, or in a line with the beam.

ABUT. When two timbers or planks are united endways, they are said to butt or abut against each other. (See Butt.)

ABYME. Places supposed to be the site of constant whirlpools, such as Charybdis, the Maelstrom, and others. It means generally an abyss.

ABYSS. A deep mass of waters; in hydrography it was synonymous with gulf.

ACADEMITE. An old term for an officer brought up at the Royal Navy Academy at Portsmouth, afterwards named the Royal Naval College.

ACAIR-PHUILL. Compounded of the British acair or anchor, and phuill, a pill, or harbour, and means a safe anchorage.

ACALEPHÆ. A class of marine animals of low organization, having a translucent jelly-like structure, and frequently possessing the property of stinging, whence their name (ἀκαλήφη, a nettle). The common jelly-fish (Medusa) and the Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia) are the best-known examples.

ACAST. The old word for lost or cast-away. In weighing anchor the head-yards are generally braced acast, to cause the vessel to cast in the direction. "Does she take acast?" is frequently the question of the officer abaft.

ACATER. An old word for purveyor of victuals, whence caterer, or superintendent and provider of a mess. Thus in Ben Jonson's "The Devil is an Ass"—

"He is my wardrobe-man, my acater,
Cook, butler, and steward."
ACATES. Victuals; provisions purchased; delicious food; dainties.

ACATIUM. A word used in Roman naval affairs for a small boat, and also the main-mast of a ship.

ACCELERATION. The increase of velocity in a moving body by the force of gravity. A planet is said to be accelerated when its actual diurnal motion exceeds its mean. In fixed stars the acceleration is the mean time by which they anticipate the sun's diurnal revolution, which is 3′ 56″ nearly.—Acceleration of the moon is the increase of her mean motion, caused by a slow change in the excentricity of the terrestrial orbit, and which has sensibly diminished the length of the moon's revolution since the time of the earliest observations.[16]

ACCESS. Means of entry on board.

ACCESSIBLE. A place which can be approached by land or sea.

ACCLIVITY. The upward slope of an inclined cliff.

ACCOIL, To. To coil together, by folding round. (See Coil.)

ACCOLADE [ad and collum, Lat.] The ceremony of dubbing a knight, and the consequent embrace formerly customary on the occasion.

ACCOMMODATIONS. Cabins fitted for passengers.—Accommodation ladder, a convenient flight of steps fixed at the gangway, by which officers and visitors enter the ship.—Accommodation, the physical application of one thing to another by analogy.

ACCOMPANY, To. To sail together; to sail in convoy.

ACCOST, To. To pass within hail of a ship; to sail coastwise; to approach, to draw near, or come side by side.

ACCOUNT, Going upon. A phrase for buccaneering.

ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL of the Navy. Superintendent of pay and general accounts of the navy.

ACCOUNTS. The several books and registers of stores, provisions, slops, and contingents of a ship or fleet; and they are strictly enjoined to be correct, real, and precise, both in receipt and expenditure.—Account sales, a form of book-keeping in commerce.

ACCOUTREMENT. An old term for an habiliment, or part of the trappings and furniture of a soldier or knight; now generally used for the belts, pouches, and equipments of soldiers or marines.

ACCUL. A word used by old voyagers for the end of a deep bay; it is corrupted from cul de sac.

ACHATOUR. The old word for caterer of a mess.

ACHERNAR. A star of the first magnitude in the constellation Eridanus, called by navigators the "Spring of the River." It is invisible in our latitude. (α Eridani.) Properly should be acher nahr.

ACHIEVEMENT. A signal exploit; escutcheon; armorial bearings granted for achievement.

ACHROMATIC. An optical term applied to those telescopes in which aberration of the rays of light, and the colours dependent thereon, are partially corrected. (See Aplanatic.)

ACHRONICAL. An ancient term, signifying the rising of the heavenly bodies at sunset, or setting at sunrise.

ACKER. See Eagre or Aigre. Also, an eddying ripple on the surface of flooded waters. A tide swelling above another tide, as in the Severn. (See Bore.)

ACK-MEN, or Ack-pirates. Fresh-water thieves; those who steal on navigable rivers.

A-COCKBILL (see Cock-bill). The anchor hangs by its ring at the cat-head, in a position for dropping.[17]

ACOLYTE. A term sometimes used to distinguish the smaller component of a double star. A subordinate officer in the ancient church.

ACON. A flat-bottomed Mediterranean boat or lump, for carrying cargoes over shoals.

ACQUITTANCE. A commercial term, more generally called quittance (which see).

ACRE, or Acre-fight. An old duel fought by warriors between the frontiers of England and Scotland, with sword and lance. This duelling was also called camp-fight.

ACROSS THE TIDE. A ship riding across tide, with the wind in the direction of the tide, would tend to leeward of her anchor; but with a weather tide, or that running against the wind, if the tide be strong, would tend to windward. A ship under sail should prefer the tack that stems the tide, with the wind across the stream, when the anchor is let go.

ACROSTOLIUM. A buckler, helmet, or other symbolical ornament on the prow of ancient ships; the origin of the modern figure-head.

ACT and INTENTION. Must be united in admiralty law.

ACTE. A peninsula; the term was particularly applied by the ancients to the sea-coast around Mount Athos.

ACT OF COURT. The decision of the court or judge on the verdict, or the overruling of the court on a point of law.

ACT OF GOD. This comprehends all sudden accidents arising from physical causes, as distinguished from human agency, such as from lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, plagues, and epidemic contagion amongst the crew. For none of these are ship-owners responsible.

ACT OF GRACE. An act of parliament for a general and free pardon to deserters from the service and others.

ACTING COMMISSION. When a commissioned officer is invalided, his vacancy is filled up pending the pleasure of the admiralty by an acting order. But when an officer dies on a station, where the admiralty delegates the power to the admiral commanding in chief, the vacancy is filled by an acting commission. Thus also rear-admirals now act on acting commissions as vice-admirals during command on their station, but return to their proper position on the navy list when it ceases.

ACTION. Synonymous with battle. Also a term in mechanics for the effort which one body exerts against another, or the effects resulting therefrom.—Action and reaction, the mutual, successive, contrary impulses of two bodies.

ACTIVE SERVICE. Duty against an enemy; operations in his presence. Or in the present day it denotes serving on full-pay, on the active list, in contradistinction to those who are virtually retired, and placed on separate lists.[18]

ACTIVITY. The virtue of acting. The sphere of activity is the surrounding space to which the efficacy of a body extends, as the attraction of the magnet.

ACTO, or Acton. A kind of defensive tunic, made of quilted leather, or other strong material, formerly worn under the outer dress, and even under a coat of mail.

ACTUARIÆ. Long light vessels of the ancients, especially contrived for swiftness; propelled both by sails and oars; of the latter never less than twenty.

ACUMBA. Oakum. The Anglo-Saxon term for the hards, or the coarse part, of flax or unplucked wool.

ACUTE. Terminating in a point, and opposed to obtuse. An acute angle is less than a right one, or within 90°.

ACUTE-ANGLED TRIANGLE. That which has all its angles acute.

ADAMANT. The loadstone; the magnet—the sense in which it was held by early voyagers; but others considered it a "precyowse stone," or gem.

ADAMAS. The moon in nautic horoscopes.

ADAPTER. A brass tube to fit the eye-end of a telescope, into which all the eye-pieces will screw.

ADARRIS. A word which Howell explains as the flower of sea-water.

ADDEL, or Addle. An old term for the putrid water in casks.

ADDICE, an adze. Also the addled eggs of gulls and other sea-fowl.

ADDLINGS. Accumulated pay or wages.

ADELANTADO. A lieutenant of the king of Spain, but used by old English writers for "admiral."

ADHESION. Consent to a proposal. Union or temporary cohesion; as, two vessels forced into adhesion by the pressure of the tide on their beam.

ADIT. A space in ancient ships, in the upper and broadest part, at which people entered. The adit of a military mine, is the aperture by which it is dug and charged: the name is also applied to an air-hole or drift.

ADJACENT. Lying close to another object; a word applied to the relative situations of capes or bays from the ship.—Adjacent angle is one immediately contiguous to another, so that they have one common side.

ADJOURN, To. To put off till another day. Adjournments can be made in courts-martial from day to day, Sundays excepted, until sentence is passed.

ADJUDICATION. The act of adjudging prizes by legal decree. Captors are compelled to submit the adjudication of their captures to a competent tribunal.[19]

ADJUST, To. To arrange an instrument for use and observation; as, to adjust a sextant, or the escapement of a chronometer. To set the frame of a ship.

ADJUSTMENT. In marine insurance, the ascertaining and finally settling the amount of indemnity—whether of average or of salvage—which the insured (after all proper deductions have been made) is entitled to receive under the policy, when the ship is lost.

ADJUSTMENT OF THE COMPASS. Swinging a ship to every point of bearing, to note the variation or error of the needle upon each rhumb, due to the local attraction of the iron, or the mass, on each separate compass bearing. Thus, in lat. 76° N. it was found to be +22° 30′ with the head W.S.W., and -56° 30′ on the opposite bearing, or E.N.E.

ADJUTANT. [From Lat. adjuvo, to help.] A military assistant to field-officers. The term has been applied to an assistant captain of a fleet. It is indeed the duty performed by first lieutenants.

ADMEASUREMENT. The calculation of proportions according to assumed rules, often ignorantly practised in estimating the tonnage of a ship.

ADMIRAL. The derivation of this noble title from the Greek almyros, from the Latin admirabilis, from the Saxon aenmereeal, and from the French aumer, appear all fanciful. It is extensively received that the Sicilians first adopted it from emir, the sea, of their Saracen masters; but it presents a kind of unusual etymological inversion. The term is most frequent in old Romance; but the style and title was not used by us until 1286; and in 1294, William de Leybourne was designated "Amiral de la Mer du Roy d'Angleterre;" six years afterwards Viscount Narbonne was constituted Admiral of France; which dates nearly fix the commencement of the two states as maritime powers.

The admiral is the chief commander of a fleet, but of this rank there are three degrees, distinguished by a flag at the fore, main, or mizen mast, according to the title of admiral, vice-admiral, or rear-admiral. These were again subdivided according to their colour of red, white, or blue, which had to be likewise borne by the squadrons they respectively commanded. (See Flag.) In 1865 the colours were omitted, and the only flag now hoisted by ships of war is the white St. George's ensign, and for admirals the white St. George's cross at the main, fore, or mizen.

The admiral of the fleet is the highest officer under the admiralty of Great Britain; it is rather an honorary distinction, and usually attained by seniority and service: when this officer serves afloat, he hoists the proud distinction of the Union flag at the main.[20]

The lord high-admiral was one of the principal officers of the state, who formerly decided all cases relating to the sea: he wore a gold call and chain, similar in form to that which has descended to the boatswain and his mate. This dignity has been extinct for many years, and the duty merged into that of the lords-commissioners and admiralty court; in 1827, it was revived for a short time in the person of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence.

The epithet of admiral was also formerly applied to any large or leading ship, without reference to flag; and is still used for the principal vessel in the cod and whale fisheries. That which arrives first in any port of Newfoundland retains this title during the season, with certain rights of beach in flakes. The master of the second ship becomes the vice-admiral, and the master of the third the rear-admiral.

ADMIRAL. A beautiful and rare shell of the genus Conus; the varieties are designated the grand-admiral, the vice-admiral, the orange-admiral, and the extra-admiral.

ADMIRALTY. An office for the administration of naval affairs, presided over by a lord high-admiral, whether the duty be discharged by one person, or by commissioners under the royal patent, who are styled lords, and during our former wars generally consisted of seven. The present constitution of the Board of Admiralty comprises—the first lord, a minister and civilian as to office; four naval lords; one civil lord attending to accounts, &c.; one chief secretary; one second secretary. Two lords and one secretary form a legal Board of Admiralty wherever they may be assembled, under the authority of the board or its chief.


ADMIRALTY COURT. The constitution of this court relatively to the legislative power of the king in council, is analogous to that of the courts of common law relatively to the parliament of the kingdom.—High Court of Admiralty, a supreme court of law, in which the authority of the lord high-admiral is ostensibly exercised in his judicial capacity for the trial of maritime causes of a civil nature. Although termed the High Court of Admiralty, more properly this is the Court of Vice-Admiralty, and relates solely to civil and military matters of the sea, and sea boundaries, prizes, collisions, vessels or goods cast on the shore where the vice-admirals have civil jurisdiction, but no naval power, as the lord-lieutenants of counties are named in their patents "vice-admirals of the same;" in like manner all governors of colonies. All cases in connection are tried by the Admiralty Court in London, or by our "courts of vice-admiralty and prize jurisdictions abroad." Admirable as some of the decisions of this expensive tribunal have been, it has all the powers of the Inquisition in its practice,[21] and has thereby been an instrument of persecution to some innocent navigators, while it has befriended notorious villains. Besides this we have the Admiralty Court of Oyer and Terminer, for the trial of all murders, piracies, or criminal acts which occur within the limits of the country, on the coast-lines, at sea, or wherever the admiralty jurisdiction extends—the deck of a British ship included.

ADMIRALTY MIDSHIPMAN. Formerly one who, having served the appointed time, and passed his examination for lieutenant, was appointed to a ship by the admiralty, and thus named in contradistinction to those who used to be rated by the captain; he generally had precedence for promotion to "acting orders."

ADONIS. An anguilliform fish, about six inches long: it is of a golden colour, with a greenish tint, and has a white line from its very small gills to the tail.

ADORNINGS. The carved work on the quarter and stern-galleries of men-of-war.

ADOWN. The bawl of privateersmen for the crew of a captured vessel to go below. Saxon, adoun.

ADREAMT. Dozing; the sensation so often combatted with towards the end of a first or a middle watch, it being the state, as an old author has it, "between sleeping and waking."

ADRENT, or Adreynte. An old term for drowned.

ADRIFT. Floating at random; the state of a boat or vessel broken from her moorings, and driven to and fro without control by the winds and waves. Cast loose; cut adrift.

ADSCRIPTS. Sometimes used for the tangents of arcs.

AD VALOREM. Duties levied on commercial goods, according to their value.

ADVANCE, To. An old word, meaning to raise to honour.

ADVANCED POST. A spot of ground seized by a party to secure their front. A piquet or outpost.

ADVANCED SQUADRON. One on the look-out.—Advance, or vanguard, that division of a force which is next the enemy, or which marches before a body.—Advance fosse, a ditch of water round the esplanade or glacis of a fortification.—Advance! the order to marines and small-arm men to move forward.

ADVANCE-LIST. The register by which two months' wages to the crew are paid, on first commission, and a quarter's to officers.

ADVANCEMENT. Promotion to higher rank.

ADVANCE MONEY. In men-of-war and most merchant ships the advance of two months' wages is given to the crew, previous to going to sea; the clearing off of which is called working up the dead horse.[22]

ADVANCE NOTE. A document issued by owners of a ship or their agents, promising to pay a seaman, or to his order, a sum of money in part of his wages, within a certain number of days after he has sailed in the ship. Advance notes are quite negotiable before a seaman has taken his departure.

ADVANTAGE, or Vantage-ground. That which gives superiority of attack on, or defence against, an enemy; affording means of annoyance or resistance.

ADVENTURE. An enterprise in which something is left to hazard.—A bill of adventure is one signed by the merchant, by which he takes the chances of the voyage.

ADVERSARY. Generally applied to an enemy, but strictly an opponent in single combat.

ADVERSE. The opposite of favourable; as, an adverse wind.

ADVICE-BOAT. A small fast-sailing vessel in advance of a fleet, employed to carry intelligence with all possible despatch. They were first used in 1692, to gain tidings of what was transacting in Brest, previous to the battle of La Hogue.

ADVOCATE GENERAL. An officer of the High Court of Admiralty, whose duty it is to appear for the lord high-admiral in that court, the court of delegates, or any other wherein his rights are concerned.—Judge-advocate of the navy, a law officer appointed to watch over and direct proceedings connected with courts-martial.—Deputy judge-advocate, an appointment made by the sudden selection of some secretary, or captain's clerk, to perform the duty at a court-martial (where no legal person is empowered), utterly ignorant of the law or the customs of the naval service.

ADZE, or Addice. A cutting tool of the axe kind, for dubbing flat and circular work, much used by shipwrights, especially by the Parsee builders in India, with whom it serves for axe, plane, and chisel. It is a curious fact that from the polar regions to the equator, and southerly throughout Polynesia, this instrument and its peculiar adaptations, whether made of iron, basalt, nephrite, &c., all preserve the same idea or identity of conception.

ÆINAUTÆ. Senators of Miletus, who held their deliberations on board ship.

ÆRATÆ. Ancient ships fitted with brazen prows.

AEROLITES. One of the many names given to those solid masses or stones which occasionally fall from the atmosphere to the surface of the earth. The assumption of their periodicity cannot, as yet, be considered as confirmed.

AEROLOGY. The rational doctrine or science of the air and its phenomena.[23]

AEROMANCY. Formerly the art of divining by the air, but now used for foretelling the changes in the weather, either by experience or by instruments.

AEROMETRY. The science of measuring the air, its powers, pressure, and properties.

ÆSTIVAL. Belonging to summer; the solstitial point whereby the sun's ascent above the equator is determined.

ÆSTUARY. See Estuary.

ÆWUL. An Anglo-Saxon term for a twig basket for catching fish.

AFEARD. This is a very common expression for afraid, and though thought low, is a true archaism of our language, as seen in Chaucer, Shakspeare, and Ben Jonson. Major Moor terms it an old and good word.

AFER. The south-west wind of the Latins, and used by some of the early voyagers.

AFFAIR. An indecisive engagement; a duel.

AFFECTED. An algebraic term for an equation in which the unknown quantity rises to two or more several powers.

AFFECTIONATE FRIENDS. An official inconsistent subscription, even to letters of reproof and imprest, used by the former Board of Commissioners of the Navy to such officers as were not of noble families or bore titles; the only British board that ever made so mean a distinction, equally kind with the regrets of the clergy on burning a heretic, or those of Walton in cutting a live fish tenderly. It was probably adopted from James, Duke of York, who, when lord high-admiral, always so subscribed his official letters. It is said that this practice was discontinued in consequence of a distinguished naval captain—a knight—adding, "your affectionate friend." He was thereupon desired to "discontinue such an expression," when he replied, "I am, gentlemen, no longer your affectionate friend, J. Phillimore."

AFFIDAVIT. A declaration upon oath, weakened in importance by its too frequent administration at custom-houses, lazarettos, &c. Declarations are now substituted in the case of naval officers.

AFFIRMATIVE. The positive sign or quantity in algebra; also signal flag or pendant by which a request or order is answered.

AFFLUENT. A stream flowing directly into another stream; a more specific term than tributary.

AFFORCIAMENT. An old term for a fortress or stronghold.

AFFREIGHTMENT. A contract for the letting the vessel, or a part of her for freight. (See Contract of Affreightment.)

AFLOAT. Borne up and supported by the water; buoyed clear of the ground; also used for being on board ship.[24]

AFORE. A Saxon word opposed to abaft, and signifying that part of the ship which lies forward or near the stem. It also means farther forward; as, the galley is afore the bitts.—Afore, the same as before the mast.—Afore the beam, all the field of view from amidship in a right angle to the ship's keel to the horizon forward.

AFORE THE MAST. See Before the Mast.

AFOUNDRIT. An archaism of sunk or foundered.

AFRAID. One of the most reproachful sea-epithets, as not only conveying the meaning being struck with fear, but also implies rank cowardice. (See Afeard.)

AFT—a Saxon word contradistinctive of fore, and an abbreviation of abaft—the hinder part of the ship, or that nearest the stern.—Right aft is in a direct line with the keel from the stern.—To haul aft a sheet is to pull on the rope which brings the clue or corner of the sails more in the direction of the stern.—The mast rakes aft when it inclines towards the stern.

AFT-CASTLE. An elevation on the after-part of our ships of war, opposed to forecastle, for the purpose of fighting.

AFTER. A comparative adjective, applied to any object in the hind part of a ship or boat; as, the after-cabin, the after-hatchway, &c.—After sails, yards, and braces—those attached to the main and mizen masts. Opposed to fore.

AFTER-BODY. That part of the ship's hull which is abaft the midships or dead-flat, as seen from astern. The term is, however, more particularly used in expressing the figure or shape of that part of the ship. (See Dead-flat.)

AFTER-CLAP. Whatever disagreeable occurrence takes place after the consequences of the cause were thought at an end; a principal application being when a ship, supposed to have struck, opens her fire again. This is a very old English word, alluding to unexpected events happening after the seeming end of an affair; thus Spenser, in "Mother Hubbard's Tale"—

"And bad next day that all should readie be,
But they more subtill meaning had than he:
For the next morrowes mede they closely ment,
For feare of after-claps, for to prevent."
AFTER-END. The stern of a ship, or anything in her which has that end towards the stern.

AFTER-FACE. See Back of the Post.

AFTER-GUARD. The men who are stationed on the quarter-deck and poop, to work the after-sails. It was generally composed of ordinary seamen and landsmen, constituting with waisters the largest part of the crew, on whom the principal drudgery of the ship devolved. At present the crews of ships-of-war are composed chiefly of able and ordinary seamen—landsmen are omitted.[25]

AFTER-LADDER leads to captain's and officers' quarters, and only used by officers.

AFTERMOST. The last objects in a ship, reckoned from forwards; as, the aftermost mast, aftermost guns, &c.

AFTERNOON-WATCH. The men on deck-duty from noon till 4 p.m.

AFTER-ORDERS. Those which are given out after the regular issue of the daily orders.

AFTER-PART. The locality towards the stern, from dead-flat; as, in the after-part of the fore-hold.

AFTER-PEAK. The contracted part of a vessel's hold, which lies in the run, or aftermost portion of the hold, in contradistinction to fore-peak. Both are the sharp ends of the ship.

AFTER-RAKE. That part of the hull which overhangs the after-end of keel.

AFTER-SAILS. All those on the after-masts, as well as on the stays between the main and mizen masts. Their effect is to balance the head-sails, in the manner that a weather-cock or vane is moved, of which the main-mast must be considered the pivot or centre. The reverse of head-sails. "Square the after-yards," refers to the yards on the main and mizen masts.

AFTER-TIMBERS. All those timbers abaft the midship section or bearing part of a vessel.

AFTMOST. The same as aftermost.

AFTWARD. In the direction of the stern.

AGA. A superior Turkish officer.

AGAINST THE SUN. Coiling a rope in the direction from the right hand towards the left—the contrary of with the sun. This term applies to a position north of the sun; south of the sun it would be reversed.

AGAL-AGAL. One of the sea fuci, forming a commercial article from the Malay Isles to China, where it is made into a strong cement. The best is the Gracilaria spinosa. Agal-agal derives its name from Tanjong Agal on the north coast of Borneo; where it was originally collected. It is now found in great abundance throughout the Polynesian Islands, Mauritius, &c. It is soluble, and forms a clear jelly—used by consumptive patients. It fetches a high price in China. It is supposed that the sea-swallow derives his materials for the edible bird's nests at Borneo from this fucus.

AGATE. The cap for the pivots of the compass-cards, formed of hard siliceous stone, a chalcedony or carnelian, &c.

AGAVE. The American aloe, from which cordage is made; similar to the piña of Manila. The fruit also, when expressed, affords the refreshing drink "pulque."[26]

AGE. In chronology, a period of a hundred years.—Ship's age, one of the stipulations of contracts at Lloyd's.—Age of the moon, is the interval of time or number of days elapsed since the previous conjunction or new moon.

AGENCY. Payment pro operâ et labore, fixed by the prize act at five per cent. as a fair average, but it gives nothing where the property is restored; in such cases it is usual for the agent to charge a gross sum.

AGENCY, NAVAL. A useful class of persons, who transact the monetary affairs of officers, and frequently help them to the top branches of the profession. They are paid for their services by a percentage of 21⁄2.

AGENT. In physics, expresses that by which a thing is done or effected.—Navy agent is a deputy employed to pass accounts, transact business, and receive pay or other monies, in behoof of the officers and crew, and to apply the proceeds as directed by them.—Agent victuallers, officers appointed to the charge of provisions at our foreign ports and stations, to contract for, buy, and regulate, under the authority of the commissioners of the navy. (See Negligence.)—Prize agent, one appointed for the sale of prizes, and nominated in equal numbers by the commander, the officers, and the ship's company.

AGENTS TO LLOYD'S. See Lloyd's Agents.

AGGRESSION. The first act of injury in provoking warfare.

AGIO. An Italian word, applied to denote the profit arising from discounting bills; also the difference between the value of bank-stock and currency.

AGISTMENT. An embankment against the sea or rivers, or one thrown up to fence out a stream.

AGON. A Chinese kind of metal cymbal. (See Gong.) It is singular that Gower, circa 1395, using this old word for gone, thus metallicizes—

"Of brasse, of silver, and of golde,
The world is passed, and agon."
AGONIST. A champion; prize-fighter.

AGREEMENT. Except vessels of less than eighty tons register, the master of a ship must enter into an agreement with every seaman whom he carries from any port in Great Britain as one of his crew; and that agreement must be in the form sanctioned by the Board of Trade. (See Running Agreement.)

AGROUND. The situation of a ship or other vessel whose bottom touches or rests upon the ground. It also signifies stranded, and is used figuratively for being disabled or hindered.

AGUA-ARDIENTE [Sp.] Corrupted into aguardiente,—the adulterated brandy of Spain supplied to ships.[27]

AGUADA. The Spanish and Portuguese term for a watering-place.

AGUGLIA. A common name for sharp-pointed rocks. From the Italian for needle; written agulha in Spanish and Portuguese charts.

AHEAD. A term especially referable to any object farther onward, or immediately before the ship, or in the course steered, and therefore opposed to astern.—Ahead of the reckoning, is sailing beyond the estimated position of the ship.—Ahead is also used for progress; as, cannot get ahead, and is generally applied to forward, in advance.

AHOLD. A term of our early navigators, for bringing a ship close to the wind, so as to hold or keep to it.

AHOO, or All Ahoo, as our Saxon forefathers had it; awry, aslant, lop-sided. (See Askew.)

AHOY! See Ho!

A-HULL. A ship under bare poles and her helm a-lee, driving from wind and sea, stern foremost. Also a ship deserted, and exposed to the tempestuous winds.

AID, To. To succour; to supply with provisions or stores.

AID-DE-CAMP. A military staff officer, who carries and circulates the general's orders; and another class selected as expert at carving and dancing. In a ship, flag-lieutenant to an admiral, or, in action, the quarter-deck midshipmen to a captain.

AIGRE. The sudden flowing of the sea, called in the fens of Lincolnshire, acker. (See Bore.)

AIGUADE [Fr.] Aguada [Sp.] Water as provision for ships.

AIGUADES. Watering-places on French coasts.

AIGUILLE aimantee, magnetic needle. —— de carène, out-rigger. —— d'inclinaison, dipping needle. —— de tré, or à ralingue, a bolt-rope needle.

AIGUILLES. The peculiar small fishing-boats in the Garonne and other rivers of Guienne.

AIGULETS [Fr. aiguillettes]. Tagged points or cords worn across the breast in some uniforms of generals, staff-officers, and special mounted corps.

AILETTES. Small plates of steel placed on the shoulders in mediæval armour.

AIM. The direction of a musket, cannon, or any other fire-arm or missile weapon towards its object.—To take aim, directing the piece to the object.

AIR. The elastic, compressible, and dilatable fluid encompassing the terraqueous globe. It penetrates and pervades other bodies, and thus animates and excites all nature.—Air means also a gentle breath of wind gliding over the surface of the water.—To air, to dry or ventilate.[28]

AIR-BLADDER. A vesicle containing gas, situated immediately beneath the spinal column in most fish, and often communicating by a tube with the gullet. It is the homologue of the lungs of air-breathing vertebrates.

AIR-BRAVING. Defying the winds.

AIR-CONE, in the marine engine, is to receive the gases which enter the hot-well from the air-pump, where, after ascending, they escape through a pipe at the top.

AIRE. A name in our northern islands for a bank of sand.

AIR-FUNNEL. A cavity formed by omission of a timber in the upper works of a vessel, to admit fresh air into the hold of a ship and convey the foul out of it.

AIR-GUN. A silent weapon, which propels bullets by the expansive force of air only.

AIRING-STAGE. A wooden platform, on which gunpowder is aired and dried.

AIR-JACKET. A leathern garment furnished with inflated bladders, to buoy the wearer up in the water. (See Ayr.)

AIR-PIPES. Funnels for clearing ships' holds of foul air, on the principle of the rarefying power of heat.

AIR-PORTS. Large scuttles in ships' bows for the admission of air, when the other ports are down. The Americans also call their side-ports by that name.

AIR-PUMP. An apparatus to remove the water and gases accumulating in the condenser while the engine is at work.

AIR-SCUTTLES. The same as air-ports.

AIR-SHAFTS. Vertical holes made in mining, to supply the adits with fresh air. Wooden shafts are sometimes adopted on board ship for a similar purpose.

AIRT, or Art. A north-country word for a bearing point of the compass or quarter of the heavens. Thus the song—

"Of a' the airts the wind can blaw,
I dearly love the west."
AIRY. Breezy.

AKEDOWN. A form of the term acton, as a defensive dress.

ALABLASTER. An arbalist or cross-bow man; also the corruption of alabaster.

ALAMAK. The name given in nautical astronomy to that beautiful double star Anak al ard of the Arabians, or γ Andromedæ.

ALAMOTTIE. The Procellaria pelagica, or Storm-finch; Mother Cary's chicken, or stormy petrel.

ALAND. A term formerly used for to the shore, on shore, or to land.

ALARM, Alarum [from the Italian all'armi!] An apprehension[29] from sudden noise or report. The drum or signal by which men are summoned to stand on their guard in time of danger.—False alarm is sometimes occasioned by a timid or negligent sentry, and at others designedly by an officer, to ascertain the promptness of his men. Sometimes false alarms are given by the enemy to harass the adversary. Old Rider defines alarm as a "watch-word shewing the neernesse of the enemies."

ALARM-POST. A place appointed for troops to assemble, in case of a sudden alarm.

ALBACORE. A fish of the family Scombridæ, found in shoals in the ocean; it is about 5 or 6 feet long, with an average weight of nearly 100 lbs. when fine.

ALBANY BEEF. A name for the sturgeon of the Hudson River, where it is taken in quantity for commerce.

ALBATROSS. A large, voracious, long-winged sea-bird, belonging to the genus Diomedea; very abundant in the Southern Ocean and the Northern Pacific, though said to be rarely met with within the tropics.

ALBION. An early name of England, from the whiteness of the eastern coast cliffs.

ALBURNUM. The sap-wood of timber, commonly termed the slab-cuts.

ALCAID. A governor, or officer of justice, amongst the Moors, Spaniards, and Portuguese.

ALCATRAZ. The pelican. Alcatraz Island is situated in the mouth of the river San Francisco, in California, so named from its being covered with these birds. Also Alcatraz on the coast of Africa, from Pelecanus sula—booby. Columbus mentions the alcatraz when nearing America, and Drayton says—

"Most like to that sharp-sighted alcatras,
That beats the air above the liquid glass."
ALDEBARAN. The lucida of Taurus, the well-known nautical star, popularly called Bull's-eye.

A-LEE. The contrary of a-weather: the position of the helm when its tiller is borne over to the lee-side of the ship, in order to go about or put her head to windward.—Hard a-lee! or luff a-lee! is said to the steersman to put the helm down.—Helm's a-lee! the word of command given on putting the helm down, and causing the head-sails to shake in the wind.

ALEMAYNE. The early name for Germany.

ALERT. On the look-out, and ready for any sudden duty. Nearly synonymous with alarm. Alerto—called frequently by Spanish sentinels.

ALEWIFE. The Clupea alosa, a fish of the herring kind, which[30] appears in the Philosophical Transactions for 1678, as the aloofe; the corruption therefore was a ready one.

ALEXIACUS. The appellation under which Neptune was implored to protect the nets of the tunny fisheries from the sword-fish.

ALFERE, or Alferez [alfier, Fr.; alferez, Span.] Standard-bearer; ensign; cornet. The old English term for ensign; it was in use in our forces till the civil wars of Charles I.

ALFONDIZA. The custom-house at Lisbon.

ALGA. A species of millepora.

ALGÆ. Sea-weeds, and the floating scum-like substances on fresh water; they deserve to be more studied, for some, as dulse, laver, badderlocks, &c., are eatable, and others are useful for manure.

ALGEBRA. A general method of resolving mathematical problems, by means of equations, or rather computing abstract quantities by symbols or signs; a literal arithmetic.

ALGENIB. A principal star (γ) in Pegasus.

ALGERE. A spear used by fishermen in olden times.

ALGIER DUTY. An imposition laid on merchants' goods by the Long Parliament, for the redemption of captives in the Mediterranean.

ALGOL. A wonderful variable star in Perseus, which goes through its changes in about two days and twenty-one hours.

ALGOLOGY. Scientific researches into the nature of sea-plants.

ALGORAB. A star taking rank as the α of Corvus, but its brightness of late is rivalled by β Corvi.

ALHIDADE. An Arabic name for the index or fiducial of an astronomical or geometrical instrument, carrying sight or telescope; used by early navigators. A rule on the back of a common astrolabe, to measure heights, &c.

ALIEN. Generally speaking, one born in a foreign country, out of the king's allegiance; but if the parents be of the king's obedience, the child is no alien. An alien enemy, or person under the allegiance of the state at war with us, is not generally disabled from being a witness in admiralty courts; nor are debts due to him forfeited, but only suspended.—Alien's duty, the impost laid on all goods imported into England in foreign bottoms, over and above the regular customs.

ALIGNMENT. An imaginary line, drawn to regulate the order of a squadron.

ALIQUOT PART. That which will exactly divide a number, leaving no remainder.

ALL. The total quantity; quite; wholly.—All aback, when all the sails are taken aback by the winds.—All ahoo, or all-a-ugh, confused; hanging over; crooked.—All-a-taunt-o, a ship fully rigged, with masts in and yards crossed.—All hands, the whole ship's company.—All[31] hands ahoy, the boatswain's summons for the whole crew to repair on deck, in distinction from the watch.—All hands make sail! the cheering order when about to chase a strange vessel.—All hands to quarters! the call in armed merchantmen, answering to the Beat to quarters in a man-of-war.—All in the wind, when a vessel's head is too close to the wind, so that all her sails are shivering.—All over, resemblance to a particular object, as a ship in bad kelter: "she's a privateer all over."—All overish, the state of feeling when a man is neither ill nor well, restless in bed and indifferent to meals. In the tropics this is considered as the premonitory symptom of disease, and a warning which should be looked to.—All ready, the answer from the tops when the sails are cast loose, and ready to be dropped.—All standing, fully equipped, or with clothes on. To be brought up all standing, is to be suddenly checked or stopped, without any preparation.—Paid off all standing, without unrigging or waiting to return stores; perhaps recommissioned the next day or hour.—All's well, the sentry's call at each bell struck (or half hour) between the periods of broad daylight, or from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.—All to pieces, a phrase used for out-and-out, extremely, or excessively; as, "we beat her in sailing all to pieces."—All weathers, any time or season; continually.

ALLAN. A word from the Saxon, still used in the north to denote a piece of land nearly surrounded by a stream.

ALLEGE. A French ballast-boat.

ALLEGIANCE. The legal obedience of a subject to his sovereign in return for the protection afforded; a debt which, in a natural-born subject, cannot be cancelled by any change of time, or place, or circumstance, without the united consent of the legislature.

ALLER-FLOAT, or Aller-trout. A species of fine trout frequenting the shady holes under the roots of the aller or alder tree, on the banks of rivers and brooks.

ALLIANCE. A league or confederacy between sovereigns or states, for mutual safety and defence. Subjects of allies cannot trade with the common enemy, on pain of the property being confiscated as prize to the captors.

ALLICIENCY. The attractive power of the magnet.

ALLIGATOR [from the Spanish lagarto]. The crocodile of America. The head of this voracious animal is flat and imbricate; several of the under teeth enter into and pass through the upper jaw; the nape is naked; on the tail are two rough lateral lines.

ALLIGATOR WATER. The brackish water inside the mouths of tropical rivers, with white and muddy surface running into the sea.

ALLISION. Synonymous in marine law with collision, though the jurists of Holland introduce it to mark a distinction between one vessel running against another and two vessels striking each other.[32]

ALLOCUTION. The harangue anciently made by the Roman generals to exhort their forces.

ALLOTMENT. A part of the pay apportioned monthly to the wives, children, mothers, or destitute fathers of the warrant and petty officers, seamen, and marines of ships of war on foreign stations. In the merchant service all such stipulations for allotting any portion of a seaman's wages during his absence must be inserted in the agreement.

ALLOTMENT-LIST. A document containing the requisite details, attested by the four signing officers, to be transmitted to the Navy Office.

ALLOTTING. Persons agreeing to buy a ship's cargo appoint a disinterested person to allot a share to each by affixing their respective names.

ALLOW, To. To concede a destined portion of stores, &c.

ALLOWANCE. The ration or allotted quantum of provisions which each individual receives; and it is either double, full, two-thirds, half, or short, according to incidents.

ALLUVION. An accretion formed along sea-shores and the banks of rivers by the deposition of the various substances held in solution or washed by the waters. Sea alluvions differ from those of rivers, in that they form a slope towards the land.

ALLY. A friendly or confederated state.

ALMACANTARS. Circles parallel to the horizon, and supposed to pass through every degree of the meridian. An Arabic term, synonymous with parallels of latitude.

ALMACANTARS STAFF. An instrument formerly used at sea for observing the sun's amplitude, formed of an arc of about 15 degrees.

ALMADIA. A small African canoe, made of the bark of trees. Some of the larger square-sterned negro-boats are also thus designated.

ALMAFADAS. Large dunnage cut on the coast of Portugal.

ALMAGEST. The celebrated work of Ptolemy on geometry and astronomy. Ricciolus adopted the term in 1651 for his Body of Mathematical Science. It became general, whence Chaucer—

"His Almagiste and bookes, grete and small."
ALMANAC. A record of the days, feasts, and celestial phenomena of the year. Though confounded with calendar, it is essentially different—the latter relating to time in general, and the almanac to that of a year; but the term calendar can be properly used for a particular year. (See Ephemeris.)

ALMATH [Hamal]. The star in Aries whence the first mansion of the moon takes its name. The Frankeleine in Chaucer says:—

"And by his eighte speres in his werking,
He knew ful wel how far Alnath was shove
Fro the hed of thilke fix Aries above,
That in the ninthe spere considered is."
[33]ALMIRANTE. A great sea-officer or high-admiral in Spain.

ALMIRANTESA. The wife of an admiral.

ALMURY. The upright part of an astrolabe.

ALNUS CAVER. Transport-ships of the early English, so called from the wood of which they were constructed.

ALOFT [Anglo-Saxon, alofte, on high]. Above; overhead; on high. Synonymous with up above the tops, at the mast-head, or anywhere about the higher yards, masts, and rigging of ships.—Aloft there! the hailing of people in the tops.—Away aloft! the command to the people in the rigging to climb to their stations. Also, heaven: "Poor Tom is gone aloft."

ALONDE. An old English word for ashore, on land.

ALONG [Saxon]. Lengthwise.—Alongside, by the side of a ship; side by side.—Lying along, when the wind, being on the beam, presses the ship over to leeward with the press of sail; or, lying along the land.

ALONGSHORE. A common nautical phrase signifying along the coast, or a course which is in sight of the shore, and nearly parallel to it. (See 'Longshore.)

ALONGST. In the middle of a stream; moored head and stern.

ALOOF. The old word for "keep your luff," in the act of sailing to the wind. (See Luff.)—Keep aloof, at a distance.

ALOOFE. See Alewife.

ALOW. Synonymous with below; as alow and aloft, though more properly low and aloft. Carrying all sail alow and aloft is when the reefs are shaken out, and all the studding-sails set.

ALPHABETICAL LIST. This is a list which accompanies the ship's books; it contains the names and number of every person in the pay-book.

ALTAIR. The bright nautical star α Aquilæ, binary

ALTAR. A platform in the upper part of a dock.

ALTEMETRIE. The old term for trigonometry among navigators.

ALTERNATE. Reciprocal.—Alternate angles are the internal angles formed by a line cutting two parallels, and lying on the opposite side of the cutting line; the one below the first parallel, and the other above.—Alternate ratio is that of which the antecedents and consequents bear respectively to each other in any proportion which has the quantities of the same kind.

ALTERNATING WINDS. Peculiar winds blowing at stated times one way, and then, from a sudden alteration in the temperature of the elements, setting in the contrary direction. A remarkable instance is that of the Gulf of Arta in the Ionian Sea, where the effect is promoted by local causes. All land and sea breezes are strictly alternating winds. These however are mostly intertropical; the solar[34] heat causing the sea-breeze to blow on the land by day, and condensation and greater heat of the sea causing a reaction when the land has cooled to a lower temperature.

ALTERNATION or Permutation of Quantities, is the varying or changing their order, and is easily found by a continual multiplication of all numbers.

ALTIMETRY. Trigonometry; the art of measuring heights or depressions of land, whether accessible or not.

ALTITUDE. The elevation of any of the heavenly bodies above the plane of the horizon, or its angular distance from the horizon, measured in the direction of a great circle passing through the zenith. Also the third dimension of a body, considered with regard to its elevation above the ground.—Apparent altitude is that which appears by sensible observations made on the surface of the globe.—Altitude of the pole. The arc of the meridian between the pole of the heavens and the horizon of any place, and therefore equal to its geographical latitude.—Altitude of the cone of the earth's and moon's shadow, is the height of the one or the other during an eclipse, and is measured from the centre of the body.—Altitude of a shot or shell. The perpendicular height of the vertex of the curve in which it moves above the horizon.—Meridian altitude. The arc of the meridian,—or greater or less altitude, measured from the horizon, of a celestial object in its passage over the meridian, above or below the pole, of the place of the observer. In Polar regions two such transits of the sun, and in England similarly, circumpolar stars afford double observations for the determination of time or latitude. The general term is understood by seamen to denote mid-day, when the passage and meridian altitude of the sun affords the latitude.—True altitude is that produced by correcting the apparent one for parallax and refraction.

ALTMIKLEC. A silver Turkish coin of 60 paras, or 2s. 91⁄2d. sterling.

ALUFFE, or Aloof. Nearer to the wind. This is a very old form of luff; being noticed by Matthew Paris, and other writers, as a sea-term. (See Luff.)

ALURE. An old term for the gutter or drain along a battlement or parapet wall.

ALVEUS. A very small ancient boat, made from the single trunk of a tree. A monoxylon, or canoe.

A.M. The uncials for ante-meridian, or in the forenoon. (See Meridian.)

AMAIN [Saxon a, and mægn, force, strength]. This was the old word to an enemy for "yield," and was written amayne and almayne. Its literal signification is, with force or vigour, all at once, suddenly; and it is generally used to anything which is moved by a tackle-fall, as "lower amain!" let run at once. When we used to demand the[35] salute in the narrow seas, the lowering of the top-sail was called striking amain (see Strike), and it was demanded by the wave amain (see Waving), or brandishing a bright sword to and fro.

AMALPHITAN CODE, the oldest code of modern sea-laws, compiled, during the first Crusade, by the people of Amalfi in Italy, who then possessed considerable commerce and maritime power.

AMAYE. Sea-marks on the French coast.

AMBASSADOR. A practical joke performed on board ship in warm climates, in which the dupes are unmercifully ducked in the wash-deck tub:—

"And he was wash'd, who ne'er was wash'd before."
AMBER. A hard resinous substance of vegetable origin, generally of a bright yellow colour, and translucent. It is chiefly obtained from the southern shores of the Baltic, and those of Sicily, where it is thrown up by the sea, but it also occurs in beds of lignite.

AMBERGRIS. A fragrant drug found floating on sea-coasts, the origin and production of which was long a matter of dispute, although now known to be a morbid product developed in the intestines of the spermaceti whale (Physeter macrocephalus). It is of a grayish colour, very light, easily fusible, and is used both as a perfume and a cordial, in various extracts, essences, and tinctures.

AMBIENT [from ambio, Lat., to go round]. Surrounding, or investing; whence the atmosphere is designated ambient, because it encompasses the earth.

AMBIGENAL. One of the triple hyperboles of the second order.

AMBIT of a geometrical figure is the perimeter, or the line, or sum or all the lines, by which it is bounded.

AMBITION is usually denominated a virtue or a vice according to its direction; but assuredly more of the former, as it is a grand stimulus to officers to avoid reproach, and aspire to eminence and honour.

AMBLYGON. Obtuse angular.

AMBRY. See Aumbrey.

AMBUSCADE [Span. emboscada]. A body of men lying in wait to surprise an enemy, or cut off his supplies; also the site where they lurk. This, as well as ambush, obviously arose from woods having afforded hiding-places.

AMBUSH. Signifies an attempt to lie in concealment for the purpose of surprising the enemy without his perceiving the intention until he is attacked.

AMELIORATION. An allowance made to the neutral purchaser, on reclaiming a ship irregularly condemned, for repairs she has undergone in his service.[36]

AMICABLE NUMBERS are such as are mutually equal to the sum of each other's aliquot parts.

AMIDSHIPS. The middle of the ship, whether in regard to her length between stem and stern, or in breadth between the two sides. To put the helm amidships is to place it in a line with the keel. The term, however, has a more general bearing to the axis of the ship; as guns, or stores, or place amidships has reference to that line, fore and aft. Externally the term "amidships" as to striking, boarding, &c., would be about the main-mast, or half the length of the ship. (See Midships.)

AMIDWARD. Towards the 'midship or middle section of the vessel.

AMLAGH. A Manx or Gaelic term denoting to manure with sea-weed.

AMLEE. A Manx or Gaelic term for sea-weed.

AMMUNITION. This word had an infinite variety of meanings. It includes every description of warlike stores, comprehending not only the ordnance, but the powder, balls, bullets, cartridges, and equipments.—Ammunition bread, that which is for the supply of armies or garrisons.—Ammunition chest, a box placed abaft near the stern or in the tops of men-of-war, to contain ammunition, for the arms therein placed, in readiness for immediate action.—Ammunition shoes, those made for soldiers and sailors, and particularly for use by those frequenting the magazine, being soft and free from metal.—Ammunition waggon, a close cart for conveying military effects.—Ammunition wife, a name applied to women of doubtful character.

AMNESTY. An act of oblivion, by which, in a professional view, pardon is granted to those who have rebelled or deserted their colours; also to deserters who return to their ships.

AMOK. A term signifying slaughter, but denoting the practice of the Malays, when infuriated to madness with bang (a preparation from a species of hemp), of sallying into the streets, or decks, to murder any whom they may chance to meet, until they are either slain or fall from exhaustion.—To run a-muck. To run madly and attack all we meet (Pope, Dryden). As in the case of mad dogs, certain death awaited them, for if not killed in being taken, torture and impalement followed.

AMORAYLE. An archaism of admiral.

AMORCE [Fr.] A word sometimes used to signify priming-powder.

AMPERES. An ancient vessel, in which the rowers used an oar on each side at once.

AMPHIBIA. A class of animals which, from a peculiar arrangement of breathing organs, can live either in water or on land. [Gr. amphibios, having a double manner of life.] Hence amphibious.

AMPHIPRORÆ. Ancient vessels, both ends of which were prow-shaped, so that in narrow channels they need not turn.[37]

AMPHISCII. The inhabitants of the torrid zone are thus denominated from their shadow being turned one part of the year to the north and the other to the south.

AMPHOTEROPLON. See Heteroplon.

AMPLITUDE. As a general term, implies extent. In astronomy, it is an arc of the horizon intercepted between the true east or west points thereof, and the centre of the sun, star, or planet, at its rising or setting. In other words, it is the horizontal angular distance of a star from the east or west points. It is eastern or ortive when the heavenly object rises, and western or occiduous when it sets, and is moreover northern or southern according to its quarter of the horizon.—Amplitude, in gunnery, is the range or whole distance of a projectile, or the right horizontal line subtending the curvilineal path in which it moved.—Amplitude, in magnetism, is the difference between the rising and setting of the sun from the east and west points, as indicated by the mariner's or magnetic compass—which subtracted from the true amplitude, constitutes the error of the compass, which is the combined effect of variation and local deviation.

AMPOTIS. The recess or ebb of the tide.

AMRELL. An archaic orthography for admiral.

AMULET. A small relic or sacred sentence, preservative against disaster and disease, appended to the neck by superstitious people: few Italian or Spanish seamen are without them.

AMUSETTE. A kind of gun on a stock, like that of a musket, but mounted as a swivel, carrying a ball from half a pound to two pounds weight.

AMY. A foreigner serving on board, subject to some prince in friendship with us.

ANACLASTICS, or Anaclatics. The ancient doctrine of refracted light or dioptrics.—Anaclastic curves, the apparent curves formed at the bottom of a vessel full of water, or anything at great depths overboard to an eye placed in the air; also the heavenly vault as seen through the atmosphere.

ANADROMOUS. A term applied to migratory fishes, which have their stated times of ascending rivers from the sea, and returning again, as the salmon and others.

ANALEM. A mathematical instrument for finding the course and elevation of the sun.

ANALEMMA. A projection of the sphere on the plane of the meridian, taken in a lateral point of view, so that the colours become circles, whilst those whose planes pass through the eye become right lines, and the oblique circles ellipses. On globes it is represented by a narrow double-looped formed figure, the length of which is equal to[38] the breadth of the torrid zone, and is divided into months and days, to show approximately the solar declination and the equation of time.

ANALOGY. Resemblance, relation, or equality; a similitude of ratios or proportions.

ANALYSIS. The resolution of anything into its constituent parts: mathematically, it is the method of resolving problems by reducing them to equations.—Analysis of curves is that which shows their properties, points of inflection, station, variation, &c.—Analysis of finite quantities is termed specious arithmetic or algebra.—Analysis of infinites is a modern introduction, and used for fluxions or the differential calculus.—Analysis of powers is the evolution or resolving them into their roots.—Analysis of metals, fluids, solids, earths, manures, &c.

ANALYTIC. That which partakes of the property of analysis, and is reducible thereby.

ANAN. A word going out of use, uttered when an order was not understood, equal to "What do you say, sir?" It is also used by corruption for anon, immediately.

ANANAS. (Bromelia). Pine-apple.

ANAPHORA. A term sometimes applied to the oblique ascensions of the stars.

ANAS. A genus of water-birds of the order Natatores. Now restricted to the typical ducks.

ANASTROUS. See Dodecatimoria.

ANAUMACHION. The crime amongst the ancients of refusing to serve in the fleet—the punishment affixed to which was infamy.

ANCHIROMACHUS.—A kind of vessel of the middle ages used for transporting anchors and naval stores.

ANCHOR. A large and heavy instrument in use from the earliest times for holding and retaining ships, which it executes with admirable force. With few exceptions it consists of a long iron shank, having at one end a ring, to which the cable is attached, and the other branching out into two arms, with flukes or palms at their bill or extremity. A stock of timber or iron is fixed at right angles to the arms, and serves to guide the flukes perpendicularly to the surface of the ground. According to their various form and size, anchors obtain the epithets of the sheet, best bower, small bower, spare, stream, kedge, and grapling (which see under their respective heads).

Anchor floating, see Floating Anchor.—At anchor, the situation of a ship which rides by its anchor.—To anchor, to cast or to let go the anchor, so that it falls into the ground for the ship to ride thereby.—To anchor with a spring on the cable, see Spring. Anchor is also used figuratively for anything which confers security or stability.

ANCHORABLE. Fit for anchorage.[39]

ANCHORAGE. Ground which is suitable, and neither too deep, shallow, or exposed for ships to ride in safety upon; also the set of anchors belonging to a ship; also a royal duty levied from vessels coming to a port or roadstead for the use of its advantages. It is generally marked on the charts by an anchor, and described according to its attributes of good, snug, open, or exposed.

ANCHOR-BALL. A pyrotechnical combustible attached to a grapnel for adhering to and setting fire to ships.

ANCHOR-CHOCKS. Pieces indented into a wooden anchor-stock where it has become worn or defective in the way of the shank; also pieces of wood or iron on which an anchor rests when it is stowed.


ANCHORED. Held by the anchor; also the act of having cast anchor.

ANCHOR-HOLD. The fastness of the flukes on the ground; also the act of having cast anchor, and taken the ground. (See Home.)

ANCHOR-HOOPS. Strong iron hoops, binding the stock to the end of the shank and over the nuts of the anchor.

ANCHOR-ICE. The ice which is formed on and incrustates the beds of lakes and rivers: the ground-gru of the eastern counties of England. (See Ice-anchor.)

ANCHORING. The act of casting anchor.—Anchoring ground is that where anchors will find bottom, fix themselves, and hold ships securely: free from rocks, wrecks, or other matters which would break or foul the anchor or injure the cable. In legal points it is not admitted as either port, creek, road, or roadstead, unless it be statio tutissima nautis. A vessel dropping anchor in known foul ground, or where any danger is incurred by inability to recover the anchor, or by being there detained until driven off by stress of weather, is not legally anchored.

ANCHOR-LINING. The short pieces of plank fastened to the sides of the ship, under the fore-channels, to prevent the bill of the anchor from tearing the ship's side when fishing or drawing it up. (See also Bill-boards.)

ANCHOR-RING. Formerly the great ring welded into the hole for it. Recent anchors have Jew's-harp shackles, easily replaced, and not so liable to be destroyed by chain-cables.

ANCHOR-SEAT. An old term for the prow of a ship, still in use with eastern nations—Chinese, Japanese, &c.

ANCHOR-SHACKLE. An open link of iron which connects the chain with the anchor—a "Jew's-harp" shackle.

ANCHOR-SMITH. A forger of anchors.

ANCHOR-STOCK. A bar at the upper end of the shank, crossing the direction of the flukes transversely, to steady their proper direction.[40] In small anchors it is made of iron, but in large ones it is composed of two long cheeks or beams of oak, strongly bolted and tree-nailed together, secured with four iron hoops. It is now generally superseded by the iron stock.

ANCHOR-STOCK-FASHION. The method of placing the butt of one wale-plank nearly over the middle of the other; and the planks being broadest in the middle, and tapered to the ends, they resemble an anchor-stock, with which it is more in keeping than is the method called top-and-butt; also pursued in fishing spars, making false rudder-heads, &c.

ANCHOR-STOCKING is a mode of securing and working planks in general with tapered butts.

ANCHOR-STOCK TACKLE. A small tackle attached to the upper part of the anchor-stock when stowing the anchor, its object being to bring it perpendicular and closer to the ship.

ANCHOR-WATCH. A subdivision of the watch kept constantly on deck during the time the ship lies at single anchor, to be in readiness to hoist jib or staysails, to keep the ship clear of her anchor; or in readiness to veer more cable or let go another anchor in case the ship should drive or part her anchor. This watch is also in readiness to avoid collision in close rivers by veering cable, setting sail, using the helm, &c., which formerly involved the essence of seamanship.

ANCHOVY. The Engraulis encrasicholus. A small fish of the family Clupeidæ, about four inches in length, much used in sauces and seasoning when cured. It is migratory, but principally taken in the Mediterranean, where those of Gorgona are most esteemed in commerce.

ANCIENT. A term formerly used for the colours and their bearer, as ensign is now. Shakspeare's Nym was only a corporal, but Pistol was an ancient.

ANCON. A corner or angle of a knee-timber.—Ancon [Sp.] Harbour, bay, or anchorage.

ANCOR-STRENG. A very old designation of a cable.

ANCYLE. A kind of dart thrown with a leathern thong.


ANDREW, or Andrew Millar. A cant name for a man-of-war, and also for government and government authorities.

ANDROMEDA. A hemispherical medusa found in the Indian and Red Seas. The body is transparent and brownish, with a black cross in the middle, and has foliaceous white arms on the under part.

ANDROMEDÆ α. (Alpheratz.) A star of the first magnitude in the constellation of Andromeda.

ANELACE. The early name for a dirk or dagger usually worn at the girdle.[41]

ANEMOMACHIA. A whirlwind or hurricane in old writers.

ANEMOMETER, or Wind-gauge. An instrument wherewith to measure the direction and velocity of wind under its varying forces—a desideratum at sea.

ANEMONE. See Animal Flowers.

ANEMOSCOPE. A vane index with pointers to tell the changes of the wind without referring to the weather-cock.

AN-END. The position of any spar when erected perpendicularly to the deck. The top-masts are said to be an-end when swayed up to their usual stations and fidded. To strike a spar or plank an-end is to drive it in the direction of its length. (See Every Rope an-end.)

ANENT, or Anenst. Opposite to; over against.

ANEROID. A portable barometer or instrument for showing variations of the weather by the pressure of the atmosphere upon a metallic box hermetically sealed.

ANEROST. A coast-word of the western counties for nigh or almost.

ANEW. Enough, as relating to number.

ANGEL-FISH. The Squatina angelus, of the shark family. It inhabits the northern seas, is six or eight feet long, with a cinereous rough back and white smooth belly; the mouth is beneath the anterior part of the head, and the pectoral fins are very large. (Also, Chætodon.)

ANGEL-HEAD. The hook or barb of an arrow; probably angle-head.

ANGEL-SHOT. A ball cut in two, and the halves joined by a chain.

ANGIL. An old term for a fishing-hook [from the Anglo-Saxon ongul, for the same]. It means also a red worm used for a bait in angling or fishing.

ANGLE. The space or aperture intersected by the natural inclination of two lines or planes meeting each other, the place of intersection being called the vertex or angular point, and the lines legs. Angles are distinguished by the number of degrees they subtend, to 360°, or the whole circumference of a circle. Angles are acute, obtuse, right, curvilinear, rectilinear, &c. (all of which see).

ANGLE-DOG, or Angle-twitch. A large earth-worm, sought for bait.

ANGLE-IRONS. Certain strips of iron having their edges turned up at an angle to each other; they are of various sizes, and used for the ribs and knees of the framing of iron vessels.

ANGLE OF COMMUTATION. The difference between the heliocentric longitudes of the earth and a planet or comet, the latter being reduced to the ecliptic.

ANGLE OF ECCENTRICITY. An astronomical term denoting the angle whose sine is equal to the eccentricity of an orbit.


ANGLE OF INCIDENCE. See Incidence.[42]

ANGLE OF LEE-WAY. The difference between the apparent compass-course and the true one—arising from lateral pressure and the effect of sea when close-hauled. It is not applicable to courses when the wind and sea are fair.

ANGLE OF POSITION. A term usually confined to double stars, to distinguish the line of bearing between them when they are apparently very near to each other.


ANGLE OF SITUATION. This was formerly called the angle of position, and is also termed the parallactic angle (which see).

ANGLE OF THE CENTRE. In fortification, the angle formed at the centre of the polygon by lines drawn from thence to the points of two adjacent bastions.


ANGLE OF THE VERTICAL. The difference between the geographical and geocentric latitudes of a place upon the earth's surface.

ANGLER. A fisherman, or one who angles for recreation rather than profit. Also a species of Lophius or toad-fish; from its ugliness and habits called also the sea-devil. It throws out feelers by which small fry are enticed within its power.


ANGLING. The practice of catching fish by means of a rod, line, hook, and bait, which by its mixture of idleness and chance forms recreation; but however simple the art appears, it requires much nicety.

ANGON. A javelin formerly used by the French, the point of which resembled a fleur-de-lis: it is also generally applied to the half-pike or javelin.

ANGOSIADE. An astronomical falsehood; a term originating from the pretended observations of D'Angos at Malta.

ANGRA [Sp.] Bay or inlet.—Angra grande, pequena, &c., on the coasts of Spanish and Portuguese settlements.

ANGUILLIFORM. Applied to fishes having the shape, softness, and appearance of eels.

ANGULAR CRAB. An ugly long-armed crustacean—the Goneplax angulata—with eyes on remarkably long stalks.

ANGULAR DISTANCE. This term, when applied to celestial bodies, implies that the sun and moon, or moon and stars, are within measuring distance for lunars.

ANGULAR MOTION is that which describes an angle, or moves circularly round a point, as planets revolving about the sun.

ANGULAR VELOCITY. This is a term used in the orbits of double stars, and implies the motion in a certain time of one star round the other.

ANILLA. A commercial term for indigo, derived from the plant whence it is prepared. [Sp. anil, indigo, Indigofera; alnyl, Arab.][43]

ANIMAL FLOWERS. Actiniæ, or sea-anemones and similar animals, which project a circle of tentacula resembling flowers. Formerly they were all classed under zoophytes.

ANIMATE. The giving power or encouragement.—To animate a battery, to place guns in its embrasures.—To animate a needle, to magnetize it.—To animate the crew in various ways for any special duty.

ANKER. An anker of brandy contains ten gallons. The kegs in which Hollands is mostly exported are ankers and half-ankers.

ANKER-FISH. A name of a kind of cuttle-fish.

ANKLE-BONE. An old seaman's term for the crawfish.

ANNELIDS. A class of worm-like animals, of which the body is composed of a series of rings.

ANNET. A sea-gull, well known in Northumberland and on the northern coasts.

ANNIVERSARY WINDS. Those which blow constantly at certain seasons of the year, as monsoon, trade, and etesian winds.

ANNONA. An ancient tax for the yearly supply of corn or provisions for the army and capital: still in use in Italy.

ANNOTINÆ. The ancient Roman victuallers or provision vessels.

ANNOTTO (Bixa orellana). The plant from the dried pulp of the seed-vessels of which a delicate red dye is obtained, used to give a rich colour to milk, butter, and cheese.

ANNUAL. Those astronomical motions which return or terminate every year.

ANNUAL ACCOUNTS. The ship's books and papers for the year.

ANNUAL EQUATION. An inequality in the moon's march, arising from the eccentricity of the earth's orbit, whereby the diurnal motion is sometimes quicker and at other times slower than her mean motion.


ANNUAL RETURNS. In addition to the general accounts of the year, there are three returns to be transmitted to the admiral or senior officer for the Admiralty. They are, a report of the sailing and other qualities of the ship; state of the ship as to men; and progress of the young gentlemen in navigation.

ANNUAL VARIATION. The change produced in the right ascension or declination of a star by the precession of the equinoxes and proper motion of the star taken together. Also, the annual variation of the compass.

ANNUL, To. To nullify a signal.

ANNULAR. Resembling an annulus or ring. An annular eclipse takes place when the apparent diameter of the moon is less than that of the sun, and a zone of light surrounds the moon while central.

ANNULAR SCUPPER. A contrivance for fitting scuppers so that[44] the whole can be enlarged by a movable concentric ring, in order that a surcharge of water can be freely delivered; invented by Captain Downes, R.N.

ANNULUS. A geometrical figure. (See Ring.)

ANNULUS ASTRONOMICUS. A ring of brass used formerly in navigation. In 1575 Martin Frobisher, when fitting out on his first voyage for the discovery of a north-west passage, was supplied with one which cost thirty shillings.

ANOMALISTIC MONTH. See Anomalistic Period.

ANOMALISTIC PERIOD. The time of revolution of a primary or secondary planet in reference to its line of apsides; that is, from one perigee or apogee to another.

ANOMALISTIC YEAR. The space of time in which the earth passes through her orbit—distinct from and longer than the tropical year, owing to the precession of the equinoxes.

ANOMALY. Deviation from common rule. An irregularity in the motion of a planet by which it deviates from the aphelion or apogee.—Mean anomaly formerly signified the distance of a planet's mean place from the apogee: it is the angular distance of a planet or comet from perihelion supposing it to have moved with its mean velocity.—True anomaly, the true angular distance of a planet or comet from perihelion. (See Excentric and Equated.)

ANON. Quickly, directly, immediately.

ANONYMOUS PARTNERSHIPS. Those not carried on under a special name, and the particulars known only to the parties themselves. This is much practised in France, and often occasions trouble in prize-courts.

ANSÆ. The dolphins or handles of brass ordnance. Also the projections or arms of the ring on each side of Saturn's globe, in certain situations relative to the earth.

ANSERES. Birds of the goose tribe.

ANSWER, To. To reply, to succeed; as, the frigate has answered the signal. This boat will not answer.

ANSWERS HER HELM. When a ship obeys the rudder or steers.

ANTARCTIC. Opposite to the Arctic—abbreviated from anti-arctic.

ANTARCTIC CIRCLE. One of the lesser circles of the sphere, on the south parallel of the equator, and 231⁄2° from the south pole.

ANTARCTIC OCEAN. That which surrounds the south pole, within the imaginary circle so called.

ANTARCTIC POLE. The south end of the earth's axis.

ANTARES. A star of the first magnitude, popularly known as the scorpion's heart (α Scorpio): it is one of those called "nautical" stars, used for determining the latitude and longitude at night.[45]

ANTECEDENTAL METHOD. A branch of general geometrical proportion, or universal comparison of ratios.

ANTECEDENTIA. A planet's apparent motion to the westward, contrary to the order of the signs.

ANTECEDENT OF A RATIO. The first of the two terms.

ANTECIANS. Those inhabitants of the earth who live under the same meridian, but in opposite hemispheres. (See Antiscii.)

ANTE LUCAN. Before daylight.

ANTE MERIDIAN. Before noon.

ANTE MURAL. See Outworks.

ANTHELION. A mock or spurious sun; a luminous meteor, resembling, but usually larger than, the solar disc.

ANTHRACITE. [Gr. anthrax and lithos.] A stone coal demanding great draught to burn, affording great heat, little smoke, and peculiarly adapted for steamers.

ANTICHTHONES. The inhabitants of countries diametrically opposite to each other.

ANTI-GALLICANS. A pair of extra backstays, sometimes used by merchantmen, to support the masts when running before the trades.

ANTI-GUGGLER. A straw, or crooked tube, introduced into a spirit cask or neck of a bottle, to suck out the contents; commonly used in 1800 to rob the captain's steward's hanging safe in hot climates. Is to be found in old dictionaries.

ANTILOGARITHM. The complement of the logarithm of a sine, tangent, or secant.

ANTIPARALLELS. Those lines which make equal angles with two other lines, but contrary ways.

ANTIPATHES. A kind of coral having a black horny stem.

ANTIPODES. Such inhabitants of the earth as are diametrically opposite to each other. From the people, the term has passed to the places themselves, which are situated at the two extremities of any diameter of the earth.

ANTISCII. The people who dwell in opposite hemispheres of the earth, and whose shadows at noon fall in contrary directions.

ANT ISLANDS. Generally found on Spanish charts as Hormigas.

ANVIL. The massive block of iron on which armourers hammer forge-work. It is also an archaism for the handle or hilt of a sword: thus Coriolanus—

"Here I clip
The anvil of my sword."
It is moreover a little narrow flag at the end of a lance.

ANYHOW. Do the duty by all means, and at any rate or risk: as Nelson, impatient for getting to Copenhagen in 1801, exclaimed—[46]

"Let it be by the Sound, by the Belt, or anyhow, only lose not an hour."
ANY PORT IN A STORM signifies contentment with whatever may betide.

APAGOGE. A mathematical progress from one proposition to another.

APE, or Sea-ape. The long-tailed shark. Also, an active American seal.

APEEK. A ship drawn directly over the anchor is apeek: when the fore-stay and cable form a line, it is short stay apeek; when in a line with the main-stay, long stay apeek. The anchor is apeek when the cable has been sufficiently hove in to bring the ship over it.—Yards apeek. When they are topped up by contrary lifts. (See Peak.)

APERTÆ. Ancient deep-waisted ships, with high-decked forecastle and poop.

APERTURE, in astronomy. The opening of a telescope tube next the object-glass, through which the rays of light and image of the object are conveyed to the eye. It is usually estimated by the clear diameter of the object-glass.

APEX. The summit or vertex of anything; as the upper point of a triangle.

APHELION. That point in the orbit of a planet or comet which is most remote from the sun, and at which the angular motion is slowest; being the end of the greater elliptic axis. The opposite of  perihelion.

APHELLAN. The name of the double star α Geminorum, better known as Castor.

APHRACTI. Ancient vessels with open waists, resembling the present Torbay-boats.

APLANATIC. That refraction which entirely corrects the aberration and colour of the rays of light.

APLETS. Nets for the herring-fishery.

APLUSTRE. A word applied in ancient vessels both to the ornament on the prow and to the streamer or ensign on the stern. Here, as in the rudder-head of Dutch vessels frequently, the dog-vane was carried to denote the direction of the wind.

APOBATHRÆ. Ancient gang-boards from the ship to the quays.

APOCATASTASIS. The time in which a planet returns to the same point of the zodiac whence it departed.

APOGEE. That point of the moon's orbit which is furthest from the earth; the opposite of perigee. The apogee of the sun is synonymous with the aphelion of the earth. The word is also used as a general term to express the greatest distance of any heavenly body from the earth.

A-POISE. Said of a vessel properly trimmed.[47]

APOSTLES. The knight-heads or bollard timbers, where hawsers or heavy ropes are belayed.

APOTOME. The difference of two incommensurable mathematical quantities.

APPALTO. The commercial term for a monopoly in Mediterranean ports.

APPARATUS. Ammunition and equipage for war.

APPAREL. In marine insurance, means the furniture or appurtenances of a ship, as masts, yards, sails, ground gear, guns, &c. More comprehensive than apparatus.

APPARELLED. Fully equipped for service.

APPARENT. In appearance, as visible to the eye, or evident to the mind, which in the case of astronomical motions, distances, altitudes, and magnitudes, will be found to differ materially from their real state, and require correcting to find the true place.

APPARENT EQUINOX. The position of the equinox as affected by nutation.


APPARENT MOTION. The motion of celestial bodies as viewed from the earth.

APPARENT NOON. The instant that the sun's centre is on the meridian of a place.

APPARENT OBLIQUITY. The obliquity of the ecliptic affected with nutation.

APPARENT PLACE OF A STAR. This is the position for any day which it seems to occupy in the heavens, as affected with aberration and nutation.

APPARENT TIME. The time resulting from an observation of the sun—an expression per contractionem for apparent solar time.

APPARITION. A star or planet becoming visible after occultation. Perpetual apparition of the lesser northern circles, wherein the stars being above the horizon, never set.

APPEARANCE. The first making of a land-fall: formerly astronomically used for phenomenon and phase. The day of an officer's first joining a ship after his being appointed.

APPLE-PIE ORDER. A strange but not uncommon term for a ship in excellent condition and well looked to. Neat and orderly. Absurdly said to be a corruption of du pol au pied.

APPLICATE. The ordinate, or right line drawn across a curve, so as to be bisected by its diameter.

APPLICATION. A word of extensive use, for the principles of adjusting, augmenting, and perfecting the relations between sciences.

APPOINTED. Commissioned—named for a special duty.[48]

APPOINTMENT. The equipment, ordnance, furniture, and necessaries of a ship. Also an officer's commission. In the Army, appointments usually imply military accoutrements, such as belts, sashes, gorgets, &c.

APPORTER. A bringer into the realm.

APPRAISEMENT. A law instrument taken out by the captors of a vessel, who are primarily answerable for the expense.

APPRENTICE. One who is covenanted to serve another on condition of being instructed in an art, and ships' apprentices are to the same effect. Boys under eighteen years of age bound to masters of merchant ships were exempted from impressment for three years from the date of their indentures; which documents were in duplicate, and exempt from stamp duty.

APPROACHES. The trenches, zig-zags, saps, and other works, by which a besieger makes good his way up to a fortified place. (See Trenches.)

APPROVAL. The senior officer's signature to a demand or application.

APPROXIMATION. A continual approach to a quantity sought, where there is no possibility of arriving at it exactly.

APPULSE. A near approach of one heavenly body to another, so as to form an apparent contact: the term is principally used with reference to stars or planets when the moon passes close to them without causing occultation.

APRON, or Stomach-piece. A strengthening compass timber fayed abaft the lower part of the stern, and above the foremost end of the keel; that is, from the head down to the fore dead-wood knee, to which it is scarfed. It is sided to receive the fastenings of the fore-hoods or planking of the bow.—Apron of a gun, a square piece of sheet-lead laid over the touch-hole for protecting the vent from damp; also over the gun-lock.—Apron of a dock, the platform rising where the gates are closed, and on which the sill is fastened down.

APSIDES, Line of. The imaginary line joining the aphelion and perihelion points in the orbit of a planet.

APSIS. Either of the two points in planetary orbits where they are at the greatest and the least distance from the sun, and are termed higher or lower accordingly. The two are joined by a diameter called the line of the apsides.

AQUAGE. The old law-term denoting the toll paid for water-carriage.

AQUARIUS. The eleventh sign in the zodiac (α Aquarius Sadalmelik).

AQUATIC. Inhabiting or relating to the water.

AQUATILE. An archaism for aquatic; thus Howell's lexicon describes the crocodile as "partly aquatil, partly terrestrial."

AQUATITES. The law-term for everything living in the water.

AQUE. Wall-sided flat-floored boats, which navigate the Rhine.[49]

AQUEDUCT. Conduits or canals built for the conveyance of water.

AQUILA. The constellation Aquila, in which α Aquilæ is an important star of the first magnitude: used by seamen in determining the latitude and longitude; also in lunar distances. (See Altair.)

AQUILON. The north-east wind, formerly much dreaded by mariners.

ARAMECH. The Arabic name for the star Arcturus.

ARBALIST [from arcus and balista]. An engine to throw stones, or the cross-bow used for bullets, darts, arrows, &c.; formerly arbalisters formed part of a naval force.

ARBITER. The judge to whom two persons refer their differences; not always judicial, but the arbiter, in his own person, of the fate of empires and peoples.

ARBITRAGE. The referring commercial disputes to the arbitration of two or more indifferent persons.

ARBITRATION. The settlement of disputes out of court.

ARBOR. In chronometry, a shaft, spindle, or axis.

ARBY. A northern name for the thrift or sea-lavender.

ARC, or Arch. The segment of a circle or any curved line, by which all angles are measured.

ARC DIURNAL. See Diurnal Arc.

ARC NOCTURNAL. See Nocturnal Arc.

ARC OF DIRECTION or Progression. The arc which a planet appears to describe when its motion is direct or progressive in the order of the signs.

ARC OF VISION. The sun's depth below the horizon when the planets and stars begin to appear.

ARCH-BOARD. The part of the stern over the counter, immediately under the knuckles of the stern-timbers.

ARCH OF THE COVE. An elliptical moulding sprung over the cove of a ship, at the lower part of the taffrail.

ARCHED SQUALL. A violent gust of wind, usually distinguished by the arched form of the clouds near the horizon, whence they rise rapidly towards the zenith, leaving the sky visible through it.

ARCHEL, Archil, Orchill. Rocella tinctorum fucus, a lichen found on the rocks of the Canary and Cape de Verde groups; it yields a rich purple. Litmus, largely used in chemistry, is derived from it.

ARCHES. A common term among seamen for the Archipelago. (See also Galley-arches.)

ARCHI-GUBERNUS. The commander of the imperial ship in ancient times.

ARCHIMEDES' SCREW. An ingenious spiral pump for draining docks or raising water to any proposed height,—the invention of that wonderful man. It is also used to remove grain in breweries from[50] a lower to a higher level. The name has been recently applied to the very important introduction in steam navigation—the propelling screw. (See Screw-propeller.)

ARCHING. When a vessel is not strongly built there is always a tendency in the greater section to lift, and the lower sections to fall; hence the fore and after ends droop, producing arching, or hogging (which see).

ARCHIPELAGO. A corruption of Aegeopelagus, now applied to clusters of islands in general. Originally the Ægean Sea. An archipelago has a great number of islands of various sizes, disposed without order; but often contains several subordinate groups. Such are the Ægean, the Corean, the Caribbean, Indian, Polynesian, and others.

ARCHITECTURE. See Naval Architecture.

ARCTIC. Northern, or lying under arktos, the Bear; an epithet given to the north polar regions comprised within the arctic circle, a lesser circle of the sphere, very nearly 23° 28′ distant from the north pole.

ARCTIC OCEAN. So called from surrounding the pole within the imaginary circle of that name.

ARCTIC POLE. The north pole of the globe.

ARCTURUS. α Boötis. A star of the first magnitude, close to the knee of Arctophylax, or Boötes. One of the nautical stars.

ARD, or Aird. A British or Gaelic term for a rocky eminence, or rocks on a wash: hence the word hard, in present use. It is also an enunciation.

ARDENT. Said of a vessel when she gripes, or comes to the wind quickly.

ARE. The archaism for oar (which see). A measure of land in France containing 100 square metres.

AREA. The plane or surface contained between any boundary lines. The superficial contents of any figure or work; as, the area of any square or triangle.

ARENACEOUS. Sandy; partaking of the qualities of sand; brittle; as, arenaceous limestone, quartz, &c.

ARENAL. In meteorology, a cloud of dust, often so thick as to prevent seeing a stone's-throw off. It is common in South America, being raised by the wind from adjoining shores. Also off the coast of Africa at the termination of the desert of Zahara.

ARENATION. The burying of scorbutic patients up to the neck in holes in a sandy beach, for cure; also spreading hot sand over a diseased person.

AREOMETER. An instrument for measuring the specific gravity of fluids.[51]

ARGIN. An old word for an embankment.

ARGO. A name famous from Jason's romantic expedition, but absurdly quoted as the first ship, for the fleets of Danaus and Minos are mentioned long before, and the Argo herself was chased by a squadron under Æetes.

ARGO NAVIS. The southern constellation of the Ship, containing 9 clusters, 3 nebulæ, 13 double and 540 single stars, of which about 64 are easily visible. As most of these were invisible to the Greeks, the name was probably given by the Egyptians.

ARGOL. The tartaric acid or lees adhering to the sides of wine-casks, particularly of port-wine; an article of commerce; supertartrate of potass.

ARGOLET. A light horseman of the middle ages.

ARGONAUTA. The paper-nautilus. The sail which it was supposed to spread to catch the wind, is merely a modified arm which invests the outer surface of the shell.

ARGONAUTS. A company of forty-four heroes who sailed in the Argo to obtain the golden fleece; an expedition which fixes one of the most memorable epochs in history. Also a Geographical Society instituted at Venice, to whom we owe the publication of all the charts, maps, and directories of Coronelli.

ARGOSY. A merchant ship or carrack of burden, principally of the Levant; the name is by some derived from Ragusa, but by others with more probability from the Argo. Shakspeare mentions "argosies with portly sail." Those   of the Frescobaldi were the richest and most adventurous of those times.

ARGOZIN, or Argnesyn. The person whose office it was to attend to the shackles of the galley-slaves, over whom he had especial charge.

ARGUMENT. An astronomical quantity upon which an equation depends,—or any known number by which an unknown one proportional to the first may be found.

ARGUMENT OF LATITUDE. The distance of a celestial body from one of the nodes of its orbit, upon which the latitude depends.

ARIES. The most important point of departure in astronomy. A northern constellation forming the first of the twelve signs of the zodiac, into which the sun enters about the 20th of March. With Musca, Aries contains 22 nebulæ, 8 double and 148 single stars, but not above 50 are visible to the unassisted eye. The commencement of this sign, called the first point of Aries, is the origin from which the right ascensions of the heavenly bodies are reckoned upon the equator, and their longitudes upon the ecliptic.

ARIS. Sharp corner of stones in piers and docks.

ARIS PIECES. Those parts of a made mast which are under the hoops.[52]

ARITHMETIC. The art of computation by numbers; or that branch which considers their powers and properties.

ARK. The sacred and capacious vessel built by Noah for preservation against the flood. It was 300 cubits in length, 50 in breadth, and 30 in height; and of whatever materials it was constructed, it was pitched over or pay'd with bitumen. Ark is also the name of a mare's-tail cloud, or cirrhus, when it forms a streak across the sky.

ARLOUP. An archaism for the deck, now called orlop (which see).

ARM. A deep and comparatively narrow inlet of the sea. That part of an anchor on which the palm is shut. The extremity of the bibbs which support the trestle-trees. Each extremity or end of a yard, beam, or bracket.—To arm, to fit, furnish, and provide for war; to cap and set a loadstone; to apply putty or tallow to the lower end of the lead previous to sounding, in order to draw up a specimen of the bottom.—To arm a shot, is to roll rope-yarns about a cross-bar-shot, in order to facilitate ramming it home, and also to prevent the ends catching any accidental inequalities in the bore.

ARMADA. A Spanish term signifying a royal fleet; it comes from the same root as army. The word armado is used by Shakspeare.

ARMADILLA. A squadron of guarda-costas, which formerly cruized on the coasts of South America, to prevent smuggling.

ARMADOR. A Spanish privateer.

ARMAMENT. A naval or military force equipped for an expedition. The arming of a vessel or place.

ARMAMENTA. The rigging and tackling of an ancient ship. It included shipmen and all the necessary furniture of war.

ARMATÆ. Ancient ships fitted with sails and oars, but which fought under the latter only.

ARM-CHEST. A portable locker on the upper deck or tops for holding arms, and affording a ready supply of cutlasses, pistols, muskets or other weapons.

ARMED. Completely equipped for war.—Armed at all points, covered with armour.—Armed "en flute," see Flute.—Armed mast, made of more than one tree.—Armed ship, a vessel fitted out by merchants to annoy the enemy, and furnished with letters of marque, and bearing a commission from the Admiralty to carry on warlike proceedings.


ARMILLARY SPHERE. An instrument composed of various circles, to assist the student in gaining a knowledge of the arrangement and motions of the heavenly bodies. A brass armilla tolomæi was one of the instruments supplied to Martin Frobisher in 1576, price £4, 6s. 8d.

ARMING. A piece of tallow placed in the cavity and over the bottom[53] of a sounding lead, to which any objects at the bottom of the sea become attached, and are brought with the lead to the surface.

ARMINGS. Red dress cloths which were formerly hung fore and aft, outside the upper works on holidays; still used by foreigners. (See Top-armings.) It was also the name of a kind of boarding-net.

ARMIPOTENT. Powerful in war.

ARMISTICE. A cessation of arms for a given time; a short truce for the suspension of hostilities.

ARMLET. A narrow inlet of the sea; a smaller branch than the arm. Also the name of a piece of armour for the arm, to protect it from the jar of the bow-string.

ARMOGAN. An old term for good opportunity or season for navigation, which, if neglected, was liable to costs of demurrage. It is a Mediterranean word for fine weather.

ARMORIC. The language of Brittany, Cornwall, and Wales: the word in its original signification meant maritime.

ARMOUR. A defensive habit to protect the wearer from his enemy; also defensive arms. In old statutes this is frequently called harness.

ARMOUR-CLAD. A ship of war fitted with iron plates on the outside to render her shot-proof.

ARMOURER. In a man-of-war, is a person appointed by warrant to keep the small arms in complete condition for service. As he is also the ship's blacksmith, a mate is allowed to assist at the forge.

ARMOURY. A place appropriated for the keeping of small arms.

ARM-RACK. A frame or fitting for the stowage of arms (usually vertical) out of harm's way, but in readiness for immediate use. In the conveyance of troops by sea arm-racks form a part of the proper accommodation.

ARMS. The munitions of war,—all kinds of weapons whether for offence or defence. Those in a ship are cannons, carronades, mortars, howitzers, muskets, pistols, tomahawks, cutlasses, bayonets, and boarding-pikes.

ARMS of a great Gun. The trunnions.

ARMSTRONG GUN. Invented by Sir William Armstrong. In its most familiar form, a rifled breech-loading gun of wrought iron, constructed principally of spirally coiled bars, and occasionally having an inner tube or core of steel; ranging in size from the smallest field-piece up to the 100 pounder; rifled with numerous shallow grooves, which are taken by the expansion of the leaden coating of its projectile. Late experiments however, connected with iron-plated ships are developing muzzle-loading Armstrong guns, constructed on somewhat similar principles, but with simpler rifling, ranging in size up to the 600 pounder weighing 23 tons.[54]

ARMY. A large body of disciplined men, with appropriate subdivisions, commanded by a general. A fleet is sometimes called a naval army.—Flying army, a small body sent to harass a country, intercept convoys, and alarm the enemy.

ARMYE. A early term for a naval armament.

ARNOT. A northern name for the shrimp.

ARONDEL. A light and swift tartan: probably a corruption of hirondelle (swallow).

ARPENT. A French measure of land, equal to 100 square rods or perches, each of 18 feet. It is about 1⁄7th less than the English acre.

ARQUEBUSS. A word sometimes used for carbine, but formerly meant a garrison-piece, carrying a ball of 31⁄2 ounces; it was generally placed in loop-holes. (See Hagbut.)

ARRACK. An Indian term for all ardent liquors, but that which we designate thus is obtained by the fermentation of toddy (a juice procured from palm-trees), of rice, and of sugar. In Turkey arrack is extracted from vine-stalks taken out of wine-presses.

ARRAIER. The officer who formerly had the care of the men's armour, and whose business it was to see them duly accoutred.

ARRAY. The order of battle.—To array. To equip, dress, or arm for battle.

ARREARS. The difference between the full pay of a commissioned officer, and what he is empowered to draw for till his accounts are passed.

ARREST. The suspension of an officer's duty, and restraint of his person, previous to trying him by a court martial. Seamen in Her Majesty's service cannot be arrested for debts under twenty pounds, and that contracted before they entered the navy. Yet it is held in law, that this affords no exemption from arrests either in civil or criminal suits.

ARRIBA. [Sp. pronounced arriva]. Aloft, quickly.—Agir contre son gré, montar arriba, to mount aloft, which has passed into seamen's lingo as areevo, up, aloft, quickly:—mount areevo, or go on deck.

ARRIBAR, To. To land, to attain the bank, to arrive.

ARRIVE, To. In the most nautical sense, is to come to any place by water, to reach the shore.

ARROBA. A Portuguese commercial weight of 32 lbs. Also, a Spanish general wine measure of 41⁄4 English gallons. The lesser arroba, used for oil, is only 31⁄3 English gallons. A Spanish weight of 25 lbs. avoirdupois; one-fourth of a quintal. Also, a rough country cart in Southern Russia.

ARROW. A missive weapon of offence, and whether ancient or modern, in the rudest form among savages or refined by art, is always[55] a slender stick, armed at one end, and occasionally feathered at the other. The natives of Tropical Africa feather the metal barb.

ARROW. In fortification, a work placed at the salient angles of the glacis, communicating with the covert way.—Broad arrow. The royal mark for stores of every kind. (See Broad Arrow.)

ARSENAL. A repository of the munitions of war. Some combine both magazines of naval and military stores, and docks for the construction and repair of ships.

ARSHEEN. A Russian measure of 2 feet 4 in. = 2·333—also Chinese, four of which make 3 yards English.

ART. A spelling of airt (which see). Also, practice as distinguished from theory.

ARTEMON. The main-sail of ancient ships.

ARTHUR. A well-known sea game, alluded to by Grose, Smollet, and other writers.

ARTICLES. The express stipulations to which seamen bind themselves by signature, on joining a merchant ship.

ARTICLES OF WAR. A code of rules and orders based on the act of parliament for the regulation and government of Her Majesty's ships, vessels, and forces by sea: and as they are frequently read to all hands, no individual can plead ignorance of them. It is now termed the New Naval Code.—The articles of war for the land forces have a similar foundation and relation to their service; the act in this case, however, is passed annually, the army itself having, in law, no more than one year's permanence unless so periodically renewed by act of parliament.

ARTIFICER. One who works by hand in wood or metal; generally termed an idler on board, from his not keeping night-watch, and only appearing on deck duty when the hands are turned up.

ARTIFICIAL EYE. An eye worked in the end of rope, which is neater but not so strong as a spliced eye.

ARTIFICIAL HORIZON. An artificial means of catching the altitude of a celestial body when the sea horizon is obscured by fog, darkness, or the intervention of land; a simple one is still the greatest desideratum of navigators. Also a trough filled with pure mercury, used on land, wherein the double altitude of a celestial body is reflected.

ARTIFICIAL LINES. The ingenious contrivances for representing logarithmic sines and tangents, so useful in navigation, on a scale.

ARTILLERY was formerly synonymous with archery, but now comprehends every description of ordnance, guns, mortars, fire-arms, and all their appurtenances. The term is also applied to the noble corps destined to that service: as also to the theory and practice of the[56] science of projectiles: it was moreover given to all kinds of missile weapons, and the translators of the Bible make Jonathan give his "artillery unto his lad."

ARTILLERY, ROYAL MARINE. Formerly a select branch of the R. Marines, specially instructed in gunnery and the care of artillery stores; assigned in due proportion to all ships of war. It is now separate from the other branch (to whose original title the denomination of Light Infantry has been added), and rests on its own official basis; its relation to ships of war, however, remaining the same as before, although while on shore the Royal Marine forces are regulated by an annual act of parliament. (See Royal Marine Artillery.)

ARTIST. A name formerly applied to those mariners who were also expert navigators.

ARTIZAN. A mechanic or operative workman. (See Artificer.)

ARX. A fort or castle for the defence of a place.

ASCENDANT. The part of the ecliptic above the horizon.


ASCENDING SIGNS. Those in which the sun appears to ascend towards the north pole, or in which his motion in declination is towards the north.

ASCENSION. The act of mounting or rising upwards. (See Right Ascension.)

ASCENSIONAL DIFFERENCE. The equinoctial arc intercepted between the right and oblique ascensions (which see).

ASCENSION OBLIQUE. See Oblique Ascension.

ASCENSION RIGHT. See Right Ascension.

ASCII. The inhabitants of the torrid zone, who twice a year, being under a vertical sun, have no shadow.

AS DEAF AS THE MAIN-MAST. Said of one who does not readily catch an order given. Thus at sea the main-mast is synonymous with the door-post on shore.

ASHES. See Windward.

ASHLAR. Blocks of stone masonry fronting docks, piers, and other erections; this term is applied to common or freestone as they come of various lengths, breadths, and thicknesses from the quarry.

ASHORE. Aground, on land.—To go ashore, to disembark from a boat. Opposed to aboard.

ASH-PIT. A receptacle for ashes before the fire-bars in a steamer, or under them in most fire-places.

ASIENTO [Sp.] A sitting, contract, or convention; such as that between Spain and other powers in relation to the supply of stores for South America.[57]

ASK, or Asker. A name of the water-newt.

ASKEW. Awry, crooked, oblique.

ASLANT. Formed or placed in an oblique line, as with dagger-knees, &c.—To sail aslant, turning to windward.

ASLEEP. The sail filled with wind just enough for swelling or bellying out,—as contrasted with its flapping.

ASPECT. The looming of the land from sea-ward.

ASPER. A minute Turkish coin in accounts, of which three go to a para.

ASPIC. An ancient 12-pounder piece of ordnance, about 11 feet long.

ASPIRANT DE MARINE. Midshipman in the French navy.

ASPORTATION. The carrying of a vessel or goods illegally.

ASSAIL, To. To attack, leap upon, board, &c.

ASSAULT. A hostile attack. The effort to storm a place, and gain possession of a post by main force.

ASSEGAI. The spear used by the Kaffirs in South Africa; it is frequently feather-bent to revolve in its flight.

ASSEGUAY. The knife-dagger used in the Levant.

ASSEMBLY. That long roll beat of the drum by which soldiers, or armed parties, are ordered to repair to their stations. It is sometimes called the fall-in.

ASSES'-BRIDGE. The well-known name of prop. 5, b. i. of Euclid, the difficulty of which makes many give in.

ASSIEGE, To. To besiege, to invest or beset with an armed force.

ASSIGNABLE. Any finite geometrical ratio, or magnitude that can be marked out or denoted.

ASSILAG. The name given in the Hebrides to a small sea-bird with a black bill. The stormy petrel.

ASSISTANCE. Aid or help: strongly enjoined to be given whenever a signal is made requiring it.

ASSISTANT-SURGEON. The designation given some years ago to those formerly called "surgeon's mates," and considered a boon by the corps.

ASSORTMENT. The arrangement of goods, tools, &c., in a series.

ASSURANCE. (See Marine Insurance.) Conveyance or deed: in which light Shakspeare makes Tranio say that his father will "pass assurance."

ASSURGENT. A heraldic term for a man or beast rising out of the sea.

ASSUROR. He who makes out the policy of assurance for a ship: he is not answerable for the neglect of the master or seamen.

A-STARBOARD. The opposite to a-port.

A-STAY. Said of the anchor when, in heaving in, the cable forms[58] such an angle with the surface as to appear in a line with the stays of the ship.—A long stay apeek is when the cable forms an acute angle with the water's surface, or coincides with the main-stay—short stay when it coincides with the fore-stay.

ASTELLABRE. The same as astrolabe.

ASTERIA. See Sea-star.

ASTERISM. Synonymous with constellation, a group of stars.

ASTERN. Any distance behind a vessel; in the after-part of the ship; in the direction of the stern, and therefore the opposite of ahead.—To drop astern, is to be left behind,—when abaft a right angle to the keel at the main-mast, she drops astern.

ASTEROIDS. The name by which the minor planets between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars were proposed to be distinguished by Sir W. Herschel. They are very small bodies, which have all been discovered since the commencement of the present century; yet their present number is over eighty.

ASTRAGAL. A moulding formerly round a cannon, at a little distance from its breech, the cascabel, and another near the muzzle. It is a half round on a flat moulding.

ASTRAL. Sidereal, relating to the stars.

ASTROLABE. An armillary sphere.—Sea-astrolabe, a useful graduated brass ring, with a movable index, for taking the altitude of stars and planets: it derived its name from the armillary sphere of Hipparchus, at Alexandria.

ASTROMETRY. The numerical expression of the apparent magnitudes of the so-called fixed stars.

ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. A capital bit of horology, the pendulum of which is usually compensated to sidereal time, for astronomical purposes. (See Sidereal Time.)

ASTRONOMICAL HOURS. Those which are reckoned from noon or midnight of one natural day, to noon or midnight of another.

ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS. There have been occasional slight records of celestial phenomena from the remotest times, but the most useful ones are those collected and preserved by Ptolemy. Since 1672, science has been enriched with a continued series of astronomical observations of accuracy and value never dreamed of by the ancients.

ASTRONOMICAL PLACE OF A STAR OR PLANET. Its longitude or place in the ecliptic, reckoned from the first point of Aries, according to the natural order of the signs.

ASTRONOMICAL TABLES. Tables for facilitating the calculation of the apparent places of the sun, moon, and planets.

ASTRONOMICALS. The sexagesimal fractions.

ASTRONOMY. The splendid department of the mixed sciences which[59] teaches the laws and phenomena of the universal system. It is practical when it treats of the magnitudes, periods, and distances of the heavenly bodies; and physical when it investigates the causes. In the first division the more useful adaptation nautical is included (which see).

ASTROSCOPIA. Skill in examining the nature and properties of stars with a telescope.

ASTRUM, or Astron. Sirius, or the Dog-star. Sometimes applied to a cluster of stars.

ASWIM. Afloat, borne on the waters.

ASYLUM. A sanctuary or refuge; a name given to a benevolent institution at Greenwich, for 800 boys and 200 girls, orphans of seamen and marines. The Royal Military Asylum is also an excellent establishment of a similar nature at Chelsea, besides numerous others.

ASYMMETRY. A mathematical disproportion. The relation of two quantities which have no measure in common.

ASYMPTOTES. Lines which continually approximate each other, but can never meet.

ATABAL. A Moorish kettle-drum.

ATAGHAN. See Yataghan.

AT ANCHOR. The situation of a vessel riding in a road or port by her anchor.

ATAR. A perfume of commerce, well known as atar-of-roses; atar being the Arabic word for fragrance, corrupted into otto.

A'TAUNTO, or All-a-taunt-o. Every mast an-end and fully rigged.

ATEGAR. The old English hand-dart, named from the Saxon aeton, to fling, and gar, a weapon.

ATHERINE. A silvery fish used in the manufacture of artificial pearls; it is 4 or 5 inches long, inhabits various seas, but is taken in great numbers in the Mediterranean. It is also called argentine.

ATHILLEDA. The rule and sights of an astrolabe.

ATHWART. The transverse direction; anything extending or across the line of a ship's course.—Athwart hawse, a vessel, boat, or floating lumber accidentally drifted across the stem of a ship, the transverse position of the drift being understood.—Athwart the fore-foot, just before the stem; ships fire a shot in this direction to arrest a stranger, and make her bring-to.—Athwart ships, in the direction of the beam; from side to side: in opposition to fore-and-aft.

ATHWART THE TIDE. See Across the Tide.

ATLANTIC. The sea which separates Europe and Africa from the Americas, so named from the elevated range called the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

ATLANTIDES. The daughters of Atlas; a name of the Pleiades.[60]

ATLAS. A large book of maps or charts; so called from the character of that name in ancient mythology, son of Uranus, and represented as bearing the world on his back. Also the Indian satin of commerce.

ATMOSPHERE. The ambient air, or thin elastic fluid which surrounds the globe, and gradually diminishing in gravity rises to an unknown height, yet by gravitation partakes of all its motions.

ATMOSPHERIC or Single-action Steam-engine. A condensing machine, in which the downward stroke of the piston is performed by the pressure of the atmosphere acting against a vacuum.

ATMOSPHERICAL TIDES. The motions generated by the joint influence of the sun and moon; and by the rotatory and orbital course of the earth,—as developed in trade-winds, equinoctial gales, &c.

ATOLLS. An Indian name for those singular coral formations known as lagoon-islands, such as the Maldive cluster, those in the Pacific, and in other parts within the tropics, where the apparently insignificant reef-building zoophytes reside.

ATRIE. To bring the ship to in a gale.

A-TRIP. The anchor is a-trip, or a-weigh, when the purchase has just made it break ground, or raised it clear. Sails are a-trip when they are hoisted from the cap, sheeted home, and ready for trimming. Yards are a-trip when swayed up, ready to have the stops cut for crossing: so an upper-mast is said to be a-trip, when the fid is loosened preparatory to lowering it.

ATTACHED. Belongs to; in military parlance an officer or soldier is attached to any regiment or company with which he is ordered to do duty.

ATTACK. A general assault or onset upon an enemy. Also the arrangement for investment or battle. (See False Attack.)

ATTEMPT, To. To endeavour to carry a vessel or place by surprise; to venture at some risk, as in trying a new channel, &c.

ATTENDANT MASTER. A dockyard official. (See Master-attendant.)

ATTENTION. A military word of command, calling the soldier from the quiescent position of "at ease" into readiness for any exercise or evolution. Also the erect posture due to that word of command, and which is assumed by a private soldier in the presence of an officer. The attending to signals.

ATTERRAGE. The land-fall, or making the land. Usually marked on French charts and plans to show the landing-place.

ATTESTATION. In Admiralty courts the attestation of a deed signifies the testifying to the signing or execution of it.

ATTESTED. Legally certified; proved by evidence.

ATTILE. An old law term for the rigging or furniture of a ship.[61]

ATTORNEY. See Sea-attorney.

ATTRACTION. The power of drawing, or the principle by which all bodies mutually tend towards each other; the great agent in nature's wonderful operations.—Attraction of mountains, the deviating influence exercised on the plumb-line by the vicinity of high land. But exerting also a marvellous effect on all floating bodies, for every seaman knows that a ship stands inshore faster than she stands out, the distances being similar.

ATWEEN, or Atwixt. Betwixt or between, shortened into 'tween, that is, in the intermediate space. The word 'tween decks is usually applied to the lower deck of a frigate, and orlop to that of a line-of-battle ship.

AUBERK, or Hauberk. One who held land to be ready with a coat of mail and attend his lord when called upon so to do. Thus the old poet:—

"Auberk, sketoun, and scheld
Was mani to-broken in that feld."
AUDIT. The final passing of accounts.

AUDITORS OF THE IMPREST. Officers who had the charge of the great accounts of the royal customs, naval and military expenses, &c.; they are now superseded by the commissioners for auditing the public accounts.

AUGES. An astronomical term, synonymous with apsides.

AUGET. A tube filled with powder for firing a mine.

AUGMENTATION of the Moon's Diameter. The increase of her apparent diameter occasioned by an increase of altitude: or that which is due to the difference between her distance from the observer and the centre of the earth.

AUGRE, or Auger. A wimble, or instrument for boring holes for bolts, tree-nails, and other purposes.

AUK, or Awk. A sea-bird with short wings. The great auk or gair-fowl (Alca impennis) was formerly common on all the northern coasts, where they laid their eggs, ingeniously poised, on the bare rocks. They were very good eating, and having been taken in great numbers by the Esquimaux, and by European sailors on whaling voyages, the species is now supposed to be exterminated.

AULIN. An arctic gull (Cataractes parasiticus), given to make other sea-birds mute through fear, and then eat their discharge—whence it is termed dirty aulin by the northern boatmen.

AUMBREY. An old north-country term for a bread and cheese locker.

AUNE. Contraction of ulna. French cloth measure: at Rouen it is equal to the English ell—at Paris 0·95—at Calais 1·52 of that measure.[62]

AURIGA. A northern constellation, and one of the old 48 asterisms; it is popularly known as the Waggoner: α Auriga, Capella.

AURORA. The faint light which precedes sunrising. Also the mythological mother of the winds and stars.

AURORA AUSTRALIS or Borealis. The extraordinary and luminous meteoric phenomenon which by its streaming effulgence cheers the dreary nights of polar regions. It is singular that these beautiful appearances are nowhere mentioned by the ancients. They seem to be governed by electricity, are most frequent in frosty weather, and are proved to be many miles above the surface of the earth, from some of them being visible over 30° of longitude and 20° of latitude at the same instant! In colour they vary from yellow to deep red; in form they are Proteus-like, assuming that of streamers, columns, fans, or arches, with a quick flitting, and sometimes whizzing noises. The aurora is not vivid above the 76th degree of north latitude, and is seldom seen before the end of August. Cook was the first navigator who recorded the southern lights.

AUSTER. The south wind of the ancients, gusts from which quarter are called autan.

AUSTRAL. Relating to the south.—Austral signs, those on the south side of the equator, or the last six of the zodiac.

AUTHORITY. The legal power or right of commanding.


AUTUMNAL EQUINOX. The time when the sun crosses the equator, under a southerly motion, and the days and nights are then everywhere equal in length. (See Libra.)

AUTUMNAL POINT. That part of the ecliptic whence the sun descends southward.

AUTUMNAL SIGNS. Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius.

AUXILIARIES. Confederates, an assisting body of allies; or, physically speaking, vessels using steam as an auxiliary to wind.

AUXILIARY SCREW. A vessel in which the screw is used as an auxiliary force. Such a vessel is usually fully masted for sailing purposes.

AVANIA. The fine or imposition imposed on Christians residing under Turkish governors, when they break the laws.

AVANT-FOSSE. In fortification, an advanced ditch without the counterscarp, and stretching along the foot of the glacis.

AVAST. The order to stop, hold, cease, or stay, in any operation: its derivation from the Italian basta is more plausible than have fast.

AVAST HEAVING! The cry to arrest the capstan when nippers are jammed, or any other impediment occurs in heaving in the cable, not unfrequently when a hand, foot, or finger, is jammed;—stop![63]

AVENTAILE. The movable part of a helmet.

AVENUE. The inlet into a port.

AVERAGE. Whether general or particular, is a term of ambiguous construction, meaning the damage incurred for the safety of the ship and cargo; the contribution made by the owners in general, apportioned to their respective investments, to repair any particular loss or expense sustained; and a small duty paid to the master for his care of the whole. Goods thrown overboard for the purpose of lightening the ship, are so thrown for the good of all, and the loss thus sustained must be made up by a general average or contribution from all the parties interested. (See General Average.)

AVERAGE-ADJUSTER. A qualified person engaged in making statements to show the proper application of loss, damage, or expenses in consequence of the accidents of a sea adventure.

AVERAGE-AGREEMENT. A written document signed by the consignees of a cargo, binding themselves to pay a certain proportion of general average that may from accident arise against them.

AVERAGE-STATER. See Average-adjuster.

AVIST. A west-country term for "a fishing."

AVVISO. An Italian advice-boat. [Aviso, Sp.] Despatch-boat or tender.

AWAFT, or Awheft. The displaying of a stopped flag. (See Wheft.)

AWAIT. Ambush; cutting off vessels by means of boats hidden in coves which they must pass in their course.

AWARD. A judgment, in maritime cases, by arbitration; and the decision or sentence of a court-martial.

A-WASH. Reefs even with the surface. The anchor just rising to the water's edge, in heaving up.

AWAY ALOFT. The order to the men in the rigging to start up.

AWAY OFF. At a distance, but in sight.

AWAY SHE GOES. The order to step out with the tackle fall. The cry when a vessel starts on the ways launching; also when a ship, having stowed her anchor, fills and makes sail.

AWAY THERE. The call for a boat's crew; as, "away there! barge-men."

AWAY WITH IT. The order to walk along briskly with a tackle fall, as catting the anchor, &c.

AWBLAST. The arbalest, or cross-bow.

AWBLASTER. The designation of a cross-bowman.

A-WEATHER. The position of the helm when its tiller is moved to the windward side of the ship, in the direction from which the wind blows. The opposite of a-lee.

A-WEIGH. The anchor being a-trip, or after breaking out of the ground.[64]

AWK. See Auk.

AWKWARD SQUAD. A division formed of those men who are backward in gaining dexterity. (See Squad.)

AWL. A tool of a carpenter, sail-maker, and cobbler.

AWME. A tierce of 39 gallons. A Dutch liquid measure.

AWNING. A cover or canvas canopy suspended by a crow-foot and spread over a ship, boat, or other vessel, to protect the decks and crew from the sun and weather. (See Euphroe.) Also that part of the poop-deck which is continued forward beyond the bulk-head of the cabin.

AWNING-ROPES. The ridge and side ropes for securing the awning.

AXE. A large flat edge-tool, for trimming and reducing timber. Also an Anglo-Saxon word for ask, which seamen still adhere to, and it is difficult to say why a word should be thought improper which has descended from our earliest poets; it may have become obsolete, but without absolutely being vulgar or incorrect.

AXIOM. A self-evident truth or proposition, that cannot be made plainer by demonstration.

AXIS. The imaginary line upon which a planet revolves, the extremities of which are termed the poles,—therefore a line joining the north and south poles. The real or imaginary line that passes through the centre of any cylindrical or spherical body on which it may revolve. Also a right line proceeding from the vertex of a cone to the middle of its base. Also, an imaginary right line passing through the middle of a ship perpendicularly to its base, and equally distant from its sides;—an imaginary line passing through the centre of a gun's bore, parallel with its position.—Axis of a telescope. (See Collimation, Line of.)

AXLE-TREES. The two cross-pieces of a gun-carriage, fixed across and under the fore and hinder parts of the cheeks. The cylindrical iron which goes through the wheel of the chain-pump, and bears the weight of it.

AYE, AYE, SIR. A prompt reply on receiving an order. Also the answer on comprehending an order. Aye-aye, the answer to a sentinel's hail, from a boat which has a commissioned officer on board below the rank of captain. The name of the ship in reply from the boat indicates the presence of a captain. The word "flag," indicates the presence of an admiral.

AYLET. The sea-swallow.

AYONT. Beyond.

AYR. An open sea-beach, and also a bank of sand. (See Aire.) The mediæval term for oar.

AYT. See Eyght.

AZIMUTH. A word borrowed from the Arabic. The complement of[65] the amplitude, or an arc between the meridian of a place and any given vertical line.

AZIMUTHAL ERROR. See Meridian Error.

AZIMUTH CIRCLES. See Vertical Circles.

AZIMUTH COMPASS. A superior graduated compass for ascertaining the amount of magnetic variation, by amplitude or azimuth, when the sun is from 8° to 15° high, either after its rising or before its setting. (See Magnetic Azimuth.) It is fitted with vertical sight vanes for the purpose of observing objects elevated above the horizon.

AZOGUE. [Sp.] Quicksilver.

AZOGUES. Spanish ships fitted expressly for carrying quicksilver.

AZUMBRE. A Spanish wine-measure, eight of which make an arroba.

AZURE. The deep blue colour of the sky, when perfectly cloudless.


BAARD. A mediæval transport.

BAARE-Y-LANE. The Manx or Gaelic term for high-water.

BAAS. An old term for the skipper of a Dutch trader.

BAB. The Arabic for mouth or gate; especially used by seamen for the entrance of the Red Sea, Bab-el-mandeb.

BABBING. An east-country method of catching crabs, by enticing them to the surface of the water with baited lines, and then taking them with a landing net.

BABBLING. The sound made by shallow rivers flowing over stony beds.

BAC. A large flat-bottomed French ferry-boat. In local names it denotes a ferry or place of boating.

BACALLAO [Sp.] A name given to Newfoundland and its adjacent islands, whence the epithet is also applied to the cod-fish salted there.

BACCHI. Two ancient warlike machines; the one resembled a battering-ram, the other cast out fire.

BACK. To back an anchor. To carry a small anchor ahead of the one by which the ship rides, to partake of the strain, and check the latter from coming home.—To back a ship at anchor. For this purpose the mizen top-sail is generally used; a hawser should be kept ready to wind her, and if the wind falls she must be hove apeak.—To back and fill. To get to windward in very narrow channels, by a series of[66] smart alternate boards and backing, with weather tides.—To back a sail. To brace its yard so that the wind may blow directly on the front of the sail, and thus retard the ship's course. A sailing vessel is backed by means of the sails, a steamer by reversing the paddles or screw-propeller.—To back astern. To impel the water with the oars contrary to the usual mode, or towards the head of the boat, so that she shall recede.—To back the larboard or starboard oars. To back with the right or left oars only, so as to round suddenly.—To back out. (See Back a Sail.) The term is also familiarly used for retreating out of a difficulty.—To back a rope or chain, is to put on a preventer when it is thought likely to break from age or extra strain.—To back water. To impel a boat astern, so as to recede in a direction opposite to the former course.—Backing the worming. The act of passing small yarn in the holidays, or crevices left between the worming and edges of the rope, to prevent the admission of wet, or to render all parts of equal diameter, so that the service may be smooth.—Wind backing. The wind is said to back when it changes contrary to its usual circuit. In the northern hemisphere on the polar side of the trades, the wind usually changes from east, by the south, to west, and so on to north. In the same latitudes in the southern hemisphere the reverse usually takes place. When it backs, it is generally supposed to be a sign of a freshening breeze.

BACK. The outside or convex part of compass-timber. Also a wharf.

BACK, of a Ship. The keel and kelson are figuratively thus termed.

BACK, of the Post. An additional timber bolted to the after-part of the stern-post, and forming its after-face.

BACK-BOARD. A board across the stern sheets of a boat to support the back of passengers; and also to form the box in which the coxswain sits.

BACK-CUTTING. When the water-level is such that the excavation of a canal, or other channel, does not furnish earth enough for its own banks, recourse is had to back-cutting, or the nearest earth behind the base of the banks.

BACK-FRAME. A vertical wheel for turning the three whirlers of a small rope-machine.

BACK-HER. The order, in steam-navigation, directing the engineer to reverse the movement of the cranks and urge the vessel astern.

BACKING. The timber behind the armour-plates of a ship.

BACK-O'-BEYOND. Said of an unknown distance.

BACK OFF ALL. The order when the harpooner has thrown his harpoon into the whale. Also, to back off a sudden danger.

BACK-ROPE. The rope-pendant, or small chain for staying the dolphin-striker. Also a piece long enough to reach from the cat-block to the[67] stem, and up to the forecastle, to haul the cat-block forward to hook the ring of the anchor—similarly also for hooking the fish-tackle. (See Gaub-line.)

BACKS. The outermost boards of a sawn tree.

BACK-STAFF. A name formerly given to a peculiar sea-quadrant, because the back of the observer was turned towards the sun at the time of observing its zenith distance. The inventor was Captain Davis, the Welsh navigator, about 1590. It consists of a graduated arc of 30° united to a centre by two radii, with a second arc of smaller radius, but measuring 6° on the side of it. To the first arc a vane is attached for sight,—to the second one for shade,—and at the vertex the horizontal vane has a slit in it.

BACKSTAY-PLATES. Used to support the backstays.

BACKSTAYS. Long ropes extending from all mast-heads above a lower-mast to both sides of the ship or chain-wales; they are extended and set up with dead eyes and laniards to the backstay-plates. Their use is to second the shrouds in supporting the mast when strained by a weight of sail in a fresh wind. They are usually distinguished into breast and after backstays; the first being intended to sustain the mast when the ship sails upon a wind; or, in other terms, when the wind acts upon a ship obliquely from forwards; the second is to enable her to carry sail when the wind is abaft the beam; a third, or shifting backstay, is temporary, and used where great strain is demanded when chasing, chased, or carrying on a heavy pressure of canvas: they are fitted either with lashing eyes, or hook and thimble with selvagee strop, so as to be instantly removed.

BACKSTAY-STOOLS. Detached small channels, or chain-wales, fixed abaft the principal ones. They are introduced in preference to extending the length of the channels.

BACKSTERS. Flat pieces of wood or cork, strapped on the feet in order to walk over loose beach.

BACK-STRAPPED. As a ship carried round to the back of Gibraltar by a counter-current and eddies of wind, the strong currents detaining her there.

BACK-SWEEP. That which forms the hollow of the top-timber of a frame.

BACK-WATER. The swell of the sea thrown back, or rebounded by its contact with any solid body. Also the loss of power occasioned by it to paddles of steamboats, &c. The water in a mill-race which cannot get away in consequence of the swelling of the river below. Also, an artificial accumulation of water reserved for clearing channel-beds and tide-ways. Also, a creek or arm of the sea which runs parallel to the coast, having only a narrow strip of land between it[68] and the sea, and communicating with the latter by barred entrances. The west coast of India is remarkable for its back-waters, which give a most useful smooth water communication from one place to another, such as from Cochin to Quilon, a distance of nearly 70 miles.

BACON, To save. This is an old shore-saw, adopted in nautical phraseology for expressing "to escape," but generally used in pejus ruere; as in Gray's Long Story. (See Foul Hawse.)

BAD-BERTH. A foul or rocky anchorage.

BADDERLOCK. The Fucus esculentus, a kind of eatable sea-weed on our northern shores. Also called pursill.

BADDOCK. A name from the Gaelic for the fry of the Gadus carbonarius, or coal-fish.

BADGE. Quarter badges. False quarter-galleries in imitation of frigate-built ships. Also, in naval architecture, a carved ornament placed on the outside of small ships, very near the stern, containing either a window, or the representation of one, with marine decorations.

BADGE, Seaman's. See Good-conduct Badge.

BADGER, To. To tease or confound by frivolous orders.

BADGER-BAG. The fictitious Neptune who visits the ship on her crossing the line.

BAD-NAME. This should be avoided by a ship, for once acquired for inefficiency or privateer habits, it requires time and reformation to get rid of it again. "Give a dog a bad name" most forcibly exemplified. Ships have endured it even under repeated changes of captains—one ship had her name changed, but she became worse.

BAD-RELIEF. One who turns out sluggishly to relieve the watch on deck. (See One-bell.)

BAESSY. The old orthography of the gun since called base.

BAFFLING. Is said of the wind when it frequently shifts from one point to another.

BAG. A commercial term of quantity; as, a bread or biscuit bag, a sand-bag, &c. An empty purse.—To bag on a bowline, to be leewardly, to drop from a course.

BAG, of the Head-rails. The lowest part of the head-rails, or that part which forms the sweep of the rail.

BAG, The. Allowed for the men to keep their clothes in. The ditty bag included needles and needfuls, love-tokens, jewels, &c.

BAGALA. A rude description of high-sterned vessel of various burdens, from 50 to 300 tons, employed at Muskat and on the shores of Oman: the word signifying mule among the Arabs, and therefore indicative of carrying rather than sailing.

BAG AND BAGGAGE. The whole movable property.

BAGGAGE. The necessaries, utensils, and apparel of troops.[69]

BAGGAGE-GUARD. A small proportion of any body of troops on the march, to whom the care of the whole baggage is assigned.

BAGGETY. The fish otherwise called the lump or sea-owl (Cyclopterus lumpus).

BAGGONET. The old term for bayonet, and not a vulgarism.

BAGNIO. A sort of barrack in Mediterranean sea-ports, where the galley-slaves and convicts are confined.

BAGPIPE. To bagpipe the mizen is to lay it aback, by bringing the sheet to the mizen-shrouds.

BAG-REEF. A fourth or lower reef of fore-and-aft sails, often used in the royal navy.—Bag-reef of top-sails, first reef (of five in American navy); a short reef, usually taken in to prevent a large sail from bagging when on a wind.

BAGREL. A minnow or baggie.

BAGUIO. A rare but dreadfully violent wind among the Philippine Isles.

BAHAR. A commercial weight of a quarter of a ton in the Molucca Islands.

BAIDAR. A swift open canoe of the Arctic tribes and Kurile Isles, used in pursuing otters and even whales; a slender frame from 18 to 25 feet long, covered with hides. They are impelled by six or twelve paddles. (See Kayak.)

BAIKIE. A northern name for the Larus marinus, or black-backed gull.

BAIKY. The ballium, or inclosed plot of ground in an ancient fort.

BAIL. A surety. The cargo of a captured or detained vessel is not allowed to be taken on bail before adjudication without mutual consent. It was also a northern term for a beacon or signal.

BAIL-BOND. The obligation entered into by sureties. Also when a person appears as proxy for the master of a vessel, or, on obtaining letters of marque, he makes himself personally responsible. In prize matters, however, the bail-bond is not a mere personal security given to the individual captors, but an assurance to abide by the adjudication of the court.

BAIL'D. This phrase "I'll be bail'd" is considered as an equivalent to "I'll be bound;" but it is probably an old enunciation for "I'll be poisoned," or "I'll be tormented," if what I utter is not true.

BAILO. A Levantine term for consul.

BAILS, or Bailes. The hoops which bear up the tilt of a boat.

BAIOCCO. An Italian copper coin, about equal to our halfpenny. Also a generic term for copper money or small coin.

BAIRLINN. A Gaelic term for a high rolling billow.

BAIT. The natural or artificial charge of a hook, to allure fish.

BAITLAND. An old word, formerly used to signify a port where refreshments could be procured.[70]

BALÆNA. The zoological name for the right whale.

BALANCE. One of the simple mechanical powers, used in determining the weights and masses of different bodies. Also, one of the twelve signs of the zodiac, called Libra. Balance-wheel of a chronometer—see Chronometer.

BALANCE, To. To contract a sail into a narrower compass;—this is peculiar to the mizen of a ship, and to the main-sail of those vessels wherein it is extended by a boom. The operation of balancing the mizen is performed by lowering the yard or gaff a little, then rolling up a small portion of the sail at the peak or upper corner, and lashing it about one-fifth down towards the mast. A boom main-sail is balanced by rolling up a portion of the clew, or lower aftermost corner, and fastening it strongly to the boom.—N.B. It is requisite in both cases to wrap a piece of old canvas round the sail, under the lashing, to prevent its being fretted by the latter.

BALANCE-FISH. The hammer-headed shark (which see).

BALANCE-FRAMES. Those frames or bends of timber, of an equal capacity or area, which are equally distant from the ship's centre of gravity.

BALANCE OF TRADE. A computation of the value of all commodities which we import or export, showing the difference in amount.

BALANCE-REEF. A reef-band that crosses a sail from the outer head-earing to the tack diagonally, making it nearly triangular, and is used to contract it in very blowing weather. (2) A balance reef-band is generally placed in all gaff-sails; the band runs from the throat to the clew, so that it may be reefed either way—by lacing the foot or lower half; or by lacing the gaff drooped to the band: the latter is only done in the worst weather.—This is a point on which seamen may select—but the old plan, as first given, affords more power; (2) is applicable to the severest weather.

BALANCING-POINT. A familiar term for centre of gravity. (See Gravity.)

BALANDRA. A Spanish pleasure-boat. A lighter, a species of schooner.

BALANUS. The acorn-shell. A sessile cirriped.

BALCAR. See Balkar.

BALCONY. The projecting open galleries of old line-of-battle ships' sterns, now disused. They were convenient and ornamental in hot climates, but were afterwards inclosed within sash windows.

BALDRICK. A leathern girdle or sword-belt. Also the zodiac.

BALE. A pack. This word appears in the statute Richard II. c. 3, and is still in common use.

BALE, To. To lade water out of a ship or vessel with buckets (which[71] were of old called bayles), cans, or the like, when the pumps are ineffective or choked.

BALEEN. The scientific term for the whalebone of commerce, derived from balæna, a whale. It consists of a series of long horny plates growing from each side of the palate in place of teeth.

BALE GOODS. Merchandise packed in large bundles, not in cases or casks.

BALENOT. A porpoise or small whale which frequents the river St. Lawrence.

BALESTILHA. The cross-staff of the early Portuguese navigators.

BALINGER, or Balangha. A kind of small sloop or barge; small vessels of war formerly without forecastles. The name was also given by some of the early voyagers to a large trading-boat of the Philippines and Moluccas.

BALISTES. A fish with mailed skin. File-fish.

BALIZAS. Land and sea marks on Portuguese coasts.

BALK. Straight young trees after they are felled and squared; a beam or timber used for temporary purposes, and under 8 inches square. Balks, of timber of any squared size, as mahogany, intended for planks, or, when very large, for booms or rafts.

BALKAR. A man placed on an eminence, like the ancient Olpis, to watch the movements of shoals of fish. In our early statutes he is called balcor.

BALL. In a general sense, implies a spherical and round body, whether naturally so or formed into that figure by art. In a military view it comprehends all sorts of bullets for fire-arms, from the cannon to the pistol: also those pyrotechnic projectiles for guns or mortars, whether intended to destroy, or only to give light, smoke, or stench.

BALLAHOU. A sharp-floored fast-sailing schooner, with taunt fore-and-aft sails, and no top-sails, common in Bermuda and the West Indies. The fore-mast of the ballahou rakes forward, the main-mast aft.

BALL-AND-SOCKET. A clever adaptation to give astronomical or surveying instruments full play and motion every way by a brass ball fitted into a spherical cell, and usually carried by an endless screw.

BALLARAG, To. To abuse or bully. Thus Warton of the French king—

"You surely thought to ballarag us
With your fine squadron off Cape Lagos."
BALLAST. A certain portion of stone, pig-iron, gravel, water, or such like materials, deposited in a ship's hold when she either has no cargo or too little to bring her sufficiently low in the water. It is used to counter-balance the effect of the wind upon the masts, and give the ship a proper stability, that she may be enabled to carry sail without[72] danger of overturning. The art of ballasting consists in placing the centre of gravity, so as neither to be too high nor too low, too far forward nor too far aft, and that the surface of the water may nearly rise to the extreme breadth amidships, and thus the ship will be enabled to carry a good sail, incline but little, and ply well to windward. A want of true knowledge in this department has led to putting too great a weight in ships' bottoms, which impedes their sailing and endangers their masts by excessive rolling, the consequence of bringing the centre of gravity too low. It should be trimmed with due regard to the capacity, gravity, and flooring, and to the nature of whatever is to be deposited thereon. (See Trim.)

BALLAST. As a verb, signifies to steady;—as a substantive, a comprehensive mind. A man is said to "lose his ballast" when his judgment fails him, or he becomes top-heavy from conceit.

BALLASTAGE. An old right of the Admiralty in all our royal rivers, of levying a rate for supplying ships with ballast.

BALLAST-BASKET. Usually made of osier, for the transport and measure of shingle-ballast. Supplied to the gunner for transport of loose ammunition.

BALLAST-LIGHTER A large flat-floored barge, for heaving up and carrying ballast.

BALLAST-MARK. The horizontal line described by the surface of the water on the body of a ship, when she is immersed with her usual weight of ballast on board.

BALLAST-MASTER. A person appointed to see the port-regulations in respect to ballast carried out.

BALLAST-PORTS. Square holes cut in the sides of merchantmen for taking in ballast. But should be securely barred and caulked in before proceeding to sea.

BALLAST-SHIFTING. When by heavy rolling the ballast shifts in the hold.

BALLAST-SHINGLE. Composed of coarse gravel.

BALLAST-SHOOTING. (See Shoots.) In England, and indeed in most frequented ports, the throwing of ballast overboard is strictly prohibited and subject to fine.

BALLAST-SHOVEL. A peculiar square and spoon-pointed iron shovel.

BALLAST-TRIM. When a vessel has only ballast on board.

BALLATOON. A sort of long heavy luggage-vessel of upwards of a hundred tons, employed on the river between Moscow and the Caspian Sea.

BALL-CARTRIDGE. For small arms.

BALL-CLAY. Adhesive strong bottom, brought up by the flukes of the anchors in massy lumps.[73]

BALLISTA. An ancient military engine, like an enormous cross-bow, for throwing stones, darts, and javelins against the enemy with rapidity and violence. Also, the name of the geometrical cross called Jacob's staff.

BALLISTER. A cross-bow man.

BALLISTIC PENDULUM. An instrument for determining the velocity of projectiles. The original pendulum was of very massive construction, the arc through which it receded when impinged on by the projectile, taking into account their respective weights, afforded, with considerable calculation, a measure of the velocity of impact. Latterly the electro-ballistic pendulum, which by means of electric currents is made to register with very great accuracy the time occupied by the projectile in passing over a measured space, has superseded it, as being more accurate, less cumbrous, and less laborious in its accompanying calculations.

BALLIUM. A plot of ground in ancient fortifications: called also baiky.

BALLOCH. Gaelic for the discharge of a river into a lake.

BALLOEN. A Siamese decorated state-galley, imitating a sea-monster, with from seventy to a hundred oars of a side.

BALL-OFF, To. To twist rope-yarns into balls, with a running end in the heart for making spun-yarn.

BALLOON-FISH (Tetraodon). A plectognathous fish, covered with spines, which has the power of inflating its body till it becomes almost globular.

BALLOW. Deep water inside a shoal or bar.

BALL-STELL. The geometrical instrument named della stella.

BALLY. A Teutonic word for inclosure, now prefixed to many sea-ports in Ireland, as Bally-castle, Bally-haven, Bally-shannon, and Bally-water.

BALSA, or Balza. A South American tree, very porous, which grows to an immense height in a few years, and is almost as light as cork. Hence the balsa-wood is used for the surf-boat called balsa. (See Jangada.)

BALTHEUS ORIONIS. The three bright stars constituting Orion's Belt.

BALUSTERS. The ornamental pillars or pilasters of the balcony or galleries in the sterns of ships, dividing the ward-room deck from the one above.

BAMBA. A commercial shell of value on the Gold Coast of Africa and below it.

BAMBO. An East Indian measure of five English pints.

BAMBOO (Bambusa arundinacea). A magnificent articulated cane, which holds a conspicuous rank in the tropics from its rapid growth and almost universal properties:—the succulent buds are eaten fresh[74] and the young stems make excellent preserves. The large stems are useful in agricultural and domestic implements; also in building both houses and ships; in making baskets, cages, hats, and furniture, besides sails, paper, and in various departments of the Indian materia medica.

BAMBOOZLE, To. To decoy the enemy by hoisting false colours.

BANANA (Musa paradisiaca). A valuable species of plantain, the fruit of which is much used in tropical climates, both fresh and made into bread. Gerarde named it Adam's apple from a notion that it was the forbidden fruit of Eden; whilst others supposed it to be the grapes brought out of the Promised Land by the spies of Moses. The spikes of fruit often weigh forty pounds.

BANCO [Sp.] Seat for rowers.

BAND. The musicians of a band are called idlers in large ships. Also a small body of armed men or retainers, as the band of gentlemen pensioners; also an iron hoop round a gun-carriage, mast, &c.; also a slip of canvas stitched across a sail, to strengthen the parts most liable to pressure.—Reef-bands, rope-bands or robands; rudder-bands (which see).

BANDAGE. A fillet or swathe, of the utmost importance in surgery. Also, formerly, parcelling to ropes.

BANDALEERS, or Bandoleers. A wide leathern belt for the carriage of small cases of wood, covered with leather, each containing a charge for a fire-lock; in use before the modern cartouche-boxes were introduced.

BANDECOOT. A large species of fierce rat in India, which infests the drains, &c.

BANDED-DRUM. See Grunter.

BANDED-MAIL. A kind of armour which consisted of alternate rows of leather or cotton and single chain-mail.

BANDEROLD, or Banderole. A small streamer or banner, usually fixed on a pike: from banderola, Sp. diminutive of bandera, the flag or ensign.

BAND-FISH, or Ribbon-fishes. A popular name of the Gymnetrus genus.

BANDLE. An Irish measure of two feet in length.

BANG. A mixture of opium, hemp-leaves, and tobacco, of an intoxicating quality, chewed and smoked by the Malays and other people in the East, who, being mostly prohibited the use of wine, double upon Mahomet by indulging in other intoxicating matter, as if the manner of doing it cleared off the crime of drunkenness. This horrid stuff gives the maddening excitement which makes a Malay run amok (which see).—To bang is colloquially used to express excelling or beating rivals. (See Suffolk Bang.)

BANGE. Light fine rain.[75]

BANGLES. The hoops of a spar. Also, the rings on the wrists and ankles of Oriental people, chiefly used by females.

BANIAN. A sailor's coloured frock-shirt.

BANIAN or BANYAN DAYS. Those in which no flesh-meat is issued to the messes. It is obvious that they are a remnant of the maigre days of the Roman Catholics, who deem it a mortal sin to eat flesh on certain days. Stock-fish used to be served out, till it was found to promote scurvy. The term is derived from a religious sect in the East, who, believing in metempsychosis, eat of no creature endued with life.

BANIAN-TREE. Ficus indica of India and Polynesia. The tendrils from high branches extend 60 to 80 feet, take root on reaching the ground, and form a cover over some acres. Religious rites from which women are excluded are there performed.

BANJO. The brass frame in which the screw-propeller of a steamer works, and is hung for hoisting the screw on deck. This frame fits between slides fixed on the inner and outer stern-posts; resting in large carriages firmly secured thereto. The banjo is essential to lifting the screw.—Also, the rude instrument used in negro concerts.

BANK. The right or left boundary of a river, in looking from its source towards the sea, and the immediate margin or border of a lake. Also, a thwart, banco, or bench, for the rowers in a galley. Also, a rising ground in the sea, differing from a shoal, because not rocky but composed of sand, mud, or gravel. Also, mural elevations constructed of clay, stones, or any materials at hand, to prevent inundations.

BANK, To. Also, an old word meaning to sail along the margins or banks of river-ports: thus Shakspeare in "King John" makes Lewis the Dauphin demand—

"Have I not heard these islanders shout out
Vive le Roy! as I have bank'd their towns?"
BANKA. A canoe of the Philippines, consisting of a single piece.

BANKER. A vessel employed in the deep-sea cod-fishery on the great banks of Newfoundland. Also, a man who works on the sides of a canal, or on an embankment; a navvy.

BANK-FIRES. In steamers, taking advantage of a breeze by allowing the fires to burn down low, and then pulling them down to a side of the bridge of the fire-place, and there covering them up with ashes taken from the ash-pit, at the same time nearly closing the dampers in the funnel and ash-pit doors. This, with attention on the part of the engineers, will maintain the water hot, and a slight pressure of steam in the boilers. When fuel is added and draught induced the fires are said to be "drawn forward," and steam is speedily generated.

BANK-HARBOUR. That which is protected from the violence of the sea by banks of mud, gravel, sand, shingle, or silt.[76]

BANK-HOOK. A large fish-hook laid baited in running water, attached by a line to the bank.

BANKING. A general term applied to fishing on the great bank of Newfoundland.

BANK OF OARS [banco, Sp.] A seat or bench for rowers in the happily all but extinct galley: these are properly called the athwarts, but thwarts by seamen. The common galleys have 25 banks on each side, with one oar to each bank, and four men to each oar. The galeasses have 32 banks on a side, and 6 or 7 rowers to each bank. (See Double-banked, when two men pull separate oars on the same thwart.)

BANKSAL, or Banksaul, and in Calcutta spelled bankshall. A shop, office, or other place, for transacting business. Also, a square inclosure at the pearl-fishery. Also, a beach store-house wherein ships deposit their rigging and furniture while undergoing repair. Also, where small commercial courts and arbitrations are held.

BANN. A proclamation made in the army by beat of drum, sound of trumpet, &c., requiring the strict observance of discipline, either for the declaring of a new officer, the punishing an offender, or the like.

BANNAG. A northern name for a white trout, a sea-trout.

BANNAK-FLUKE. A name of the turbot, as distinguished from the halibut.

BANNER. A small square flag edged with fringe.

BANNERER. The bearer of a banner.

BANNERET. A knight made on the field of battle.

BANNEROL. A little banner or streamer.

BANNOCK. A name given to a certain hard ship-biscuit.

BANQUETTE. In fortification, a small terrace, properly of earth, on the inside of the parapet, of such height that the defenders standing on it may conveniently fire over the top.

BANSTICKLE. A diminutive fish, called also the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

BAPTISM. A ceremony practised on passengers on their first passing the equinoctial line: a riotous and ludicrous custom, which from the violence of its ducking, shaving, and other practical jokes, is becoming annually less in vogue. It is esteemed a usurpation of privilege to baptize on crossing the tropics.

BAR, of a port or harbour. An accumulated shoal or bank of sand, shingle, gravel, or other uliginous substances, thrown up by the sea to the mouth of a river or harbour, so as to endanger, and sometimes totally prevent, the navigation into it.—Bars of rivers are some shifting and some permanent. The position of the bar of any river may commonly be guessed by attending to the form of the shores at the embouchure. The shore on which the deposition of sediment is going[77] on will be flat, whilst the opposite one is steep. It is along the side of the latter that the deepest channel of the river lies; and in the line of this channel, but without the points that form the mouth of the river, will be the bar. If both the shores are of the same nature, which seldom happens, the bar will lie opposite the middle of the channel. Rivers in general have what may be deemed a bar, in respect of the depth of the channel within, although it may not rise high enough to impede the navigation—for the increased deposition that takes place when the current slackens, through the want of declivity, and of shores to retain it, must necessarily form a bank. Bars of small rivers may be deepened by means of stockades to confine the river current, and prolong it beyond the natural points of the river's mouth. They operate to remove the place of deposition further out, and into deeper water. Bars, however, act as breakwaters in most instances, and consequently secure smooth water within them. The deposit in all curvilinear or serpentine rivers will always be found at the point opposite to the curve into which the ebb strikes and rebounds, deepening the hollow and depositing on the tongue. Therefore if it be deemed advisable to change the position of a bar, it may be in some cases aided by works projected on the last curve sea-ward. By such means a parallel canal may be forced which will admit vessels under the cover of the bar.—Bar, a boom formed of huge trees, or spars lashed together, moored transversely across a port, to prevent entrance or egress.—Bar, the short bits of bar-iron, about half a pound each, used as the medium of traffic on the Negro coast.—Bar-harbour, one which, from a bar at its entrance, cannot admit ships of great burden, or can only do so at high-water.—Capstan-bars, large thick bars put into the holes of the drumhead of the capstan, by which it is turned round, they working as horizontal radial levers.—Hatch-bars, flat iron bars to lock over the hatches for security from theft, &c.—Port-bar, a piece of wood or iron variously fitted to secure a gun-port when shut.—Bar-shallow, a term sometimes applied to a portion of a bar with less water on it than on other parts of the bar.—Bar-shot, two half balls joined together by a bar of iron, for cutting and destroying spars and rigging. When whole balls are thus fitted they are more properly double-headed shot.—To bar. To secure the lower-deck ports, as above.

BARACOOTA. A tropical fish (Sphyræna baracuda), considered in the West Indies to be dangerously poisonous at times, nevertheless eaten, and deemed the sea-salmon.

BARBACAN. In fortification, an outer defence.

BARBADOES-TAR. A mineral fluid bitumen resembling petroleum, of nauseous taste and offensive smell.[78]

BARBALOT. The barbel. Also, a puffin.

BARB-BOLTS. Those which have their points jagged or barbed to make them hold securely, where those commonly in use cannot be clinched. The same as rag-bolt. Those of copper used for the false keel.

BARBECUE. A tropical custom of dressing a pig whole.

BARBEL (Barbus vulgaris). An English river-fish of the carp family, distinguished by the four appendant beards, whence its name is derived. It is between 2 and 3 feet in length, and coarse. Also, barbel is a small piece of armour which protects part of the bassenet.

BARBER. A rating on the ships' books for one who shaves the people, for which he receives the pay of an ordinary seaman. In meteorology, barber is a singular vapour rising in streams from the sea surface,—owing probably to exhalations being condensed into a visible form, on entering a cold atmosphere. It is well known on the shores of Nova Scotia. Also, the condensed breath in frosty weather on beard or moustaches in Arctic travelling.

BARBETTE. A mode of mounting guns to fire over the parapet, so as to have free range, instead of through embrasures.

BARCA-LONGA. A large Spanish undecked coasting-vessel, navigated with pole-masts, i.e. single-masts, without any top-mast or upper part; and high square sails, called lug-sails. Propelled with sweeps as well. The name is also applied to Spanish gunboats by our seamen.

BARCES. Short guns with a large bore formerly used in ships.

BARCHETTA. A small bark for transporting water, provisions, &c.

BARCONE. A short Mediterranean lighter.

BAREKA. A small barrel: spelled also barika (Sp. baréca). Hence the nautical name breaker for a small cask or keg.

BARE-POLES. The condition of a ship having no sails set when out at sea, and either scudding or lying-to by stress of weather. (See Under Bare Poles.)

BARE-ROOM. An old phrase for bore-down.

BARGE. A boat of a long, slight, and spacious construction, generally carvel-built, double-banked, for the use of admirals and captains of ships of war.—Barge, in boat attacks, is next in strength to the launch. It is likewise a vessel or boat of state, furnished and equipped in the most sumptuous style;—and of this sort we may naturally suppose to have been the famous barge or galley of Cleopatra, which, according to the beautiful description of Shakspeare—

"Like a burnished throne
Burnt on the water: the poop was beaten gold,
Purple her sails; and so perfumed, that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver.[79]
Which to the tune of flutes kept time, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster
As amorous of their strokes."
The barges of the lord-mayor, civic companies, &c., and the coal-barges of the Thames are varieties. Also, an early man-of-war, of about 100 tons. Also, an east-country vessel of peculiar construction. Also, a flat-bottomed vessel of burden, used on rivers for conveying goods from one place to another, and loading and unloading ships: it has various names, as a Ware barge, a west-country barge, a sand barge, a row-barge, a Severn trough, a light horseman, &c. They are usually fitted with a large sprit-sail to a mast, which, working upon a hinge, is easily struck for passing under bridges. Also, the bread-barge or tray or basket, for containing biscuit at meals.

BARGEES. The crews of canal-boats and barges.

BARGE-MATE. The officer who steers when a high personage is to visit the ship.

BARGE-MEN. The crew of the barge, who are usually picked men. Also, the large maggots with black heads that infest biscuit.

BARGET. An old term for a small barge.

BARILLA. An alkali procured by burning Salsola kali and other sea-shore plants. It forms a profitable article of Mediterranean commerce. (See Kelp.)

BARK. The exterior covering of vegetable bodies, many of which are useful in making paper, cordage, cloth, dyes, and medicines.

BARK, or Barque [from barca, Low Latin]. A general name given to small ships, square-sterned, without head-rails; it is, however, peculiarly appropriated by seamen to a three-masted vessel with only fore-and-aft sails on her mizen-mast.—Bark-rigged. Rigged as a bark, with no square sails on the mizen-mast.

BARKANTINE, or Barquantine. A name applied on the great lakes of North America to a vessel square-rigged on the fore-mast, and fore-and-aft rigged on the main and mizen masts. They are not three-masted schooners, as they have a regular brigantine's fore-mast. They are long in proportion to their other dimensions, to suit the navigation of the canals which connect some of these lakes.

BARKERS. An old term for lower-deck guns and pistols.

BARKEY. A sailor's term for the pet ship to which he belongs.

BARKING-IRONS. Large duelling pistols.

BARLING. An old term for the lamprey.—Barling-spars, fit for any smaller masts or yards.

BARNACLE (Lepas anatifera). A species of shell-fish, often found sticking by its pedicle to the bottom of ships, doing no other injury than deadening the way a little:[80]

"Barnacles, termed soland geese
In th' islands of the Orcades."—Hudibras.
They were formerly supposed to produce the barnacle-goose! (vide old cyclopedias): the poet, however, was too good a naturalist to believe this, but here, as in many other places, he means to banter some of the papers which were published by the first establishers of the Royal Society. The shell is compressed and multivalve. The tentacula are long and pectinated like a feather, whence arose the fable of their becoming geese. They belong to the order of Cirripeds.

BARNAGH. The Manx or Gaelic term for a limpet.

BAROMETER. A glass tube of 36 inches in length, filled with the open end upwards with refined mercury—thus boiled and suddenly inverted into a cistern, which is furnished with a leathern bag, on which the atmosphere, acting by its varying weight, presses the fluid metal up to corresponding heights in the tube, easily read off by an external scale attached thereto. By attentive observations on this simple prophet, practised seamen are enabled to foretell many approaching changes of wind or weather, and thus by shortening sail in time, save hull, spars, and lives. This instrument also affords the means of accurately determining the heights or depressions of mountains and valleys. This is the mercurial barometer; another, the aneroid barometer, invented by Monsr. Vidi, measures approximately, but not with the permanence of the mercurial. It is constructed to measure the weight of a column of air or pressure of the atmosphere, by pressure on a very delicate metallic box hermetically sealed. It is more sensible to passing changes, but not so reliable as the mercurial barometer. 29·60 is taken as the mean pressure in England; as it rises or falls below this mark, fine weather or strong winds may be looked for:—30·60 is very high, and 29·00 very low. The barometer is affected by the direction of the wind, thus N.N.E. is the highest, and S.S.W. the lowest—therefore these matters govern the decision of men of science, who are not led astray by the change of reading alone. The seaman pilot notes the heavens; the direction of the wind—and the pressure due to that direction—not forgetting sudden changes of temperature. Attention is due to the surface, whether convex or concave.

BARQUE. The same as bark (which see).

BARR. A peremptory exception to a proposition.

BARRA-BOATS. Vessels of the Western Isles of Scotland, carrying ten or twelve men. They are extremely sharp fore and aft, having no floor, but with sides rising straight from the keel, so that a transverse section resembles the letter V. They are swift and safe, for in[81] proportion as they heel to a breeze their bearings are increased, while from their lightness they are as buoyant as Norway skiffs.

BARRACAN. A strong undiapered camblet, used for garments in the Levant and in Barbary; anciently it formed the Roman toga.

BARRACK-MASTER. The officer placed in charge of a barrack.

BARRACKS. Originally mere log-huts, but of late extensive houses built for the accommodation and quartering of troops. Also, the portion of the lower deck where the marines mess. Also, little cabins made by Spanish fishermen on the sea-shore, called barracas, whence our name.

BARRACK SMACK. A corruption of Berwick smack; a word applied to small Scotch traders. The masters were nicknamed barrack-masters.

BARRATRY. Any fraudulent act of the master or mariners committed to the prejudice of the ship's owners or underwriters, whether by fraudulently losing the vessel, deserting her, selling her, or committing any other embezzlement. The diverting a ship from her right course, with evil intent, is barratry.

BARRED KILLIFISH. A small fish from two to four inches in length, which frequents salt-water creeks, floats, and the vicinity of wharves.

BARREL. A cylindrical vessel for holding both liquid and dry goods. Also, a commercial measure of 311⁄2 gallons.

BARREL of a Capstan. The cylinder between the whelps and the paul rim, constituting the main-piece.

BARREL of a Pump. The wooden tube which forms the body of the engine.

BARREL of Small Arms. The tube through which the bullets are discharged. In artillery the term belongs to the construction of certain guns, and signifies the inner tube, as distinguished from the breech piece, trunnion-piece, and hoops or outer coils, the other essential parts of "built-up guns" (which see).

BARREL of the Wheel. The cylinder round which the tiller-ropes are wound.

BARREL-BUILDER. The old rating for a cooper.

BARREL-BULK. A measure of capacity for freight in a ship, equal to five cubic feet: so that eight barrel-bulk are equal to one ton measurement.

BARREL-SCREW. A powerful machine, consisting of two large poppets, or male screws, moved by levers in their heads, upon a bank of plank, with a female screw at each end. It is of great use in starting a launch.

BARRICADE. A strong wooden rail, supported by stanchions extending[82] as a fence across the foremost part of the quarter-deck, on the top of which some of the seamen's hammocks are usually stowed in time of battle. In a vessel of war the vacant spaces between the stanchions are commonly filled with rope-mats, cork, or pieces of old cable; and the upper part, which contains a double rope-netting above the sail, is stuffed with full hammocks to intercept small shot in the time of battle. Also, a temporary fortification or fence made with abatis, palisades, or any obstacles, to bar the approach of an enemy by a given avenue.

BARRIER of Ice. Ice stretching from the land-ice to the sea or main ice, or across a channel, so as to render it impassable.

BARRIER REEFS. Coral reefs that either extend in straight lines in front of the shores of a continent or large island, or encircle smaller isles, in both cases being separated from the land by a channel of water. Barrier reefs in New South Wales, the Bermudas, Laccadives, Maldives, &c.

BARRIERS. A martial exercise of men armed with short swords, within certain railings which separated them from the spectators. It has long been discontinued in England.

BARROW. A hillock, a tumulus.

BARSE. The common river-perch.

BARTIZAN. The overhanging turrets on a battlement.

BARUTH. An Indian measure, with a corresponding weight of 31⁄2 lbs. avoirdupois.

BASE. The breech of a gun. Also, the lowest part of the perimeter of a geometrical figure. When applied to a delta it is that edge of it which is washed by the sea, or recipient of the deltic branches. Also, the lowest part of a mountain or chain of mountains. Also, the level line on which any work stands, as the foot of a pillar. Also, an old boat-gun; a wall-piece on the musketoon principle, carrying a five-ounce ball.

BASE-LINE. In strategy, the line joining the various points of a base of operations. In surveying, the base on which the triangulation is founded.

BASE OF OPERATIONS. In strategy, one or a series of strategic points at which are established the magazines and means of supply necessary for an army in the field.

BASE-RING. In guns of cast-metal, the flat moulding round the breech at that part where the longitudinal surface ends and the vertical termination or cascable begins. The length of the gun is reckoned from the after-edge of the base-ring to the face of the muzzle: but in built-up guns, there being generally no base-ring moulded, and the breech assuming various forms, the length is measured from[83] the after-extreme of the breech, exclusive of any button or other adjunct.

BASHAW. A Turkish title of honour and command; more properly pacha.

BASIL. The angle to which the edge of shipwrights' cutting tools is ground away.

BASILICON. An ointment composed of wax, resin, pitch, black resin, and olive oil. Yellow basilicon, of olive oil, yellow resin, Burgundy pitch, and turpentine.

BASILICUS. A name of Regulus or the Lion's Heart, α Leonis; a star of the first magnitude.

BASILISK. An old name for a long 48-pounder, the gun next in size to the carthoun: called basilisk from the snakes or dragons sculptured in the place of dolphins. According to Sir William Monson its random range was 3000 paces. Also, in still earlier times, a gun throwing an iron ball of 200 lbs. weight.

BASILLARD. An old term for a poniard.

BASIN. A wet-dock provided with flood-gates for restraining the water, in which shipping may be kept afloat in all times of tide. Also, all those sheltered spaces of water which are nearly surrounded with slopes from which waters are received; these receptacles have a circular shape and narrow entrance. Geographically basins may be divided, as upper, lower, lacustrine, fluvial, Mediterranean, &c.

BASIS. See Base.

BASKET. In field-works, baskets or corbeilles are used, to be filled with earth, and placed by one another, to cover the men from the enemy's shot.

BASKET-FISH. A name for several species of Euryale; a kind of star-fish, the arms of which divide and subdivide many times, and curl up and intertwine at the ends, giving the whole animal something of the appearance of a round basket.

BASKET-HILT. The guard continued up the hilt of a cutlass, so as to protect the whole hand from injury.

BASKING SHARK. So called from being often seen lying still in the sunshine. A large cartilaginous fish, the Squalus maximus of Linnæus, inhabiting the Northern Ocean. It attains a length of 30 feet, but is neither fierce nor voracious. Its liver yields from eight to twelve barrels of oil.

BASS, or Bast. A soft sedge or rush (Juncus lævis), of which coarse kinds of rope and matting are made. A Gaelic term for the blade of an oar.

BASSE. A species of perch (Perca labrax), found on the coast and in estuaries, commonly about 18 inches long.[84]

BASSOS. A name in old charts for shoals; whence bas-fond and basso-fondo. Rocks a-wash, or below water.

BAST. Lime-tree, linden (Tilia europea). Bast is made also from the bark of various other trees, macerated in water till the fibrous layers separate. In the Pacific Isles it is very fine and strong, from Hibiscus tiliaceus.

BASTA. A word in former use for enough, from the Italian.

BASTARD. A term applied to all pieces of ordnance which are of unusual or irregular proportions: the government bastard-cannon had a 7-inch bore, and sent a 40-lb. shot. Also, a fair-weather square sail in some Mediterranean craft, and occasionally used for an awning.

BASTARD-MACKEREL, or Horse-Mackerel. The Caranx trachurus, a dry, coarse, and unwholesome fish, of the family Scombridæ, very common in the Mediterranean.

BASTARD-PITCH. A mixture of colophony, black pitch, and tar. They are boiled down together, and put into barrels of pine-wood, forming, when the ingredients are mixed in equal portions, a substance of a very liquid consistence, called in France bray gras. If a thicker consistence is desired, a greater proportion of colophony is added, and it is cast in moulds. It is then called bastard-pitch.

BASTE, To. To beat in punition. A mode of sewing in sail-making.

BASTILE. A temporary wooden tower, used formerly in naval and military warfare.

BASTIONS. Projecting portions of a rampart, so disposed that the bottom of the escarp of each part of the whole rampart may be defended from the parapet of some other part. Their form and dimensions are influenced by many considerations, especially by the effect and range of fire-arms; but it is essential to them to have two faces and two flanks; the former having an average length, according to present systems, of 130 yards, the latter of 40 yards.

BASTON, or Baton. A club used of old by authority. (See Batoon.)

BASTONADO. Beating a criminal with sticks [from bastone, a cudgel]. A punishment common among Jews, Greeks, and Romans, and still practised in the Levant, China, and Russia.

BAT, or Sea-bat. An Anglo-Saxon term for boat or vessel. Also a broad-bodied thoracic fish, with a small head, and distinguished by its large triangular dorsal and anal fins, which exceed the length of the body. It is the Chætodon vespertilio of naturalists.

BAT AND FORAGE. A regulated allowance in money and forage to officers in the field.

BATARDATES. Square-stemmed row-galleys.

BATARDEAU. In fortification, a dam of masonry crossing the ditch: its top is constructed of such a form as to afford no passage along it.[85]

BATARDELLES. Galleys less strong than the capitana, and placed on each side of her.

BATEAU. A flat-bottomed, sharp-ended clumsy boat, used on the rivers and lakes of Canada; some of them are large. Also a peculiar army pontoon.

BATED. A plump, full-roed fish is said to be bated.

BATELLA. A small plying-boat.

BATH. (See Washing-place.) An order of knighthood instituted in 1339, revived in 1725, and enlarged as a national reward of naval and military merit in January, 1815. Henry IV. gave this name, because the forty-six esquires on whom he conferred this honour at his coronation had watched all the previous night, and then bathed as typical of their pure virtue. The order was supposed to belong to men who distinguished themselves by valour as regards the navy, but it is now deemed an inferior representation of court favour.

BATILLAGE. An old term for boat-hire.

BATMAN. A Turkish weight of 6 okes, or about 18 lbs. English. There is also a smaller batman in Turkey, of about 4 lbs. 10 ozs. English. In Persia there are also two batmans—the larger equal to 12 lbs. English, and the other is of about half that weight. Also, a soldier assigned to a mounted officer as groom.

BATOON, Baston, or Baton. A staff, truncheon, or badge of military honour for field-marshals. A term in heraldry. Also, batoons of St. Paul, the fossil spines of echini, found in Malta and elsewhere.

BAT-SWAIN. An Anglo-Saxon expression for boatswain.

BATTA. Extra allowance of pay granted to troops in India, varying somewhat with the nature of the service they are employed upon, and their distance from the capital of the presidency.

BATTALIA. The order of battle.

BATTALION. A force of soldiers, complete in staff and officers, of such strength as will allow of its manœuvres on the field of battle being intimately regulated by one superior officer. The term is now proper to infantry only, and represents from 500 to 1000 men. It is the ordinary unit made use of in estimating the infantry strength of an army.

BATTARD. An early cannon of small size.

BATTELOE. A lateen-rigged vessel of India.

BATTENING THE HATCHES. Securing the tarpaulins over them. (See Battens of the Hatches.)

BATTENS. In general, scantlings of wood from 1 inch to 3 inches broad. Long slips of fir used for setting fair the sheer lines of a ship, or drawing the lines by in the moulding loft, and setting off distances.

BATTENS for Hammocks. See Hammock-battens.[86]

BATTENS of the Hatches. Long narrow laths, or straightened hoops of casks, serving by the help of nailing to confine the edges of the tarpaulins, and keep them close down to the sides of the hatchways, in bad weather. Also, thin strips of wood put upon rigging, to keep it from chafing, by those who dislike mats: when large these are designated Scotchmen.

BATTERING GUNS. Properly guns whose weight and power fit them for demolishing by direct force the works of the enemy; hence all heavy, as distinguished from field or light, guns come under the term. (See Siege-artillery and Garrison Guns.)


BATTERING TRAIN. The train of heavy ordnance necessary for a siege, which, since the copious introduction of vertical and other shell fire, is more correctly rendered by the term siege-train (which see).

BATTERY. A place whereon cannon, mortars, &c., are or may be mounted for action. It generally has a parapet for the protection of the gunners, and other defences and conveniences according to its importance and objects. (See also Floating Battery.) Also, a company of artillery. In field-artillery it includes men, guns (usually six in the British service), horses, carriages, &c., complete for service.

BATTLE. An engagement between two fleets, or even single ships, usually called a sea-fight or engagement. The conflict between the forces of two contending armies.

BATTLE LANTERNS (American). See Fighting-lanterns.

BATTLEMENTS. The vertical notches or openings made in the parapet walls of old castles and fortified buildings, to serve for embrasures to the bowmen, arquebusiers, &c., of former days.

BATTLE-ROYAL. A term derived from cock-fighting, but generally applied to a noisy confused row.

BATTLE THE WATCH, To. To shift as well as we can; to contend with a difficulty. To depend on one's own exertions.

BATTLING-STONE. A large stone with a smooth surface by the side of a stream, on which washers beat their linen.

BATTS. A north-country term for flat grounds adjoining islands in rivers, sometimes used for the islands themselves.

BAT-WARD. An old term for a boat-keeper.

BAUN. See Bore.

BAVIER. The beaver of a helmet.

BAVIN. Brushwood bound up with only one withe: a faggot is tied with two. It is often spelled baven, but Shakspeare has

"Rash bavin wits,
Soon kindled and soon burned."
[87]This underwood is sometimes procurable by ships where none other can be got. Bavin in war applies to fascines.

BAW-BURD. An old expression of larboard.

BAWDRICK. Corrupted from baldrick. A girdle or sword-belt.

BAWE. A species of worm, formerly used as a bait for fishing.

BAWGIE. One of the names given to the great black and white gull (Larus marinus) in the Shetlands.

BAWKIE. A northern term for the auk, or razor-bill.

BAXIOS. [Sp.] Rocks or sand-banks covered with water. Scopuli.

BAY. The fore-part of a ship between decks, before the bitts (see Sick-bay). Foremost messing-places between decks in ships of war.

BAY. An inlet of the sea formed by the curvature of the land between two capes or headlands, often used synonymously with gulf; though, in strict accuracy, the term should be applied only to those large recesses which are wider from cape to cape than they are deep. Exposed to sea-winds, a bay is mostly insecure. A bay is distinguished from a bend, as that a vessel may not be able to fetch out on either tack, and is embayed. A bay has proportionably a wider entrance than either a gulf or haven; a creek has usually a small inlet, and is always much less than a bay.

BAY. Laurel; hence crowned with bays.

BAYAMOS. Violent blasts of wind blowing from the land, on the south side of Cuba, and especially from the Bight of Bayamo, by which some of our cruisers have been damaged. They are accompanied by vivid lightning, and generally terminate in rain.

BAY-GULF. A branch of the sea, of which the entrance is the widest part, as contradistinguished from the strait-gulf. The Bay of Biscay is a well-known example of the semicircular gulf.

BAY-ICE. Ice newly formed on the surface of the sea, and having the colour of the water; it is then in the first stage of consolidation. The epithet is, however, also applied to ice a foot or two in thickness in bays.

BAYLE. An old term for bucket.

BAYONET [Sp. bayoneta]. A pike-dagger to fit on the muzzle of a musket, so as not to interfere with its firing.

BAZAR, or Bazaar. A market or market-place. An oriental term.

BAZARAS. A large flat-bottomed pleasure-boat of the Ganges, moved with both sails and oars.

BEACH. A littoral margin, or line of coast along the sea-shore, composed of sand, gravel, shingle, broken   shells, or a mixture of them all: any gently sloping part of the coast alternately dry and covered by the tide. The same as strand.[88]

BEACH, To. Sudden landing—to run a boat on the shore, to land a person with intent to desert him—an old buccaneer custom. To land a boat on a beach before a dangerous sea, this demands practical skill, for which the Dover and Deal men are famed.

BEACH-COMBERS. Loiterers around a bay or harbour.

BEACH-COMBING. Loafing about a port to filch small things.

BEACH-FLEA. A small crustacean (Talitra) frequenting sandy shores.

BEACH-GRASS. Alga marina thrown up by the surf or tide.

BEACHING A VESSEL. See under Voluntary Stranding. Also, the act of running a vessel up on the beach for various purposes where there is no other accommodation.

BEACH-MAN. A person on the coast of Africa who acts as interpreter to shipmasters, and assists them in conducting the trade.

BEACH-MASTER. A superior officer, captain, appointed to superintend disembarkation of an attacking force, who holds plenary powers, and generally leads the storming party. His acts when in the heat of action, if he summarily shoot a coward, are unquestioned—poor Falconer, to wit!

BEACH-MEN. A name applied to boatmen and those who land people through a heavy surf.

BEACH-RANGERS. Men hanging about sea-ports, who have been turned out of vessels for bad conduct.

BEACH-TRAMPERS. A name applied to the coast-guard.

BEACON. [Anglo-Saxon, béacn.] A post or stake erected over a shoal or sand-bank, as a warning to seamen to keep at a distance; also a signal-mark placed on the top of hills, eminences, or buildings near the shore for the safe guidance of shipping.

BEACONAGE. A payment levied for the maintenance of beacons.

BEAFT. Often used by east-country men for abaft.

BEAK, or Beak-head. A piece of brass like a beak, fixed at the head of the ancient galleys, with which they pierced their enemies. Pisæus is said to have first added the rostrum or beak-head. Later it was a small platform at the fore part of the upper deck, but the term is now applied to that part without the ship before the forecastle, or knee of the head, which is fastened to the stem and is supported by the main knee. Latterly, to meet steam propulsion, the whole of this is enlarged, strengthened, and armed with iron plates, and thus the armed stem revives the ancient strategy in sea-fights. Shakspeare makes Ariel thus allude to the beak in the "Tempest:"—

"I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flam'd amazement."
[89]BEAKER. A flat drinking tumbler or cup, from the German becher. (See Bicker.)

BEAK-HEAD BEAM. For this important timber see Cat-beam.

BEAK-HEAD BULK-HEAD. The old termination aft of the space called beak-head, which inclosed the fore part of the ship.

BEAL. A word of Gaelic derivation for an opening or narrow pass between two hills.

BEAM. A long double stratum of murky clouds generally observed over the surface of the Mediterranean previous to a violent storm or an earthquake. The French call it trave.

BEAM. (See Abeam.)—Before the beam is an arc of the horizon, comprehended between a line that crosses the ship's length at right angles and some object at a distance before it; or between the line of the beam and that point of the compass which she stems. On the weather or lee beam is in a direction to windward or leeward at right angles with the keel.

BEAM-ARM. Synonymous with crow-foot (which see).

BEAM-ENDS. A ship is said to be on her beam-ends when she has heeled over so much on one side that her beams approach to a vertical position; hence also a person lying down is metaphorically said to be on his beam-ends.

BEAM-FILLINGS. Short lengths of wood cut to fit in between the beams to complete the cargo of a timber ship.

BEAM-LINE. A line raised along the inside of the ship fore and aft, showing the upper sides of the beams at her side.

BEAM OF THE ANCHOR. Synonymous with anchor-stock.

BEAMS. Strong transverse pieces of timber stretching across the ship from one side to the other, to support the decks and retain the sides at their proper distance, with which they are firmly connected by means of strong knees, and sometimes of standards. They are sustained at each end by thick stringers on the ship's side, called shelf-pieces, upon which they rest. The main-beam is next abaft the main-mast, which is stepped between two beams with transverse supports termed partners; the foremost of these is generally termed the main-beam, or the after-beam of the main-hatchway. The greatest beam of all is called the midship-beam.

BEAN-COD. A small fishing-vessel, or pilot-boat, common on the sea-coasts and in the rivers of Spain and Portugal; extremely sharp forward, having its stem bent inward above in a considerable curve; it is commonly navigated with a large lateen sail, which extends the whole length of the deck, and sometimes of an out-rigger over the stern, and is accordingly well fitted to ply to windward. They frequently set as many as twenty different sails, alow and aloft, by[90] every possible contrivance, so as to puzzle seamen who are not familiar with the rig.

BEAR. A large block of stone, matted, loaded with shot, and fitted with ropes, by which it is roused or pulled to and fro to grind the decks withal. Also, a coir-mat filled with sand similarly used.

BEAR, The constellations of the. Ursa Major and Minor, most important to seamen, as instantly indicating by the pointers and pole-star the true north at night, much more correctly than any compass bearing.

BEAR, To. The direction of an object from the viewer; it is used in the following different phrases: The land's end bore E.N.E.; i.e. it was seen from the ship in a line with the E.N.E. point of the compass. We bore down upon the enemy; i.e. having the advantage of the wind, or being to windward, we approached the enemy by sailing large, or from the wind. When a ship that was to windward comes under another ship's stern, and so gives her the wind, she is said to bear under the lee; often as a mark of respect. She bears in with the land, is said of a ship when she runs towards the shore. We bore off the land; i.e. we increased our distance from the land.—To bear down upon a ship, is to approach her from the windward.—To bear ordnance, to carry her guns well.—To bear sail, stiff under canvas.—To bear up, to put the helm up, and keep a vessel off her course, letting her recede from the wind and move to leeward; this is synonymous with to bear away, but is applied to the ship instead of the helm.—Bear up, one who has duly served for a commission, but from want of interest bears up broken-hearted and accepts an inferior warrant, or quits the profession, seeking some less important vocation; some middies have borne up and yet become bishops, lord-chancellors, judges, surgeons, &c.—To bear up round, is to put a ship right before the wind.—To bring a cannon to bear, signifies that it now lies right with the mark.—To bear off from, and in with the land, signifies standing off or going towards the coast.

BEAR A BOB, or A FIST. Jocular for "lend a hand."

BEAR A HAND. Hasten.

BEARD. The silky filaments or byssus by which some testacea adhere to rocks. Of an oyster, the gills.

BEARDIE. A northern name of the three-spined stickleback.

BEARDING. The angular fore-part of the rudder, in juxtaposition with the stern-post. Also, the corresponding bevel of the stern-post. Also, the bevelling of any piece of timber or plank to any required angle: as the bearding of dead wood, clamps, &c.

BEARDING-LINE. In ship-building, is a curved line made by bearding the dead-wood to the shape of the ship's body.[91]

BEARERS. Pieces of plank placed on the bolts which are driven through the standards or posts for the carpenters' stages to rest upon.

BEARING. An arc of the horizon intercepted between the nearest meridian and any distant object, either discovered by the eye and referred to a point on the compass, or resulting from finical proportion. There is the true or astronomical bearing, and the magnetic bearing. It is also the situation of any distant object, estimated with regard to the ship's position; and in this sense the object must bear either ahead, astern, abreast, on the bow, or on the quarter; if a ship sails with a side wind, a distant object is said to bear to leeward or to windward, on the lee quarter or bow, or on the weather quarter or bow.

BEARING BACKSTAYS AFT. To throw the breast backstays out of the cross-tree horns or out-riggers and bear them aft. If not done, when suddenly bracing up, the cross-tree horn is frequently sprung or broken off.

BEARING BINNACLE. A small binnacle with a single compass, usually placed before the other. In line-of-battle ships it is generally placed on the fife-rail in the centre and foremost part of the poop.

BEARINGS. The widest part of a vessel below the plank-shear. The line of flotation which is formed by the water upon her sides when she sits upright with her provisions, stores, and ballast, on board in proper trim.

BEARINGS, To bring to his. Used in conversation for "to bring to reason." To bring an unruly subject to his senses, to know he is under control, to reduce to order.

BEAT. The verb means to excel, surpass, or overcome.

"And then their ships could only follow,
For we had beat them all dead hollow."
BEATEN BACK. Returning into port from stress of foul weather.

BEATING, or Turning to Windward. The operation of making progress by alternate tacks at sea against the wind, in a zig-zag line, or transverse courses; beating, however, is generally understood to be turning to windward in a storm or fresh wind.

BEATING THE BOOBY. The beating of the hands from side to side in cold weather to create artificial warmth.

BEATING WIND. That which requires the ship to make her way by tacks; a baffling or contrary wind.

BEATSTER. One who beats or mends the Yarmouth herring-nets.

BEAT TO ARMS. The signal by drum to summon the men to their quarters.

BEAT TO QUARTERS. The order for the drummer to summon every one to his respective station.[92]

BEAVER. A helmet in general, but particularly that part which lets down to allow of the wearer's drinking.

BECALM, To. To intercept the current of the wind in its passage to a ship, by means of any contiguous object, as a high shore, some other ship to windward, &c. At this time the sails remain in a sort of rest, and consequently deprived of their power to govern the motion of the ship. Thus one sail becalms another.

BECALMED. Implies that from the weather being calm, and not a breath of wind blowing, the sails hang loose against the mast.

BECHE DE MER. See Trepang.

BECK [the Anglo-Saxon becca]. A small mountain-brook or rivulet, common to all northern dialects. A Gaelic or Manx term for a thwart or bench in the boat.

BECKET. A piece of rope placed so as to confine a spar or another rope; anything used to keep loose ropes, tackles, or spars in a convenient place; hence, beckets are either large hooks or short pieces of rope with a knot at one end and an eye in the other; or formed like a circular wreath for handles; as with cutlass hilts, boarding pikes, tomahawks, &c.; or they are wooden brackets, and probably from a corruption and misapplication of this last term arose the word becket, which seems often to be confounded with bracket. Also, a grummet either of rope or iron, fixed to the bottom of a block, for making fast the standing end of the fall.

BECKET, The Tacks and Sheets in the. The order to hang up the weather-main and fore-sheet, and the lee-main and fore-tack, to the small knot and eye becket on the foremost-main and fore-shrouds, when the ship is close hauled, to prevent them from hanging in the water. A kind of large cleat seized on a vessel's fore or main rigging for the sheets and tacks to lie in when not required. Cant term for pockets—"Hands out of beckets, sir."

BED. Flat thick pieces of wood, lodged under the quarters of casks containing any liquid, and stowed in a ship's hold, in order to keep them bilge-free; being steadied upon the beds by means of wedges called quoins. The impression made by a ship's bottom on the mud on having been left by an ebb-tide. The bite made in the ground by the fluke of an anchor. A kind of false deck, or platform, placed on those decks where the guns were too low for the ports.—Bed of a gun-carriage, or stool-bed. The piece of wood between the cheeks or brackets which, with the intervention of the quoin, supports the breech of the gun. It is itself supported, forward, on the bed-bolt, and aft, generally with the intervention of an elevating-screw, on the rear axle-tree.

BED or BARREL SCREWS. A powerful machine for lifting large[93] bodies, and placed against the gripe of a ship to be launched for starting her.

BED-BOLT. A horizontal bolt passing through both brackets of a gun-carriage near their centres, and on which the forward end of the stool-bed rests.

BEDDING A CASK. Placing dunnage round it.

BEDLAMERS. Young Labrador seals, which set up a dismal cry when they cannot escape their pursuers—and go madly after each other in the sea.

BED OF A MORTAR. The solid frame on which a mortar is mounted for firing. For sea-service it is generally made of wood; for land-service, of iron, except in the smaller natures. In mortar vessels as latterly fitted, the bed traverses on a central pivot over a large table or platform of wood, having under it massive india-rubber buffers, to moderate the jar from the discharge.—Bed of a river, that part of the channel of a stream over which the water generally flows, as also that part of the basin of a sea or lake on which the water lies.

BED-OF-GUNS. A nautical phrase implying ordnance too heavy for a ship's scantling, or a fort over-gunned.

BE-DUNDERED. Stupified with noise.

BEE. A ring or hoop of metal.—Bees of the bowsprit. (See Bee-blocks.)

BEE-BLOCKS. Pieces of hard wood bolted to the outer end of the bowsprit, to reeve the fore-topmast stays through, the bolt, serving as a pin, commonly called bees.

BEEF. A figurative term for strength.—More beef! more men on.

BEEF-KID. A mess utensil for carrying meat from the coppers.

BEETLE. A shipwright's heavy mallet for driving the wedges called reeming irons, so as to open the seams in order to caulk. (See Reeming.)

BEETLE-HEAD. A large beetle, weighing 1000 lbs., swayed up by a crabwinch to a height, and dropped by a pincer-shaped hook; it is used in pile-driving.

BEFORE or ABAFT THE BEAM. The bearing of any object which is before or abaft a right line to the keel, at the midship section of a ship.

BEFORE THE MAST. The station of the working seamen, as distinguishing them from the officers.

BEGGAR-BOLTS. A contemptuous term for the missiles which were thrown by the galley-slaves at an approaching enemy.

BEHAVIOUR. The action and qualities of a ship under different impulses. Seamen speak of the manner in which she behaves, as if she acted by her own instinct.

BEIKAT. See Bykat.

BEILED. A sea-term in the old law-books, apparently for moored.[94]

BEING. See Bing.

BELAY, To. To fasten a rope when it has been sufficiently hauled upon, by twining it several times round a cleat, belaying pin, or kevel, without hitching or seizing; this is chiefly applied to the running rigging, which needs to be so secured that it may be quickly let go in case of a squall or change of wind; there being several other expressions used for securing large ropes, as bitting, making fast, stoppering, &c.—Belay there, stop! that is enough!—Belay that yarn, we have had enough of it. Stand fast, secure all, when a hawser has been sufficiently hauled. When the top-sails, or other sails have been hoisted taut up, or "belay the main-tack," &c.

BELAYING PINS. Small wooden or iron cylinders, fixed in racks in different parts of the ship, for belaying running ropes to.

BELEAGUER. To invest or closely surround an enemy's post, in such manner as to prevent all relief or communication.

BELFRY. An ornamental frame or shelter, under which the ship's bell is suspended.

BELL. Strike the bell. The order to strike the clapper against the bell as many times as there are half hours of the watch elapsed; hence we say it is two bells, three bells, &c., meaning there are two or three half-hours past. The watch of four hours is eight bells.

BELLA STELLA. A name used by old seamen for the cross-staff.

BELLATRIX. γ Orionis.

BELL-BUOY. A large can-buoy on which is placed, in wicker-work, a bell, which is sounded by the heaving and setting of the sea.

BELLIGERENT. An epithet applied to any country which is in a state of warfare.

BELLOWS. An old hand at the bellows. A colloquialism for a man up to his duty. "A fresh hand at the bellows" is said when a gale increases.

BELL-ROPE. A short rope spliced round a thimble in the eye of the bell-crank, with a double wall-knot crowned at its end.

BELLS. See Watch.

BELL-TOP. A name applied to the top of a quarter-gallery, when the upper stool is hollowed away, or made like a rim.

BELL-WARE. A name of the Zostera marina (which see).

BELLY. The swell of a sail. The inner or hollow part of compass timber; the outside is called the back. To belly a sail is to inflate or fill it with the wind, so as to give a taut leech.—Bellying canvas is generally applied to a vessel going free, as when the belly and foot reefs which will not stand on a wind, are shaken out.—Bellying to the breeze, the sails filling or being inflated by the wind.—Bellying to leeward, when too much sail is injudiciously carried.[95]

BELLY-BAND. A strip of canvas, half way between the close-reef and the foot of square sails, to strengthen them. Also applied to an army officer's sash.

BELLY-GUY. A tackle applied half-way up sheers, or long spars that require support in the middle. Frequently applied to masts that have been crippled by injudiciously setting up the rigging too taut.

BELLY-MAT. See Paunch-mat.

BELLY-STAY. Used half-mast down when a mast requires support; as belly-guy, above.

BELOW. The opposite of on or 'pon deck. Generally used to distinguish the watch on deck, and those off the watch.

BELT. A metaphorical term in geography for long and proportionally narrow encircling strips of land having any particular feature; as a belt of sand, a belt of hills, &c. It is, in use, nearly synonymous with zone. Also, to beat with a colt or rope's end.

BELTING. A beating; formerly given by a belt.

BELTS. The dusky streaks crossing the surface of the planet Jupiter, and supposed to be openings in his atmosphere.

BENCHES OF BOATS. The seats in the after-part whereon the passengers sit; properly stern-sheets, the others are athwarts, whereon the rowers sit.

BEND, To. To fasten one rope to another, or to an anchor. The term is also applied to any sudden or remarkable change in the direction of a river, and is then synonymous with bight or loop.—Bend a sail is to extend or make it fast to its proper yard or stay. (See Granny's Bend.) Also, bend to your oars, throw them well forward.

BEND. The chock of the bowsprit.

BENDER. A contrivance to bend small cross-bows, formerly used in the navy. Also, "look out for a bender," or "strike out for a bend," applied to coiling the hempen cables.

BENDING ROPES, is to join them together with a bowline knot, and then make their own ends fast upon themselves; not so secure as splicing, but sooner done, and readiest, when it is designed to take them asunder again. There are several bends, as Carrick-bend, hawser-bend, sheet-bend, bowline-bend, &c.

BENDING THE CABLE. The operation of clinching, or tying the cable to the ring of its anchor. The term is still used for shackling chain-cables to their anchors.

BEND-MOULD. A mould made to form the futtocks in the square body, assisted by the rising-square and floor-hollow.

BEND ON THE TACK. In hoisting signals, that piece of rope called the distant line—which keeps the flags so far asunder that they are not confused. Also, in setting free sails, the studding-sail tack, [96]&c.

BEND-ROLL. A rest formerly used for a heavy musket.

BENDS. The thickest and strongest planks on the outward part of a ship's side, between the plank-streaks on which men set their feet in climbing up. They are more properly called wales, or wails. They are reckoned from the water, and are distinguished by the titles of first, second, or third bend. They are the chief strength of a ship's sides, and have the beams, knees, and foot-hooks bolted to them. Bends are also the frames or ribs that form the ship's body from the keel to the top of the side, individualized by each particular station. That at the broadest part of the ship is denominated the midship-bend or dead-flat.

BE-NEAPED. The situation of a vessel when she is aground at the height of spring-tides. (See Neaped.)

BENGAL LIGHT. See Blue Light.

BENJY. A low-crowned straw-hat, with a very broad brim.

BENK. A north-country term for a low bank, or ledge of rock; probably the origin of bunk, or sleeping-places in merchant vessels. (See Bunk.)

BENN. A small kind of salmon; the earliest in the Solway Frith.

BENT. The trivial name of the Arundo arenaria, or coarse unprofitable grass growing on the sea-shore.

BENTINCK-BOOM. That which stretches the foot of the fore-sail in many small square-rigged merchantmen; particularly used in whalers among the ice, with a reefed fore-sail to see clearly ahead. The tack and sheet are thus dispensed with, a spar with tackle amidships brings the leeches taut on a wind. It is principally worked by its bowline.

BENTINCKS. Triangular courses, so named after Captain Bentinck, by whom they were invented, but which have since been superseded by storm staysails. They are still used by the Americans as trysails.

BENTINCK-SHROUDS. Formerly used; extending from the weather-futtock staves to the opposite lee-channels.

BENT ON A SPLICE. Going to be married.

BERG. A word adopted from the German, and applied to the features of land distinguished as steppes, banquettes, shelves, terraces, and parallel roads. (See Iceberg.)

BERGLE. A northern name for the wrasse.

BERM. In fortification, a narrow space of level ground, averaging about a foot and a half in width, generally left between the foot of the exterior slope of the parapet and the top of the escarp; in permanent fortification its principal purpose is to retain the earth of the parapet, which, when the latter is deformed by fire or by weather, would otherwise fall into the ditch; in field fortification it also serves to protect the escarp from the pressure of a too imminent parapet.[97]


BERMUDA SQUALL. A sudden and strong wintry tempest experienced in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Bermudas; it is preceded by heavy clouds, thunder, and lightning. It belongs to the Gulf Stream, and is felt, throughout its course, up to the banks of Newfoundland.

BERMUDIANS. Three-masted schooners, built at Bermuda during the war of 1814; they went through the waves without rising to them, and consequently were too ticklish for northern stations.

BERNAK. The barnacle goose (Anser bernicla).

BERSIS. A species of cannon formerly much used at sea.

BERTH. The station in which a ship rides at anchor, either alone, or in a fleet; as, she lies in a good berth, i.e. in good anchoring ground, well sheltered from the wind and sea, and at a proper distance from the shore and other vessels.—Snug berth, a place, situation, or establishment. A sleeping berth.—To berth a vessel, is to fix upon, and put her into the place she is to occupy.—To berth a ship's company, to allot to each man the space in which his hammock is to be hung, giving the customary 14 inches in width.—To give a berth, to keep clear of, as to give a point of land a wide berth, is to keep at a due distance from it.

BERTH. The room or apartment where any number of the officers, or ship's company, mess and reside; in a ship of war there is commonly one of these between every two guns as the mess-places of the crew.

BERTH AND SPACE. In ship-building, the distance from the moulding edge of one timber to the moulding edge of the next timber. Same as room and space, or timber and space.

BERTH-DECK. The 'tween decks.

BERTHER. He who assigns places for the respective hammocks to hang in.

BERTHING. The rising or working up of the planks of a ship's sides; as berthing up a bulk-head, or bringing up in general. Berthing also denotes the planking outside, above the sheer-strake, and is called the berthing of the quarter-deck, of the poop, or of the forecastle, as the case may be.

BERTHING of the head. See Head-boards.

BERVIE. A haddock split and half-dried.

BERWICK SMACK. The old and well-found packets of former days, until superseded by steamers. (See Barrack Smack.)

BESET in ice. Surrounded with ice, and no opening for advance or retreat, so as to be obliged to remain immovable.

BESIEGE, To. To endeavour to gain possession of a fortified place defended by an enemy, by directing against it a connected series of offensive military operations.[98]

BESSY-LORCH. A northern name of the Gobio fluviatilis or gudgeon.

BEST BOWER. See Bower-anchors.

BETELGUESE. The lucida of Orion, α Orionis, and a standard Greenwich star of the first magnitude.

BETHEL. See Floating Bethel.


BETWEEN DECKS. The space contained between any two whole decks of a ship.

BETWIXT WIND AND WATER. About the line of load immersion of the ship's hull; or that part of the vessel which is at the surface of the water.

BEVEL. An instrument by which bevelling angles are taken. Also a sloped surface.

BEVELLING. Any alteration from a square in hewing timber, as taken by the bevel, bevelling rule, or bevelling boards.—A standing bevelling is that made without, or outside a square; an under-bevelling within; and the angle is optionally acute or obtuse. In ship-building, it is the art of hewing a timber with a proper and regular curve, according to a mould which is laid on one side of its surface.

BEVELLING-BOARD. A piece of board on which the bevellings or angles of the timbers are described.

BEVERAGE. A West India drink, made of sugar-cane juice and water.

BEWPAR. The old name for buntin, still used in navy office documents.

BEWTER. A northern name for the black-wak, or bittern.

BEZANT. An early gold coin, so called from having been first coined at Byzantium.

BIBBS. Pieces of timber bolted to the hounds of a mast, to support the trestle-trees.

BIBLE. A hand-axe. Also, a squared piece of freestone to grind the deck with sand in cleaning it; a small holy-stone, so called from seamen using them kneeling.

BIBLE-PRESS. A hand rolling-board for cartridges, rocket, and port-fire cases.

BICKER, or Beaker. A flat bowl or basin for containing liquors, formerly made of wood, but in later times of other substances. Thus Butler:

"And into pikes, and musqueteers,
Stamp beakers, cups, and porringers."
BID-HOOK. A small kind of boat-hook.

BIEL-BRIEF. The bottomry contract in Denmark, Sweden, and the north of Germany.

BIERLING. An old name for a small galley.

BIFURCATE. A river is said to bifurcate, or to form a fork, when it[99] divides into two distinct branches, as at the heads of deltas and in fluvial basins.

BIGHT. A substantive made from the preterperfect tense of bend. The space lying between two promontories or headlands, being wider and smaller than a gulf, but larger than a bay. It is also used generally for any coast-bend or indentation, and is mostly held as a synonym of shallow bay.

BIGHT. The loop of a rope when it is folded, in contradistinction to the end; as, her anchor hooked the bight of our cable, i.e. caught any part of it between the ends. The bight of his cable has swept our anchor, i.e. the bight of the cable of another ship as she ranged about has entangled itself about the flukes of our anchor. Any part of the chord or curvature of a rope between the ends may be called a bight.

BIG-WIGS. A cant term for the higher officers.

BILANCELLA. A destructive mode of fishing in the Mediterranean, by means of two vessels towing a large net stretched between them.

BILANCIIS DEFERENDIS. A writ directed to a corporation, for the carrying of weights to such a haven, there to weigh the wool that persons, by our ancient laws, were licensed to transport.

BILANDER. A small merchant vessel with two masts, particularly distinguished from other vessels with two masts by the form of her main-sail, which is bent to the whole length of her yard, hanging fore and aft, and inclined to the horizon at an angle of about 45°. Few vessels are now rigged in this manner, and the name is rather indiscriminately used.

BILBO. An old term for a flexible kind of cutlass, from Bilbao, where the best Spanish sword-blades were made. Shakspeare humorously describes Falstaff in the buck-basket, like a good bilbo, coiled hilt to point.

BILBOES. Long bars or bolts, on which iron shackles slid, with a padlock at the end; used to confine the legs of prisoners in a manner similar to the punishment of the stocks. The offender was condemned to irons, more or less ponderous according to the nature of the offence of which he was guilty. Several of them are yet to be seen in the Tower of London, taken in the Spanish Armada. Shakspeare mentions Hamlet thinking of a kind of fighting,

"That would not let me sleep: methought, I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes."
BILCOCK. The northern name for the water-rail.

BILGE, or Bulge. That part of the floor in a ship—on either side of the keel—which approaches nearer to a horizontal than to a perpendicular direction, and begins to round upwards. It is where the floors and second futtocks unite, and upon which the ship would rest[100] if laid on the ground; hence, when a ship receives a fracture in this part, she is said to be bilged or bulged.—Bilge is also the largest circumference of a cask, or that which extends round by the bung-hole.

BILGE-BLOCKS. See Sliding Bilge-blocks.

BILGE-COADS. In launching a ship, same with sliding-planks.

BILGE-FEVER. The illness occasioned by a foul hold.

BILGE-FREE. A cask so stowed as to rest entirely on its beds, keeping the lower part of the bilge at least the thickness of the hand clear of the bottom of the ship, or other place on which it is stowed.

BILGE-KEELS. Used for vessels of very light draught and flattish bottoms, to make them hold a better wind, also to support them upright when grounded. The Warrior and other iron-clads are fitted with bilge-keels.

BILGE-KEELSONS. These are fitted inside of the bilge, to afford strength where iron, ores, and other heavy cargo are shipped. Otherwise they are the same as sister-keelsons.

BILGE-PIECES. Synonymous with bilge-keels.

BILGE-PLANKS. Certain thick strengthenings on the inner and outer lines of the bilge, to secure the shiftings as well as bilge-keels.

BILGE-PUMP. A small pump used for carrying off the water which may lodge about the lee-bilge, so as not to be under the action of the main pumps. In a steamer it is worked by a single link off one of the levers.

BILGE-TREES. Another name for bilge-coads.

BILGE-WATER. The rain or sea-water which occasionally enters a vessel, and running down to her floor, remains in the bilge of the ship till pumped out, by reason of her flat bottom, which prevents it from going to the well of the pump; it is always (especially if the ship does not leak) of a dirty colour and disgusting penetrating smell. It seems to have been a sad nuisance in early voyages; and in the earliest sea-ballad known (temp. Hen. VI.) it is thus grumbled at:—

"A sak of strawe were there ryght good,
For som must lyg theym in theyr hood,
I had as lefe be in the wood
W'out mete or drynk.
For when that we shall go to bedde,
The pumpe was nygh our bedde's hedde;
A man were as good to be dede
As smell thereof ye stynk."
The mixture of tar-water and the drainings of sugar cargo is about the worst perfume known.

BILL. A weapon or implement of war, a pike or halbert of the English infantry. It was formerly carried by sentinels, whence Shakspeare humorously made Dogberry tell the sleepy watchmen to have a care[101] that their bills be not stolen. Also, the point or tapered extremity of the fluke at the arm of an anchor. Also a point of land, of which a familiar instance may be cited in the Bill of Portland.

BILLAT. A name on the coast of Yorkshire for the piltock or coal-fish, when it is a year old.

BILL-BOARDS. Doubling under the fore-channels to the water-line, to protect the planking from the bill of the anchor.

BILLET. The allowance to landlords for quartering men in the royal service; the lodging-money charged by consuls for the same.

BILLET-HEAD. A carved prow bending in and out, contrariwise to the fiddle-head (scroll-head). Also, a round piece of wood fixed in the bow or stern of a whale-boat, about which the line is veered when the whale is struck. Synonymous with bollard.

BILLET-WOOD. Small wood mostly used for dunnage in stowing ships' cargoes, also for fuel, usually sold by the fathom; it is 3 feet 4 inches long, and 71⁄2 inches in compass.

BILL-FISH. See Gar-fish.

BILL-HOOK. A species of hatchet used in wooding a ship, similar to that used by hedgers.

BILL OF EXCHANGE. A means of remitting money from one country to another. The receiver must present it for acceptance to the parties on whom it is drawn without loss of time, he may then claim the money after the date specified on the bill has elapsed.

BILL OF FREEDOM. A full pass for a neutral in time of war.

BILL OF HEALTH. A certificate properly authenticated by the consul, or other proper authority at any port, that the ship comes from a place where no contagious disorder prevails, and that none of the crew, at the time of her departure, were infected with any such distemper. Such constitutes a clean bill of health, in contradistinction to a foul bill.

BILL OF LADING. A memorandum by which the master of a ship acknowledges the receipt of the goods specified therein, and promises to deliver them, in like good condition, to the consignee, or his order. It differs from a charter-party insomuch as it is given only for a single article or more, laden amongst the sundries of a ship's cargo.

BILL OF SALE. A written document by which the property of a vessel, or shares thereof, are transferred to a purchaser.

BILL OF SIGHT, or of View. A warrant for a custom-house officer to examine goods which had been shipped for foreign parts, but not sold there.

BILL OF STORE. A kind of license, or custom-house permission, for re-importing unsold goods from foreign ports duty free, within a specified limit of time.[102]

BILLOWS. The surges of the sea, or waves raised by the wind; a term more in use among poets than seamen.

BILLS. The ends of compass or knee timber.

BILLY BOY or BOAT. A Humber or east-coast boat, of river-barge build, and a trysail; a bluff-bowed north-country trader, or large one-masted vessel of burden.

BINARY SYSTEM. When two stars forming a double-star are found to revolve about each other.

BIND. A quantity of eels, containing 10 sticks of 25 each.

BINDINGS. In ship-building, a general name for the beams, knees, clamps, water-ways, transoms, and other connecting parts of a ship or vessel.

BINDING-STRAKES. Thick planks on the decks, in midships, between the hatchways. Also the principal strakes of plank in a vessel, especially the sheer-strake and wales, which are bolted to the knees and shelf-pieces.

BING. A heap; an old north-country word for the sea-shore, and sometimes spelled being.

BINGE, To. To rinse, or bull, a cask.

BINGID. An old term for locker.

BINK. See Benk.

BINN. A sort of large locker, with a lid on the top, for containing a vessel's stores: bread-binn, sail-binn, flour-binn, &c.

BINNACLE (formerly Bittacle). It appears evidently to be derived from the French term habittacle, a small habitation, which is now used for the same purpose by the seamen of that nation. The binnacle is a wooden case or box, which contains the compass, and a light to illuminate the compass at night; there are usually three binnacles on the deck of a ship-of-war, two near the helm being designed for the man who steers, weather and lee, and the other amidships, 10 or 12 feet before these, where the quarter-master, who conns the ship, stands when steering, or going with a free wind. (See Conn.)

BINNACLE-LIGHT. The lamp throwing light upon the compass-card.

BINOCLE. A small binocular or two-eyed telescope.

BIOR-LINN. Perhaps the oldest of our terms for boat. (See Birlin.)

BIRD-BOLT. A species of arrow, short and thick, used to kill birds without piercing their skins.

BIRD'S-FOOT SEA-STAR. The Palmipes membranaceus, one of the Asterinidæ, with a flat thin pentagonal body, of a bright scarlet colour.

BIRD'S NEST. A round top at a mast-head for a look-out station. A smaller crow's nest. Chiefly used in whalers, where a constant look-out is kept for whales. (See Edible Bird's Nest.)

BIREMIS. In Roman antiquity, a vessel with two rows of oars.[103]

BIRLIN. A sort of small vessel or galley-boat of the Hebrides; it is fitted with four to eight long oars, but is seldom furnished with sails.

BIRT. A kind of turbot.

BIRTH-MARKS. A ship must not be loaded above her birth-marks, for, says a maritime proverb, a master must know the capacity of his vessel, as well as a rider the strength of his horse.

BISCUIT [i.e. bis coctus, or Fr. bis-cuit]. Bread intended for naval or military expeditions is now simply flour well kneaded, with the least possible quantity of water, into flat cakes, and slowly baked. Pliny calls it panis nauticus; and of the panis militaris, he says that it was heavier by one-third than the grain from which it was made.

BISHOP. A name of the great northern diver (Colymbus glacialis).

BISMER. A name of the stickleback (Gasterosteus spinachia).

BIT. A West Indian silver coin, varying from 4d. to 6d. In America it is 121⁄2 cents, and in the Spanish settlements is equal with the real, or one-eighth of a dollar. It was, in fact, Spanish money cut into bits, and known as "cut-money."

BITE. Is said of the anchor when it holds fast in the ground on reaching it. Also, the hold which the short end of a lever has upon the thing to be lifted. Also, to bite off the top of small-arm cartridges.

BITTER. Any turn of a cable about the bitts is called a bitter. Hence a ship is "brought up to a bitter" when the cable is allowed to run out to that stop.

BITTER-BUMP. A north-country name for the bittern.

BITTER-END. That part of the cable which is abaft the bitts, and therefore within board when the ship rides at anchor. They say, "Bend to the bitter-end" when they would have that end bent to the anchor, and when a chain or rope is paid out to the bitter-end, no more remains to be let go. The bitter-end is the clinching end—sometimes that end is bent to the anchor, because it has never been used, and is more trustworthy. The first 40 fathoms of a cable of 115 fathoms is generally worn out when the inner end is comparatively new.

BITT-HEADS. The upright pieces of oak-timber let in and bolted to the beams of two decks at least, and to which the cross-pieces are let on and bolted. (See Bitts.)

BITT-PINS. Similar to belaying-pins, but larger. Used to prevent the cable from slipping off the cross-piece of the bitts, also to confine the cable and messenger there, in heaving in the cable.

BITTS. A frame composed of two strong pieces of straight oak timber, fixed upright in the fore-part of a ship, and bolted securely to the beams, whereon to fasten the cables as she rides at anchor; in ships[104] of war there are usually two pairs of cable-bitts, and when they are both used at once the cable is said to be double-bitted. Since the introduction of chain-cables, bitts are coated with iron, and vary in their shapes. There are several other smaller bitts; as, the topsail-sheet bitts, paul-bitts, carrick-bitts, windlass-bitts, winch-bitts, jear-bitts, riding-bitts, gallows-bitts, and fore-brace bitts.

BITT-STOPPER. One rove through the knee of the bitts, which nips the cable on the bight: it consists of four or five fathoms of rope tailed out nipper fashion at one end, and clench-knotted at the other. The old bitt-stopper, by its running loop on a standing end, bound the cable down in a bight abaft the bitts—the tail twisted round the fore part helped to draw it still closer. It is now disused—chain cables having superseded hemp.

BITT THE CABLE, To. To put it round the bitts, in order to fasten it, or slacken it out gradually, which last is called veering away.

BIVOUAC. The resting for the night in the open-air by an armed party, instead of encamping.

BIZE. A piercing cold wind from the frozen summits of the Pyrénées.

BLACKAMOOR. A thoroughly black negro.

BLACK-BIRD CATCHING. The slave-trade.

BLACK-BIRDS. A slang term on the coast of Africa for a cargo of slaves.

BLACK-BOOK of the Admiralty. An imaginary record of offences. Also, a document of great authority in naval law, as it contains the ancient admiralty statutes and ordinances.

BLACK-FISH. A common name applied by sailors to many different species of cetaceans. The animal so called in the south seas belongs to the genus Globiocephalus. It is from 15 to 20 feet long, and occurs in countless shoals.

BLACK-FISHER. A water-poacher: one who kills salmon in close-time.

BLACK-FISHING. The illegally taking of salmon, under night, by means of torches and spears with barbed prongs.

BLACK-HEAD. The pewitt-gull (Larus ridibundus).

BLACK-HOLE. A place of solitary confinement for soldiers, and tried in some large ships.

BLACK-INDIES. Newcastle, Sunderland, and Shields.

BLACKING. For the ship's bends and yards. A good mixture is made of coal-tar, vegetable-tar, and salt-water, boiled together, and laid on hot.

BLACKING DOWN. The tarring and blacking of rigging; or the operation of blacking the ship's sides with tar or mineral blacking.

BLACK-JACK. The ensign of a pirate. Also, a capacious tin can for[105] beer, which was formerly made of waxed leather. In 1630 Taylor wrote—

"Nor or of blacke-jacks at gentle buttry-bars,
Whose liquor oftentimes breeds household wars."
BLACK-LIST. A record of misdemeanours impolitically kept by some officers for their private use—the very essence of private tyranny, now forbidden.

BLACK-LOCK. A trout thought to be peculiar to Lough Melvin, on the west of Ireland.

BLACK SHIPS. The name by which the English builders designate those constructed of teak in India.

BLACK SOUTH-EASTER. The well-known violent wind at the Cape of Good Hope, in which the vapoury clouds called the Devil's Table-cloth appear on Table Mountain.

BLACK SQUALL. This squall, although generally ascribed to the West Indies, as well as the white squall, may be principally ascribed to a peculiar heated state of the atmosphere near land. As blackey, when interrogated about weather, generally observes, "Massa, look to leeward," it may be easily understood that it is the condensed air repelled by a colder medium to leeward, and driven back with condensed electricity and danger. So it is sudden to Johnny Newcomes, who lose sails, spars, and ships, by capsizing.

BLACK'S THE WHITE OF MY EYE. When Jack avers that no one can say this or that of him. It is an indignant expression of innocence of a charge.

BLACK-STRAKE. The range of plank immediately above the wales in a ship's side; they are always covered with a mixture of tar and lamp-black, which not only preserves them from the heat of the sun and the weather, but forms an agreeable variety with the painted or varnished parts above them. Vessels with no ports have frequently two such strakes—one above, the other below the wales, the latter being also called the diminishing strake.

BLACK-STRAP. The dark country wines of the Mediterranean. Also, bad port, such as was served for the sick in former times.

BLACK-TANG. The sea-weed Fucus vesicolosus, or tangle.

BLACKWALL-HITCH. A sort of tackle-hook guy, made by putting the bight of a rope over the back of the hook, and there jamming it by the standing part. A mode of hooking on the bare end of a rope where no length remains to make a cat's-paw.

BLACK WHALE. The name by which the right whale of the south seas (Balæna australis) is often known to whalemen.

BLAD. A term on our northern coasts for a squall with rain.

BLADDER-FISH. A term for the tetraodon. (See Balloon-fish.)[106]

BLADE OF AN ANCHOR. That part of the arm prepared to receive the palm.

BLADE or WASH OF AN OAR. Is the flat part of it which is plunged into the water in rowing. The force and effect in a great measure depends on the length of this part, when adequate force is applied. When long oars are used, the boat is generally single-banked, so that the fulcrum is removed further from the rower. Also, the motive part of the screw-propeller.

BLAE, or Blea. The alburnum or sap-wood of timber.

BLAKE. Yellow. North of England.

BLANK. Level line mark for cannon, as point-blank, equal to 800 yards. It was also the term for the white mark in the centre of a butt, at which the arrow was aimed.

BLANKET. The coat of fat or blubber under the skin of a whale.

BLARE, To. To bellow or roar vehemently.—Blare, a mixture of hair and tar made into a kind of paste, used for tightening the seams of boats.

BLARNEY. Idle discourse; obsequious flattery.

BLASHY. Watery or dirty; applied to weather, as "a blashy day," a wet day. In parlance, trifling or flimsy.

BLAST. A sudden and violent gust of wind: it is generally of short duration, and succeeded by a fine breeze.—To blast, to blow up with gunpowder.

BLAST-ENGINE. A ventilating machine to draw off the foul air from the hold of a ship, and induce a current of fresh air into it.

BLATHER. Thin mud or puddle. Also, idle nonsense.

BLAY. A name of the bleak.

BLAZE, To. To fire away as briskly as possible. To blaze away is to keep up a running discharge of fire-arms. Also, to spear salmon. Also, in the woods, to mark a tree by cutting away a portion of its outer surface, thus leaving a patch of whiter internal surface exposed, to call attention or mark a track.

BLAZERS. Applied to mortar or bomb vessels, from the great emission of flame to throw a 13-inch shell.

BLAZING STARS. The popular name of comets.

BLEAK. The Leuciscus alburnus of naturalists, and the fresh-water sprat of Isaak Walton. The name of this fish is from the Anglo-Saxon blican, owing to its shining whiteness—its lustrous scales having long been used in the manufacture of false pearls.

BLEEDING THE MONKEY. The monkey is a tall pyramidal kid or bucket, which conveys the grog from the grog-tub to the mess—stealing from this in transitu is so termed.

BLEED THE BUOYS. To let the water out.[107]

BLENNY. A small acanthopterygious fish (Blennius).

BLETHER-HEAD. A blockhead.

BLETHERING. Talking idle nonsense; insolent prate.

BLIND. A name on the west coast of Scotland for the pogge, or miller's thumb (Cottus cataphractus).

BLIND. Everything that covers besiegers from the enemy. (See Orillon.)

BLINDAGE. A temporary wooden shelter faced with earth, both in siege works and in fortified places, against splinters of shells and the like.

BLIND-BUCKLERS. Those fitted for the hawse-holes, which have no aperture for the cable, and therefore used at sea to prevent the water coming in.

BLIND-HARBOUR. One, the entrance of which is so shut in as not readily to be perceived.

BLIND-ROCK. One lying just under the surface of the water, so as not to be visible in calms.

BLIND-SHELL. One which, from accident or bad fuze, has fallen without exploding, or one purposely filled with lead, as at the siege of Cadiz. Also used at night filled with fuze composition, and enlarged fuze-hole, to indicate the range.

BLIND-STAKES. A sort of river-weir.

BLINK OF THE ICE. A bright appearance or looming (the iceberg reflected in the atmosphere above it), often assuming an arched form; so called by the Greenlanders, and by which reflection they always know when they are approaching ice long before they see it. In Greenland blink means iceberg.

BLIRT. A gust of wind and rain.

BLOAT, To. To dry by smoke; a method latterly applied almost exclusively to cure herrings or bloaters.—Bloated is also applied to any half-dried fish.

BLOCCO. Paper and hair used in paying a vessel's bottom.

BLOCK. (In mechanics termed a pulley.) Blocks are flattish oval pieces of wood, with sheaves in them, for all the running ropes to run in. They are used for various purposes in a ship, either to increase the mechanical power of the ropes, or to arrange the ends of them in certain places on the deck, that they may be readily found when wanted; they are consequently of various sizes and powers, and obtain various names, according to their form or situation, thus:—A single block contains only one sheave or wheel. A double block has two sheaves. A treble or threefold block, three, and so on. A long-tackle or fiddle-block has two sheaves—one below the other, like a fiddle. Cistern or sister block for top-sail lifts and reef tackles. Every[108] block is composed of three, and generally four, parts:—(1.) The shell, or outside wooden part. (2.) The sheave, or wheel, on which the rope runs. (3.) The pin, or axle, on which the sheave turns. (4.) The strop, or part by which the block is made fast to any particular station, and is usually made either of rope or of iron. Blocks are named and distinguished by the ropes which they carry, and the uses they serve for, as bowlines, braces, clue-lines, halliards, &c. &c. They are either made or morticed (which see).

BLOCK. The large piece of elm out of which the figure is carved at the head of the ship.

BLOCKADE. The investment of a town or fortress by sea and land; shutting up all the avenues, so that it can receive no relief.—To blockade a port is to prevent any communication therewith by sea, and cut off supplies, in order to compel a surrender when the provisions and ammunition are exhausted.—To raise a blockade is to discontinue it.—Blockade is violated by egress as well as by ingress. Warning on the spot is sufficient notice of a blockade de facto. Declaration is useless without actual investment. If a ship break a blockade, though she escape the blockading force, she is, if taken in any part of her future voyage, captured in delicto, and subject to confiscation. The absence of the blockading force removes liability, and might (in such cases) overrules right.

BLOCK AND BLOCK. The situation of a tackle when the blocks are drawn close together, so that the mechanical power becomes arrested until the tackle is again overhauled by drawing the blocks asunder. Synonymous with chock-a-block.

BLOCKHOUSE. A small work, generally built of logs, to protect adjacent ports. Blockhouses were primarily constructed in our American colonies, because they could be immediately built from the heavy timber felled to clear away the spot, and open the lines of fire. The ends were simply crossed alternately and pinned. Two such structures, with a space of 6 feet for clay, formed, on an elevated position, a very formidable casemated work. The slanting overhanging roof furnished excellent cover in lieu of loop-holes for musketry.

BLOCK-MAKER. A manufacturer of blocks.

BLOCKS. The several transverse pieces or logs of timber, piled in plane, on which a ship is built, or to place her on for repair: they consist of solid pieces of oak laid on the ground-ways.

BLOCKS, FIXED. See Fixed Blocks.

BLOOD-SUCKERS. Lazy fellows, who, by skulking, throw their proportion of labour on the shoulders of their shipmates.

BLOODY FLAG. A large red flag.

BLOOM. A peculiar warm blast of wind; a term used in iron-foundries.[109]

BLORE. An old word for a stiff gale.

BLOUT. A northern term for the sudden breaking-up of a storm. Blout has been misused for blirt.

BLOW. Applied to the breathing of whales and other cetaceans. The expired air from the lungs being highly charged with moisture, which condenses at the temperature of the atmosphere, appears like a column of steam.

BLOW. A gale of wind.

BLOWE. A very old English word for scold or revile, still in use, as when a man receives a good blowing-up.

BLOW-HOLES. The nostrils of the cetaceans, situated on the highest part of the head. In the whalebone whales they form two longitudinal slits, placed side by side. In the porpoises, grampuses, &c., they are united into a single crescentic opening.

BLOW HOME. The wind does not cease or moderate till it comes past that place, blowing continuously over the land and sea with equal velocity. In a naval sense, it does not blow home when a sea-wind is interrupted by a mountainous range along shore.

BLOWING GREAT GUNS AND SMALL ARMS. Heavy gales; a hurricane.

BLOWING HARD. Said of the wind when it is strong and steady.

BLOWING THE GRAMPUS. Throwing water over a sleeper on watch.

BLOWING WEATHER. A nautical term for a continuance of strong gales. (See Gale.)

BLOWN COD. A split cod, half dried by exposure to the wind. Blown is also frequently applied to bloated herrings, when only partly cured. Also, a cod-fish rises to the surface, and is easily taken, if blown. By being hauled nearly up, and the hook breaking, it loses the power for some time of contracting the air-bladder, and thus dies head out of water.

BLOWN ITSELF OUT. Said of a falling gale of wind.

BLOW OFF, To. To clear up in the clouds.

BLOW-OFF-PIPE, in a steamer, is a pipe at the foot of each boiler, communicating with the sea, and furnished with a cock to open and shut it.—Blowing-off is the act or operation of using the blow-off-pipe to cleanse a marine steam-engine of its brine deposit; also, to clear the boilers of water, to lighten a ship if grounded.

BLOW-OUT. Extravagant feasting regardless of consequences.

BLOW OVER, (It will). Said of a gale which is expected to pass away quickly.

BLOW-PIPE. An engine of offence used by the Araucanians and Borneans, and with the latter termed sumpitan: the poisoned arrow,[110] sumpit, will wound at the distance of 140 or more yards. The arrow is forced through (like boys' pea-shooters) by the forcible and sudden exertion of the lungs. A wafer can be hit at 30 yards to a certainty, and small birds are unerringly stunned at 30 yards by pellets of clay.

BLOW THE GAFF. To reveal a secret; to expose or inform against a person.

BLOW-THROUGH VALVE. A valve admitting steam into the condenser, in order to clear it of air and water before starting the engine.

BLOW UP, To. To abuse angrily.

BLOW-VALVE. A valve by which the first vacuum necessary for starting a steam-engine is produced.

BLUBBER. The layer of fat in whales between the skin and the flesh, which is flinched or peeled off, and boiled for oil, varying from 10 to 20 inches in thickness. (See Sea-blubber.)

BLUBBER FORKS and CHOPPERS. The implements with which blubber is "made off," or cut for stowing away.

BLUBBER-GUY. A large rope stretched from the main to the fore mast head of whalers, to which the speck-falls are attached for the operation of flensing.

BLUE. Till all's blue: carried to the utmost—a phrase borrowed from the idea of a vessel making out of port, and getting into blue water.—To look blue, to be surprised, disappointed, or taken aback, with a countenance expressive of displeasure.

BLUE-JACKETS. The seamen as distinguished from the marines.

BLUE LIGHT. A pyrotechnical preparation for signals by night. Also called Bengal light.

BLUE-LIGHTISM. Affected sanctimoniousness.

BLUE MOON. An indefinite period.

BLUE-NOSE. A general term for a native of Nova Scotia.

BLUE PETER. The signal for sailing when hoisted at the fore-topmast head; this well-known flag has a blue ground with a white square in the centre.

BLUE PIGEON. A nickname for the sounding lead.

BLUE WATER. The open ocean.

BLUFF. An abrupt high land, projecting almost perpendicularly into the sea, and presenting a bold front, rather rounded than cliffy in outline, as with the headland.

BLUFF-BOWED. Applied to a vessel that has broad and flat bows—that is, full and square-formed: the opposite of lean.

BLUFF-HEADED. When a ship has but a small rake forward on, being built with her stem too straight up.[111]

BLUNDERBUSS. A short fire-arm, with a large bore and wide mouth, to scatter a number of musket or pistol bullets or slugs.

BLUNK. A sudden squall, or stormy weather.

BLUSTROUS. Stormy: also said of a braggadocio.

BO. Abbreviation of boy. A familiar epithet for a comrade, derived probably from the negro.

BOADNASH. Buckhemshein coins of Barbary.

BOANGA. A Malay piratical vessel, impelled by oars.

BOARD. Certain offices under the control of the executive government, where the business of any particular department is carried on: as the Board of Admiralty, the Navy Board, Board of Ordnance, India Board, Board of Trade, &c. Also, timber sawn to a less thickness than plank: all broad stuff of under 11⁄2 inch in thickness. (See Plank.) Also, the space comprehended between any two places when the ship changes her course by tacking; or, it is the line over which she runs between tack and tack when working to windward, or sailing against the direction of the wind.—To make a good board. To sail in a straight line when close-hauled, without deviating to leeward.—To make short boards, is to tack frequently before the ship has run any great length of way.—To make a stern board, is when by a current, or any other accident, the vessel comes head to wind, the helm is shifted, and she has fallen back on the opposite tack, losing what she had gained, instead of having advanced beyond it. To make a stern board is frequently a very critical as well as seamanlike operation, as in very close channels. The vessel is allowed to run up into the wind until she has shot up to the weather danger; the helm is then shifted, and with all aback forward, she falls short off on the opposite tack. Such is also achieved at anchor in club-hauling (which see).—To board a ship, is to enter her in a hostile manner in order to take forcible possession of her, either from the attacking ship or by armed boats. The word board has various other applications among seamen:—To go aboard signifies to go into the ship.—To slip by the board, is to slip down a ship's side.—To board it up, is to beat up, sometimes on one tack and sometimes on another.—The weather-board is the side of the ship which is to windward.—By the board, close to a ship's deck.

BOARD AND BOARD. Alongside, as when two ships touch each other.

BOARDERS. Sailors appointed to make an attack by boarding, or to repel such attempt from the enemy. Four men selected from each gun were generally allotted as boarders, also to trim sails, tend pumps, repair rigging, [112]&c.

BOARD HIM. A colloquialism for I'll ask, demand, or accost him. Hence Shakspeare makes Polonius say of Hamlet,

"I'll board him presently."
To make acquaintance with; to fasten on.

BOARD HIM IN THE SMOKE. To take a person by surprise, as by firing a broadside, and boarding in the smoke.

BOARDING. An assault made by one vessel on another, by entering her in battle with a detachment of armed men.

BOARDING-BOOK. A register which has for its object the recording all particulars relative to every ship boarded, a copy of which is transmitted to the admiral under whose orders the ship is employed. (See Guard-book.)

BOARDING-NETTINGS. A framework of stout rope-netting placed where necessary, to obstruct an enemy's boarders.

BOARDING-PIKE. A defensive lance against boarders.

BOARDLINGS. Flippant understrappers of the admiralty and navy-boards.

BOARD OF TRADE. A committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of commercial matters.

BOAT. A small open vessel, conducted on the water by rowing or sailing. The construction, machinery, and even the names of boats, are very different, according to the various purposes for which they are calculated, and the services on which they are employed. Thus we have the long-boat and the jolly-boat, life-boat and gun-boat, but they will appear under their respective appellations.—A bold boat, one that will endure a rough sea well.—Man the boat, send the crew in to row and manage it.

BOATABLE. Water navigable for boats and small river-craft.

BOAT-BUOYS. Means added to increase the buoyancy of life-boats, &c.

BOAT-CHOCKS. Clamps of wood upon which a boat rests when stowed on a vessel's deck.

BOAT-CLOAK. A mantle for the officer going on duty; when left in the boat it is in the coxswain's charge.

BOAT-DAVIT. A curved piece of timber with a sheave at its outer end, which projects over the boat's stern, while the inner end is shipped into a cleat on each side of the bottom of the boat, for weighing anchors when needed. (See Davit.)

BOAT-FAST. See Painter.

BOAT-GEER. A general name for the rigging and furniture of a boat.

BOAT-HIRE. Expenses for the use of shore-boats.

BOAT-HOOK. An iron hook with a straight prong at its hinder part; it is fixed upon a pole, by the help of which a boat is either pulled to, or pushed off from, any place, and is capable of holding on by anything.[113]

BOATILA. A narrow-sterned, flat-bottomed boat of the Gulf of Manar.

BOATING. Transporting men, munitions, or goods, in boats.

BOAT-KEEPER. One of the boat's crew who remains in charge of her during the absence of the others. In small vessels he is sometimes called the boatman.

BOAT-NAILS. Those supplied for the carpenter's use are of various lengths, generally rose-headed, square at the points, and made both of copper and iron. (See Nails.)

BOAT-ROPE. A separate rope veered to the boat to be towed at the ship's stern.

BOAT'S CREW. The men appointed as the crew of any particular boat, as the barge's crew, cutter's crew, &c.

BOAT'S-GRIPES. Lashings for the secure stowage of boats. (See Gripes.)

BOAT-SKIDS. Portable pieces of plank used to prevent chafing when a boat is hoisted or lowered. (See Skids.)

BOATSWAIN. The officer who superintends the boat-sails, ship's-sails, rigging, canvas, colours, anchors, cables and cordage, committed to his charge. He ought also to take care that the blocks and running ropes are regularly placed to answer the purposes for which they are intended, and that the sails are properly fitted to their yards and stays, and well-furled or reefed when occasion requires. He pipes the hands to their several duties, seeing that they attend his call, and ought to be in every way a thorough seaman. Although termed boatswain, the boats are not in his charge. They, with the spars, &c., and stores for repair, belong to the carpenter. The boatswain is the officer of the first lieutenant; he gives no order, but reports defects, and carries out the will of his superior.

BOATSWAIN-BIRD. Phaethon æthereus, a tropical bird, so called from its sort of whistle. It is distinguished by two long feathers in the tail, called the marling-spike.

BOATSWAIN-CAPTAIN. An epithet given by certain popinjays in the service to such of their betters as fully understand the various duties of their station.

BOATSWAIN'S MATE. Is an assistant to the boatswain, who had the peculiar command of the long-boat. He summons the watch or crew by his whistle, and during his watch looks to the decks, and has peculiar calls for "grog," "'bout ship," "pipe to breakfast," "sweepers," &c.

BOATSWAIN'S STORE-ROOM. Built expressly for boatswain's stores, on a platform or light deck.


BOAT THE ANCHOR. Place the anchor in-board in the boat.

BOAT THE OARS. Put them in their proper places fore and aft on the thwarts ready for use.[114]

BOB. A knot of worms on a string, used in fishing for eels; also colloquially, it means a berth.—Shift your bob, to move about, to dodge, to fish.—Bear a bob, make haste, be brisk.

BOB. The ball or balance-weight of a clock's pendulum; the weight attached to the plumb-line.

BOBBERY. A disturbance, row, or squabble; a term much used in the East Indies and China.

BOBBING. A particular method of fishing for eels—

"His hook he bated with a dragon's tail,
And sat upon a rock, and bobb'd for whale."
BOBBING ABOUT. Heaving and setting without making any way.

BOBBLE. The state of waves when dashing about without any regular set or direction, as in cross tides or currents.

BOBSTAY-COLLARS. These are made with large rope, and an eye spliced in each end; they are secured round the bowsprit, on the upper side, with a rose lashing. They are almost entirely superseded by iron bands.

BOBSTAY-HOLES. Those cut through the fore-part of the knee of the head, between the cheeks, for the admission of the bobstay; they are not much used now, as chain bobstays are almost universal, which are secured to plates by shackles.

BOBSTAY-PLATES. Iron plates by which the lower end of the bobstay is attached to the stem.

BOBSTAYS. Ropes or chains used to confine the bowsprit downward to the stem or cut-water. They are fitted in various ways. Their use is to counteract the strain of the foremast-stays, which draw it upwards. The bowsprit is also fortified by shrouds from the bows on each side, which are all very necessary, as the fore-mast and the upper spars on the main-mast are stayed and greatly supported by the bowsprit.

BOCCA. [Sp. boca, mouth.] Is a term used both in the Levant, and on the north coast of South America, or the Spanish Main, for a mouth or channel into any port or harbour, or the entrance into a sound which has a passage out by a contrary way.—Bocca Tigris, Canton River.

BODIES. The figure of a ship, abstractedly considered, is divided into different parts or figures, each of which has the appellation body, as fore-body, midship-body, square-body, &c.

BODKIN. A dirk or dagger, a word still in use, though Johnson says it is the oldest acceptation of it. It is the bodekin of Chaucer; and Shakspeare makes Hamlet ask who would bear the ills of life,

"When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?"
[115]BODY. The principal corps of an army, or the main strength of a fleet.

BODY, of a Place. In fortification, the space inclosed by the enceinte, or line of bastions and curtains.

BODY-HOOPS. Those which secure the aris pieces of a made mast.

BODY-PLAN. The draught of a proposed ship, showing the breadth and timbers; it is a section supposed to cut the vessel through the broadest part; it is otherwise called the plan of projection.

BODY-POST. An additional stern-post introduced at the fore-part of an aperture cut in the dead-wood in a ship fitted with a screw-propeller.

BOG. A marsh, or a tract of land, which from its form and impermeable bottom retains stagnant water. (See Quagmire.)

BOG-BLUTER. A northern name for the bittern, from its habit of thrusting its bill into marshy places.

BOG-TROTTER. Any one who lives among marshy moors, but generally applied to the Emeralders.

BOGUE, To. To drop off from the wind. To edge away to leeward with the wind; not holding a good wind, and driving very much to leeward. Used only to clumsy inferior craft.

BOGUE. Mouth of a river; hence disembogue. Bogue forts, China.

BOHEMIAN. A conceited dawdler in his duties. Shakspeare ridicules Simple as a Bohemian Tartar; both of which terms were applied to gipsies.

BOILER. Of a steam-engine, made of wrought iron, or copper-plates, which being partly filled with water, and having fire applied to the outside, generates steam to supply the engine.

BOILERS. Termed coppers; the ship's cooking utensils, of iron or copper.

BOILING. The "whole boiling" means the entire quantity, or whole party; applied to number or quantity. A contemptuous epithet.

BOLD-BOW. A broad bluff bow.

BOLDERING WEATHER. Cloudy and thundery.

BOLD-SHORE. A steep coast where the water, deepening rapidly, admits the near approach of shipping without the danger of grounding.

BOLD-TO. Applied to land; the same as steep-to.

BOLE. A small boat.

BOLIDE. A name for aërolite (which see).

BOLINE. See Bowline. Clavus in navi.

BOLLAN. The Manx or Gaelic term for the fish old-wife.

BOLLARD. A thick piece of wood on the head of a whale-boat, round which the harpooner gives the line a turn, in order to veer it steadily, and check the animal's velocity. Also a strong timber fixed vertically into the ground, part being left above it, on which to fasten ropes.[116] Also a lighter sort of dolphin for attaching vessels to. Wharves have bollards to which vessels are secured when alongside.

BOLLARD-TIMBERS. Two pieces of oak, usually called knight-heads (which see).

BOLLING or BOWLING AWAY. Going with a free wind.

BOLME. An old term for a waterman's pole or boom.

BOLOTO. A small boat of the Philippines and Moluccas.

BOLSTERS. Small cushions or bags of tarred canvas, used to preserve the stays from being chafed by the motion of the masts, when the ship pitches at sea. Pieces of soft wood covered with canvas, placed on the trestle-trees, for the eyes of the rigging to rest upon, and prevent a sharp nip. Also pieces of oak timber fayed to the curvature of the bow, under the hawse-holes, and down upon the upper cheek, to prevent the cable from rubbing against the cheeks.—Bolsters for sheets, tacks, &c., are small pieces of fir or oak, fayed under the gunwale, or other part, with the outer surface rounded to prevent chafing.—Bolsters, for the anchor lining. Solid pieces of oak bolted to the ship's side at the fore part of the fore-chains on which the stanchions are fixed that receive the anchor lining.

BOLT. A cylindrical pin of iron or copper to unite the different parts of a vessel, varied in form according to the places where they are required. In ship-building square ones are used in frame-fastening; the heads of all bolts are round, saucer, or collared.—Bolt of the irons, which runs through three pairs of shackles.—Drift or drive-bolts are used to drive out others.—Bay-bolts, have jags or barbs on each side, to keep them from flying out of their holes.—Clench-bolts are clenched with rivetting hammers.—Fend or fender bolts, made with long and thick heads, and struck into the outermost bends of the ship, to save her sides from bruises.—Forelock-bolts have at the end a forelock of iron driven in, to keep them from starting back.—Set-bolts are used for forcing the planks, and bringing them close together.—Ring-bolts are used for the bringing to of the planks, and those parts whereto are fastened the breeches and tackle of the guns.—Scarp-bolts and keel-bolts, pointed, not clinched, used for false keel or temporary purposes.—Bringing-to bolts, fitted with an eye at one end, and a nut and screw at the other, for bringing to the ends at the stem, &c.—To bolt, to start off, to run away.

BOLT-BOAT. An old term for a boat which makes good weather in a rough sea.

BOLTING TIMBERS. Those on each side of the stem, continued up for the security of the bowsprit. (See Knight-heads.)

BOLT OF CANVAS. The piece or roll of 39 yards in which it is supplied, but which usually measure about 40 yards in length; it is generally from 22 to 30 inches wide.[117]

BOLT-ROPE. A rope sewed all round the edge of the sail, to prevent the canvas from tearing. The bottom part of it is called the foot-rope, the sides leech-ropes, and if the sail be oblong or square the upper part is called the head-rope; the stay or weather rope of fore-and-aft sails is termed the luff.

BOLTROPE-NEEDLE. A strong needle for stitching the sail to the bolt-ropes.

BOLT-SPRIT. See Bowsprit.

BOLT-STRAKE. Certain strakes of plank which the beam fastenings pass through.

BOLT-TOE. The cock of a gun-lock.

BOMB [formerly bomber, from bomba]. The mortar of bomb-vessels.

BOMB or MORTAR VESSELS. Small ships fortified for throwing bombs into a fortress; said to be the invention of M. Reyneau, and to have been first used at the bombardment of Algiers in 1682. Until then it had been judged impracticable to bombard a place from the sea.

BOMBALO. A delicate kind of sand-eel taken in quantities at Bombay.

BOMBARD. A piece of ordnance, anciently in use before the introduction of more complete cannon with improved gunpowder, propelling iron balls. Its bore, for the projection of stone shot, sometimes exceeded 20 inches in diameter, but was short; its chamber, for containing the powder-charge, being about as long, but much narrower both within and without. There were also very diminutive varieties of it. It has been vaguely called by some writers basilisk, and by the Dutch donderbass. Used to assail a town, fortress, or fleet, by the projection of shells from mortars. It was also the name of a barrel, or large vessel for liquids; hence, among other choice epithets, Prince Henry calls that "tun of man," Falstaff, a "huge bombard of sack." Also, a Mediterranean vessel, with two masts like the English ketch.

BOMB-BED BEAMS. The beams which support the bomb-bed in bomb-vessels.

BOMB-BEDS. See Bed of a Mortar.

BOMBO. Weak cold punch.

BOMB-SHELL. A large hollow ball of cast-iron, for throwing from mortars (distinguished by having ears or lugs, by which to lift it with the shell-hooks into the mortar), and having a hole to receive the fuze, which communicates ignition to the charge contained in the shell. (See Fuze.)

BOME-SPAR [a corruption of boom]. A spar of a larger kind.

BOMKIN. See Bumkin.

BONA FIDE. In good faith; without subterfuge—Bona fides is a condition necessary to entitle to the privilege of pre-emption in our admiralty courts.[118]

BONAVENTURE. The old outer mizen, long disused.

BONDING. See Warehousing System.

BONDING-POND. An inclosed space of water where the tide flows, for keeping timber in.

BOND-MAN. A harsh method in some ships, in keeping one man bound for the good behaviour of another on leave.

BOND OF BOTTOMRY. An authority to borrow money, by pledging the keel or bottom of the ship. (See Bottomry.)

BONE, To. To seize, take, or apprehend. A ship is said to carry a bone in her mouth and cut a feather, when she makes the water foam before her.

BON GRACE. Junk-fenders; for booming off obstacles from a ship's sides or bows. (See Bowgrace.)

BONITO. The Thynnus pelamys, a fish of the scomber family, commonly about 2 feet long, with a sharp head, small mouth, full eyes, and a regular semi-lunar tail.

BONI-VOCHIL. The Hebridean name for the great northern diver (Colymbus glacialis).

BONNET. An additional part laced to the foot of the jibs, or other fore-and-aft sails, in small vessels in moderate weather, to gather more wind. They are commonly one-third of the depth of the sails they belong to. Thus we say, "Lace on the bonnet," or "Shake off the bonnet." Bonnets have lately been introduced to secure the foot of an upper-topsail to a lower-topsail yard. The unbonnetted sail is for storm service. Bonnet, in fortification, is a raised portion of the works at any salient angle, having the same plan, but 10 or 12 feet more command than the work on which it is based. It assists in protecting from enfilade, and affords a plunging fire.

BONNET-FLOOK. A name of the well-known flat-fish, brill, pearl, or mouse-dab; the Pleuronectes rhombus.

BONXIE. The Shetland name for the skua-gull (Cataractes vulgaris). Also a very general northern term for sea-birds.

BONY-FISH. One of the names of the hard-head (which see).

BOOBY. A well-known tropical sea-bird, Sula fusca, of the family Pelecanidæ. It is fond of resting out of the water at night, even preferring an unstable perch on the yard of a ship. The name is derived from the way in which it allows itself to be caught immediately after settling. The direction in which they fly as evening comes on often shows where land may be found.

BOOBY-HATCH. A smaller kind of companion, but readily removable; it is in use for merchantmen's half decks, and lifts off in one piece.

BOOK. A commercial term for a peculiar packing of muslin, bast, and other stuffs.—Brought to book, made to account.[119]

BOOKING. A reprimand.

BOOKS. (See Ship's Books.) Official documents.

BOOM. A long spar run out from different places in the ship, to extend or boom out the foot of a particular sail; as, jib-boom, flying jib-boom, studding-sail booms, driver or spanker boom, ringtail-boom, main-boom, square-sail boom, &c. A ship is said to come booming forwards when she comes with all the sail she can make. Boom also denotes a cable stretched athwart the mouth of a river or harbour, with yards, top-masts, or stout spars of wood lashed to it, to prevent the entrance of an enemy.—To top one's boom, is to start off.—To boom off, to shove a boat or vessel away with spars.

BOOMAGE. A duty levied to compound for harbour dues, anchorage, and soundage.

BOOM-BOATS. Those stowed on the booms.

BOOM-BRACE PENDANT. A rope attached to the extremity of a studding-sail boom, and leading down on deck; it is used to counteract the pressure of the sail upon the boom.

BOOM-COVER. The tarpaulin, or painted, cover over the spars.

BOOMING. Sound of distant guns; it is often, but wrongly, applied to the hissing or whistling of shot.

BOOM-IRONS. Are metal rings fitted on the yard-arms, through which the studding-sail booms traverse; there is one on each top-sail yard-arm, but on the lower yards a second, which opens to allow the boom to be triced up; it is one-fourth from the yard-arms, and holds down the heel of the boom when it is rigged out.

BOOM-JIGGER. A tackle used in large ships, for rigging out or running in the top-mast studding-sail booms.

BOOMKIN. See Bumkin.

BOOM-MAINSAIL. See Main-sail.

BOOMS. A space where the spare spars are stowed; the launch being generally stowed between them.

BOOPAH. A Tongatabou canoe with a single out-rigger.

BOOTHYR. An old term, denoting a small river vessel.

BOOT-TOPPING. The old operation of scraping off the grass, slime, shells, &c., which adhere to the bottom, near the surface of the water, and daubing it over with a mixture of tallow, sulphur, and resin, as a temporary protection against worms. This is chiefly performed where there is no dock or other commodious situation for breaming or careening, or when the hurry of a voyage renders it inconvenient to have the whole bottom properly trimmed and cleansed. The term is now applied to sheathing a vessel with planking over felt.

BOOTY. That sort of prize which may be distributed at the capstan-head, or at once.[120]

BOOZE. A carouse; hence, boozy, elevated by liquor.

BORA. A very violent wind experienced in the upper part of the Adriatic Sea, but which fortunately is of no great duration.

BORACCHIO [Sp. borracho, drunk]. A skin for holding wine or water, usually a goat's. Used in the Levant. A skin-full; literally, gorged with wine.

BORASCA. A storm, with thunder and lightning.

BORD. The sea-coast, an old term. Formerly meant the side, edge, or brim; hence, as applied to a ship, to throw overboard, is to cast anything over the side of the vessel.

BORDELS. An old word for houses built along a strand. In the old play called the "Ladies' Privilege," it is said:—"These gentlemen know better to cut a caper than a cable, or board a pink in the bordels than a pinnace."

BORDER. A term referring to the nature of the vegetation on the margin of a stream or lake, or to artificial works constructed along the banks.

BORD YOU. A saying of a man waiting, to one who is drinking, meaning that he claims the next turn.

BORE. A sudden and rapid flow of tide in certain inlets of the sea; as the monstrous wave in the river Hooghly, called bahu by the natives, which rolls in with the noise of distant thunder at flood-tide. It occurs from February to November, at the new and full moon. Its cause has not been clearly defined, although it probably arises from the currents during spring-tides, acting on a peculiar conformation of the banks and bed of the river; it strikes invariably on the same part of the banks, majestically rolling over to one side, and passing on diagonally to the other with impetuous violence. The bore also occurs in England, near Bristol; and in America, in several rivers, but especially in the Bay of Fundy, where at the river Petticodiac the tide rises 76 feet. It also occurs in Borneo and several rivers in the East. (See Hygre.) Also, the interior cavity of a piece of ordnance, generally cylindrical in shape, except when a part of it is modified into a chamber.

BOREAS. A classical name for the north wind, still in use; indeed a brackish proverb for extreme severity of weather says—"Cold and chilly, like Boreas with an iceberg in each pocket."

BORE DOWN. Sailed down from to windward.

BORHAME. A northern term for the flounder.

BORING. In Arctic seas, the operation of forcing the ship through loose ice under a heavy press of sail; at least attempting the chance of advantage of cracks or openings in the pack.

BORN with a Silver Spoon in his Mouth. Said of a person who, by[121] birth or connection, has all the usual obstacles to advancement cleared away for him. Those who toil unceasingly for preferment, and toil in vain, are said to have been born with a wooden ladle. Again, the silver-spoon gentry are said to come on board through the cabin windows; those less favoured, over the bows, or through the hawse-holes.

BORNE. Placed on the books for victuals and wages; also supernumerary and "for rank."

BORROW, To. To approach closely either to land or wind; to hug a shoal or coast in order to avoid adverse tide.

BORT. The name given to a long fishing-line in the Shetland Isles.

BOSS. A head of water, or reservoir. Also the apex of a shield.

BOTARGA. The roe of the mullet pressed flat and dried; that of commerce, however, is from the tunny, a large fish of passage which is common in the Mediterranean. The best kind comes from Tunis; it must be chosen dry and reddish. The usual way of eating it is with olive-oil and lemon-juice.

BOTCH, To. To make bungling work.

BOTE'S-CARLE. An old term for the coxswain of a boat.

BOTHERED. Getting among adverse currents, with shifting winds.

BOTH SHEETS AFT. The situation of a square-rigged ship that sails before the wind, or with the wind right astern. It is said also of a half-drunken sailor rolling along with his hands in his pockets and elbows square.

BOTTE. An old English term for boat, and assuredly the damaged boat into which Prospero is turned adrift by Shakspeare.

BOTTLE-BUMP. The bittern, so called on our east coast.

BOTTLE-CHARTS. Those on which the set of surface currents are exhibited, derived from papers found in bottles which have been thrown overboard for that purpose, and washed up on the beach, or picked up by other ships.

BOTTLE-NOSE, or Bottle-nosed Whale. A name applied to several of the smaller cetaceans of the northern seas, more especially to the Hyperoodon rostratus.

BOTTOM. A name for rich low land formed by alluvial deposits: but in a general sense it denotes the lowest part of a thing, in contradistinction to the top or uppermost part. In navigation, it is used to denote as well the channel of rivers and harbours as the body or hull of a ship. Thus, in the former sense we say "a gravelly bottom, clayey bottom," &c., and in the latter sense "a British bottom, a Dutch bottom," &c. By statute, certain commodities imported in foreign bottoms pay a duty called "petty customs," over and above what they are liable to if imported in British bottoms. Bottom of a ship or boat is that part which is below the wales.[122]

BOTTOM-CLEAN. Thoroughly clean, free from weeds, &c.

BOTTOM-PLANK. That which is placed between the garboard-strake and lower back-strake.

BOTTOMREE, or Bottomry-bond. The contract of bottomry is a negotiable instrument, which may be put in suit by the person to whom it is transferred: it is in use in all countries of maritime commerce and interests. A contract in the nature of a mortgage of a ship, when the owner of it borrows money to enable him to carry on the voyage, and pledge the keel, or bottom of the ship, as a security for the repayment. If the ship be lost the lender also loses his whole money; but if it return in safety then he shall receive back his principal, and also the premium stipulated to be paid, however it may exceed the usual or legal rate of interest. The affair is, however, only regarded as valid upon the ground of necessity; and thus exacting more than the interest allowed by law is not deemed usury.

BOTTOMRY PREMIUM. A high rate of interest charged on the safety of the ship—the lender losing his whole money if she be lost.

BOTTOM-WIND. A phenomenon that occurs on the lakes in the north of England, especially Derwent Water, which is often agitated by swelling waves without any apparent cause.

BOUCHE. See Bush.

BOUGE or Bowge and Chine, or Bilge and Chimb. The end of one cask stowed against the bilge of another. To prepare a ship for the purpose of sinking it.

BOUILLI. Termed by seamen bully-beef; disliked because all the substance is boiled away to enrich the cook's grease-tub, and the meat is useless as food; rejected even by dogs. In one ship of war it produced mutiny; vide Adams' account of the Bounty miseries. It is also the name given to highly cooked meat in hermetically sealed tin canisters.

BOULDER-HEAD. A work against the encroachment of the sea, made of wooden stakes.

BOULDERS. Stones worn and rounded by the attrition of the waves of the sea: the word, on the authority of Hunter, was considered a technical term in the fourteenth century, as appears in a warrant of John of Gaunt for the repair of Pontefract Castle—"De peres, appelés buldres, a n're dit chastel come nous semblerez resonables pur la defense de meisme."

BOULEPONGES. A drink to which many of the deaths of Europeans in India were ascribed; but in Bernier's "Travels," in the train of Aurungzebe, in 1664, we are informed that "bouleponge is a beverage made of arrack, sugar, lemon-juice, and a little muscadine." Probably a corruption of bowls of punch. (See Punch.)[123]

BOUNCE. The larger dog-fish.

BOUNCER. A gun which kicks violently when fired.

BOUND. Destined for a particular service. Intended voyage to a place.—Ice-bound. Totally surrounded with ice.—Tide-bound, or be-neaped. (See Neaped.)—Wind-bound. Prevented from sailing by contrary wind.—Where are you bound to?—i.e. To what place are you going?—Bound on a cruise. A corruption of the old word bowne, which is still in use on the northern coasts, and means to make ready, to prepare.

BOUNTY. A sum of money given by government, authorized by act of parliament or royal proclamation, to men who voluntarily enter into the army or navy; and the widow of such volunteer seaman killed or drowned in the service was entitled to a bounty equal to a year's pay.

BOUNTY-BOATS. Those which fished under the encouragement of a bounty from government.

BOUNTY-LIST. A register of all persons who have received the bounty to which they are entitled after having passed three musters in the service.

BOURN. See Burn.

BOURSE. A place where merchants congregate. An exchange.

BOUSE. See Bowse.

BOUT. A turn, trial, or round. An attack of illness; a convivial meeting.—'Bout ship, the brief order for "about ship."

BOW. The fore-end of a ship or boat; being the rounding part of a vessel forward, beginning on both sides where the planks arch inwards, and terminating where they close, at the rabbet of the stem or prow, being larboard or starboard from that division. A bold bow is broad and round; a lean bow, narrow and thin.—On the bow. An arc of the horizon (not exceeding 45°) comprehended between some distant object and that point of the compass which is right ahead. Four points on either bow is met by four points before the beam.

BOW. An astronomical instrument formerly used at sea, consisting of only one large graduated arc of 90°, three vanes, and a shank or staff. Also the bow of yew, a weapon of our early fleets.

BOW. She bows to the breeze; when the sails belly out full, and the ship inclines and goes ahead, pitching or bowing over the blue waves.

BOW-BYE. The situation of a ship when, in stays, she falls back off the wind again, and gets into irons, which demands practical seamanship for her extrication. This was deemed a lubberly act in our fleets of old.

BOW-CHASERS. Two long chase-guns placed forward in the bow-ports to fire directly ahead, and being of small bore for their length, carry shot to a great distance.[124]

BOWD-EATEN. An old expression for eaten by weevils.

BOWER-ANCHORS. Those at the bows and in constant working use. They are called best and small, not from a difference of size, but as to the bow on which they are placed; starboard being the best bower, and port the small bower. The appropriated cables assume the respective names. (See also Spare Anchor, Sheet, Stream, Coasting, Kedge, &c.)

BOW-FAST. A rope or chain for securing a vessel by the bow. (See Fast.)

BOWGE, or Bouge. An old term for bilge.

BOWGER. A name given in the Hebrides to the coulter-neb, or puffin (Fratercula arctica).

BOWGRACE. A kind of frame or fender of old junk, placed round the bows and sides of a ship to prevent her receiving injury from floating ice or timbers. (See Bon Grace.)

BOWING. An injury done to yards by too much topping, and letting their weights hang by the lifts. The state of a top-sail yard when it arches in the centre from hoisting it too tautly. Also of the mast when it bellies or is crippled by injudiciously setting up the rigging too taut.

BOWING THE SEA. Meeting a turbulent swell in coming to the wind.

BOWLINE. A rope leading forward which is fastened to a space connected by bridles to cringles on the leech or perpendicular edge of the square sails: it is used to keep the weather-edge of the sail tight forward and steady when the ship is close hauled to the wind; and which, indeed, being hauled taut, enables the ship to come nearer to the wind. Hence the ship sails on a bowline, or stands on a taut bowline.—To check or come up a bowline is to slacken it when the wind becomes large or free.—To sharp or set taut a bowline is to pull it as taut as it can well bear.

BOWLINE-BEND. The mode of bending warps or hawsers together by taking a bowline in the end of one rope, and passing the end of the other through the bight, and making a bowline upon it.

BOWLINE-BRIDLE. The span attached to the cringles on the leech of a square sail to which the bowline is toggled or clinched.

BOWLINE-CRINGLE. An eye worked into the leech-rope of a sail; usually in that of a fore-sail two, a main-sail three, and the fore-topsails three, but the main-topsail four. By these the sails are found in the dark, by feeling alone.

BOWLINE HAUL. A hearty and simultaneous bowse. (See One! two!! three!!!) In hauling the bowline it is customary for the leading man to veer, and then haul, three times in succession, singing out one, two, three—at the last the weight of all the men is thrown[125] in together: this is followed by "belay, oh!" When the bowlines are reported "bowlines hauled, sir," by the officer in command of the fore-part of the ship, the hands, or the watch, return to their duties.

BOWLINE-KNOT. That by which the bowline-bridles were fastened to the cringles: the bowline-knot is made by an involution of the end and a bight upon the standing part of a rope. A further involution makes what is termed a bowline on a bight. It is very difficult to explain by words:—holding the rope some distance from the end by the left hand, the end held in the right is laid on the main part, and by a twist given screw-fashion to the right, a loop or kink is formed inclosing this end, which is then passed behind, and back in the same direction with the former, and then jammed home. It is rapidly done, easily undone, and one of the most seamanlike acts, exhibiting grace as well as power. It can be made by a man with but one arm.

BOW-LINES. In ship-building, longitudinal curves representing the ship's fore-body cut in a vertical section.

BOWLING-ALONG. Going with a free wind.

BOW-LOG TIMBERS. A provincial name for hawse-wood.

BOWMAN. In a single-banked boat he who rows the foremost oar and manages the boat-hook; called by the French "brigadier de l'embarcation." In double-banked boats there are always two bowmen. Also an archer, differently pronounced.

BOW-OAR. The foremost oar or oars, in pulling a boat.

BOW-PIECES. The ordnance in the bows; also in building.

BOW-RAIL. A rail round the bows.

BOWSE, To. To pull upon any body with a tackle, or complication of pulleys, in order to remove it, &c. Hauling upon a tack is called "bowsing upon a tack," and when they would have the men pull all together, they cry, "Bowse away." Also used in setting up rigging, as "Bowse away, starboard;" "Bowse away, port." It is, however, mostly a gun-tackle term.—Bowse up the jib, a colloquialism to denote the act of tippling: it is an old phrase, and was probably derived from the Dutch buyzen, to booze.

BOWSPRIT, or Bolt-sprit. A large spar, ranking with a lower-mast, projecting over the stem; beyond it extends the jib-boom, and beyond that again the flying jib-boom. To these spars are secured the stays of the fore-mast and of the spars above it; on these stays are set the fore and fore-topmast staysails, the jib, and flying-jib, which have a most useful influence in counter-balancing the pressure of the after-sails, thereby tending to force the ship ahead instead of merely turning her round. In former times underneath these spars were set a sprit-sail, sprit-topsail, &c.

BOWSPRIT, Running. In cutter-rigged vessels. (See Cutter.)[126]

BOWSPRIT-BITTS. Are strong upright timbers secured to the beams below the deck; they have a cross-piece bolted to them, the inner end of the bowsprit steps between them, and is thus prevented from slipping in. The cross-piece prevents it from canting up.

BOWSPRIT-CAP. The crance or cap on the outer end of the bowsprit, through which the jib-boom traverses.

BOWSPRIT-GEAR. A term denoting the ropes, blocks, &c., belonging to the bowsprit.

BOWSPRIT-HEART. The heart or block of wood used to secure the lower end of the fore-stay, through which the inner end of the jib-boom is inserted. It is seldom, if ever, used now, an iron band round the bowsprit, with an eye on each side for the fore-stays, being preferred.

BOWSPRIT-HORSES. The ridge-ropes which extend from the bowsprit-cap to the knight-heads.

BOWSPRIT-LADDER. Skids over the bowsprit from the beak-head in some ships, to enable men to run out upon the bowsprit.

BOWSPRIT-NETTING. The netting placed just above a vessel's bowsprit, for stowing away the fore-topmast staysail; it is usually lashed between the ridge-ropes.

BOWSPRIT-SHROUDS. Strong ropes or chains leading from nearly the outer end of the bowsprit to the luff of the bow, giving lateral support to that spar.

BOW-STAVES. Early supplied to our men-of-war.

BOW-TIMBERS. Those which form the bow of the ship.

BOX. The space between the back-board and the stern-post of a boat, where the coxswain sits.

BOXES OF THE PUMPS. Each ordinary pump has an upper and lower box, the one a fixture in the lower part of its chamber, the other attached to the end of the spear or piston-rod; in the centre of each box is a valve opening upwards.

BOXHAULING. Is an evolution by which a ship is veered sharp round on her heel, when the object is to avoid making a great sweep. The helm is put a-lee, the head-yards braced flat aback, the after-yards squared, the driver taken in, and the head-sheets hauled to windward; when she begins to gather stern-way the helm is shifted and sails trimmed. It is only resorted to in emergencies, as a seaman never likes to see his ship have stern-way. With much wind and sea this evolution would be dangerous.

BOXING. A square piece of dry hard wood, used in connecting the frame timbers. Also, the projection formerly left at the hawse-pieces, in the wake of the hawse-holes, where the planks do not run through; now disused. The stem is said to be boxed when it is joined to the fore end of the keel by a side scarph. (See Boxing of Rudder.)[127]

BOXING OFF. Is performed by hauling the head-sheets to windward, and laying the head-yards flat aback, to pay the ship's head out of the wind, when the action of the helm alone is not sufficient for that purpose; as when she is got "in irons."

BOX THE COMPASS, To. Not only to repeat the names of the thirty-two points in order and backwards, but also to be able to answer any and all questions respecting its divisions.

BOYART. An old term for a hoy.

BOYAUX. The zig-zags or tortuous trenches in the approach of a besieger.

BOYER. A sloop of Flemish construction, with a raised work at each end.

BRAB. The sheaf of the young leaves of the Palmyra palm (and also of the cocoa-nut), from which sinnet or plait for hats is made.

BRAB-TREE. The Palmyra palm.

BRACE. The braces are ropes belonging to all the yards of a ship; two to each yard, rove through blocks that are stropped to the yards, or fastened to pendants, seized to the yard-arms. Their use is either to square or traverse the yards horizontally; hence, to brace the yard, is to bring it to either side by means of the braces. In ship-building, braces are plates of iron, copper, or mixed metal, which are used to bind efficiently a weakness in a vessel; as also to receive the pintles by which the rudder is hung.

BRACE ABACK. To brace the yards in, so as to lay the sails aback.—To brace about, to turn the yards round for the contrary tack, or in consequence of a change of wind.—To brace abox, a manœuvre to insure casting the right way, by bracing the head-yards flat aback (not square).—To brace by, to brace the yards in contrary directions to each other on the different masts, to effect the stopping of the vessel. (See Counter-brace.)—To brace in, to lay the yard less oblique, as for a free wind, or nearly square.—To brace round, synonymous with brace about.—To brace sharp, to cause the yards to have the smallest possible angle with the keel, for the ship to have head-way: deemed generally to form an angle of 20° with the keel.—To brace to, is to check or ease off the lee braces, and round in the weather ones, to assist in the manœuvre of tacking or wearing.—To brace up, or brace sharp up, to lay the yards more obliquely fore and aft, by easing off the weather-braces and hauling in the lee ones, which enables a ship to lie as close to the wind as possible.

BRACE OF SHAKES. A moment: taken from the flapping of a sail. I will be with you before it shakes thrice.

BRACE PENDANTS. Are lengths of rope, or now more generally chain, into which the yard-arm brace-blocks are spliced. They are[128] used in the merchant service to save rope, to give the blocks more freedom for slewing to their work, but chiefly because when the brace is let go, the falling chain will overhaul it, making it easier to haul in the other brace.

BRACE UP AND HAUL AFT! The order usually given after being hove-to, with fore or main top-sail square or aback, and jib-sheet flowing, i.e. haul aft jib-sheet, brace up the yards which had been squared, for the purpose of heaving to.

BRACK. The Manx or Gaelic name for mackerel.

BRACKETS. Short crooked timbers resembling knees, fixed in the frame of a ship's head to support the gratings; they likewise served to support and ornament the gallery. Also, the two vertical side-pieces of the carriage of any piece of ordnance, which support it by the trunnions. Called also cheeks. Also, triangular supports to miscellaneous things.

BRACKISH. Water not fresh; from the Icelandic breke, the sea.

BRADS. Small nails.

BRAE. A declivity or precipice.

BRAGGIR. The name given in the Western Islands of Scotland to the broad leaves growing on the top of the Alga marina, or sea-grass.

BRAILS. Ropes passing through leading blocks on the hoops of the mizen-mast and gaff, and fastened to the outermost leech of the sail, in different places, to truss it close up as occasion requires; all trysails and several of the staysails also have brails.

BRAIL UP! The order to pull upon the brails, and thereby spill and haul in the sail. The mizen, or spanker, or driver, or any of the gaff-sails, as they may be termed, when brailed up, are deemed furled; unless it blows hard, when they are farther secured by gaskets.

BRAKE. The handle or lever by which a common ship-pump is usually worked. It operates by means of two iron bolts, one thrust through the inner hole of it, which bolted through forms the lever axis in the iron crutch of the pump, and serves as the fulcrum for the brake, supporting it between the cheeks. The other bolt connects the extremity of the brake to the pump-spear, which draws up the spear box or piston, charged with the water in the tube; derived from brachium, an arm or lever. Also, used to check the speed of machinery by frictional force pressing on the circumference of the largest wheel acted on by leverage of the brake.

BRAN, To. To go on; to lie under a floe edge, in foggy weather, in a boat in Arctic seas, to watch the approach of whales.

BRANCH. The diploma of those pilots who have passed at the Trinity House, as competent to navigate vessels in particular places. The word branch is also metaphorically used for river divergents, but its[129] application to affluents is improper. Any branch or ramification, as in estuaries, where they traverse, river-like, miles of territory, in labyrinthine mazes.

BRANCH-PILOT. One approved by the Trinity House, and holding a branch, for a particular navigation.

BRAND. The Anglo-Saxon for a burnished sword. A burned device or character, especially that of the broad arrow on government stores, to deface or erase which is felony.

BRANDED TICKET. A discharge given to an infamous man, on which his character is written, and the reason he is turned out of the service. In the army, deserters are branded with D; also B for bad character. In the navy, a corner of the ticket is cut off.

BRANDLING. A supposed fry of the salmon species, found on the north of England coasts. Also, the angler's dew-worm.

BRANDY-PAWNEE. A cant term for brandy and water in India.

BRANLAIG. The Manx or Gaelic term for a cove or creek on a shore between rocks.

BRANLIE, or Branlin. A northern name for the samlet or par.

BRAN-NEW. Quite new: said of a sail which has never been bent.

BRASH. Small fragments of crushed ice, collected by wind or currents, near the shore; or such that the ship can easily force through.

BRASS. Impudent assurance.

BRASSARTS. Pieces between the elbow and the top of the shoulder in ancient armour.

BRASSER. A defensive bit of armour for the arm.

BRAT. A northern name for a turbot.

BRAVE. This word was not only used to express courage by our early seamen, but was also applied to strength; as, "we had a brave wind."

BRAWET. A kind of eel in the north.

BRAY, To. To beat and bruise in a mortar.

BREACH. Formerly, what is made by the breaking in of the sea, now applied also to the openings or gaps made in the works of fortified places battered by an enemy's cannon. Also, an old term for a heavy surf or broken water on a sea-coast; by some called brist.

BREACHING. The act of leaping out of the water; applied to whales.

BREACH OF THE SEA. Waves breaking over the hull of a vessel in bad weather, or when stranded.—A clear breach implies the waves rolling clean over without breaking. Shakspeare in "Twelfth Night" uses the term for the breaking of the waves.—Clean-breach, when masts and every object on deck is swept away.

BREACHY. Brackish, as applied to water, probably originating in the sea breaking in.

BREAD. The usual name given to biscuit.[130]

BREAD-BARGE. The tray in which biscuit is handed round.

BREAD-FRUIT (Artocarpus incisa). This most useful tree has a wide range of growth, but the seedless variety produced in Tahiti and some of the South Sea Islands is superior to others; it has an historical interest from its connection with the voyage of the Bounty in 1787.

BREAD-ROOM. The lowest and aftermost part of the orlop deck, where the biscuit is kept, separated by a bulk-head from the rest; but any place parted off from below deck for containing the bread is so designated.

BREAD-ROOM JACK. The purser's steward's help.

BREADTH. The measure of a vessel from side to side in any particular place athwart-ships. (See Straight of Breadth, Height of Breadth, Top-timber Breadth, &c.)—Breadth of beam, extreme breadth of a ship.

BREADTH EXTREME. See Extreme Breadth or Beam.

BREADTH LINE. A curved line of the ship lengthwise, intersecting the timbers at their greatest extent from the middle line of the ship.

BREADTH-MOULDED. See Moulded Breadth.

BREADTH-RIDERS. Timbers placed nearly in the broadest part of the ship, and diagonally, so as to strengthen two or more timbers.

BREAK, To. To deprive of commission, warrant, or rating, by court-martial.

BREAK. The sudden rise of a deck when not flush; when the aft, and sometimes the fore part, of a vessel's deck is kept up to give more height below, and at the drifts.—Break of the poop, where it ends at the foremost part.

BREAKAGE. The leaving of empty spaces in stowing the hold. In marine insurance, the term alludes to damage occurring to goods.

BREAK-BEAMS. Beams introduced at the break of a deck, or any sudden termination of planking.

BREAK-BULK. To open the hold, to begin unloading and disposing of the goods therein, under legal provisions.

BREAKERS. Small barrels for containing water or other liquids; they are also used in watering the ship as gang-casks. (See Bareka.) Also, those billows which break violently over reefs, rocks, or shallows, lying immediately at, or under, the surface of the sea. They are distinguished both by their appearance and sound, as they cover that part of the sea with a perpetual foam, and produce loud roaring, very different from what the waves usually have over a deeper bottom. Also, a name given to those rocks which occasion the waves to break over them.—Breakers ahead! the common pass-word to warn the officer of broken water in the direction of the course. (See also Ship-breaker.)

BREAK-GROUND. Beginning to weigh, or to lift the anchor from[131] the bottom. On shore it means to begin the works for besieging a place, or opening the trenches.

BREAKING. Breaking out stores or cargo in the hold. The act of extricating casks or other objects from the hold-stowage.

BREAKING LIBERTY. Not returning at the appointed time.

BREAKING OF A GALE. Indications of a return of fine weather; short gusts at intervals; moaning or whistling of the wind through the rigging.

BREAKING-PLATE DISTANCE. The point within which iron-plated ships, under concentrated fire, may be damaged.


BREAKING-UP OF THE MONSOON. A nautical term for the violent storms that attend the shifting of periodical winds.

BREAK-OFF. (See Broken-off). "She breaks off from her course," applied only when the wind will not allow of keeping the course; applies only to "close-hauled" or "on a wind."—Break-off! an order to quit one department of duty, to clap on to another.

BREAK-SHEER, To. When a ship at anchor is laid in a proper position to keep clear of her anchor, but is forced by the wind or current out of that position, she is said to break her sheer. Also, for a vessel to break her sheer, or her back, means destroying the gradual sweep lengthways.

BREAK-UP, To. To take a ship to pieces when she becomes old and unserviceable.

BREAK-WATER. Any erection or object so placed as to prevent the sea from rolling inwards. Where there is no mole or jetty the hull of an old ship may be sunk at the entrance of a small harbour, to break off or diminish the force of the waves as they advance towards the vessels moored within. Every bar to a river or harbour, intended to secure smooth water within, acts as a break-water.

BREAM. A common fresh as well as salt water fish (Abramis brama), little esteemed as food.

BREAMING. Cleaning a ship's bottom by burning off the grass, ooze, shells, or sea-weed, which it has contracted by lying long in harbour; it is performed by holding kindled furze, faggots, or reeds to the bottom, which, by melting the pitch that formerly covered it, loosens whatever filth may have adhered to the planks; the bottom is then covered anew with a composition of sulphur, tallow, &c., which not only makes it smooth and slippery, so as to divide the fluid more readily, but also poisons and destroys those worms which eat through the planks in the course of a voyage. This operation may be performed either by laying the ship aground after the tide has ebbed from her or by docking or careening.[132]

BREAST, To. To run abeam of a cape or object. To cut through a sea, the surface of which is poetically termed breast.—To breast the sea, to meet it by the bow on a wind.—To breast the surf, to brave it, and overcome it swimming.—To breast a bar, to heave at the capstan.—To breast to, the act of giving a sheer to a boat.

BREAST-BACKSTAYS. They extend from the head of an upper-mast, through an out-rigger, down to the channels before the standing backstays, for supporting the upper spars from to windward. When to leeward, they are borne abaft the top-rim. (See Backstays.)

BREAST-BEAMS. Those beams at the fore-part of the quarter-deck, and the after-part of the forecastle, in those vessels which have a poop and a top-gallant forecastle.

BREAST-FAST. A large rope or chain, used to confine a ship's broadside to a wharf or quay, or to some other ship, as the head-fast confines her forward, and the stern-fast abaft.

BREAST-GASKETS. An old term for bunt-gaskets.

BREAST-HOOKS. Thick pieces of timber, incurvated into the form of knees, and used to strengthen the fore-part of a ship, where they are placed at different heights, directly across the stem internally, so as to unite it with the bows on each side, and form the principal security, supporting the hawse-pieces and strain of the cables. The breast-hooks are strongly connected to the stem and hawse-pieces by tree-nails, and by bolts driven from without through all, and forelocked or clinched upon rings inside.

BREAST-RAIL. The upper rail of the balcony; formerly it was applied to a railing in front of the quarter-deck, and at the after-part of the forecastle-deck. Also, fife-rail.

BREAST-ROPE. The lashing or laniard of the yard-parrels. (See also Horse.) Also, the bight of a mat-worked band fastened between the shrouds for the safety of the lad's-man in the chains, when sounding, so that he may hang over the water, and let the lead swing clear.

BREAST-WORK. A sort of balustrade of rails, mouldings, or stanchions, which terminates the quarter-deck and poop at the fore ends, and also incloses the forecastles both before and behind. (See Parapet.) Now applicable to the poop-rails only. In fortification, it signifies a parapet thrown up as high as the breasts of the men defending it.

BREATHER. A tropical squall.

BREATH OF WIND. All but a dead calm.

BREECHING. A strong rope passing through at the cascable of a gun, used to secure it to the ship's side, and prevent it recoiling too much in time of battle, also to secure it when the ship labours; it is fixed by reeving it through a thimble stropped upon the cascable or knob at the breech of the gun; one end is rove and clinched, and the other[133] is passed through the ring-bolt in the ship's side, and seized back. The breeching is of sufficient length to let the muzzle of the cannon come within the ship's side to be charged, or to be housed and lashed. Clinch-shackles have superseded the ring-bolts, so that guns may be instantly unshackled and shifted.

BREECHING-BOLT. Applies to the above.

BREECH-LOADER. A gun, large or small, charged at the breech. The method is a very old one revived, but with such scientific modifications as to have enormously increased the effectiveness of small-arms; with cannon its successful practical application to the larger natures has not yet been arrived at, but with field-guns it has added largely to accuracy of practice and facility of loading.

BREECH OF A CANNON. The after-end, next the vent or touch-hole. It is the most massive part of a gun; strictly speaking, it is all the solid metal behind the bottom of the bore. Also, the outside angle formed by the knee-timber, the inside of which is the throat.

BREECH-SIGHT. The notch cut on the base ring of a gun.

BREEZE. This word is widely understood as a pleasant zephyr; but among seamen it is usually applied as synonymous with wind in general, whether weak or strong.

BREEZE, Sea or Land. A shifting wind blowing from sea and land alternately at certain hours, and sensibly only near the coasts; they are occasioned by the action of the sun raising the temperature of the land so as to draw an aërial current from sea-ward by day, which is returned as the earth cools at night.

BREEZE, To kick up a. To excite disturbance, and promote a quarrelsome row.

BREEZING UP. The gale freshening.

BREEZO. A toast given by the presiding person at a mess-table; derived from brisée générale.

BREVET. A rank in the army higher than the regimental commission held by an officer, affording him a precedence in garrison and brigade duties. Something approaching this has been attempted afloat, under the term "staff."

BREWING. The appearance of a collection of black and tempestuous clouds, rising gradually from a particular part of the hemisphere, as the forerunner of a storm.

BRICKLAYER'S CLERK. A contemptuous expression for lubberly pretenders to having seen "better days," but who were forced to betake themselves to sea-life.

BRIDGE. A narrow gangway between two hatchways, sometimes termed a bridge. Military bridges to afford a passage across a river for troops, are constructed with boats, pontoons, casks, trusses, trestles, [134]&c. Bridge in steam-vessels is the connection between the paddle-boxes, from which the officer in charge directs the motion of the vessel. Also, the middle part of the fire-bars in a marine boiler, on either side of which the fires are banked. Also, a narrow ridge of rock, sand, or shingle, across the bottom of a channel, so as to occasion a shoal over which the tide ripples. That between Mount Edgecombe and St. Nicholas' Isle, at Plymouth, has occasioned much loss of life.

BRIDGE-ISLET. A portion of land which becomes insular at high-water—as Old Woman's Isle at Bombay, and among others, the celebrated Lindisfarne, thus tidally sung by Scott:—

"The tide did now his flood-mark gain,
And girdled in the saint's domain:
For, with the flow and ebb, its style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry-shod, o'er sands, twice ev'ry day
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day the waves efface
Of staves and sandall'd feet the trace."
BRIDGE-TRAIN. An equipment for insuring the passage of troops over a river. Pontooners. (See Pontoon.)

BRIDLE. See Mooring-bridle and Bowline-bridle.

BRIDLE-PORT. A square port in the bows of a ship, for taking in mooring bridles. They are also used for guns removed from the port abaft, and required to fire as near a line ahead as possible. They are main-deck chase-ports.

BRIDLES. The upper part of the moorings laid in the queen's harbours, to ride ships or vessels of war. (See Moorings.)

BRIG. A two-masted square-rigged vessel, without a square main-sail, or a trysail-mast abaft the main-mast. This properly constituted the snow, but both classes are latterly blended, and the terms therefore synonymous.

BRIGADE. A party or body of men detached for a special service. A division of troops under the command of a general officer. In artillery organization on land, a brigade is a force usually composed of more than a battery; in the field it commonly consists of two or three batteries; on paper, and for administrative purposes, of eight.

BRIGADE-MAJOR. A staff officer attached to a brigade, and is the channel through which all orders are received from the general and communicated to the troops.

BRIGADE-ORDERS. Those issued by the general officer commanding troops which are brigaded.

BRIGADIER. An officer commanding a brigade, and somewhat the same as commodore for a squadron of ships.

BRIGANDINE. A pliant scale-like coat of mail.[135]

BRIGANTINE. A square-rigged vessel with two masts. A term variously applied by the mariners of different European nations to a peculiar sort of vessel of their own marine. Amongst British seamen this vessel is distinguished by having her main-sail set nearly in the plane of her keel, whereas the main-sails of larger ships are spread athwart the ship's length, and made fast to a yard which hangs parallel to the deck; but in a brig, the foremost side of the main-sail is fastened at different heights to hoops which encircle the main-mast, and slide up and down it as the sail is hoisted or lowered: it is extended by a gaff above and a boom below. Brigantine is a derivative from brig, first applied to passage-boats; in the Celtic meaning "passage over the water." (See Hermaphrodite or Brig Schooner.)

BRIGANTS. Formerly, natives of the northern parts of England.

BRIGDIE. A northern name for the basking shark (Squalus maximus).

BRIGHT LOOK-OUT. A vigilant one.

BRIG-SCHOONER. (See Hermaphrodite and Brigantine, by which, term she is at present classed in law.) Square-rigged on the fore-mast, schooner on the main-mast.

BRILL. The Pleuronectes rhombus, a common fish, allied to, but rather smaller than, the turbot.

BRIM. The margin or bank of a stream, lake, or river.

BRIMSTONE. See Sulphur.

BRINE, or Pickle. Water replete with saline particles, as brine-pickle for salt meat. The briny wave.

BRINE-GAUGE. See Salinometer.

BRINE-PUMPS. When inconvenient to blow off the brine which collects at the bottom of a steamer's boilers, the brine-pump is used for clearing away the deposit.

BRING BY THE LEE, To. To incline so rapidly to leeward of the course when the ship sails large, or nearly before the wind, as in scudding before a gale, that the lee-side is unexpectedly brought to windward, and by laying the sails all aback, exposes her to the danger of over-setting. (See Broach-to.)

BRING 'EM NEAR. The day-and-night telescope.

BRINGERS UP. The last men in a boarding or small-arm party. Among soldiers, it means the whole last rank of a battalion drawn up, being the hindmost men of every file.

BRING HOME THE ANCHOR, To, is to weigh it. It applies also when the flukes slip or will not hold; a ship then brings home her anchor.—Bring home the log. When the pin slips out of the log ship and it slides through the water.

BRINGING IN. The detention of a vessel on the high seas, and bringing her into port for adjudication.[136]

BRINGING-TO THE YARD. Hoisting up a sail, and bending it to its yard.

BRING-TO, To. To bend, as to bring-to a sail to the yard. Also, to check the course of a ship by trimming the sails so that they shall counteract each other, and keep her nearly stationary, when she is said to lie by, or lie-to, or heave-to.—Bring to! The order from one ship to another to put herself in that situation in order to her being boarded, spoken to, or examined. Firing a blank gun across the bows of a ship is the forcible signal to shorten sail and bring-to until further pleasure.—Bring-to is also used in applying a rope to the capstan, as "bring-to the messenger."

BRING-TO AN ANCHOR, To. To let go the anchor in the intended port. "All hands bring ship to an anchor!" The order by which the people are summoned for that duty, by the pipes of the boatswain and his mates.

BRING UP, To. To cast anchor.

BRING UP WITH A ROUND TURN. Suddenly arresting a running rope by taking a round turn round a bollard, bitt-head, or cleat. Said of doing a thing effectually though abruptly. It is used to bring one up to his senses by a severe rating.

BRISAS. A north-east wind which blows on the coast of South America during the trades.

BRISMAK. A name among the Shetlanders for the excellent fish called tusk or torsk, the best of the cod kind (Brosmius vulgaris).

BRISTOL FASHION AND SHIP-SHAPE. Said when Bristol was in its palmy commercial days, unannoyed by Liverpool, and its shipping was all in proper good order.

BRITISH-BUILT SHIP. Such as has been built in Great Britain or Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, or some of the colonies, plantations, islands, or territories in Asia, Africa, or America, which, at the time of building the ship, belonged to or were in possession of Her Majesty; or any ship whatsoever which has been, taken and condemned as lawful prize.

BRITISH SEAS. See Quatuor Maria.

BRITISH SHIP. May be foreign built, or rebuilt on a foreign keel which belonged to any of the people of Great Britain and Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man, or of any colony, island, or territory in Asia, Africa, or America, or was registered before the 1st of May, 1786.

BRITISH SUBJECT. Settled in an enemy's country, may not trade in any contraband goods.

BRITTLE-STAR. The common name of a long-rayed star-fish (Ophiocoma rosula).[137]

BROACH A BUSINESS, To. To begin it.

BROACH-TO, To. To fly up into the wind. It generally happens when a ship is carrying a press of canvas with the wind on the quarter, and a good deal of after-sail set. The masts are endangered by the course being so altered, as to bring it more in opposition to, and thereby increasing the pressure of the wind. In extreme cases the sails are caught flat aback, when the masts would be likely to give way, or the ship might go down stern foremost.

BROAD ARROW. The royal mark for government stores of every description. To obliterate, deface, or remove this mark is felony; or even to be in possession of any goods so marked without sufficient grounds. It is no doubt one of the Ditmarsh runes.

BROAD AXE. Formerly a warlike instrument; also for beheading; specially applied to the axe of carpenters for mast-making, and sometimes cutting away the masts or cable.

BROAD CLOTH. Square sails.

BROAD OF WATER. An extensive lake with a channel communicating with the sea, or a wide opening of a river after passing a narrow entrance.

BROAD PENNANT. A swallow-tailed piece of buntin at the mast-head of a man-of-war; the distinctive mark of a commodore. The term is frequently used for the officer himself. It tapers, in contradistinction to a cornet, which has only the triangle cut out of it.

BROAD R. See Broad Arrow.

BROADS. Fresh-water lakes, in contradistinction to rivers or narrow waters.

BROADSIDE. The whole array, or the simultaneous discharge of the artillery on one side of a ship of war above and below. It also implies the whole of that side of a ship above the water which is situate between the bow and quarter, and is in a position nearly perpendicular to the horizon. Also, a name given to the old folio sheets whereon ballads and proclamations were printed of old (broad-sheet).

BROADSIDE-ON. The whole side of a vessel; the opposite of end-on.

BROADSIDE WEIGHT OF METAL. The weight of iron which the guns of a ship can project, when single-shotted, from one side. (See Weight of Metal.)


BROCAGE. The same with brokerage (which see).

BROCLES. See Strake-nails.

BRODIE. The fry of the rock-tangle, or Hettle-codling, a fish caught on the Hettle Bank, in the Firth of Forth.

BROGGING. A north-country method of catching eels, by means of small sticks called brogs.[138]

BROGUES. Among seamen, coarse sandals made of green hide; but Shakspeare makes Arviragus put "his clouted brogues from off his feet," for "answering his steps too loud." This would rather refer to shoes strengthened with hob-nails.

BROKE. Sentence of a court-martial, depriving an officer of his commission.

BROKEN. An old army word, used for reduced; as, a broken lieutenant, &c. The word is also applied to troops in line when not dressed. The heart of a gale is said to be broken; parole is broken; also, leave, bulk, &c. (which see).

BROKEN-BACKED. The state of a ship so loosened in her frame, either by age, weakness, or some great strain from grounding amidships, as to droop at each end, causing the lines of her sheer to be interrupted, and termed hogged. It may result from fault of construction, in the midship portions having more buoyancy, and the extreme ends too much weight, as anchors, boats, guns, &c., to sustain.

BROKEN-OFF. Fallen off, in azimuth, from the course. Also, men taken from one duty to be put on another.

BROKEN SQUALL. When the clouds separate in divisions, passing ahead and astern of a ship, and affecting her but little, if at all.

BROKEN WATER. The contention of currents in a narrow channel. Also, the waves breaking on and near shallows, occasionally the result of vast shoals of fish, as porpoise, skip-jacks, &c., which worry untutored seamen.

BROKER. Originally a broken tradesman, from the Anglo-Saxon broc, a misfortune; but, in later times, a person who usually transacts the business of negotiating between the merchants and ship-owners respecting cargoes and clearances: he also effects insurances with the underwriters; and while on the one hand he is looked to as to the regularity of the contract, on the other he is expected to make a candid disclosure of all the circumstances which may affect the risk.

BROKET. A small brook; the sea-lark is so called at the Farne Islands.

BROKE-UP. Said of a gale of wind passing away; or a ship which has gone to pieces on a reef, &c.

BROND. An old spelling of brand, a sword.

BRONGIE. A name given to the cormorant in the Shetland Islands.

BROOD. Oysters of about two years old, which are dredged up at sea, for placing on the oyster-beds.

BROOD-HEN STAR. The cluster of the Pleiades.

BROOK, or Brooklet. Streams of fresh or salt water, less than a rivulet, creeping through narrow and shallow passages. The clouds brook-up, when they draw together and threaten rain.[139]

BROOM. A besom at the mast-head signifies that the ship is to be sold: derived probably from the old practice of displaying boughs at shops and taverns. Also, a sort of spartium, of which ropes are made.

BROOMING. See Breaming.

BROTHER-OFFICERS. Those of the same ship or regiment.

BROTH OF A BOY. An excellent, though roystering fellow.

BROUGHT BY THE LEE. See Bring by the Lee.

BROUGHT-TO. A chase made to stop, and heave-to. Also, the cable is brought-to when fastened to the messenger by nippers. The messenger is brought to the capstan, or the cable to the windlass.

BROUGHT TO HIS BEARINGS. Reduced to obedience.


BROW. An inclined plane of planks, on one or both sides of a ship, to communicate internally; a stage-gangway for the accommodation of the shipwrights, in conveying plank, timber, and weighty articles on board. Also, the face of a rising ground. An old term for a gang-board.

BROWN BESS. A nickname for the old government regulation bronzed musket, although till recently it was brightly burnished.

BROWN BILL. The old weapon of the English infantry: hence, perhaps the expression "Brown Bess" for a musket.

BROWN GEORGE. A hard and coarse biscuit.

BROWNIE. The Polar bear, so called by the whalers. It is also a northern term for goblin.

BROWN JANET. A cant phrase for a knapsack.


BROWSE. A light kind of dunnage.

BRUISE-WATER. A ship with very bluff bows, built more for carrying than sailing.

BRUISING WATER. Pitching heavily to a head-sea, and making but little head-way.

BRUN-SWYNE. An early name for a seal.

BRUSH. A move; a skirmish.

BRYDPORT. An old word signifying cable. The best hemp grew at Bridport, in Dorsetshire; and there was a statute, that the cables and hawsers for the Royal Navy were to be made thereabouts.

BUB. A liquor or drink. Bub and grub meaning inversely meat and drink.

BUBBLE. Another term for spirit-level, used for astronomical instruments.

BUBBLER. A fish found in the waters of the Ohio, thus named from the bubbling noise it makes.

BUCCANEER. A name given to certain piratical rovers, of various[140] European nations, who formerly infested the coasts of Spanish America. They were originally inoffensive settlers in Hispaniola, but were inhumanly driven from their habitations by the jealous policy of the Spaniards; whence originated their implacable hatred to that nation. Also, a large musketoon, about 8 feet in length, so called from having been used by those marauders.

BUCENTAUR. A large and splendid galley of the doge of Venice, in which he received the great lords and persons of quality who went there, accompanied by the ambassadors and councillors of state, and all the senators seated on benches by him. The same vessel served also in the magnificent ceremony on Ascension-day, when the doge threw a ring into the sea to espouse it, and to denote his dominion over the Gulf of Venice.

BUCHAN BOILERS. The heavy breaking billows among the rocks on the coast of Buchan.

BUCHT. A Shetland term for lines of 55 fathoms.

BUCK, To. To wash a sail.

BUCKALL. An earthen wine-cup used in the sea-ports of Portugal, Spain, and Italy. [From bocale, It.]

BUCKER. A name for the grampus in the Hebrides. It is also applied, on some of our northern coasts, to the porpoise.

BUCKET. A small globe of hoops, covered with canvas, used as a recall for the boats of whalers.

BUCKET-ROPE. That which is tied to a bucket for drawing water up from alongside.

BUCKETS. Are made either of canvas, of leather, or of wood; the latter are used principally for washing the decks, and therefore answer the purposes of pails.

BUCKET-VALVE. In a steamer's engine, is a flat metal plate filling up the passage between the air-pump and the condenser, and acted upon by both in admitting or repressing the passage of water.

BUCKHORN. Whitings, haddocks, thorn-backs, gurnet, and other fish, cleaned, gently salted, and dried in the sun.

BUCKIE. A northern name for the whelk.

BUCKIE-INGRAM. A name for the hermit-crab.

BUCKIE-PRINS. A northern designation for a periwinkle.

BUCKLE. A mast buckles when it suffers by compression, so that the fibre takes a sinuous form, and the grain is upset. Also, in Polar regions, the bending or arching of the ice upwards, preceding a nip.

BUCKLERS. Two blocks of wood fitted together to stop the hawse-holes, leaving only sufficient space between them for the cable to pass, and thereby preventing the ship taking in much water in a heavy head-sea. They are either riding or blind bucklers (which see).[141]

BUCKRA. A term for white man, used by the blacks in the West Indies, Southern States of America, and the African coast.

BUCK-WEEL. A bow-net for fish.

BUDE. An old name for the biscuit-weevil.

BUDGE-BARREL. A small cask with copper and wooden hoops, and one head formed by a leather hose or bag, drawing close by a string, for carrying powder in safety from sparks. In heraldry, the common bucket is called a water bouget or budget.

BUDGEROW. A cabined passage-boat of the Ganges and Hooghly.

BUFFET A BILLOW, To. To work against wind and tide.

BUG. An old term for a vessel more remarkable in size than efficiency. Thus, when Drake fell upon Cadiz, his sailors regarded the huge galleys opposed to them as mere "great bugges."

BUGALILO. A large trading-boat of the Gulf of Persia; the buglo of our seamen.

BUGAZEENS. An old commercial term for calicoes.

BUILD. A vessel's form or construction.

BUILD A CHAPEL, To. To turn a ship suddenly by negligent steerage.

BUILDER'S CERTIFICATE. A necessary document in admiralty courts, containing a true account of a ship's denomination, tonnage, trim, where built, and for whom.

BUILDING. The work of constructing ships, as distinguished from naval architecture, which may rather be considered as the art or theory of delineating ships on a plane. The pieces by which this complicated machine is framed, are joined together in various places by scarfing, rabbeting, tenanting, and scoring.

BUILT. A prefix to denote the construction of a vessel, as carvel or clinker-built, bluff-built, frigate-built, sharp-built, &c.; English, French, or American built, &c.

BUILT-BLOCK. Synonymous with made-block (which see). The lower masts of large ships are built or made.

BUILT-UP GUNS. Recently invented guns of great strength, specially adapted to meet the requirements of rifled artillery and of the attack of iron plating. They are usually composed of an inner core or barrel (which may be of coiled and welded iron, but is now generally preferred of tough steel), with a breech-piece, trunnion-piece, and various outer strengthening hoops or coils of wrought iron, shrunk or otherwise forced on; having their parts put together at such predetermined relative tensions, as to support one another under the shock of explosion, and thereby avoiding the faults of solid cast or forged guns, whereof the inner parts are liable to be destroyed before the outer can take their share of the strain. The first practical example of the[142] method was afforded by the Armstrong gun, the "building up" which obtained in ancient days, before the casting of solid guns, having been apparently resorted to as an easy means of producing large masses of metal, without realizing the principle of the mutual support of the various parts.

BUIRAN. A Gaelic word signifying the sea coming in, with a noise as of the roar of a bull.

BULCH, To. To bilge a ship.

BULGE. (See Bilge.) That part of the ship she bears upon when on the ground.

BULGE-WAYS. Otherwise bilge-ways (which see).

BULK. In bulk; things stowed without cases or packages. (See Bulk-head and Laden in Bulk.)

BULKER. A person employed to measure goods, and ascertain the amount of freight with which they are chargeable.

BULK-HEAD, The. Afore, is the partition between the forecastle and gratings in the head, and in which are the chase-ports.

BULK-HEADS. Partitions built up in several parts of a ship, to form and separate the various cabins from each other. Some are particularly strong, as those in the hold, which are mostly built with rabbeted or cyphered plank; others are light, and removable at pleasure. Indeed the word is applied to any division made with boards, to separate one portion of the 'tween decks from another.

BULK OF A SHIP. Implies the whole cargo when stowed in the hold.

BULL. An old male whale. Also, a small keg; also the weak grog made by pouring water into a spirit-cask nearly empty.

BULL-DANCE. At sea it is performed by men only, when without women. It is sometimes called a stag-dance.

BULL-DOG, or Muzzled Bull-dog. The great gun which stands "housed" in the officer's ward-room cabin. General term for main-deck guns.

BULLETIN. Any official account of a public transaction.

BULLET-MOULD. An implement for casting bullets.

BULLETS. Leaden balls with which all kinds of fire-arms are loaded.

BULL-HEAD, or Bull-jub. A name of the fish called miller's thumb (Cottus gobio).

BULLOCK-BLOCKS. Blocks secured under the top-mast trestle-trees, which receive the top-sail ties through them, in order to increase the mechanical power used in hoisting them up.

BULLOCK-SLINGS. Used to hoist in live bullocks.

BULL'S-EYE. A sort of block without a sheave, for a rope to reeve through; it is grooved for stropping. Also, the central mark of a[143] target. Also, a hemispherical piece of ground glass of great thickness, inserted into small openings in the decks, port-lids, and scuttle-hatches, for the admission of light below.

BULL'S-EYE CRINGLE. A piece of wood in the form of a ring, which answers the purpose of an iron thimble; it is seldom used by English seamen, and then only for the fore and main bowline-bridles.

BULL-TROUT. The salmon-trout of the Tweed. A large species of trout taken in the waters of Northumberland.

BULLYRAG, To. To reproach contemptuously, and in a hectoring manner; to bluster, to abuse, and to insult noisily. Shakspeare makes mine host of the Garter dub Falstaff a bully-rook.

BULWARK. The planking or wood-work round a vessel above her deck, and fastened externally to the stanchions and timber-heads. In this form it is a synonym of berthing. Also, the old name for a bastion.

BULWARK-NETTING. An ornamental frame of netting answering the purpose of a bulwark.

BUMBARD. A cask or large vessel for liquids. (See Bombard.) Trinculo, in the "Tempest," thinks an impending storm-cloud "looks like a foul bumbard."

BUM-BOAT. A boat employed to carry provisions, vegetables, and small merchandise for sale to ships, either in port or lying at a distance from the shore; thus serving to communicate with the adjacent town. The name is corrupted from bombard, the vessels in which beer was formerly carried to soldiers on duty.

BUMKIN, Bumpkin, or Boomkin. A short boom or beam of timber projecting from each bow of a ship, where it is fayed down upon the false rail. Its use is to extend the clue or lower corner of the fore-sail to windward, for which purpose there is a large block fixed on its outer end, through which the tack is passed, and when hauled tight down is said to be aboard. The name is also applied to the pieces on each quarter, for the main-brace blocks.

BUMKIN. A small out-rigger over the stern of a boat, usually serving to extend the mizen.

BUMMAREE. A word synonymous with bottomry, in maritime law. It is also a name given to a class of speculating salesmen of fish, not recognized as regular tradesmen.

BUMP, To. To bump a boat, is to pull astern of her in another, and insultingly or inimically give her the stem; a practice in rivers and narrow channels.

BUMP-ASHORE. Running stem-on to a beach or bank. A ship bumps by the action of the waves lifting and dropping her on the bottom when she is aground.[144]

BUMPERS. Logs of wood placed over a ship's side to keep off ice.

BUND. In India, an embankment; whence, Bunda head, and Bunda boat.

BUNDLE-UP! The call to the men below to hurry up on deck.

BUNDLING Things into a Boat. Loading it in a slovenly way.

BUNGLE, To. To perform a duty in a slovenly manner.

BUNGO, or Bonga. A sort of boat used in the Southern States of America, made of the bonga-tree hollowed out.

BUNG-STARTER. A stave shaped like a bat, which, applied to either side of the bung, causes it to start out. Also, a soubriquet for the captain of the hold. Also, a name given to the master's assistant serving his apprenticeship for hold duties.

BUNG-UP and BILGE-FREE. A cask so placed that its bung-stave is uppermost, and it rests entirely on its beds.

BUNK. A sleeping-place in the fore-peak of merchantmen; standing bed-places fixed on the sides between decks.

BUNKER. For stowing coal in steamers. Cellular spaces on each side which deliver the coal to the engine-room.—Wing-bunkers below the decks, cutting off the angular side-spaces of the hold, and hatched over, are usually filled with sand, holy-stones, brooms, junk-blocks, &c., saving stowage.

BUNT of a Sail. The middle part of it, formed designedly into a bag or cavity, that the sail may gather more wind. It is used mostly in top-sails, because courses are generally cut square, or with but small allowance for bunt or compass. "The bunt holds much leeward wind;" that is, it hangs much to leeward. In "handed" or "furled" sails, the bunt is the middle gathering which is tossed up on the centre of the yard.—To bunt a sail is to haul up the middle part of it in furling, and secure it by the bunt-gasket.

BUNTERS. The men on the yard who gather in the bunt when furling sails.

BUNT-FAIR. Before the wind.

BUNT-GASKET. See Gasket.

BUNTING. A name on our southern shores for the shrimp.

BUNTING, or Buntin. A thin woollen stuff, of which the ship's colours, flags, and signals are usually made.

BUNT-JIGGER. A small gun-tackle purchase, of two single blocks, one fitted with two tails, used in large vessels for bowsing up the bunt of a sail when furling: a peculiar combination of two points, fitted to a spar to which it is hooked.

BUNTLINE-CLOTH. The lining sewed up the fore-part of the sail in the direction of the buntline to prevent that rope from chafing the sail.[145]

BUNTLINE-CRINGLE. An eye worked into the bolt-rope of a sail, to receive a buntline. This is only in top-gallant sails, and is seldom used now. In the merchant service all buntlines are generally passed through an eyelet-hole in the sail, and clinched round its own part.

BUNTLINES. Ropes attached to the foot-ropes of top-sails and courses, which, passing over and before the canvas, turn it up forward, and thus disarm the force of the wind; at one-third from each clue, eyelet-holes are worked in the canvas, and by grummets passed through, a toggle is secured on both bights: to this buntline-toggle the buntline attaches by an eye or loop. When the sails are loosed to dry, the bowlines, unbent from the bridles, are attached to these toggles, and haul out the sails by the foot-ropes like table-cloths. The buntline is rove through a block at the mast-head, passes through the buntline span attached to the tye-blocks on the yard to retain them in the bunt, or amidships, down before all, and looped to the toggles aforesaid. By aid of the clue-lines, reef-tackles, and buntlines, a top-sail is taken in or quieted if the sheets carry away, but more especially by the buntlines, as the wind has no hold then to belly the canvas.

BUNTLINE-SPANS. Short pieces of rope with a thimble in one end, the other whipped; the buntlines are rove through these thimbles: they are attached to the tie-blocks to keep the sail in the bunt when hauled up.

BUNTLINE-TOGGLES. See Buntlines and Toggle.

BUNT SLAB-LINES. Reeve through a block on the slings of the yard or under the top, and pass abaft the sail, making fast to its foot. Their object is to lift the foot of a course so as to see underneath it, or to prevent it from chafing. Something of the same kind is used for top-sails, to keep them from rubbing on the stays when flapping in a calm.

BUOY. A sort of close cask, or block of wood, fastened by a rope to the anchor, to show its situation after being cast, that the ship may not come so near it as to entangle her cable about its stock or flukes.—To buoy a cable is to make fast a spar, cask, or the like, to the bight of the cable, in order to prevent its galling or rubbing on the bottom. When a buoy floats on the water it is said to watch. When a vessel slips her cable she attaches a buoy to it in order afterwards to recover it. Thus the blockading squadrons off Brest and in Basque Roads frequently slipped, by signal, and each in beautiful order returned and picked up their cables.—To stream the buoy is to let it fall from the ship's side into the water, which is always done before the anchor is let go, that it may not be fouled by the buoy-rope as it sinks to the bottom.—Buoys of various kinds are also placed upon rocks or sand-banks to direct mariners where to avoid danger.[146]

BUOYANCY. Capacity for floating lightly.—Centre of buoyancy, in naval architecture, the mean centre of that part of the vessel which is immersed in the water. (See Centre of Cavity.)

BUOYANT. The property of floating lightly on the water.

BUOY-ROPE. The rope which attaches the buoy to the anchor, which should always be of sufficient strength to lift the anchor should the cable part; it should also be little more in length than equal to the depth of the water (at high-water) where the anchor lies.—To bend the buoy-rope, pass the running eye over one fluke, take a hitch over the other arm, and seize. Or, take a clove-hitch over the crown on each arm or fluke, stopping the end to its own part, or to the shank.

BUOY-ROPE KNOT. Used where the end is lashed to the shank. A knot made by unlaying the strands of a cable-laid rope, and also the small strand of each large strand; and after single and double walling them, as for a stopper-knot, worm the divisions, and round the rope.

BURBOT. A fresh-water fish (Molva lota) in esteem with fishermen.

BURDEN. Is the quantity of contents or number of tons weight of goods or munitions which a ship will carry, when loaded to a proper sea-trim: and this is ascertained by certain fixed rules of measurement. The precise burden or burthen is about twice the tonnage, but then a vessel would be deemed deeply laden.

BURG [the Anglo-Saxon burh]. A word connected with fortification in German, as in almost all the Teutonic languages of Europe. In Arabic the same term, with the alteration of a letter, burj, signifies primarily a bastion, and by extension any fortified place on a rising ground. This meaning has been retained by all northern nations who have borrowed the word; and we, with the rest, name our towns, once fortified, burghs or boroughs.

BURGALL. A fish of the American coasts, from 6 to 12 inches long: it is also called the blue-perch, the chogset, and the nibbler—the last from its habit of nibbling off the bait thrown for other fishes.

BURGEE. A swallow-tailed or tapered broad pendant; in the merchant service it generally has the ship's name on it.

BURGOMASTER. In the Arctic Sea, a large species of gull (Larus glaucus).

BURGONET. A steel head-piece, or kind of helmet. Shakspeare makes Cleopatra, alluding to Antony, exclaim—

"The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men."
In the second part of "Henry VI." Clifford threatens Warwick—

"And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear,
And tread it underfoot with all contempt."
[147]BURGOO. A seafaring dish made of boiled oatmeal seasoned with salt, butter, and sugar. (See Loblolly and Skilly.)

BURLEY. The butt-end of a lance.

BURLEY-TWINE. A strong and coarse twine or small string.

BURN, or Bourne. The Anglo-Saxon term for a small stream or brook, originating from springs, and winding through meadows, thus differing from a beck. Shakspeare makes Edgar say in "King Lear"—

"Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me."
The word also signifies a boundary.

BURNETTIZE, To. To impregnate canvas, timber, or cordage with Sir William Burnett's fluid, a solution of chloride of zinc.

BURN THE WATER. A phrase denoting the act of killing salmon in the night, with a lister and lighted torch in the boat.

BURN-TROUT. A northern term for a small species of river-trout.

BURR. The iris or hazy circle which appears round the moon before rain. Also, a Manx or Gaelic term for the wind blowing across on the tide. Also, the sound made by the Newcastle men in pronouncing the letter R.

BURREL. A langrage shot, consisting of bits of iron, bullets, nails, and other matters, got together in haste for a sudden emergency.

BURROCK. A small weir over a river, where weals are laid for taking fish.

BURR-PUMP. A name of the bilge-pump.

BURSER. See Purser.

BURST. The explosion of a shell or any gun.

BURTHEN. See Burden.

BURTON. A small tackle rove in a particular manner; it is formed by two blocks or pulleys, with a hook-block in the bight of the running part; it is generally used to set up or tighten the shrouds, whence it is frequently termed a top-burton tackle; but it is equally useful to move or draw along any weighty body in the hold or on the deck, as anchors, bales of goods, large casks, &c. (See Spanish-burton.) The burton purchase, also runner-purchase (which see).

BUSH, or Bouche. A circular shouldered piece of metal, usually of brass, let into the lignum vitæ sheaves of such blocks as have iron pins, thereby preventing the sheave from wearing, without adding much to its weight. The operation of placing it in the wood is called bushing or coaking, though the last name is usually given to smaller bushes of a square shape. Brass bushes are also extensively applied in the marine steam-engine work. Also, in artillery, the plug (generally of copper, on account of the superior resistance of that metal to the flame of exploded gunpowder), having a diameter of about an inch, and[148] a length equal to the intended length of the vent, screwed into the metal of the gun at the place of the vent, which is then drilled in it. Guns may be re-bushed when the vent has worn too large, by the substitution of a new bush.

BUSH. The forests in the West Indies, Australia, &c.

BUSHED. Cased with harder metal, as that inserted into the holes of some rudder braces or sheaves in general, to prevent their wearing.


BUSKING. Piratical cruising; also, used generally, for beating to windward along a coast, or cruising off and on.

BUSS. A small strong-built Dutch vessel with two masts, used in the herring and mackerel fisheries, being generally of 50 to 70 tons burden.

BUST-HEAD. See Head.

BUSY as the Devil in a gale of wind. Fidgety restlessness, or double diligence in a bad cause; the imp being supposed to be mischievous in hard gales.

BUT. A northern name for a flounder or plaice. Also, a conical basket for catching fish.

BUTCHER'S BILL. A nickname for the official return of killed and wounded which follows an action.

BUTESCARLI. The early name for the sea-officers in the British Navy (see Equipment).

BUTT. The joining of two timbers or planks endways. Also, the opening between the ends of two planks when worked. Also, the extremities of the planks themselves when they are united, or abut against each other. The word likewise is used to denote the largest end of all timber. Planks under water as they rise are joined one end to another. In large ships butt-ends are most carefully bolted, for if any one of them should spring, or give way, the leak would be very dangerous and difficult to stop.—To start or spring a butt is to loosen the end of a plank by the ship's weakness or labouring.—Butt-heads are the same with butt-ends.—Butt is also a mark for shooting at, and the hind part of a musket or pistol. Also, a wine-measure of 126 gallons.

BUTT-AND-BUTT. A term denoting that the butt ends of two planks come together, but do not overlay each other. (See Hook and Butt and Hook-scarph.)

BUTT-END. The shoulder part of a fire-lock.

BUTTER-BOX. A name given to the brig-traders of lumpy form, from London, Bristol, and other English ports. A cant term for a Dutchman.

BUTTER-BUMP. A name of the bittern in the north.[149]

BUTTER-FINGERED. Having a careless habit of allowing things to drop through the fingers.

BUTTLE. An eastern-county name for the bittern.

BUTTOCK. The breadth of the ship astern from the tuck upwards: it is terminated by the counter above, by the bilge below, by the stern-post in the middle, and by the quarter on the side. That part abaft the after body, which is bounded by the fashion pieces, and by the wing transom, and the upper or second water-line. A ship is said to have a broad, or narrow, buttock according to her transom convexity under the stern.

BUTTOCK-LINES. In ship-building, the longitudinal curves at the rounding part of the after body in a vertical section.

BUTTON. The knob of metal which terminates the breech end of most guns, and which affords a convenient bearing for the application of handspikes, breechings, &c.

BUTTONS, To make. A common time-honoured, but strange expression, for sudden apprehension or misgiving.

BUTTRESS. In fortification. (See Counterforts.)

BUTT-SHAFT, or Butt-bolt. An arrow without a barb, used for shooting at a butt.


BUXSISH. A gratuity, in oriental trading.

BUZZING. Sometimes used for booming (which see).

BY. On or close to the wind.—Full and by, not to lift or shiver the sails; rap-full.

BY AND LARGE. To the wind and off it; within six points.

BYKAT. A northern term for a male salmon of a certain age, because of the beak which then grows on its under-jaw.

BYLLIS. An old spelling for bill (which see).

BYRNIE. Early English for body-armour.

BYRTH. The old expression for tonnage. (See Burden or Burthen.)

BYSSA. An ancient gun for discharging stones at the enemy.

BYSSUS. The silken filaments of any of the bivalved molluscs which adhere to rocks, as the Pinna, Mytilus, &c. The silken byssus of the great pinna, or wing-shell, is woven into dresses. In the Chama gigas it will sustain 1000 lbs. Also, the woolly substance found in damp parts of a ship.

BY THE BOARD. Over the ship's side. When a mast is carried away near the deck it is said to go by the board.

BY THE HEAD. When a ship is deeper forward than abaft.

BY THE LEE. The situation of a vessel going free, when she has fallen off so much as to bring the wind round her stern, and to take her sails aback on the other side.[150]

BY THE STERN. When the ship draws more water abaft than forward. (See By the Head.)

BY THE WIND. Is when a ship sails as nearly to the direction of the wind as possible. (See Full and By.) In general terms, within six points; or the axis of the ship is 671⁄2 degrees from the direction of the wind.

BY-WASH. The outlet of water from a dam or discharge channel.


CAAG. See Kaag.

CABANE. A flat-bottomed passage-boat of the Loire.

CABBAGE. Those principally useful to the seaman are the esculent cabbage-tree (Areca oleracea), which attains to a great height in the W. Indies. The sheaths of the leaves are very close, and form the green top of the trunk a foot and a half in length; this is cut off, and its white heart eaten. Also, the Crambe maritima, sea-kail, or marine cabbage, growing in the west of England.

CABIN. A room or compartment partitioned off in a ship, where the officers and passengers reside. In a man-of-war, the principal cabin, in which the captain or admiral lives, is the upper after-part of the vessel.

CABIN-BOY. A boy whose duty is to attend and serve the officers and passengers in the cabin.

CABIN-LECTURE. See Jobation.

CABIN-MATE. A companion, when two occupy a cabin furnished with two bed-places.

CABLE. A thick, strong rope or chain which serves to keep a ship at anchor; the rope is cable-laid, 10 inches in circumference and upwards (those below this size being hawsers), commonly of hemp or coir, which latter is still used by the Calcutta pilot-brigs on account of its lightness and elasticity. But cables have recently, and all but exclusively, been superseded by iron chain.—A shot of cable, two cables spliced together.

CABLE, To Coil a. To lay it in fakes and tiers one over the other.—To lay a cable. (See Laying.)—To pay cheap the cable, to hand it out apace; to throw it over.—To pay out more cable, to let more out of the ship.—To serve or plait the cable, to bind it about with ropes, canvas, &c.; to keep it from galling in the hawse-pipe. (See Rounding, Keckling[151], &c.)—To splice a cable, to make two pieces fast together, by working the several yarns of the rope into each other; with chain it is done by means of shackles.—To veer more cable, to let more out.

CABLE-BENDS. Two small ropes for lashing the end of a hempen cable to its own part, in order to secure the clinch by which it is fastened to the anchor-ring.

CABLE-BITTED. So bitted as to enable the cable to be nipped or rendered with ease.


CABLE-BUOYS. Peculiar casks employed to buoy up rope cables in a rocky anchorage, to prevent their rubbing against the rocks; they are also attached to the end of a cable when it is slipped, with the object of finding it again.

CABLE-ENOUGH. The call when cable enough is veered to permit of the anchor being brought to the cat-head.

CABLE-HANGER. A term applied to any person catching oysters in the river Medway, not free of the fishery, and who is liable to such penalty as the mayor and citizens of Rochester shall impose upon him.

CABLE-LAID ROPE. Is a rope of which each strand is a hawser-laid rope. Hawser-laid ropes are simple three-strand ropes, and range up to the same size as cablets, as from 3⁄4 to 9 inches. (See Rope.)

CABLE-SHEET, Sheet-cable. The spare bower cable belonging to a ship. Sheet is deemed stand-by, and is also applied to its anchor.

CABLE'S LENGTH. A measure of about 100 fathoms, by which the distances of ships in a fleet are frequently estimated. This term is frequently misunderstood. In all marine charts a cable is deemed 607·56 feet, or one-tenth of a sea mile. In rope-making the cable varies from 100 to 115 fathoms; cablet, 120 fathoms; hawser-laid, 130 fathoms, as determined by the admiralty in 1830.

CABLE-STAGE. A place constructed in the hold, or cable-tier, for coiling cables and hawsers on.

CABLE-STREAM, Stream-cable. A hawser or rope something smaller than the bower, used to move or hold the ship temporarily during a calm in a river or haven, sheltered from the wind and sea, &c.

CABLE-TIER. The place in a hold, or between decks, where the cables are coiled away.

CABOBBLED. Confused or puzzled.

CABOBS, or Kebaub. The Turkish name for small fillets of meat broiled on wooden spits; the use of the term has been extended eastward, and in India signifies a hot spiced dish of fish, flesh, or fowl.

CABONS. See Kaburns.

CABOOSE, or Camboose. The cook-room or kitchen of merchantmen[152] on deck; a diminutive substitute for the galley of a man-of-war. It is generally furnished with cast-iron apparatus for cooking.

CABOTAGE [Ital.] Sailing from cape to cape along a coast; or the details of coast pilotage.

CABURNS. Spun rope-yarn lines, for worming a cable, seizing, winding tacks, and the like.

CACAO [Sp.] The plant Theobroma, from which what is commonly termed cocoa is derived.

CACCLE, or Keccle. To apply a particular kind of service to the cable. (See Keckling.)

CACHE. A hidden reservoir of provision (to secure it from bears) in Arctic travel. Also, a deposit of despatches, &c.

CADE. A small barrel of about 500 herrings, or 1000 sprats.

CADENCE. The uniform time and space for marching, more indispensable to large bodies of troops than to parties of small-arm men; yet an important part even of their drill. The regularity requisite in pulling.

CADET. A volunteer, who, serving at his own charge, to learn experience, waits for preferment; a designation, recently introduced, for young gentlemen formerly rated volunteers of the first class. Properly, the younger son in French.

CADGE, To. To carry.—Cadger, a carrier. Kedge may be a corruption, as being carriable.

CÆSAR'S PENNY. The tip given by a recruiting sergeant.

CAFFILA. See Kafila.

CAGE. An iron cage formed of hoops on the top of a pole, and filled with combustibles to blaze for two hours. It is lighted one hour before high-water, and marks an intricate channel navigable for the period it burns; much used formerly by fishermen.

CAGE-WROCK. An old term for a ship's upper works.

CAIQUE, or Kaique. A small Levantine vessel. Also, a graceful skiff seen in perfection at Constantinople, where it almost monopolizes the boat traffic. It is fast, but crank, being so narrow that the oars or sculls have their looms enlarged into ball-shaped masses to counter-balance their out-board length. It has borne for ages the wave-line now brought out in England as the highest result of marine architecture. It may have from one to ten or twelve rowers.

CAIRBAN. A name in the Hebrides for the basking-shark.

CAIRN. Piles of stones used as marks in surveying.

CAISSON, or Caissoon. An adopted term for a sort of float sunk to a required depth by letting water into it, when it is hauled under the ship's bottom, receives her steadily, and on pumping out the water floats her. These were long used in Holland, afterwards at Venice,[153] and in Russia, where they were known as camels (which see). Caisson is also a vessel fitted with valves, to act instead of gates for a dry dock. Used also in pontoons (which see).

CAKE-ICE. Ice formed in the early part of the season.

CALABASH. Cucurbita, a gourd abundant within the tropics, furnishing drinking and washing utensils. At Tahiti and the Sandwich Islands they attain a diameter of 2 feet. There is also a calabash-tree, the fruit not exceeding the size of oranges.

CALABASS. An early kind of light musket with a wheel-lock. Bourne mentions it in 1578.

CALALOO. A dish of fish and vegetables.

CALAMUS. See Rattan.

CALANCA. A creek or cove on Italian and Spanish coasts.

CALAVANCES [Phaseolus vulgaris. Haricot, Fr.] Small beans sometimes used for soup, instead of pease.

CALCULATE, To. This word, though disrated from respectability by American misuse, signified to foretell or prophesy; it is thus used by Shakspeare in the first act of "Julius Cæsar." To calculate the ship's position, either from astronomical observations or rate of the log.

CALENDAR. A distribution of time. (See Almanac.)

CALENDAR-TIME. On which officers' bills are drawn.

CALF. A word generally applied to the young of marine mammalia, as the whale.—Calf, in the Arctic regions, a mass of floe ice breaking from under a floe, which when disengaged rises with violence to the surface of the water; it differs from a tongue, which is the same body kept fixed beneath the main floe. The iceberg is formed by the repeated freezing of thawed snow running down over the slopes, until at length the wave from beneath and weight above causes it to break off and fall into the sea, or, as termed in Greenland, to calve. Thus, berg, is fresh-water ice, the work of years. The floe, is salt water frozen suddenly each winter, and dissolving in the summer.

CALF, or Calva. A Norwegian name, also used in the Hebrides, for islets lying off islands, and bearing a similar relation to them in size that a calf does to a cow. As the Calf at Mull and the Calf of Man.

CALFAT. The old word for caulking. [Calfater, Fr.; probably from cale, wedge, and faire, to make.] To wedge up an opening with any soft material, as oakum. [Calafatear, Sp.]

CALIBER, or Calibre. The diameter of the bore of a gun, cannon, shot, or bullet. A ship's caliber means the known weight her armament represents.

CALIPASH. The upper shell of a turtle.

CALIPEE. The under shell of a turtle.

CALIVER. A hand-gun or arquebuss; probably the old name of the[154] matchlock or carabine, precursors of the modern fire-lock, or Enfield rifle. (See Calabass.)

CALL. A peculiar silver pipe or whistle, used by the boatswain and his mates to attract attention, and summon the sailors to their meals or duties by various strains, each of them appropriated to some particular purpose, such as hoisting, heaving, lowering, veering away, belaying, letting go a tackle-fall, sweeping, &c. This piping is as attentively observed by sailors, as the bugle or beat of drum is obeyed by soldiers. The coxswains of the boats of French ships of war are supplied with calls to "in bow oar," or "of all," "oars," &c.

CALLIPERS. Bow-legged compasses, used to measure the girth of timber, the external diameter of masts, shot, and other circular or cylindrical substances. Also, an instrument with a sliding leg, used for measuring the packages constituting a ship's cargo, which is paid for by its cubical contents.

CALL THE WATCH. This is done every four hours, except at the dog-watches, to relieve those on deck, also by pipe. "All the watch," or all the starboard, or the port, first, second, third, or fourth watches.

CALM. There being no wind stirring it is designated flat, dead, or stark, under each of which the surface of the sea is unruffled.

CALM LATITUDES. That tropical tract of ocean which lies between the north-east and south-east trade-winds; its situation varies several degrees, depending upon the season of the year. The term is also applied to a part of the sea on the Polar side of the trades, between them and the westerly winds.

CALVERED SALMON. Salmon prepared in a peculiar manner in early times.

CALVE'S TONGUE. A sort of moulding usually made at the caps and bases of round pillars, to taper or hance the round part to the square.

CAMBER. The part of a dockyard where cambering is performed, and timber kept. Also, a small dock in the royal yards, for the convenience of loading and discharging timber. Also, anything that curves upwards.—To camber, to curve ship-planks.

CAMBER-KEELED. Keel slightly arched upwards in the middle of the length, but not actually hogged.

CAMBOOSE. A form of caboose (which see).

CAMELS. All large ships are built, at St. Petersburg, in a dockyard off the Granite Quay, where the water is shallow; therefore a number of camels or caissons are kept at Cronstadt, for the purpose of carrying them down the river. Camels are hollow cases of wood, constructed in two halves, so as to embrace the keel, and lay hold of the hull of a ship on both sides. They are first filled with water and sunk, in order[155] to be fixed on. The water is then pumped out, when the vessel gradually rises, and the process is continued until the ship is enabled to pass over the shoal. Similar camels were used at Rotterdam about 1690.

CAME-TO. Brought to an anchor.

CAMFER. See Chamfer.

CAMISADO. A sudden surprise or assault of the enemy.

CAMOCK. A very early term for crooked timber.

CAMP. The whole extent of ground on which an army pitches its tents and lodges. (See Decamp.)

CAMP, or Camp-out, To. In American travel, to rest for the night without a standing roof; whether under a light tent, a screen of boughs, or any makeshift that the neighbourhood may afford.

CAMPAIGN. A series of connected operations by an army in the field, unbroken by its retiring into quarters.

CAMPAIGNER. A veteran soldier.

CAMP-EQUIPAGE. See Equipage.

CAMPER. See Kemp.

CAMPESON. See Gambison.


CAN. A tin vessel used by sailors to drink out of.

CANAICHE, or Canash. An inner port, as at Granada in the West Indies.

CANAL-BOAT. A barge generally towed by horses, but furnished with a large square-sail for occasional use.

CAN-BODIES. The old term for anchor-buoys, now can-buoys.

CAN-BUOYS. Are in the form of a cone, and therefore would countenance the term cone-buoys. They are floated over sands and other obstructions in navigation, as marks to be avoided; they are made very large, to be seen at a distance; where there are several, they are distinguished by their colour, as black, red, white, or chequered; &c.

CANCELLED TICKET. One rendered useless by some subsequent arrangement or clerk's error. In either case the word "cancelled" is to be written across in large characters, and due record made. The corner cut off cancels good character, yet they are a certificate for time.

CANCER. The Crab; the fourth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of June, and commences the summer solstice.

CANDLE-BARK. A cylindrical tin box for candles.

CANE. The rattan (Calamus rudentum), is extensively used in the East for rigging, rope, and cables. The latter have remained for years at the bottom of the sea uninjured by teredo, or any destructive crustacea. The cables, too, resist any but the sharpest axes, when used to connect logs as booms, to stop the navigation of rivers.[156]

CANEVAS. The old word for hempen canvas; but many races, even the Chinese, make sails entirely of cane. The Americans frequently use cotton, and term that cloth duck. In the islands of the South Pacific it is made from the bark of various trees, grasses, &c.

CAN-HOOKS. They are used to sling a cask by the chimes, or ends of its staves, and are formed by reeving the two ends of a piece of rope or chain through the eyes of two flat hooks, and there making them fast. The tackle is then hooked to the middle of the bight.

CANISTER SHOT. See Case-shot.

CANNIKIN. A small drinking-vessel.

CANNON. The well-known piece of artillery, mounted in battery on board or on shore, and made either of brass or iron. The principal parts are:—1st. The breech, together with the cascable and its button, called by seamen the pommelion. The breech is of solid metal, from the bottom of the concave cylinder or chamber to the cascable. 2d. The trunnions, which project on each side, and serve to support the cannon, hold it almost in equilibrio. 3d. The bore or caliber, is the interior of the cylinder, wherein the powder and shot are lodged when the cannon is loaded. The entrance of the bore is called the mouth or muzzle. It may be generally described as gradually tapering, with the various modifications of first and second reinforce and swell, to the muzzle or forward end. (See Gun.)

CANNONADE. The opening and continuance of the fire of artillery on any object attacked. Battering with cannon-shot.

CANNON-PERER. An ancient piece of ordnance used in ships of war for throwing stone shot.

CANNON-PETRONEL. A piece of ordnance with a 6-inch bore which carried a 24-lb. ball.

CANNON, RIFLED. Introduced by Captain Blakely, Sir W. Armstrong, and others.

CANNON ROYAL. A 60-pounder of eight and a half inches bore. (See Carthoun.)

CANNON-SERPENTINE. An old name for a gun of 7-inches bore.

CANOE. A peculiar boat used by several uncivilized nations, formed of the trunk of a tree hollowed out, and sometimes of several pieces of bark joined together, and again of hide. They are of various sizes, according to the uses for which they are designed, or the countries to which they belong. Some carry sail, but they are commonly rowed with paddles, somewhat resembling a corn-shovel; and instead of rowing with it horizontally, as with an oar, they manage it perpendicularly. In Greenland and Hudson Bay, the Esquimaux limits of America, skin-boats are chiefly in use, under the name of kaiack, oomiak, baidar, [157]&c.

CANOPUS. The lucida of Argo Navis, and a Greenwich star. Also, a city of classical importance, visited by the heroes of the Trojan war, the reputed burial-place of the pilot of Menelaus, &c. But, as some ancient places have been so fortunate as to renew their classical importance in modern times, so this, under the modern name of Abukeir, has received a new "stamp of fate," by its overlooking, like Salamis, the scene of a naval battle, which also led to a decision of the fate of nations. In this bay Nelson, at one blow, destroyed the fleet of the enemy, and cut off the veteran army of France from the shores of Egypt. The Canopian mouth of the Nile was the most westerly of all the branches of that celebrated river.

CANOPY. A light awning over the stern-sheets of a boat.

CANT, To. To turn anything about, or so that it does not stand square. To diverge from a central right line. Cant the boat or ship; i.e. for careening her.

CANT. A cut made in a whale between the neck and the fins, to which the cant-purchase is made fast, for turning the animal round in the operation of flensing.

CANTARA. A watering-place.

CANT-BLOCKS. The large purchase-blocks used by whalers to cant the whales round under the process of flensing.

CANT-BODY. An imaginary figure of that part of a ship's body which forms the shape forward and aft, and whose planes make obtuse angles with the midship line of the ship.

CANTEEN. A small tin vessel for men on service to carry liquids. Also, a small chest containing utensils for an officer's messing. Also, a kind of sutling-house in garrisons.

CANTERA. A Spanish fishing-boat.

CANT-FALLS. See Spike-tackle.

CANT-HOOK. A lever with a hook at one end for heavy articles.

CANTICK-QUOINS. Short three-edged pieces of wood to steady casks from labouring against each other.

CANTING BALLAST. Is when by a sudden gust or stress of weather a ship is thrown so far over that the ballast settles to leeward, and prevents the ship from righting.

CANTING-LIVRE. See Console-bracket.

CANT-LINE. Synonymous with girt-line, as to cant the top over the lowermast-head.

CANTONMENTS. Troops detached and quartered in different towns and villages near each other.

CANT-PURCHASE. This is formed by a block suspended from the mainmast-head, and another block made fast to the cant cut in the whale. (See Cant-blocks.)[158]

CANT-RIBBONS. Those ribbons that do not lie in a horizontal or level direction.

CANT-ROPE. See Four-cant.

CANT-SPAR. A hand-mast pole, fit for making small masts or yards, booms, &c.

CANT-TIMBERS. They derive their name from being canted or raised obliquely from the keel. The upper ends of those on the bow are inclined to the stem, as those in the after-part incline to the stern-post above. In a word, cant-timbers are those which do not stand square with the middle line of the ship. They may be deemed radial bow or stern-timbers.

CANVAS [from cannabis, hemp]. A cloth made of hemp, and used for the sails of ships. It is purchased in bolts, and numbered from 1 to 8, rarely to 9 and 10. Number 1 being the coarsest and strongest, is used for the lower sails, as fore-sail and main-sail in large ships. When a vessel is in motion by means of her sails she is said to be under canvas.

CANVAS-BACK DUCK. An American wild duck (Fuligula valisneria), which takes this name from the colour of the back feathers; much esteemed as a delicacy.

CANVAS-CLIMBER. A word used by Marston for a sailor who goes aloft; hence Marina tells Leonine—

"And, clasping to a mast, endur'd a sea
That almost burst the deck, and from the ladder-tackle
Wash'd off a canvas-climber."
CAP. A strong thick block of wood having two large holes through it, the one square, the other round, used to confine two masts together, when one is erected at the head of the other, in order to lengthen it. The principal caps of a ship are those of the lower masts, which are fitted with a strong eye-bolt on each side, wherein to hook the block by which the top-mast is drawn up through the cap. In the same manner as the top mast slides up through the cap of the lower mast, the topgallant-mast slides up through the cap of the top-masts. When made of iron the cap used to be called a crance.—To cap a mast-head is placing tarpaulin guards against weather. The term is applied to any covering such as lead put over iron bolts to prevent corrosion by sea-water, canvas covers over the ends of rigging, &c. &c. Also, pieces of oak laid on the upper blocks on which a vessel is built, to receive the keel. They are split out for the addition of the false keel, and therefore should be of the most free-grained timber. Also, the coating which guards the top of a quill tube. Also, the percussion priming for fire-arms.—Cap-a-pied, armed from head to foot.[159]

CAP, To. To puzzle or beat in argument. To salute by touching the head-covering, as Shakspeare makes Iago's friends act to Othello. It is now more an academic than a sea-term.

CAPABARRE. An old term for misappropriating government stores. (See Marryat's Novels.)

CAPACISE. A corrupt form of capsize.

CAPACITY. Burden, tonnage, fitness for the service, rating.

CAPE. A projecting point of land jutting out from the coast-line; the extremity of a promontory, of which last it is the secondary rank. It differs from a headland, since a cape may be low. The Cape of Good Hope is always familiarly known as "The Cape." Cape was also used for a rhumb-line.

CAPE, To. To keep a course. How does she cape? how does she lie her course?

CAPE FLY-AWAY. A cloud-bank on the horizon, mistaken for land, which disappears as the ship advances. (See Fog.)

CAPE-HEN. See Molly-mawk.

CAPELLA. The lucida of Auriga, and a nautical star.

CAPE-MERCHANT [capo]. An old name for super-cargo in early voyages, as also the head merchant in a factory.

CAPE-PIGEON, or Cape-petrel. A sea-bird which follows a ship in her passage round the cape; the Procellaria capensis. (See Pintados.)

CAPER. A light-armed vessel of the 17th century, used by the Dutch for privateering.


CAPFUL OF WIND. A light flaw, which suddenly careens a vessel and passes off.

CAPITAL of a Work. In fortification, an imaginary line bisecting its most prominent salient angle.

CAPITANA. Formerly the principal galley in a Mediterranean fleet: the admiral's ship.

CAPITULATION. The conditions on which a subdued force surrenders, agreed upon between the contending parties.

CAPLIN, or Capelin. A fish of the family Clupeidæ, very similar to a smelt; frequently imported from Newfoundland dried. It is the general bait for cod-fish there.

CAP'N. The way in which some address the commanders of merchant vessels.

CAPON. A jeering name for the red-herring.

CAPONNIERE. In fortification, a passage across the bottom of the ditch, covered, at the least, by a parapet on each side, and very generally also with a bomb-proof roof, when it may be furnished with many guns, which are of great importance in the defence of a fortress,[160] as the besieger can hardly silence them till he has constructed batteries on the brink of the ditch.

CAPOTE. A good storm-coat with a hood, much worn in the Levant, and made of a special manufacture.

CAPPANUS. The worm which adheres to, and gnaws the bottom of a ship, to prevent which all ships should be sheathed with copper.

CAPPED. A ship making against a race or very strong currents.

CAPRICORNUS. The tenth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of December, and opens the winter solstice.

CAP-SCUTTLE. A framing composed of coamings and head-ledges raised above the deck, with a top which shuts closely over into a rabbet.

CAP-SHORE. A supporting spar between the cap and the trestle-tree.

CAPSIZE, To. To upset or overturn anything.

CAP-SQUARE. The clamp of iron which shuts over the trunnions of a gun to secure them to the carriage, having a curve to receive one-third part of the trunnion, the other two being sunk in the carriage; it is closed by forelocks.

CAPSTAN, Cabestan, Capstern, Capston, &c. A mechanical arrangement for lifting great weights. There is a variety of capsterns, but they agree in having a horizontal circular head, which has square holes around its edge, and in these long bars are shipped, and are said to be "swifted" when their outer ends are traced together; beneath is a perpendicular barrel, round which is wrapped the rope or chain used to lift the anchor or other great weight, even to the heaving a ship off a shoal. Now, in most ships where a capstern is used to lift the anchor, the chain cable is itself brought to the capstern. The purchase or lifting power is gained by the great sweep of the bars. A perpendicular iron spindle passes through the whole capstern, and is stepped into a socket on the deck below the one on which it stands. In some cases capsterns are double in height, so that bars may be worked on two decks, giving more room for the men.

CAPSTAN, To come up the. In one sense is to lift the pauls and walk back, or turn the capstan the contrary way, thereby slackening, or letting out some of the rope on which they have been heaving. The sudden order would be obeyed by surging, or letting go any rope on which they were heaving. Synonymous to "Come up the purchase."

CAPSTAN, To heave at the. To urge it round, by pushing against the bars, as already described.

CAPSTAN, To man the. To place the sailors at it in readiness to heave.

CAPSTAN, To paul the. To drop all the pauls into their sockets, to prevent the capstan from recoiling during any pause of heaving.[161]

CAPSTAN, To rig the. To fix the bars in their respective holes, thrust in the pins to confine them, and reeve the swifter through the ends.

CAPSTAN, Surge the. Is the order to slacken the rope which is wound round the barrel while heaving, to prevent it from riding or fouling. This term specially applies to surging the messenger when it rides, or when the two lashing eyes foul on the whelps or the barrel.

CAPSTAN-BAR PINS. Pins inserted through their ends to prevent their unshipping.

CAPSTAN-BARRING. An obsolete sea-punishment, in which the offender was sentenced to carry a capstan-bar during a watch.

CAPSTAN-BARS. Long pieces of wood of the best ash or hickory, one end of which is thrust into the square holes in the drumhead, like the spokes of a wheel. They are used to heave the capstan round, by the men setting their hands and chests against them, and walking round. They are also held in their places in the drumhead holes, by little iron bolts called capstan or safety pins, to prevent their flying out when the surging overcomes the force of the men. Many men have been killed by this action, and more by the omission to "pin and swift."


CAPSTAN-STEP. (See Step of the Capstan.) The men march round to the tune of a fiddle or fife, and the phrase of excitement is, "Step out, lads, make your feet tell."

CAPSTAN-SWIFTER. A rope passed horizontally through notches in the outer ends of the bars, and drawn very tight: the intent is to steady the men as they walk round when the ship rolls, and to give room for a greater number to assist, by manning the swifters both within and without.

CAPTAIN. This title is said to be derived from the eastern military magistrate katapan, meaning "over everything;" but the term capitano was in use among the Italians nearly 200 years before Basilius II. appointed his katapan of Apulia and Calabria, a.d. 984. Hence, the corruption of the Apulian province into capitanata. Among the Anglo-Saxons the captain was schipp-hláford, or ship's lord. The captain, strictly speaking, is the officer commanding a line-of-battle ship, or a frigate carrying twenty or more cannon. A captain in the royal navy is answerable for any bad conduct in the military government, navigation, and equipment of his ship; also for any neglect of duty in his inferior officers, whose several charges he is appointed to regulate. It is also a title, though incorrectly, given to the masters of all vessels whatever, they having no commissions. It is also applied in the navy itself to the chief sailor of particular gangs of men; in rank,[162] captain of the forecastle, admiral's coxswain, captain's coxswain, captain of the hold, captain of main-top, captain of fore-top, &c.

CAPTAIN. A name given to the crooner, crowner, or gray gurnard (Trigla gurnardus).

CAPTAIN of a Merchant Ship. Is a certificated officer in the mercantile marine, intrusted with the entire charge of a ship, both as regards life and property. He is in no way invested with special powers to meet his peculiar circumstances, but has chiefly to depend upon moral influence for maintaining order amongst his passengers and crew during the many weeks or even months that he is cut off from appeal to the laws of his country, only resorting to force on extreme occasions. Great tact and judgment is required to fulfil this duty properly.

CAPTAIN of a Ship of War. Is the commanding officer; as well the post-captain (a title now disused) as those whose proper title is commander.

CAPTAIN of the Fleet. Is a temporary admiralty appointment; he is entitled to be considered as a flag-officer, and to a share in the prize-money accordingly. He carries out all orders issued by the commander-in-chief, but his special duty is to keep up the discipline of the fleet, in which he is supreme. He is the adjutant-general of the force, hoisting the flag and wearing the uniform of rear-admiral.

CAPTAIN of the Head. Not a recognized rating, but an ordinary man appointed to attend to the swabs, and to keep the ship's head clean.

CAPTAIN of the Hold. The last of the captains in rank, as a first-class petty officer.

CAPTAIN of the Port. The captain of the port is probably better explained by referring to that situation at Gibraltar. He belongs to the Board of Health; he controls the entries and departures, the berthing at the anchorage, and general marine duties, but possesses no naval authority. Hence, the port-captain is quite another officer. (See Port-captain.)

CAPTAIN-GENERAL. The highest army rank.

CAPTAIN'S CLERK. One whose duty is strictly to keep all books and official papers necessary for passing the captain's accounts at the admiralty.

CAPTAIN'S CLOAK. The jocose name given to the last sweeping clause, the thirty-sixth article of war:—"All other crimes not capital, and for which no punishment is hereby directed to be inflicted, shall be punished according to the laws and customs in such cases used at sea."

CAPTAIN'S GIG. See Gig.[163]

CAPTAIN'S STORE-ROOM. A place of reserve on the platform deck, for the captain's wines and sea-stores.

CAPTIVE. A prisoner of war.

CAPTORS. The conquerors of and sharers in the proceeds of a prize. Captors are not at liberty to release prisoners belonging to the ships of the enemy. The last survivor is in law the only captor.

CAPTURE. A prize taken by a ship of war at sea; is the taking forcible possession of vessels or goods belonging to one nation by those of a hostile nation. Vessels are looked on as prizes if they fight under any other standard than that of the state from which they have their commission; if they have no charty-party, manifest, or bill of lading, or if loaded with effects belonging to the king's enemies, or even contraband goods. Whether the capture be lawful or unlawful, the insurer is rendered liable to the loss.

CAR. A north-country word, denoting any swampy land surrounded by inclosures, and occasionally under water.

CARABINEER. One who uses the carbine.

CARACK, Carrak, or Carrick. A large ship of burden, the same with those called galleons. Hippus, the Tyrian, is said to have first devised caracks, and onerary vessels of prodigious bulk for traffic or offence.

CARACORA. A proa of Borneo, Ternate, and the Eastern Isles; also called caracol by early voyagers.

CARAMOUSSAL. A Turkish merchant ship with a pink-stern.

CARAVEL, or Caravela. A Portuguese despatch boat, lateen-rigged, formerly in use; it had square sails only on the fore-mast, though dignified as a caravela.

CARAVELAO. A light pink-sterned vessel of the Azores.

CARBASSE. See Karbatz.

CARBIN. A name in our northern isles for the basking shark.

CARBINE, or Carabine. A fire-arm of less length and weight than a musket, originally carrying a smaller ball, though latterly, for the convenience of the supply of ammunition, throwing the same bullet as the musket, though with a smaller charge. It has been proper to mounted troops since about a.d. 1556, and has been preferred to the musket as a weapon for the tops of ships as well as boats.

CARCASS. An iron shell for incendiary purposes, filled with a very fiercely flaming composition of saltpetre, sulphur, resin, turpentine, antimony, and tallow. It has three vents for the flame, and sometimes is equipped with pistol barrels, so fitted in its interior as to discharge their bullets at various times.

CARCASS OF A SHIP. The ribs, with keel, stem, and stern-post, after the planks are stripped off.[164]

CARCATUS [from caricato, It.] A law-term for a freighted ship.

CARD. The dial or face of the magnetic compass-card.

"Reason the card, but passion is the gale."—Pope.
Probably derived from cardinal.

CARDINAL POINTS. The general name by which the north, east, south, and west rhumbs of the horizon are distinguished.

CARDINAL POINTS OF THE ECLIPTIC. The equinoctial and solstitial points; namely, the commencement of Aries and Libra, and of Cancer and Capricornus.

CARDINAL SIGNS. The zodiacal signs which the sun enters at the equinoxes and solstices.

CARDINAL WINDS. Those from the due north, east, south, and west points of the compass.

CAREEN, To. A ship is said to careen when she inclines to one side, or lies over when sailing on a wind; off her keel or carina.

CAREENING. The operation of heaving the ship down on one side, by arranging the ballast, or the application of a strong purchase to her masts, which require to be expressly supported for the occasion to prevent their springing; by these means one side of the bottom, elevated above the surface of the water, may be cleansed or repaired. (See Breaming.) But this operation is now nearly superseded by sheathing ships with copper, whereby they keep a clean bottom for several years.

CAREENING BEACH. A part of the strand prepared for the purpose of a ship's being grounded on a list or careen, to repair defects.

CARFINDO. One of the carpenter's crew.

CARGO. The merchandise a ship is freighted with.

CARGO-BOOK. The master of every coasting-vessel is required to keep a cargo-book, stating the name of the ship, of the master, of the port to which she belongs, and that to which she is bound; with a roll of all goods, shippers, and consignees. In all other merchant ships the cargo-book is a clean copy of all cargo entered in the gangway-book, and shows the mark, number, quality, and (if measurement goods) the dimensions of such packages of a ship's cargo.

CARICATORE. Places where the traders of Sicily take in their goods, from caricare, to load.

CARINA. An old term, from the Latin, for the keel, or a ship's bottom. The north-country term keel means an entire vessel: "So many keels touched the strand." (See Keel.)

CARL, or Male Hemp. See Fimble or Female Hemp.

CARLE-CRAB. The male of the black-clawed crab, Cancer pagurus; also of the partan or common crab.

CARLINE-KNEES. Timbers going athwart the ship, from the sides to the hatchway, serving to sustain the deck on both sides.[165]

CARLINES, or Carlings. Pieces of timber about five inches square, lying fore and aft, along from one beam to another. On and athwart these the ledges rest, whereon the planks of the deck and other portions of carpentry are made fast. The carlines have their end let into the beams, called "culver-tail-wise," or scored in pigeon-fashion. There are other carlines of a subordinate character.

CARLINO, or Caroline. A small silver coin of Naples, value 4d. English. Ten carlini make a ducat in commerce.

CARN-TANGLE. A long and large fucus, thrown on our northern beaches after a gale of wind in the offing.

CAROUS. A sort of gallery in ancient ships, which turned on a pivot. It was hoisted to a given height by tackles, and thus brought to project over, or into, the vessel of an adversary, furnishing a bridge for boarding.

CARP. A well-known fresh-water fish of the Cyprinidæ family, considered to have been introduced into England in the time of Henry VIII.; but in Dame Berner's book on angling, published in 1486, it is described as the "daynteous fysshe" in England.

CARPENTER, Ship. A ship-builder. An officer appointed to examine and keep in order the hull of a ship, and all her appurtenances, likewise the stores committed to him by indenture from the store-keeper of the dockyard. The absence of other tradesmen whilst a ship is at sea, and the numerous emergencies in which ships are placed requiring invention, render a good ship's carpenter one of the most valuable artizans on board.

CARPENTER'S CREW. Consists of a portion of the crew, provided for ship-carpentry and ship-building. In ships of war there are two carpenter's mates and one caulker, one blacksmith, and a carpenter's crew, according to the size of the ship.

CARPENTER'S STORE-ROOM. An apartment built below, on the platform-deck, for keeping the carpenter's stores and spare tools in.


CARPET-KNIGHT. A man who obtains knighthood on a pretence for services in which he never participated.

CARPET-MEN. Those officers who, without services or merit, obtain rapid promotion through political or other interest, and are yet declared "highly meritorious and distinguished."

CARR. See Car.

CARRAC, Carraca, Carrack, or Carricke. A name given by the Spaniards and Portuguese to the vessels they sent to Brazil and the East Indies; large, round built, and fitted for fight as well as burden. Their capacity lay in their depth, which was extraordinary. English vessels of size and value were sometimes also so called.[166]

CARRARA. The great northern diver, Colymbus glacialis.

CARREE. A Manx or Gaelic term for the scud or small clouds that drive with the wind.

CARRIAGE of a Gun. The frame on which it is mounted for firing, constructed either exclusively for this purpose, or also for travelling in the field. Carriages for its transport only, are not included under this term. The first kind only is in general use afloat, where it usually consists of two thick planks (called brackets or cheeks) laid on edge to support the trunnions, and resting, besides other transverse connections, on two axle-trees, which are borne on low solid wooden wheels called trucks, or sometimes, to diminish the recoil, on flat blocks called chocks. The hind axle-tree takes, with the intervention of various elevating arrangements, the preponderance of the breech. The second kind is adapted for field and siege work: the shallow brackets are raised in front on high wheels, but unite behind into a solid beam called the trail, which tapers downwards, and rests on the ground when in action, but for travel is connected to a two-wheeled carriage called a limber (which see). Gun-carriages are chiefly made of elm for ship-board, as less given to splinter from shot, and of oak on shore; wrought-iron, however, is being applied for the carriages of the large guns recently introduced, and even cast-iron is economically used in some fortresses little liable to sudden counter-battery.

CARRICK. An old Gaelic term for a castle or fortress, as well as for a rock in the sea.

CARRICK-BEND. A kind of knot, formed on a bight by putting the end of a rope over its standing part, and then passing it.

CARRICK-BITTS. The bitts which support the ends or spindles of the windlass, whence they are also called windlass-bitts.

CARRIED. Taken, applied to the capture of forts and ships.

CARRONADE. A short gun, capable of carrying a large ball, and useful in close engagements at sea. It takes its name from the large iron-foundry on the banks of the Carron, near Falkirk, in Scotland, where this sort of ordnance was first made, or the principle applied to an improved construction. Shorter and lighter than the common cannon, and having a chamber for the powder like a mortar, they are generally of large calibre, and carried on the upper works, as the poop and forecastle.

CARRONADE SLIDE. Composed of two wide balks of elm on which the carronade carriage slides. As the slide is bolted to the ship's side, and is a radius from that bolt or pivot, carronades were once the only guns which could be truly concentrated on a given object.

CARRY, To. To subdue a vessel by boarding her. To move anything along the decks. (See Lash and Carry, as relating to hammocks.)[167] Also, to obtain possession of a fort or place by force. Also, the direction or movement of the clouds. Also, a gun is said to carry its shot so many yards. Also, a ship carries her canvas, and her cargo.

CARRY AWAY, To. To break; as, "That ship has carried away her fore-topmast," i.e. has broken it off. It is customary to say, we carried away this or that, when knocked, shot, or blown away. It is also used when a rope has been parted by violence.

CARRYING ON DUTY. The operations of the officer in charge of the deck or watch.

CARRYING ON THE WAR. Making suitable arrangements for carrying on the lark or amusement.

CARRY ON, To. To spread all sail; also, beyond discretion, or at all hazards. In galley-slang, to joke a person even to anger; also riotous frolicking.


CARTE BLANCHE. In the service sense of the term, implies an authority to act at discretion.

CARTEL. A ship commissioned in time of war to exchange the prisoners of any two hostile powers, or to carry a proposal from one to the other; for this reason she has only one gun, for the purpose of firing signals, as the officer who commands her is particularly ordered to carry no cargo, ammunition, or implements of war. Cartel also signifies an agreement between two hostile powers for a mutual exchange of prisoners. In late wars, ships of war fully armed, but under cartel, carried commissions for settling peace, as flags of truce. Cartel-ships, by trading in any way, are liable to confiscation.

CARTHOUN. The ancient cannon royal, carrying a 66-lb. ball, with a point blank range of 185 paces, and an extreme one of about 2000. It was 12 feet long and of 81⁄2 inches diameter of bore.

CARTOUCH-BOX. The accoutrement which contains the musket-cartridges: now generally called a pouch.

CARTOW. See Cart-piece.

CART-PIECE. An early battering cannon mounted on a peculiar cart.

CARTRIDGE. The case in which the exact charge of powder for fire-arms is made up—of paper for small-arms, of flannel for great guns, or of sheet metal for breech-loading muskets. For small-arms generally the cartridge contains the bullet as well as the powder, and in the case of most breech-loaders, the percussion priming also; in the case of some very light pieces the shot is included, and then named a round of "fixed ammunition;" and for breech-loading guns some sort of lubricator is generally inclosed in the forward end of the cartridge.

CARTRIDGE-BOX. A cylindrical wooden box with a lid sliding upon a handle of small rope, just containing one cartridge, and used for its[168] safe conveyance from the magazine to the gun—borne to and fro by powder-monkeys (boys) of old. The term is loosely applied to the ammunition pouch.

CARUEL. See Carvel.

CARVED WORK. The ornaments of a ship which are wrought by the carver.

CARVEL. A light lateen-rigged vessel of small burden, formerly used by the Spaniards and Portuguese. Also, a coarse sea-blubber, on which turtles are said to feed.

CARVEL-BUILT. A vessel or boat, the planks of which are all flush and smooth, the edges laid close to each other, and caulked to make them water-tight: in contradistinction to clinker-built, where they overlap each other.

CARY. See Mother Cary's Chicken. Procellaria pelagica.

CASCABLE. That generally convex part of a gun which terminates the breech end of it. The term includes the usual button which is connected to it by the neck of the cascable.

CASCADE. A fall of water from a considerable height, rather by successive stages than in a single mass, as with a cataract.

CASCO. A rubbish-lighter of the Philippine Islands.

CASE. The outside planking of the ship.

CASE-BOOK. A register or journal in which the surgeon records the cases of all the sick and wounded, who are placed under medical treatment.

CASEMATE. In fortification, a chamber having a vaulted roof capable of resisting vertical fire, and affording embrasures or loop-holes to contribute to the defence of the place: without these it would be merely a bomb-proof.

CASERNES. Often considered as synonymous with barracks; but more correctly small lodgments erected between the ramparts and houses of a fortified town, to ease the inhabitants by quartering soldiers there, who are also in better condition for duty than if living in various parts.

CASE-SHOT, Common. Called also canister-shot. Adapted for close quarters if the enemy be uncovered. It consists of a number of small iron balls, varying in weight and number, packed in a cylindrical tin case fitting the bore of the gun from which it is to be fired. Burrel, langrage, and other irregular substitutes, may be included under the term. Spherical case-shot are officially called shrapnel shell (which see).

CASHIERED. Sentenced by a court-martial to be dismissed the service. By such sentence an officer is rendered ever after incapable of serving the sovereign in any position, naval or military.[169]

CASING. The lining, veneering, or planking over a ship's timbers, especially for the cabin-beams; the sheathing of her. Also a bulk-head round a mast to prevent the interference of cargo, or shifting materials.

CASING-COVER. In the marine steam-engine is a steam-tight opening for the slide-valve rod to pass through.

CASK. A barrel for fluid or solid provisions. (See Stowage.)

CASKETS (properly Gaskets). Small ropes made of sinnet, and fastened to grummets or little rings upon the yards. Their use is to make the sail fast to the yard when it is to be furled.

CASSAVA, or Cassada. A species of the genus Jatropha janipha, well known to seamen as the cassava bread of the West Indies. Tapioca is produced from the Jatropha manihot. Caution is necessary in the use of these roots, as the juice is poisonous. The root used as chewsticks, to cleanse the teeth and gums, by the negroes, produces a copious flow of frothy saliva.

CAST. A coast term meaning four, as applied to haddocks, herrings, &c. Also, the appearance of the sky when day begins to break. A cast of pots, &c.—A'cast, when a ship's yards are braced a'cast preparatory to weighing. Also condemned, cast by survey, &c.

CAST, To. To fall off, so as to bring the direction of the wind on one side of the ship, which before was right ahead. This term is particularly applied to a ship riding head to wind, when her anchor first loosens from the ground. To pay a vessel's head off, or turn it, is getting under weigh on the tack she is to sail upon, and it is casting to starboard, or port, according to the intention.—To cast anchor. To drop or let go the anchor for riding by—synonymous with to anchor.—To cast a traverse. To calculate and lay off the courses and distances run over upon a chart.—To cast off. To let go at once. To loosen from.

CAST. A short boat passage.

CAST-AWAY. Shipwrecked.

CAST-AWAYS. People belonging to vessels stranded by stress of weather. Men who have hidden themselves, or are purposely left behind, when their vessel quits port.


CAST-KNEES. Those hanging knees which compass or arch over the angle of a man-of-war's ports, rider, &c.

CASTLE. A place strong by art or nature, or by both. A sort of little citadel. (See Forecastle, Aft-castle, &c.)

CASTLE-WRIGHTS. Particular artificers employed in the erection of the early ship's castles.

CAST-OFFS. Landsmen's clothes.[170]

CAST OF THE LEAD. The act of heaving the lead into the sea to ascertain what depth of water there is. (See also Heave the Lead and Sounding.) The result is a cast—"Get a cast of the lead."

CASTOR. α Gemini, a well-known nautical star in the zodiac, which has proved to be a double star.

CASTOR AND POLLUX. Fiery balls which appear at the mast-heads, yard-arms, or sticking to the rigging of vessels in a gale at sea. (See Compasant and Corposant.)

CASTRAMETATION. The art of planning camps, and selecting an appropriate position, in which the main requirement is that the troops of all arms should be so planted in camp as immediately to cover their proper positions in the line of battle.


CASUALTIES. In a military sense, comprehends all men who die, are wounded, desert, or are discharged as unfit for service.

CAT. A ship formed on the Norwegian model, and usually employed in the coal and timber trade. These vessels are generally built remarkably strong, and may carry six hundred tons; or in the language of their own mariners, from 20 to 30 keels of coals. A cat is distinguished by a narrow stern, projecting quarters, a deep waist, and no ornamental figure on the prow.

CATALAN. A small Spanish fishing-boat.

CATAMARAN. A sort of raft used in the East Indies, Brazils, and elsewhere: those of the island of Ceylon, like those of Madras and other parts of that coast, are formed of three logs; the timber preferred for their construction is the Dúp wood, or Cherne-Maram, the pine varnish-tree. Their length is from 20 to 25 feet, and breadth 21⁄2 to 31⁄2 feet, secured together by means of three spreaders and cross lashings, through small holes; the centre log is much the largest, with a curved surface at the fore-end, which tends and finishes upwards to a point. The side logs are very similar in form, and fitted to the centre log. These floats are navigated with great skill by one or two men, in a kneeling position; they think nothing of passing through the surf which lashes the beach at Madras and at other parts of these coasts, when even the boats of the country could not live upon the waves; they are also propelled out to the shipping at anchor when boats of the best construction and form would be swamped. In the monsoons, when a sail can be got on them, a small out-rigger is placed at the end of two poles, as a balance, with a bamboo mast and yard, and a mat or cotton-cloth sail, all three parts of which are connected; and when the tack and sheet of the sail are let go, it all falls fore and aft alongside, and being light, is easily managed. In carrying a press of sail, they are trimmed by the balance-lever, by going out on the[171] poles so as to keep the log on the surface of the water, and not impede its velocity, which, in a strong wind, is very great.

CATANADROMI. Migratory fishes, which have their stated times of going from fresh-water to salt and returning, as the salmon, &c.

CATAPULT. A military engine used by the ancients for throwing stones, spears, &c.

CATARACT. The sudden fall of a large body of water from a higher to a lower level, and rather in a single sheet than by successive leaps, as in a cascade.

CATASCOPIA. Small vessels anciently used for reconnoitring and carrying despatches.

CAT-BEAM. This, called also the beak-head beam, is the broadest beam in the ship, and is generally made of two beams tabled and bolted together.

CAT-BLOCK. A two or three fold block, with an iron strop and large hook to it, which is employed to cat or draw the anchor up to the cat-head, which is also fitted with three great sheaves to correspond.

CATCH. A term used among fishermen to denote a quantity of fish taken at one time.

CATCH A CRAB. In rowing, when an oar gets so far beneath the surface of the water, that the rower cannot recover it in time to prevent his being knocked backwards.

CATCH A TURN THERE. Belay quickly.

CATCH-FAKE. An unseemly doubling in a badly coiled rope.

CATERER. A purveyor and provider of provisions: now used for the person who takes charge of and regulates the economy of a mess. (See Acater.)

CAT-FALL. The rope rove for the cat-purchase, by which the anchor is raised to the cat-head or catted.

CAT-FISH. A name for the sea-wolf (Anarrhicas lupus).

CAT-GUT. A term applied to the sea-laces or Fucus filum. (See Sea-catgut.)

CAT-HARPINGS, or Catharpin Legs. Ropes under the tops at the lower end of the futtock-shrouds, serving to brace in the shrouds tighter, and affording room to brace the yards more obliquely when the ship is close-hauled. They keep the shrouds taut for the better ease and safety of the mast.

CAT-HEAD. The cat-head passes through the bow-bulwark obliquely forward on a radial line from the fore-mast, rests on the timbers even with the water-way, passes through the deck, and is secured to the side-timbers. It is selected from curved timber. Its upper head is on a level with the upper rail; it is furnished with three great sheaves, and externally strengthened by a cat-head knee. It not only is used[172] to lift the anchor from the surface of the water, but as it "looks forward," the cat-block is frequently lashed to the cable to aid by its powerful purchase when the capstan fails to make an impression. The cat-fall rove through the sheaves, and the cat-block furnish the cat-purchase. The cat-head thus serves to suspend the anchor clear of the bow, when it is necessary to let it go: the knee by which it is supported is generally ornamented with carving. Termed also cat-head bracket.

CAT-HOLES. Places or spaces made in the quarter, for carrying out fasts or springs for steadying or heaving astern.

CAT-HOOK. A strong hook which is a continuation of the iron strop of the cat-block, used to hook the ring of the anchor when it is to be drawn up or catted.

CAT-LAP. A common phrase for tea or weak drink.

CAT O' NINE TAILS. An instrument of punishment used on board ships in the navy; it is commonly of nine pieces of line or cord, about half a yard long, fixed upon a piece of thick rope for a handle, and having three knots on each, at small intervals, nearest one end; with this the seamen who transgress are flogged upon the bare back.

CATRAIA. The catraia of Lisbon and Oporto, or pilot surf-boats, are about 56 feet long, by 15 feet beam, impelled by sixteen oars.

CAT-RIG. A rig which in smooth water surpasses every other, but, being utterly unsuited for sea or heavy weather, is only applicable to pleasure-boats who can choose their weather. It allows one sail only—an enormous fore-and-aft main-sail, spread by a gaff at the head and a boom at the foot, hoisted on a stout mast, which is stepped close to the stem.

CAT-ROPE. A line for hauling the cat-hook about: also cat-back-rope, which hauls the block to the ring of the anchor in order to hook it.

CAT'S-PAW. A light air perceived at a distance in a calm, by the impressions made on the surface of the sea, which it sweeps very gently, and then passes away, being equally partial and transitory. Old superstitious seamen are seen to scratch the backstays with their nails, and whistle to invoke even these cat's-paws, the general forerunner of the steadier breeze. Cat's-paw is also a name given to a particular twisting hitch, made in the bight of a rope, so as to induce two small bights, in order to hook a tackle on them both. Also, good-looking seamen employed to entice volunteers.

CAT'S-SKIN. A light partial current of air, as with the cat's-paw.

CAT'S-TAIL. The inner part of the cat-head, that fays down upon the cat-beam.

CAT-STOPPER, or Cathead-stopper. A piece of rope or chain rove through the ring of an anchor, to secure it for sea, or singled before letting it go.[173]

CAT-TACKLE. A strong tackle, used to draw the anchor perpendicularly up to the cat-head, which latter is sometimes called cat.

CATTAN. See Katan.

CAT THE ANCHOR. When the cat is hooked and "cable enough" veered and stoppered, the anchor hangs below the cat-head, swings beneath it; it is then hauled close up to the cat-head by the purchase called the cat-fall. The cat-stopper is then passed, and the cat-block unhooked.

CATTING. The act of heaving the anchor by the cat-tackle. Also, sea-sickness.

CATTY. A Chinese commercial weight of 18 ozs. English. Tea is packed in one or two or more catty boxes, hence most likely our word tea-caddy.

CAUDAL FIN. The vertical median fin terminating the tail of fishes.

CAUDICARIÆ. A kind of lighter used by the Romans on the Tiber.

CAUL. The membrane encompassing the head of some infants when born, and from early antiquity esteemed an omen of good fortune, and a preservative against drowning; it was sought by the Roman lawyers with as much avidity as by modern voyagers. Also, a northern name for a dam-dike. Also, an oriental license. (See Kaule.)

CAULK, To. (See Caulking.) To lie down on deck and sleep, with clothes on.

CAULKER. He who caulks and pays the seams. This word is mistaken by many for cawker (which see).

CAULKER'S SEAT. A box slung to a ship's side whereon a caulker can sit and use his irons; it contains his tools and oakum.

CAULKING of a Ship. Forcing a quantity of oakum, or old ropes untwisted and drawn asunder, into the seams of the planks, or into the intervals where the planks are joined together in the ship's decks or sides, or rends in the planks, in order to prevent the entrance of water. After the oakum is driven in very hard, hot melted pitch or rosin is poured into the groove, to keep the water from rotting it. Among the ancients the first who made use of pitch in caulking were the inhabitants of Phæacia, afterwards called Corfu. Wax and rosin appear to have been commonly used before that period; and the Poles still substitute an unctuous clay for the same purpose for the vessels on their navigable rivers.

CAULKING-BUTT. The opening between ends or joints of the planks when worked for caulking.

CAULKING-IRONS. The peculiar chisels used for the purpose of caulking: they are the caulking-iron, the making-iron, the reeming-iron, and the rasing-iron.

CAULKING-MALLET. The wooden beetle or instrument with which the caulking-irons are driven.[174]

CAURY. Worm-eaten.

CAVALIER. In fortification, a work raised considerably higher than its neighbours, but generally of similar plan. Its object is to afford a plunging fire, especially into the near approaches of a besieger, and to shelter adjacent faces from enfilade. Its most frequent position in fortresses is at the salient of the ravelin, or within the bastion; and in siege-works in the advanced trenches, for the purpose of enabling the musketry of the attack to drive the defenders out of the covered way.

CAVALLO, by some Carvalhas. An oceanic fish, well-known as the bonito or horse-mackerel.

CAVALOT. A gun carrying a ball of one pound.

CAVALRY. That body of soldiers which serves and fights on horseback.

CAVER. See Kaver.

CAVIARE. A preparation of the roe of sturgeons and other fish salted. It forms a lucrative branch of commerce in Italy and Russia.

CAVIL. A large cleat for belaying the fore and main tacks, sheets, and braces to. (See Kevels.)

CAVITY. In naval architecture signifies the displacement formed in the water by the immersed bottom and sides of the vessel.

CAWE, or Cawfe. An east-country eel-box, or a floating perforated cage in which lobsters are kept.

CAWKER. An old term signifying a glass of strong spirits taken in the morning.

CAY, or Cayos. Little insulated sandy spots and rocks. The Spaniards in the West Indies called the Bahamas Los Cayos, which we wrote Lucayos. (See Key.)

CAZE-MATTE. See Casemate.

CAZERNS. See Casernes.

C.B. The uncials of Companion of the most honourable Order of the Bath. This grade was recently distributed so profusely that an undecorated veteran testily remarked that if government went on thus there would soon be more C.B.'s than A.B.'s in the navy.

CEASE FIRING. The order to leave off.

CEILING. The lining or planks on the inside of a ship's frame: these are placed on the flat of the floor, and carried up to the hold-beams. The term is a synonym of foot-waling (which see).

CELLS. See Sills.

CELOCES, or Celetes. Light row-boats, formerly used in piracy, and also for conveying advice.

CEMENT, Roman. For docks, piers, &c. See Pozzolana.

CENTIME. See Franc.

CENTINEL. See Sentinel.

CENTRAL ECLIPSE. See Eclipse.[175]

CENTRE (usually Center). The division of a fleet between the van and the rear of the line of battle, and between the weather and lee divisions in the order of sailing.

CENTRE of Cavity, of Displacement, of Immersion, and of Buoyancy, are synonymous terms in naval architecture for the mean centre of that part of a vessel which is immersed in the water.

CENTRE OF GRAVITY, or Balancing Point. See Gravity.

CENTRE OF MOTION. See Motion (Centre of).

CENTURION. A military officer who commanded one hundred men, in the Roman armies.

CEOLA. A very old term for a large ship.

CERADENE. A large fresh-water mussel.

CERCURI. Ancient ships of burden fitted with both sails and oars.

CERTIFICATE. A voucher or written testimony to the truth of any statement. An attestation of servitude, signed by the captain, is given with all discharges of men in the navy.

CERTIFY, To. To bear official testimony.

CESSATION OF ARMS. A discontinuation or suspension of hostilities.

CETINE. An ancient large float, says Hesychius, "in bulk like a whale;" derived from cetus, which applied both to whale and ship.

C.G. Coast-guard (which see).

CHAD. A fish like a small bream, abundant on the south-west coasts of England.

CHAFE, To. To rub or fret the surface of a cable, mast, or yard, by the motion of the ship or otherwise, against anything that is too hard for it.—Chafing-gear, is the stuff put upon the rigging and spars to prevent their being chafed.

CHAFFER. A name for a whale or grampus of the northern seas.

CHAFING-CHEEKS. A name given by old sailors to the sheaves instead of blocks on the yards in light-rigged vessels.

CHAFING-GEAR. Mats, sinnet, spun-yarn, strands, battens, scotchmen, and the like.

CHAIN. When mountains, hills, lakes, and islands are linked together, or follow each other in succession, so that their whole length greatly exceeds their breadth, they form what is termed a chain. A measuring chain is divided into links, &c., made of stout wire, because line is apt to shrink on wet ground and give way. The chain measure is 66 feet.

CHAINAGE OF SHIP. An old right of the admiral.

CHAIN-BOLT. A large bolt to secure the chains of the dead-eyes through the toe-link, for the purpose of securing the masts by the shrouds. Also, the bolts which fasten the channel-plates to the ship's side.

CHAIN-CABLE COMPRESSOR. A curved arm of iron which[176] revolves on a bolt through an eye at one end, at the other is a larger eye in which a tackle is hooked; it is used to bind the cable against the pipe through which it is passing, and check it from running out too quickly.

CHAIN-CABLE CONTROLLER. A contrivance for the prevention of one part of the chain riding on another while heaving in.

CHAIN-CABLES. Are not new; Cæsar found them on the shores of the British Channel. In 1818 I saw upwards of eighty sail of vessels with them at Desenzano, on the Lago di Garda. They have all but superseded hemp cables in recent times; they are divided into parts 15 fathoms in length, which are connected by shackles, any one of which may be slipped in emergency; at each 71⁄2 fathoms a swivel used to be inserted, but in many cases they are now dispensed with.

CHAIN-CABLE SHACKLES. Used for coupling the parts of a chain-cable at various lengths, so that they may be disconnected when circumstance demands it.

CHAIN-HOOK. An iron rod with a handling-eye at one end, and a hook at the other, for hauling the chain-cables about.

CHAIN-PIPE. An aperture through which a chain-cable passes from the chain-well to the deck above.

CHAIN-PLATES. Plates of iron with their lower ends bolted to the ship's sides under the channels, and to these plates the dead-eyes are fastened; other plates lap over and secure them below. Formerly, and still in great ships, the dead-eyes were linked to chain-pieces, and from their being occasionally made in one plate they have obtained this appellation.

CHAIN-PUMP. This is composed of two long metal tubes let down through the decks somewhat apart from each other, but joined at their lower ends, which are pierced with holes for the admission of water. Above the upper part of the tubes is a sprocket-wheel worked by crank handles; over this wheel, and passing through both tubes, is an endless chain, furnished at certain distances with bucket valves or pistons, turning round a friction-roller. The whole, when set in motion by means of the crank handles, passing down one tube and up the other, raises the water very rapidly.

CHAINS, properly Chain-wales, or Channels. Broad and thick planks projecting horizontally from the ship's outside, to which they are fayed and bolted, abreast of and somewhat behind the masts. They are formed to project the chain-plate, and give the lower rigging greater out-rig or spread, free from the top-sides of the ship, thus affording greater security and support to the masts, as well as to prevent the shrouds from damaging the gunwale, or being hurt by rubbing against it. Of course they are respectively designated fore, main, and mizen.[177] They are now discontinued in many ships, the eyes being secured to the timber-heads, and frequently within the gunwale to the stringers or lower shelf-pieces above the water-way.—In the chains, applies to the leadsman who stands on the channels between two shrouds to heave the hand-lead.

CHAIN-SHOT. Two balls connected either by a bar or chain, for cutting and destroying the spars and rigging of an enemy's ship.

CHAIN-SLINGS. Chains attached to the sling-hoop and mast-head, by which a lower yard is hung. Used for boat or any other slings demanded.

CHAIN-STOPPER. There are various kinds of stoppers for chain-cables, mostly acting by clamping or compression.

CHAIN, Top. A chain to sling the lower yards in time of battle, to prevent them from falling down when the ropes by which they are hung are shot away.

CHAIN-WELL, or Locker. A receptacle below deck for containing the chain-cable, which is passed thither through the deck-pipe.

CHALAND. A large flat-bottomed boat of the Loire.

CHALDERS. Synonymous with gudgeons of the rudder.

CHALDRICK. An Orkney name for the sea-pie (Hæmatopus ostralegus).

CHALDRON. A measure of coals, consisting of 36 bushels; a cubic yard = 19 cwts. 19 lbs.

CHALINK. A kind of Massoolah boat.

CHALK, To. To cut.—To walk one's chalks, to run off; also, an ordeal for drunkenness, to see whether the suspected person can move along the line. "Walking a deck-seam" is to the same purpose, as the man is to proceed without overstepping it on either side.

CHALKS. Marks. "Better by chalks:" wagers were sometimes determined by he who could reach furthest or highest, and there make a chalk-mark.—Long chalks, great odds.

CHALLENGE. The demand of a sentinel to any one who approaches his post. Also, the defiance to fight.

CHAMADE. To challenge attention. A signal made by beat of drum when a conference is desired by the enemy on having matter to propose. It is also termed beating a parley.

CHAMBER, or Chamber-piece. A charge piece in old ordnance, like a paterero, to put into the breech of a gun prepared for it. (See Murderer.) Used by the Chinese, as in gingals (which see).

CHAMBER OF A MINE. The seat or receptacle prepared for the powder-charge, usually at the end of the gallery, and out of the direct line of it; and, if possible, tamped or buried with tight packing of earth, &c., to increase the force of explosion.[178]

CHAMBER OF A PIECE OF ORDNANCE. The end of the bore modified to receive the charge of powder. In mortars, howitzers, and shell-guns, they are of smaller diameter than the bore, for the charges being comparatively small, more effect is thus expected. The gomer chamber (which see) is generally adopted in our service. In rifled guns the powder-chamber is not rifled; it and the bullet-chamber differ in other minute respects from the rest of the bore. Patereroes for festive occasions are sometimes called chambers; as the small mortars, formerly used for firing salutes in the parks, termed also pint-pots from their shape and handles.

CHAMBERS. Clear spaces between the riders, in those vessels which have floor and futtock riders.

CHAMFER. The cutting or taking off a sharp edge or angle from a plank or timber. It is also called camfering.

CHAMPION. The great champion of England, who at the coronation of the sovereign throws down his gauntlet, and defies all comers. Held at the coronations of George IV., William IV., and Victoria, by a naval officer, a middy in 1821.

CHANCERY, In. When a ship gets into irons. (See Irons.)

CHANCY. Dangerous.

CHANDLER, Ship. Dealer in general stores for ships.

CHANGE. In warrantry, is the voluntary substitution of a different voyage for a merchant ship than the one originally specified or agreed upon, an act which discharges the insurers. (See Deviation.)

CHANGEY-FOR-CHANGEY. A rude barter among men-of-war's men, as bread for vegetables, or any "swap."

CHANNEL. In hydrography, the fair-way, or deepest part of a river, harbour, or strait, which is most convenient for the track of shipping. Also, an arm of the sea, or water communication running between an island or islands and the main or continent, as the British Channel. In an extended sense it implies any passage which separates lands, and leads from one ocean into another, without distinction as to shape.

CHANNEL-BOLTS. The long bolts which pass through all the planks, and connect the channel to the side.

CHANNEL-GROPERS. The home-station ships cruising in the Channel; usually small vessels to watch the coast in former times, and to arrest smugglers.

CHANNEL-GROPING. The carrying despatches, and cruising from port to port in soundings.

CHANNEL-PLATES. See Chain-plates.

CHANNEL-WALES. Strakes worked between the gun-deck and the upper deck ports of large ships. Also, the outside plank which receives the bolts of the chain-plates. The wale-plank extends fore and aft to support the channels.[179]

CHANTICLEER. A name in the Frith of Forth for the dragonet or gowdie (Callionymus lyra). The early or vigilant cock, from which several English vessels of war have derived their names.

CHAP. A general term for a man of any age after boyhood; but it is not generally meant as a compliment.

CHAPE. The top locket of a sword scabbard.

CHAPELLING A SHIP. The act of turning her round in a light breeze, when she is close hauled, without bracing the head-yards, so that she will lie the same way that she did before. This is commonly occasioned by the negligence of the steersman, or by a sudden change of the wind.

CHAPLAIN. The priest appointed to perform divine service on board ships in the royal navy.

CHAPMAN. A small merchant or trader; a ship's super-cargo.

CHAR. A fine species of trout taken in our northern lakes.

CHARACTERS. Certain marks invented for shortening the expression of mathematical calculations, as +, -, ×, ÷, =, : :: :, √, &c.

CHARGE. The proportional quantity of powder and ball wherewith a gun is loaded for execution. The rules for loading large ordnance are: that the piece be first cleaned or scoured inside; that the proper quantity of powder be next driven in and rammed down, care however being taken that the powder in ramming be not bruised, because that weakens its effect; that a little quantity of paper, lint, or the like, be rammed over it, and then the ball be intruded. If the ball be red hot, a tompion, or trencher of green wood, is to be driven in before it. Also, in martial law, an indictment or specification of the crime of which a prisoner stands accused. Also, in evolutions, the brisk advance of a body to attack an enemy, with bayonets fixed at the charge, or firmly held at the hip. Also, the command on duty, every man's office.—A ship of charge, is one so deeply immersed as to steer badly.—To charge a piece, is to put in the proper quantity of ammunition.

CHARGER. The horse ridden by an officer in action; a term loosely applied to any war-horse.

CHARITY-SLOOPS. Certain 10-gun brigs built towards the end of Napoleon's war, something smaller than the 18-gun brigs; these were rated sloops, and scandal whispers "in order that so many commanders might charitably be employed."

CHARLES'S WAIN. The seven conspicuous stars in Ursa Major, of which two are called the pointers, from showing a line to the pole-star.

CHART, or Sea-chart. A hydrographical map, or a projection of some part of the earth's superficies in plano, for the use of navigators, further distinguished as plane-charts, Mercator's charts, globular charts, and the bottle or current chart, to aid in the investigation of surface[180] currents (all which see). A selenographic chart represents the moon, especially as seen by the aid of photography and Mr. De la Rue's arrangement.

CHARTER. To charter a vessel is to take her to freight, under a charter-party. The charter or written instrument by which she is hired to carry freight.

CHARTERED SHIP. One let to hire to one or more, or to a company. A general ship is where persons, unconnected, load goods.

CHARTERER. The person hiring or chartering a ship, or the government or a company by their agents.

CHARTER-PARTY. The deed or written contract between the owners and the merchants for the hire of a ship, and safe delivery of the cargo; thus differing from a bill of lading, which relates only to a portion of the cargo. It is the same in civil law with an indenture at the common law. It ought to contain the name and burden of the vessel, the names of the master and freighters, the place and time of lading and unlading, and stipulations as to demurrage. The charter-party is dissolved by a complete embargo, though not by the temporary stopping of a port. It is thus colloquially termed a pair of indentures.

CHASE, To. To pursue a ship, which is also called giving chase.—A stern chase is when the chaser follows the chased astern, directly upon the same point of the compass.—To lie with a ship's fore-foot in a chase, is to sail and meet with her by the nearest distance, and so to cross her in her way, as to come across her fore-foot. A ship is said to have a good chase when she is so built forward or astern that she can carry many guns to shoot forwards or backwards; according to which she is said to have a good forward or good stern chase. Chasing to windward, is often termed chasing in the wind's eye.

CHASE. The vessel pursued by some other, that pursuing being the chaser. This word is also applied to a receptacle for deer and game, between a forest and a park in size, and stored with a larger stock of timber than the latter.

CHASE, Bow. Cannon situated in the fore part of the ship to fire upon any object ahead of her. Chasing ahead, or varying on either bow.

CHASE of a Gun. That part of the conical external surface extending from the moulding in front of the trunnions to that which marks the commencement of the muzzle; that is, in old pattern guns, from the ogee of the second reinforce, to the neck or muzzle astragal.

CHASE-GUNS. Such guns as are removed to the chase-ports ahead or astern, if not pivot-guns.

CHASE-PORTS. The gun-ports at the bows and through the stern of a war-ship.[181]

CHASER. The ship which is pursuing another.

CHASE-SIGHT. Where the sight is usually placed.

CHASE-STERN. The cannon which are placed in the after-part of a ship, pointing astern.

CHASSE MAREES. The coasting vessels of the French shores of the Channel; generally lugger-rigged; either with two or three masts, and sometimes a top-sail; the hull being bluffer when used for burden only, are thus distinguished from luggers. They seldom venture off shore, but coast it.

CHATHAM. See Chest of Chatham.

CHATS. Lice. Also lazy fellows.

CHATTA, or Chatty. An Indian term for an earthen vessel sometimes used for cooking.

CHAW. See Quid.

CHEATING THE DEVIL. Softenings of very profane phrases, the mere euphemisms of hard swearing, as od rot it, od's blood, dash it, dang you, see you blowed first, deuce take it, by gosh, be darned, and the like profane preludes, such as boatswains and their mates are wont to use.

CHEAT THE GLASS. See Flogging the Glass.

CHEBACCO BOAT. A description of fishing-vessel employed in the Newfoundland fisheries. It is probably named from Chebucto Bay.

CHECK. (See Bowline.) To slack off a little upon it, and belay it again. Usually done when the wind is by, or as long as she can lay her course without the aid of the bowline.—To check is to slacken or ease off a brace, which is found to be too stiffly extended, or when the wind is drawing aft. It is also used in a contrary sense when applied to the cable running out, and then implies to stopper the cable.—Check her, stop her way.

CHECKERS. A game much used by seamen, especially in the tops, where usually a checker-board will be found carved.

CHECKING-LINES. These are rove through thimbles at the eyes of the top-mast and top-gallant rigging, one end bent to the lift and brace, the other into the top. They are used to haul them in to the mast-head, instead of sending men aloft.

CHEEK. Insolent language.—Own cheek, one's self.—Cheeky, flippant.

CHEEK-BLOCKS. Usually fitted to the fore-topmast head, for the purpose of leading the jib-stay, halliards, &c.

CHEEKS. A general term among mechanics for those pieces of timber in any machine which are double, and perfectly corresponding to each other. The projections at the throat-end of a gaff which embrace the mast are termed jaws. Also, the sides of a gun-carriage. (See Brackets.) Also, the sides of a block. Also, an old soubriquet for a marine, derived from a rough pun on his uniform in olden days.[182]

CHEEKS, or Cheek-knees. Pieces of compass-timber on the ship's bows, for the security of the beak-head, or knee of the head, whence the term head-knee. Two pieces of timber fitted on each side of a mast, from beneath the hounds and its uppermost end. Also, the circular pieces on the aft-side of the carrick-bitts.

CHEEKS OF AN EMBRASURE. The interior faces or sides of an embrasure.

CHEEKS OF THE MAST. The faces or projecting parts on each side of the masts, formed to sustain the trestle-trees upon which the frame of the top, together with the top-mast, immediately rest. (See Hounds and Bibbs.)

CHEER, To. To salute a ship en passant, by the people all coming on deck and huzzahing three times; it also implies to encourage or animate. (See also Hearty and Man Ship!)

CHEERING. The result of an animated excitement in action, which often incites to valour. Also, practised on ships parting at sea, on joining an admiral, &c. In piratical vessels, to frighten their prey with a semblance of valour.

CHEERLY. Quickly; with a hearty will. "Cheerly, boys, cheerly," when the rope comes in slowly, or hoisting a sail with a few hands.

CHEESE. A circle of wads covered with painted canvas.

CHELYNGE. An early name of the cod-fish.

CHEQUE, or Check. An office in dockyards. Cheque for muster, pay, provision, desertion, discharged, or dead—under DDD. or DSqd.

CHEQUE, Clerk of the. An officer in the royal dockyards, who goes on board to muster the ship's company, of whom he keeps a register, thereby to check false musters, the penalty of which is cashiering.

CHEQUERED SIDES. Those painted so as to show all the ports; more particularly applicable to two or more rows.

CHERIMERI. In the East, a bribe in making a contract or bargain.

CHERRY. A species of smelt or spurling, taken in the Frith of Tay.

CHESIL. From the Anglo-Saxon word ceosl, still used for a bank or shingle, as that remarkable one connecting the Isle of Portland with the mainland, called the Chesil Beach.

CHESS-TREE. A piece of oak fastened with iron bolts on each top-side of the ship. Used for boarding the main-tack to, or hauling home the clues of the main-sail, for which purpose there is a hole in the upper part, through which the tack passes, that extends the clue of the sail to windward. Where chain has been substituted of late for rope, iron plates with thimble-eyes are used for chess-trees.

CHEST OF CHATHAM. An ancient institution, restored and established by an order in council of Queen Elizabeth, in 1590, supported[183] by a contribution from each seaman and apprentice, according to the amount of his wages, for the wounded and hurt seamen of the royal navy, under the name of smart-money.

CHEST-ROPE. The same with the guest or gift rope, and is added to the boat-rope when the boat is towed astern of the ship, to keep her from sheering, i.e. from swinging to and fro. (See Guess-warp.)

CHEVAUX DE FRISE. An adopted term for pickets pointed with iron, and standing through beams, to stop an enemy: this defence is also called a turn-pike or pike-turn.

CHEVENDER. An old name for the chevin or chub.

CHEVILS. See Kevels.

CHEVIN. An old name for the chub.

CHEVRON. The distinguishing mark on the sleeves of sergeants' and corporals' coats, the insignia of a non-commissioned officer. Also, a mark recently instituted as a testimony of good conduct in a private. Further, now worn by seamen getting good-service pay.

CHEWING OF OAKUM or Pitch. When a ship suffers leakage from inefficient caulking. (See Seam.)

CHEZ-VOUS. A kind of "All Souls" night in Bengal, when meats and fruits are placed in every corner of a native's house. Hence shevoe, for a ship-gala.

CHICO [Sp. for small].—Boca-chica, small mouth of a river.

CHIEF. See Commander-in-chief. A common abbreviation.

CHIEF MATE, or Chief Officer. The next to a commander in a merchantman, and who, in the absence of the latter, acts as his deputy.

CHIGRE, Chagoe, Chiggre, or Jigger. A very minute insect of tropical countries, which pierces the thick skin of the foot, and breeds there, producing great pain. It is neatly extricated with its sac entire by clever negroes.

CHILLED SHOT. Shot of very rapidly cooled cast-iron, i.e. cast in iron moulds, and thus found to acquire a hardness which renders them of nearly equal efficiency with steel shot for penetrating iron plates, yet produced at about one-quarter the price. They invariably break up on passing through the plates, and their fragments are very destructive on crowded decks; though in the attack of iron war vessels, where the demolishment of guns, carriages, machinery, turrets, &c., is required, the palm must still be awarded to steel shot and shell.

CHIMBE [Anglo-Saxon]. The prominent part or end of the staves, where they project beyond the head of a cask.

CHIME. See Chine.

CHIME IN, To. To join a mess meal or treat. To chime in to a chorus or song.

CHINCKLE. A small bight in a line.[184]

CHINE. The backbone of a cliff, from the backbones of animals; a name given in the Isle of Wight, as Black Gang Chine, and along the coasts of Hampshire. Also, that part of the water-way which is left the thickest, so as to project above the deck-plank; and it is notched or gouged hollow in front, to let the water run free.

CHINE AND CHINE. Casks stowed end to end.

CHINED. Timber or plank slightly hollowed out.

CHINGLE. Gravel. (See Shingle.)

CHINGUERITO. A hot and dangerous sort of white corn brandy, made in Spanish America.

CHINSE, To. To stop small seams, by working in oakum with a knife or chisel—a temporary expedient. To caulk slightly those openings that will not bear the force required for caulking.

CHINSING-IRON. A caulker's tool for chinsing seams with.

CHIP, To. To trim a gun when first taken from the mould or castings.

CHIPS. The familiar soubriquet of the carpenter on board ship. The fragments of timber and the planings of plank are included among chips.—Chip of the old block, a son like his father.

CHIRURGEON. [Fr.] The old name for surgeon.

CHISEL. A well-known edged tool for cutting away wood, iron, &c.

CHIT. A note. Formerly the note for slops given by the officer of a division to be presented to the purser.

CHIULES. The Saxon ships so called.

CHIVEY. A knife.

CHLET. An old Manx term for a rock in the sea.

CHOCK. A sort of wedge used to rest or confine any weighty body, and prevent it from fetching way when the ship is in motion. Also, pieces fitted to supply a deficiency or defect after the manner of filling. Also, blocks of timber latterly substituted beneath the beams for knees, and wedged by iron keys. (See Boat-chocks.)—Chock of the bowsprit. See Bend.—Chocks of the rudder, large accurately adapted pieces of timber kept in readiness to choak the rudder, by filling up the excavation on the side of the rudder hole, in case of any accident. It is also choaked or chocked, when a ship is likely to get strong stern-way, when tiller-ropes break, &c.—To chock, is to put a wedge under anything to prevent its rolling. (See Chuck.)

CHOCK-A-BLOCK, or Chock and Block. Is the same with block-a-block and two-blocks (which see). When the lower block of a tackle is run close up to the upper one, so that you can hoist no higher, the blocks being together.

CHOCK-AFT, Chock-full, Chock-home, Chock-up, &c. Denote as far aft, full, home, up, &c., as possible, or that which fits closely to one another.[185]

CHOCK-CHANNELS. Those filled in with wood between the chain-plates, according to a plan introduced by Captain Couch, R.N.

CHOCOLATE-GALE. A brisk N.W. wind of the West Indies and Spanish main.

CHOGSET. See Burgall.

CHOKE. The nip of a rocket.

CHOKED. When a running rope sticks in a block, either by slipping between the cheeks and the shiver, or any other accident, so that it cannot run.

CHOKE-FULL. Entirely full; top full.

CHOKE THE LUFF. To place suddenly the fall of a tackle close to the block across the jaw of the next turn of the rope in the block, so as to prevent the leading part from rendering. Familiarly said of having a meal to assuage hunger; to be silenced.

CHOKEY. An East Indian guard-house and prison.

CHOMMERY. See Chasse Marées, for which this is the men's term.

CHOP. A permit or license of departure for merchant ships in the China trade. A Chinese word signifying quality. Also, an imperial chop or mandate; a proclamation.

CHOP, or Chapp. The entrance of a channel, as the Chops of the English Channel.

CHOP-ABOUT, To. Is applied to the wind when it varies and changes suddenly, and at short intervals of time.

CHOPPING-SEA. A synonym of cockling sea (which see).

CHOPT. Done suddenly in exigence; as, chopt to an anchor.

CHORD. In geometry, is a line which joins the extremities of any arc of a circle.

CHOW-CHOW. Eatables; a word borrowed from the Chinese. It is supposed to be derived from chou-chou, the tender parts of cabbage-tree, bamboo, &c., preserved.

CHOWDER. The principal food in the Newfoundland bankers, or stationary fishing vessels; it consists of a stew of fresh cod-fish, rashers of salt pork or bacon, biscuit, and lots of pepper. Also, a buccaneer's savoury dish, and a favourite dish in North America. (See Cod-fisher's Crew.) Chowder is a fish-seller in the western counties.

CHOWDER-HEADED. Stupid, or batter-brained.

CHRISTIAN. A gold Danish coin, value in England from 16s. to 16s. 4d.

CHRISTIAN'S GALES. The tremendous storms in 1795-6, which desolated the fleet proceeding to attack the French West India Islands, under Admiral Christian.

CHROCKLE. A tangle or thoro'put (which see).

CHRODANE. The Manx and Gaelic term for gurnet.[186]

CHRONOMETER. A valuable time-piece fitted with a compensation-balance, adjusted for the accurate measurement of time in all climates, and used by navigators for the determination of the longitude.

CHRONOMETER RATE. The number of seconds or parts of seconds which it loses or gains per diem. (See Rating.)

CHRUIN. A Gaelic term for masts.—Chruin-spreie, the bowsprit.

CHUB. The Leuciscus cephalus, a fresh-water fish.

CHUCK. A sea-shell. Nickname for a boatswain, "Old chucks." Also, an old word signifying large chips of wood.

CHUCKLE-HEADED. Clownishly stupid; lubberly.

CHULLERS. A northern name for the gills of a fish.

CHUNAM. Lime made of burned shells, and much used in India for the naval store-houses. That made at Madras is of peculiarly fine quality, and easily takes a polish like white marble.

CHUNK. A coarse slice of meat or bread; more properly junk. Also, the negro term for lumps of firewood.

CHUNTOCK. A powerful dignitary among the Chinese. (See Jantook.)

CHURCH. The part of the ship arranged on Sunday for divine service.

CHURCH-WARDEN. A name given on the coast of Sussex to the shag or cormorant. Why, deponent sayeth not.

CHUTE. A fall of water or rapid; the word is much used in North America, wherever the nomenclature of the country retains traces of the early French settlers. (See Shoot.)

CILLS. Horizontal pieces of timber to ports or scuttles; mostly spelled sills (which see). Generally pronounced by sailors sell, as the port-sell.

CINGLE [from cir-cingle, a horse's belt]. A belt worn by seamen.

CINQUE-PORT. A kind of fishing-net, having five entrances.

CINQUE PORTS, The. These are five highly privileged stations, the once great emporiums of British commerce and maritime greatness; they are Dover, Hastings, Sandwich, Romney, and Hythe, which, lying opposite to France, were considered of the utmost importance. To these were afterwards added Winchelsea, Rye, and Seaford. These places were honoured with peculiar immunities and privileges, on condition of their providing a certain number of ships at their own charge for forty days. Being exempted from the jurisdiction of the Admiralty court, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is authorized to make rules for the government of pilots within his jurisdiction, and in many other general acts exceptions are provided to save the franchises of the Cinque Ports unimpeached. It is a singular fact that it has never been legally determined whether the Downs and adjacent roadsteads are included in the limits of the Cinque Ports. All derelicts found without the limits by Cinque Port vessels are droits of[187] admiralty. This organization was nearly broken up in the late state reforms, but the Lord Warden still possesses some power and jurisdiction.

CIPHERING. A term in carpentry. (See Syphered.)

CIRCLE. A plane figure bounded by a line called the circumference, everywhere equally distant from a point within it, called the centre.

CIRCLE OF PERPETUAL APPARITION. A circle of the heavens parallel to the equator, and at a distance from the pole of any place equal to the latitude: within this circle the stars never set.

CIRCLES, Great, Lesser, Azimuth, Vertical (which see).

CIRCLES OF LONGITUDE. These are great circles passing through the poles of the ecliptic, and so cutting it at right angles.

CIRCULARS. Certain official letters which are sent to several persons, and convey the same information.

CIRCUMNAVIGATION. The term for making a voyage round the world.

CIRCUMPOLAR. A region which includes that portion of the starry sphere which remains constantly above the horizon of any place.

CIRCUMVALLATION, Lines of. Intrenchments thrown up by a besieging army, outside itself, and round the besieged place, but fronting towards the country, to prevent interference from outside. This continuous method has gone out of favour, though some covering works of concentrated strength are still considered essential.

CIRRIPEDIA. A group of marine animals, allied to the crustacea. They are free and natatory when young, but in the adult state attached to rocks or some floating substance. They are protected by a multivalve shell, and have long ciliated curled tentacles, whence their name (curl-footed). The barnacles (Lepas) and the acorn-shells (Balanus) are familiar examples.

CIRRO-CUMULUS. This, the sonder-cloud, or system of small roundish clouds in the upper regions of the atmosphere, commonly moves in a different current of air from that which is blowing at the earth's surface. It forms the mackerel sky alluded to in the following distich:—

"A mack'rel sky and mares'-tails
Make lofty ships carry low sails."
CIRRO-STRATUS. Is the stratus of the upper regions of the atmosphere, heavier looking than the cirrus, but not so heavy as the stratus.

CIRRUS. The elegant modification of elevated clouds, usually termed mares'-tails (see the distich given at Cirro-cumulus); otherwise the curl-cloud.

CISCO. A fish of the herring kind, of which thousands of barrels are annually taken and salted in Lake Ontario.[188]

CISTERN. A reservoir for water placed in different parts of a ship, where a constant supply may be required. Also furnished with a leaden pipe, which goes through the ship's side, whereby it is occasionally filled with sea-water, and which is thence pumped up to wash the decks, &c.

CITADEL. A fortified work of superior strength, and dominating everything else, generally separated therefrom by an open space of glacis or esplanade; often useful against domestic as well as foreign enemies.

CIVIL BRANCH. That department executed by civilians, as contradistinguished from the army or navy branch.

CIVILIANS. The surgeon, chaplain, purser or paymaster, assistant surgeons, secretary, and ship clerks, on board men-of-war.

CIVIL LORD. The lay or junior member of the admiralty board.

CIVIL WAR. That between subjects of the same realm, or between factions of the same state.

CLAIMANTS. Persons appealing to the jurisdiction of the admiralty court. They are denominated colourable, or fair, according to the informality, or justice, of their claims.

CLAKE. A name for the barnacle-goose (Anser bernicla). Also, for the Lepas anatifera, a cirriped often found attached to vessels or timber by a long fleshy peduncle, sometimes 4 or 5 feet in length.

CLAM. A well-known bivalve shell-fish. "As happy as a clam at high-water," a figurative expression for otiose comfort.

CLAMBER. To climb; to ascend quickly.

CLAMPING. Applying a cross-head, or stirrup-piece, in a socket.

CLAMP-NAILS. Such nails as are used to fasten clamps; they are short and stout, with large heads.

CLAMPS. Pieces of timber applied to a mast or yard, to prevent the wood from bursting. Also, thick planks lying fore and aft under the beams of the first orlop or second deck, the same as the rising-timbers are to the deck. They are securely fayed to all the timbers, to which they are fastened by nails through the clamp, and penetrating two-thirds of the thickness of the timbers. Also, substantial strakes, worked inside, on which the ends of the beams rest. Also, smooth crooked plates of iron forelocked upon the trunnions of cannon; these, however, are more properly termed cap-squares. (See Carriage.) Also, any plate of iron made to open and shut, so as to confine a spar. A one-cheeked block; the spar to which it is fastened being the other cheek.—To clamp, is to unite two bodies by surfaces or circular plates.—Clamped, is when a piece of board is fitted with the grain to the end of another piece of board across the grain.

CLAMS. Strong pieces used by shipwrights for drawing bolts, [189]&c. Also, a kind of forceps used for bringing up specimens of the bottom in sounding; a drag. (See Clam.)

CLANG. The rattling or clashing of arms.

CLAP-BOARD [German, klapp-bord]. An east-country commercial plank, which ought to be upwards of 13 feet in length; cask-staves are also clap-boards. Clap-board, in the colonies, is the covering the side of a house with narrow boards, "lapping fashion," in contradistinction to shingling, or tiling, or clench-built.

CLAP-MATCH. A sort of seal, distinct from the fur-seal.

CLAP ON! The order to lay hold of any rope, in order to haul upon it. Also, to "Clap on the stoppers before the bitts," i.e. fasten the stoppers; or, "Clap on the cat-fall," i.e. lay hold of the cat-fall.—To clap a stopper over all, to stop a thing effectually; to clap on the stopper before the bitts next to the manger or hawse-hole; to order silence.—To clap in irons, to order an offender into the bilboes.—To clap on canvas, to make more sail.

CLAPPER. A name for the valve of a pump-box. Also, a plank or foot-bridge across a running stream; also, the clapper of a bell.

CLAP-SILL. The lockage of a flood-gate.

CLARTY. In north-country whalers, used for wet, slippery.

CLASHY. Showery weather.

CLASP-HOOK. An iron clasp, in two parts, moving upon the same pivot, and overlapping one another. Used for bending chain-sheets to the clues of sails, jib-halliards, &c. (See Spar-hook.)

CLASS. Order or rank; specially relating to dockyard men.

CLASSIFICATION OF SHIPS. A register made of vessels according to the report rendered in by special surveyors. (See Navy and Lloyd's Register.)

CLAW, or Claw off, To. To beat, or turn to windward from a lee-shore, so as to be at sufficient distance from it to avoid shipwreck. It is generally used when getting to windward is difficult.

CLAYMORE. Anciently a two-handed sword of the Highlanders, but latterly applied to their basket-hilted sword.

CLEACHING NET. A hand-net with a hoop and bar, used by fishermen on the banks of the Severn.

CLEAN. Free from danger, as clean coast, clean harbour; in general parlance means quite, entirely. So Shakspeare represents Ægeon

"Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia."
Also, applied to a ship's hull with a fine run fore and aft.—Clean entrance, clean run.—To clean a ship's bottom. (See Breaming and Hog.)

CLEAN BILL. (See Bill of Health.) When all are in health.

CLEAN DONE. Quite. In a seamanlike manner; purpose well effected; adroitly tricked. (See Weathered.)[190]

CLEAN-FISH. On the northern coasts, a salmon perfectly in season.

CLEAN-FULL. Keeping the sail full, bellying, off the wind.

CLEAN OFF THE REEL. When the ship by her rapidity pulls the line off the log-reel, without its being assisted. Also, upright conduct. Also, any performance without stop or hindrance, off-hand.

CLEAN SHIP. A whale-ship unfortunate in her trip, having no fish or oil.

CLEAR. Is variously applied, to weather, sea-coasts, cordage, navigation, &c., as opposed to foggy, to dangerous, to entangled. It is usually opposed to foul in all these senses.

CLEAR, To. Has several significations, particularly to escape from, to unload, to empty, to prepare, &c., as:—To clear for action. To prepare for action.—To clear away for this or that, is to get obstructions out of the way.—To clear the decks. To remove lumber, put things in their places, and coil down the ropes. Also, to take the things off a table after a meal.—To clear goods. To pay the custom-house dues and duties.—To clear the land. To escape from the land.—To clear a lighter, or the hold. To empty either.

CLEARANCE. The document from the customs, by which a vessel and her cargo, by entering all particulars at the custom-house, and paying the dues, is permitted to clear out or sail.

CLEAR FOR GOING ABOUT. Every man to his station, and every rope an-end.

CLEARING LIGHTERS. All vessels pertaining to public departments should be cleared with the utmost despatch.

CLEAR THE PENDANT. See Up and Clear the Pendant.

CLEAR WATER. A term in Polar seas implying no ice to obstruct navigation, well off the land, having sea-room.

CLEAT A GUN, To. To nail large cleats under the trucks of the lower-deckers in bad weather, to insure their not fetching way.

CLEATS, or Cleets. Pieces of wood of different shapes used to fasten ropes upon: some have one and some two arms. They are called belaying cleat, deck-cleat, and a thumb-cleat. Also, small wedges of wood fastened on the yards, to keep ropes or the earing of the sail from slipping off the yard. Mostly made of elm or oak.

CLEAVAGE. The splitting of any body having a structure or line of cleavage: as fir cleaves longitudinally, slates horizontally, stones roughly, smoothly, conchoidal, or stratified, &c.

CLEFTS. Wood sawn lengthways into pieces less in thickness than in breadth. (See Plank.)

CLENCH, To. To secure the end of a bolt by burring the point with a hammer. Also, a mode of securing the end of one rope to another. (See Clinch.)[191]

CLENCHED BOLTS. Those fastened by means of a ring, or an iron plate, with a rivetting hammer at the end where they protrude through the wood, to prevent their drawing.

CLENCH-NAILS. They are much used in boat-building, being such as can be driven without splitting the boards, and drawn without breaking. (See Rove and Clench.)

CLEP. A north-country name for a small grapnel.

CLERK. Any naval officer doing the duty of a clerk.

CLETT. A northern or Erse word to express a rock broken from a cliff, as the holm in Orkney and Shetland.

CLEUGH. A precipice, a cliff. Also, a ravine or cleft.

CLEW. Of a hammock or cot. (See Clue.)

CLICKS. Small pieces of iron falling into a notched wheel attached to the winches in cutters, &c., and thereby serving the office of pauls. (See Ratchet, or Ratchet-paul, in machinery.) It more peculiarly belongs to inferior clock-work, hence click.

CLIFF [from the Anglo-Saxon cleof]. A precipitous termination of the land, whatever be the soil. (See Crag.)

CLIMATE. Formerly meant a zone of the earth parallel to the equator, in which the days are of a certain length at the summer solstice. The term has now passed to the physical branch of geography, and means the general character of the weather.

CLINCH. A particular method of fastening large ropes by a half hitch, with the end stopped back to its own part by seizings; it is chiefly to fasten the hawsers suddenly to the rings of the kedges or small anchors; and the breechings of guns to the ring-bolts in the ship's side. Those parts of a rope or cable which are clinched. Thus the outer end is "bent" by the clinch to the ring of the anchor. The inner or tier-clinch in the good old times was clinched to the main-mast, passing under the tier beams (where it was unlawfully, as regards the custom of the navy, clinched). Thus "the cable runs out to the clinch," means, there is no more to veer.—To clinch is to batter or rivet a bolt's end upon a ring or piece of plate iron; or to turn back the point of a nail that it may hold fast. (See Clench.)

CLINCH A BUSINESS, To. To finish it; to settle it beyond further dispute, as the recruit taking the shilling.

CLINCH-BUILT. Clinker, or overlapping edges.

CLINCHER. An incontrovertible and smart reply; but sometimes the confirmation of a story by a lie, or by some still more improbable yarn: synonymous with capping.

CLINCHER or Clinker Built. Made of clincher-work, by the planks lapping one over the other. The contrary of carvel-work. Iron ships after this fashion are distinguished as being lap-jointed.[192]

CLINCHER-NAILS. Those which are of malleable metal, as copper, wrought iron, &c., which clinch by turning back the points in rough-built fir boats where roofs and clinching are thus avoided.

CLINCHER-WORK. The disposition of the planks in the side of any boat or vessel, when the lower edge of every plank overlaps that next below it. This is sometimes written as pronounced, clinker-work.

CLIPHOOK. A hook employed for some of the ends of the running rigging.

CLIPPER. A fast sailer, formerly chiefly applied to the sharp-built raking schooners of America, and latterly to Australian passenger-ships. Larger vessels now built after their model are termed clipper-built: sharp and fast; low in the water; rakish.

CLIVE. An old spelling of cliff.

CLOCK-CALM. When not a breath of wind ruffles the water.

CLOCK-STARS. A name for the nautical stars, which, from their positions having been very exactly ascertained, are used for determining time.

CLOD-HOPPER. A clownish lubberly landsman.

CLOKIE-DOO. A west of Scotland name for the horse-mackerel.

CLOSE-ABOARD. Near or alongside; too close to be safe. "The boat is close aboard," a caution to the officer in command to receive his visitor. "The land is close aboard," danger inferred.

CLOSE-BUTT. Where caulking is not used, the butts or joints of the planks are sometimes rabbeted, and fayed close, whence they are thus denominated.

CLOSE CONTRACT. One not advertised.

CLOSED PORT. One interdicted.

CLOSE-FIST. One who drives a hard bargain in petty traffic.

CLOSE HARBOUR. That is one gained by labour from the element, formed by encircling a portion of water with walls and quays, except at the entrance, or by excavating the land adjacent to the sea or river, and then letting in the water.

CLOSE-HAULED. The general arrangement or trim of a ship's sails when she endeavours to progress in the nearest direction possible contrary to the wind; in this manner of sailing the keel of square-rigged vessels commonly makes an angle of six points with the line of the wind, but cutters, luggers, and other fore-and-aft rigged vessels will sail even nearer. This point of sailing is synonymous with on a taut bowline and on a wind.

CLOSE PACK. The ice floes so jammed together that boring is impossible, and present efforts useless. (See Pack-ice.)

CLOSE-PORTS. Those which lie up rivers; a term in contradistinction to out-ports.[193]

CLOSE-QUARTERS, or Close-fights. Certain strong bulk-heads or barriers of wood, formerly stretching across a merchant ship in several places; they were used for retreat and shelter when a ship was boarded by an adversary, and were therefore fitted with loop-holes. Powder-chests were also fixed upon the deck, containing missiles which might be fired from the close quarters upon the boarders. The old slave-ships were thus fitted in case of the negroes rising, and flat-headed nails were cast along the deck to prevent their walking with naked feet. In the navy, yard-arm and yard-arm, sides touching.

CLOSE-REEFED. The last reefs of the top-sails, or other sails set, being taken in.

CLOSE-SIGHT. The notch in the base-ring of a cannon, to place the eye in a line with the top-sight.

CLOSE THE WIND, To. To haul to it.—Close upon a tack or bowline, or close by a wind, is when the wind is on either bow, and the tacks or bowlines are hauled forwards that they may take the wind to make the best of their way.—Close to the wind, when her head is just so near the wind as to fill the sails without shaking them.

CLOSE WITH THE LAND, To. To approach near to it.

CLOSH [from the Danish klos]. A sobriquet for east-country seamen.

CLOTHED. A mast is said to be clothed when the sail is so long as to reach the deck-gratings. Also, well clothed with canvas; sails well cut, well set, and plenty of them.

CLOTHES-LINES. A complete system of parallel lines, hoisted between the main and mizen masts twice a week to dry the washed clothes of the seamen.

CLOTHING. The rigging of the bowsprit.—Clothing the bowsprit is rigging it. Also, the purser's slops for the men.

CLOTH IN THE WIND. Too near to the wind, and sails shivering. Also, groggy.

CLOTHS. In a sail, are the breadths of canvas in its whole width. When a ship has broad sails they say she spreads much cloth.

CLOTTING. A west-country method of catching eels with worsted thread.

CLOUD. A collection of vapours suspended in the atmosphere. Also, under a cloud of canvas.

CLOUGH. A word derived from the verb to cleave, and signifying a narrow valley between two hills. (See Cleugh.) Also, in commerce, an allowance on the turn of the beam in weighing.

CLOUT. From the Teutonic kotzen, a blow. Also, a gore of blood.

CLOUT-NAILS [Fr. clouter]. To stud with nails, as ships' bottoms and piles were before the introduction of sheet copper.

CLOUTS. Thin plates of iron nailed on that part of the axle-tree of a[194] gun-carriage that comes through the nave, and through which the linch-pin goes.

CLOVE-HITCH. A knot or noose by which one rope is fastened to another. (See Hitch.) Two half hitches round a spar or rope.

CLOVE-HOOK. Synonymous with clasp-hook.

CLOVES. Planks made by cleaving. Certain weights for wool, butter, &c. Also, long spike-nails [derived from clou, Fr.]

CLOW. A kind of sluice in which the aperture is regulated by a board sliding in a frame and groove.

CLOY, To. To drive an iron spike by main force into the vent or touch-hole of a gun, which renders it unserviceable till the spike be either worked out, or a new vent drilled. (See Nailing and Spiking.)

CLUBBED. A fashion which obtained in the time of pig-tails of doubling them up while at sea.

CLUBBING. Drifting down a current with an anchor out.

CLUBBING A FLEET. Manœuvring so as to place the first division on the windward side.

CLUBBOCK. The spotted blenny or gunnel (Gunnellus vulgaris).

CLUB-HAUL, To. A method of tacking a ship by letting go the lee-anchor as soon as the wind is out of the sails, which brings her head to wind, and as soon as she pays off, the cable is cut and the sails trimmed; this is never had recourse to but in perilous situations, and when it is expected that the ship would otherwise miss stays. The most gallant example was performed by Captain Hayes in H.M.S. Magnificent, 74, in Basque Roads, in 1814, when with lower-yards and top-masts struck, he escaped between two reefs from the enemy at Oleron. He bore the name of Magnificent Hayes to the day of his death, for the style in which he executed it.

CLUB-LAW. The rule of violence and strength.

CLUE. Of a square sail, either of the lower corners reaching down to where the tacks and sheets are made fast to it; and is that part which comes goring out from the square of the sail.

CLUE-GARNETS. A sort of tackle rove through a garnet block, attached to the clues of the main and fore sails to haul up and truss them to the yard; which is termed clueing up those sails as for goose-wings, or for furling. (See Block.)

CLUE-LINES. Are for the same purpose as clue-garnets, only that the latter term is solely appropriated to the courses, while the word clue-line is applied to those ropes on all the other square sails; they come down from the quarters of the yards to the clues, or lower corners of the sails, and by which the sails are hauled or clued up for furling.

CLUE OF A HAMMOCK. The combination of small lines by which it is suspended, being formed of knittles, grommets, and laniards;[195] they are termed double or single clues, according as there are one or two at each end. Latterly iron grommets or rings were introduced, but did not afford the required spread, and in some cases triangular irons, or span-shackles were substituted, called Spanish clues, formed by fixing the knittles at equal distances upon a piece of rope instead of a grommet, which having an eye spliced, and a laniard placed at each end, extends the hammock in the same way as a double clue.—From clue to earing. A phrase implying from the bottom to the top, or synonymous with "from top to toe." Or literally the diagonal of a square sail. Also, every portion, as in shifting dress; removing every article. Also, cleaning a ship from clue to earing; every crevice.—A clue up. A case of despair. In readiness for death.

CLUE-ROPE. In large sails, the eye or loop at the clues is made of a rope larger than the bolt-rope into which it is spliced.

CLUE UP! The order to clue up the square sails.

CLUMP. A circular plantation of trees.

CLUMP-BLOCKS. Those that are made thicker or stronger than ordinary blocks. (See Block, Tack-and-Sheet.)

CLUSTER. See Group.

CLUTCH. The oyster spawn adhering to stones, oyster shells, &c.

CLUTCH. Forked stanchions of iron or wood. The same as crutch, clutch, or clamp block. (See Snatch-block.)

CLUTTERY. Weather inclining to stormy.

COACH, or Couch. A sort of chamber or apartment in a large ship of war, just before the great cabin. The floor of it is formed by the aftmost part of the quarter-deck, and the roof of it by the poop: it is generally the habitation of the flag-captain.

COACH-HORSES. The crew of the state barge; usually fifteen selected men, to support the captain in any daring exploits.

COACH-WHIP. The pendant.

COAD. In ship-building, the fayed piece called bilge-keel.

COAK. A small perforated triangular bit of brass inserted into the middle of the shiver (now called sheave) of a block, to keep it from splitting and galling by the pin, whereon it turns. Called also bush, cock or cogg, and dowel.

COAKING. Uniting pieces of spar by means of tabular projections formed by cutting away the solid of one piece into a hollow, so as to make a projection in the other fit in correctly, the butts preventing the pieces from drawing asunder. Coaks, or dowels, are fitted into the beams and knees of vessels, to prevent their slipping.

COAL-FISH. The Gadus carbonarius. Called gerrack in its first year, cuth or queth in its second, sayth in its third, lythe in its fourth, and colmie in its fifth, when it is full grown.[196]

COALING. Taking in a supply of coals for a cruise or voyage.

COALS. To be hauled over the coals, is to be brought to strict account.

COAL-SACKS. An early name of some dark patches of sky in the Milky Way, nearly void of stars visible to the naked eye. The largest patch is near the Southern Cross, and called the Black Magellanic Cloud.

COAL-SAY. The coal-fish.

COAL-TAR. Tar extracted from bituminous coal.

COAL-TRIMMER. One employed in a steamer to stow and trim the fuel. This duty and that of the stoker are generally combined.

COAMING-CARLINGS. Those timbers that inclose the mortar-beds of bomb-vessels, and which are called carlings, because they are shifted occasionally. Short beams where a hatchway is cut.

COAMINGS of the Hatches or Gratings. Certain raised work rather higher than the decks, about the edges of the hatch-openings of a ship, to prevent the water on deck from running down. Loop-holes were made in the coamings for firing muskets from below, in order to clear the deck of an enemy when a ship is boarded. There is a rabbet in their inside upper edge, to receive the hatches or gratings.

COAST. The sea-shore and the adjoining country; in fact, the sea-front of the land. (See Shore.)

COAST-BLOCKADE. A body of men formerly under the jurisdiction of the Customs, termed Preventive Service, offering a disposable force in emergency; but which has been turned over to the control of the Admiralty, and now become the Coast-guard, over which a commodore, as controller-general, presides. (See Fencibles.)

COASTER. See Coasting.

COASTING, or To Coast along. The act of making a progress along the sea-coast of any country, for which purpose it is necessary to observe the time and direction of the tide, to know the reigning winds, the roads and havens, the different depths of water, and the qualities of the ground. As these vessels are not fitted for distant sea voyages, they are termed coasters.

COASTING PILOT. A pilot who has become sufficiently acquainted with the nature of any particular coast, to conduct a ship or fleet from one part of it to another; but only within his limits. He may be superseded by the first branch-pilot he meets after passing his bounds.

COASTING TRADE. The commerce of one port of the United Kingdom with another port thereof. A trade confined by law to British ships and vessels.

COAST-WAITER. Custom-house superintendents of the landing and shipping of goods coastways.

COAST-WARNING. Synonymous with storm-signal; formerly fire-beacons were used to give warning of the approach of an enemy.[197]

COAT. A piece of tarred canvas nailed round above the partners, or that part where the mast or bowsprit enters the deck. Its use is to prevent the water from running down between decks. There is sometimes a coat for the rudder, nailed round the hole where the rudder traverses in the ship's counter. It also implies the stuff with which the ship's sides or masts are varnished, to defend them from the sun and weather, as turpentine, pitch, varnish, or paint; in this sense we say, "Give her a coat of tar or paint." By neglecting the scraper this may become a crust of coatings.

COAT OF MAIL. The chiton shell.

COAT-TACKS. The peculiar nails with which the mast coats are fastened.

COB. A young herring. Also, a sea-gull. Also, a sort of short break-water—so called in our early statutes: such was that which forms the harbour of Lyme Regis, originally composed of piles and timber, lined with heaps of rock; but now constructed of stone compacted with cement.

COBB. A Gibraltar term for a Spanish dollar.

COBBING. An old punishment sometimes inflicted at sea for breach of certain regulations—chiefly for those quitting their station during the night. The offender was struck a certain number of times on the breech with a flat piece of wood called the cobbing-board. Also, when watch was cried, all persons were expected to take off their hats on pain of being cobbed.

COBBLE, To. To mend or repair hastily. Also, the coggle or cog (which see).—Cobble or coggle stones, pebbly shingle, ballast-stones rounded by attrition, boulders, &c.

COBBLER. An armourer's rasp.

COBBO. The small fish known as the miller's thumb.

COBLE. A low flat-floored boat with a square stern, used in the cod and turbot fishery, 20 feet long and 5 feet broad; of about one ton burden, rowed with three pairs of oars, and furnished with a lug-sail; it is admirably constructed for encountering a heavy swell. Its stability is secured by the rudder extending 4 or 5 feet under her bottom. It belonged originally to the stormy coast of Yorkshire. There is also a small boat under the same name used by salmon fishers.

COBOOSE. See Caboose.

COCK. That curved arm affixed to the lock of small arms, which, when released by the touch of the trigger, flies forward and discharges the piece by percussion, whether of flint and steel, fulminating priming, needles abutting on the latter, &c.

COCKADE. First worn by St. Louis on his unfortunate crusade.

COCK-A-HOOP. In full confidence, and high spirits.[198]

COCKANDY. A name on our northern shores for the puffin, otherwise called Tom Noddy (Fratercula arctica).

COCK-BILL. The situation of the anchor when suspended from the cat-head ready for letting go. Also said of a cable when it hangs right up and down. To put the yards a-cockbill is to top them up by one lift to an angle with the deck. The symbol of mourning.

COCK-BOAT. A very small boat used on rivers or near the shore. Formerly the cock was the general name of a yawl: it is derived from coggle or cog (which see).

COCKETS, or Coquets. An official custom-house warrant descriptive of certain goods which the searcher is to allow to pass and be shipped. Also, a galley term for counterfeit ship-papers.—Cocket bread. Hard sea-biscuit.

COCK-PADDLE. A name of the paddle or lump-fish (Cyclopterus lumpus).

COCKLE. A common bivalve mollusc (Cardium edule), often used as food.

COCKLING SEA. Tumbling waves dashing against each other with a short and quick motion.

COCKPIT. The place where the wounded men are attended to, situated near the after hatchway, and under the lower gun-deck. The midshipmen alone inhabited the cockpit in former times, but in later days commission and warrant officers, civilians, &c., have their cabins there.—Fore cockpit. A place leading to the magazine passage, and the boatswain's, gunner's, and carpenter's store-rooms; in large ships, and during war time, the boatswain and carpenter generally had their cabins in the fore cockpit, instead of being under the forecastle.

COCKPITARIAN. A midshipman or master's mate; so called from messing in the cockpit of a line-of-battle ship.

COCKSETUS. An old law-term for a boatman or coxswain.

COCKSWAIN, or Coxswain. The person who steers a boat; after the officer in command he has charge of the crew, and all things belonging to it. He must be ready with his crew to man the boat on all occasions.

COCOA, or Chocolate Nuts, commonly so termed. (See Cacao.) It is the breakfast food of the navy.

COCOA-NUT TREE. The Palma cocos yields toddy; the nut, a valuable oil and milky juice; the stem, bark, branches, &c., also serve numerous purposes. (See Palmetto.)

COD. The centre of a deep bay. The bay of a trawl or seine. Also, the Gadus morrhua, one of the most important of oceanic fishes. The cod is always found on the submerged hills known as banks; as the Dogger Bank, and banks of Newfoundland. (See Ling.)[199]

COD-BAIT. The large sea-worm or lug, dug from the wet sands. The squid or cuttle, herrings, caplin, any meat, or even a false fish of bright tin or pewter. (See Jig.)

CODDY-MODDY. A gull in its first year's plumage.

CODE OF SIGNALS. Series of flags, &c., for communicating at sea.

COD-FISHER'S CREW. The crew of a banker, or fishing-vessel, which anchors in 60 or 70 fathoms on the Great Bank of Newfoundland, and remains fishing until full, or driven off by stress of weather. Season from June until October. (See Fisheries.)

CODGER. An easy-going man of regularity. Also, a knowing and eccentric hanger-on; one who will not move faster than he pleases.

COD-LINE. An eighteen-thread line.

COD-SOUNDS. The swim-bladders of the cod-fish, cured and packed for the market; the palates also of the fish are included as "tongues and sounds."

COEHORN. A brass mortar, named after the Dutch engineer who invented it. It is the smallest piece of ordnance in the service, having a bore of 41⁄2 inches diameter, a length of 1 foot, and a weight of 3⁄4 cwt. They throw their 12-pounder shells with much precision to moderate distances, and being fixed to wooden beds, are very handy for ships' gangways, launches, &c., afloat, and for advanced trenches, the attack of stockades, &c., ashore.

COFFER, or Coffre. A depth sunk in the bottom of a dry ditch, to baffle besiegers when they attempt to cross it.

COFFER-DAM. A coffer-dam consists of two rows of piles, each row boarded strongly inside, and being filled with clay within well rammed, thereby resists outward pressure, and is impenetrable by the surrounding water. (See Caisson.)

COGGE. An Anglo-Saxon word for a cock-boat or light yawl, being thus mentioned in Morte Arthure—

"Then he covers his cogge, and caches one ankere."
But coggo, as enumerated in an ordinance of parliament (temp. Rich. II.), seems to have been a vessel of burden used to carry troops.

COGGE-WARE. Goods carried in a cogge.

COGGLE, or Cog. A small fishing-boat upon the coasts of Yorkshire, and in the rivers Ouse and Humber. Hence the cogmen, who after shipwreck or losses by sea, wandered about to defraud people by begging and stealing, until they were restrained by proper laws.

COGGS. The same with coaks or dowels (which see).

COGS of a Wheel; applies to all wheel machinery now used at sea or on shore: thus windlass-cogs, capstan-cogs, &c.

COGUING THE NOSE. Making comfortable over hot negus or grog.

COIGN. See Quoin.[200]

COIL. A certain quantity of rope laid up in ring fashion. The manner in which all ropes are disposed of on board ship for convenience of stowage. They are laid up round, one fake over another, or by concentric turns, termed Flemish coil, forming but one tier, and lying flat on the deck, the end being in the middle of it, as a snake or worm coils itself.

COILING. A sort of serpentine winding of a cable or other rope, that it may occupy a small space in the ship. Each of the windings of this sort is called a fake, and one range of fakes upon the same line is called a tier. There are generally from five to seven fakes in a tier, and three or four tiers in the whole length of the cable. The smaller ropes employed about the sails are coiled upon cleats at sea, to prevent their being entangled.

COIR. Cordage made from the fibrous husks of the cocoa-nut; though cables made of it are disagreeable to handle and coil away, they have the advantage of floating in water, so that vessels ride easily by them; they are still used by the Calcutta pilot-brigs. True coir is from the Borassus gomutus, the long fibrous black cloth-like covering of the stem. It is from this that the black cables in the East are made; the cocoa-nut fibre being of a reddish hue. It is used for strong brushes, being cylindrical and smooth, with a natural gloss.

COKERS. The old name for cocoa-nut trees.

CO-LATITUDE. The abbreviation for complement of latitude, or what it is short of 90°.

COLD-CHISEL. A stout chisel made of steel, used for cutting iron when it is cold.

COLD-EEL. The Gymnotus electricus.

COLE [from the German kohl]. Colewort or sea-kale; a plant in its wild state peculiar to the sea-coast.

COLE-GOOSE. A name for the cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).

COLLAR. An eye in the end or bight of a shroud or stay, to go over the mast-head. The upper part of a stay. Also, a rope formed into a wreath, with a heart or dead-eye seized in the bight, to which the stay is confined at the lower part. Also, the neck of a bolt.

COLLAR-BEAM. The beam upon which the stanchions of the beak-head bulk-head stand.

COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS. An officer who takes the general superintendence of the customs at any port.

COLLIERS. Vessels employed exclusively to carry coals from the northern ports of England. This trade has immemorially been an excellent nursery for seamen. But Shakspeare, in Twelfth Night, makes Sir Toby exclaim, "Hang him, foul collier!" The evil genius has lately introduced steam screw-vessels into this invaluable school.[201]

COLLIMATION, Line of. The optical axis of a telescope, or an imaginary line passing through the centre of the tube.

COLLISION. The case of one ship running foul of another; the injuries arising from which, where no blame is imputable to the master of either, is generally borne by the owners of both in equal parts. (See Allision.)

COLLISION-CLAUSE. See Running-down Clause.

COLLOP. A cut from a joint of meat. "Scotch collops."

COLMIE. A fifth-year or full-grown coal-fish; sometimes called comb.

COLMOW. An old word for the sea-mew, derived from the Anglo-Saxon.

COLONEL. The commander of a regiment, either of horse or foot.

COLONNATI. The Spanish pillared dollar.

COLOURABLE. Ships' papers so drawn up as to be available for more purposes than one. In admiralty law, a probable plea.

COLOUR-CHESTS. Chests appropriated to the reception of flags for making signals.

COLOURS. The flags or banners which distinguish the ships of different nations. Also, the regimental flags of the army. Hauling down colours in token of submission, and the use of signals, are mentioned by Plutarch in Themistocles.

COLOUR-SERGEANT. The senior sergeant of a company of infantry; he acts as a kind of sergeant-major, and generally as pay-sergeant also to the company. From amongst these trustworthy men, the sergeants for attendance on the colours in the field were originally detailed.

COLT. A short piece of rope with a large knot at one end, kept in the pocket for starting skulkers.

COLUMBIAD. A name given in the United States to a peculiar pattern of gun in their service, principally adapted to the firing of heavy shells: its external form does not appear to have been the result of much science, and it is now generally superseded by the Dahlgren pattern.

COLUMN. A body of troops in deep files and narrow front, so disposed as to move in regular succession.

COLURES. Great circles passing through the equinoctial and solstitial points, and the poles of the earth.

COMB. A small piece of timber under the lower part of the beak-head, for the fore-tack to be hauled to, in some vessels, instead of a bumkin: it has the same use in bringing the fore-tack on board that the chess-tree has to the main-tack. Also, the notched scale of a wire-micrometer. Also, that projecting piece on the top of the cock of a gun-lock, which affords the thumb a convenient hold for drawing it back.[202]

COMBATANTS. Men, or bodies of troops, engaged in battle with each other.

COMBE. See Coomb and Cwm.

COMBERS. Heavy surges breaking on a beach.

COMBERS, Grass. Men who volunteer from the plough-tail, and often prove valuable seamen.

COMBING THE CAT. The boatswain, or other operator, running his fingers through the cat o' nine tails, to separate them.

COMBINGS. See Coamings.

COMBING SEA. A rolling and crested wave.

COMBUSTION. Burning, &c. (See Spontaneous Combustion.)

COME NO NEAR! The order to the helmsman to steer the ship on the course indicated, and not closer to the wind, while going "full and by."—Come on board, sir. An officer reporting himself to his superior on returning from duty or leave.—Come to. To bring the ship close to the wind.—Come to an anchor. To let go the anchor.—Come up! with a rope or tackle, is to slack it off.—Comes up, with the helm. A close-hauled ship comes up (to her course) as the wind changes in her favour. To come up with or overhaul a vessel chased.—Come up the capstan. Is to turn it the contrary way to that which it was heaving, so as to take the strain off, or slacken or let out some of the cablet or rope which is about it.—Come up the tackle-fall. Is to let go.—To come up, in ship-building, is to cast loose the forelocks or lashings of a sett, in order to take in closer to the plank.

COMING-HOME. Said of the anchor when it has been dropped on bad holding ground, or is dislodged from its bed by the violence of the wind and sea, and is dragged along by the vessel, or is tripped by insufficient length of cable.—Coming round on her heel. Turning in the same spot.—Coming the old soldier. Petty manœuvring.—Coming-up glass. (See Double-image Micrometer.)

COMITY. A certain comitas gentium, or judgment of tribunals, having competent jurisdiction in any one state, are regarded in the courts of all other civilized powers as conclusive. Especially binding in all prize matters, however manifestly unjust may be the decision. (See Judgment.)

COMMAND. The words of command are the terms used by officers in exercise or upon service. All commands belong to the senior officer. Also, in fortification, the height of the top of the parapet of a work above the level of the country, or above that of another work. Generally, one position is said to be commanded by another when it can be seen into from the latter.

COMMANDANT. The officer in command of a squadron, ship, garrison, fort, or regiment.[203]

COMMANDER. An officer in the royal navy, commanding a ship of war of under twenty guns, a sloop of war, armed ship, or bomb-vessel. He was entitled master and commander, and ranked with a major of the army: now simply termed commander, and ranking with lieutenant-colonel, but junior of that rank. The act of the commander is binding upon the interests of all under him, and he is alone responsible for costs and damages: he may act erroneously, and abandon what might have turned out good prize to himself and crew.—Commander is also the name of a large wooden mallet used specially in the sail and rigging lofts, as anything of metal would injure the ropes or canvas.

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. The senior officer in any port or station appointed to hold command over all other vessels within the limits assigned to him. Thus the commodore on the coast of Africa is, de facto, commander-in-chief, free from the interference of any other authority afloat.

COMMAND-OF-MIND MEN. Steady officers, who command coolly.

COMMEATUS, or Provisions, going to the enemy's ports, subject only to pre-emption, a right of purchase upon reasonable terms, but previously liable to confiscation (Robinson). Commeatus, in admiralty law, is a general term, signifying drink as well as eatables.

COMMERCE. Was not much practised by the Romans. The principal objects of their water-carriage were the supply of corn, still termed annona, and the tribute and spoils of conquered countries.

COMMERCIAL CODE OF SIGNALS. As Marryat's and others.

COMMISSARIAT. The department of supplies to the army.

COMMISSARY. The principal officer in charge of the commissariat.

COMMISSION. The authority by which an officer officiates in his post. Also, an allowance paid to agents or factors for transacting the business of others.

COMMISSIONED OFFICERS. Those appointed by commissions. Such are admirals, down to lieutenants, in the royal navy; and in the army, all from the general to the ensign inclusive.

COMMISSIONERS, Lords, of the Admiralty. In general the crown appoints five or seven commissioners for executing the office of lord high-admiral, &c.; for this important and high office has seldom been intrusted to any single person. The admiralty jurisdiction extends to all offences mentioned in the articles of war, or new naval code, as regards places beyond the powers of the law courts, or outside the bounds of a county. But all criminal acts committed within the limits of a county, or within a line drawn from one headland to the next, are specially liable to be tried by the common law courts. The high court of admiralty civil court takes cognizance of salvage, prize-derelict,[204] collision, &c., at sea beyond the county limits, even as relates to ships of war if in fault.

COMMISSIONERS OF CUSTOMS. The board of management of the customs department of the public revenue.

COMMISSIONERS OF THE NAVY. Certain officers formerly appointed to superintend the affairs of the navy, under the direction of the lords-commissioners of the Admiralty. Their duty was more immediately concerned in the building, docking, and repairing of ships in the dockyards; they had also the appointment of some of the officers, as surgeons, masters, &c., and the transport, victualling, and medical departments were controlled by that board. It was abolished in 1831.

COMMIT ONE'S SELF, To. To break through regulations. To incur responsibility without regard to results.

COMMODORE. A senior officer in command of a detached squadron. A captain finding five or six ships assembled, was formerly permitted to hoist his pennant, and command as commodore; and a necessity arising for holding a court-martial, he ordered the said court to assemble. Again, where an admiral dies in command, the senior captain hoists a first-class broad pennant, and appoints a captain, secretary, and flag-lieutenant, fulfils the duties of a rear-admiral, and wears the uniform. Commodores of the second class have no captain or pennant-lieutenant. A commodore rates with brigadier-generals, according to dates of commission (being of full colonel's rank). He is next in command to a rear-admiral, but cannot hoist his broad pennant in the presence of an admiral, or superior captain, without permission. The broad pennant is a swallow-tailed tapered burgee. The second-class commodore is to hoist his broad pennant, white at the fore. It is a title given by courtesy to the senior captain, where three or more ships of war are cruising in company. It was also imported into the East India Company's vessels, the senior being so termed, inter se. It moreover denotes the convoy ship, which carries a light in her top. The epithet is corrupted from the Spanish comendador.

COMMUNICATION. Corresponding by letter, hail, or signal. (See Line of Communication and Boyaux.)

COMMUTE, To. To lighten the sentence of a court-martial, on a recommendation of the court to the commander-in-chief.

COMPANION. The framing and sash-lights upon the quarter-deck or round-house, through which light passes to the cabins and decks below; and a sort of wooden hood placed over the entrance or staircase of the master's cabin in small ships. Flush-decked vessels are generally fitted with movable companions, to keep the rain or water from descending, which are unshipped when the capstan is required.[205]

COMPANION-LADDER. Denotes the ladder by which the officers ascend to, and descend from, the quarter-deck.

COMPANION-WAY. The staircase, porch, or berthing of the ladder-way to the cabin.

COMPANY. The whole crew of any ship, including her officers, men, and boys. In the army, a small body of foot, or subdivision of a regiment, commanded by a captain.


COMPARISON WATCH. The job-watch for taking an observation, compared before and after with the chronometer.

COMPARTMENT BULK-HEADS. Some of the iron ships have adopted the admirable Chinese plan of dividing the hold athwart-ship by strong water-tight bulk-heads, into compartments, so that a leak in any one of them does not communicate with the others—thus strengthening a vessel, besides adding to its security. Compartment bulk-heads were first directed to be fitted under the superintendence of Commander Belcher in H.M. ships Erebus and Terror at Chatham, for Arctic service in 1835. H.M.S. Terror, Commander Back, was saved entirely owing to this fitment, the after section being full of water all the passage home; and lately the mail packet Samphire was similarly saved.

COMPASANT. A corruption of corpo santo, a ball of electric light observed flickering about the masts, yard-arms, and rigging, during heavy rain, thunder, and lightning.

COMPASS. An instrument employed by navigators to guide the ship's course at sea. It consists of a circular box, containing a fly or paper card, which represents the horizon, and is suspended by two concentric rings called gimbals. The fly is divided into thirty-two equal parts, by lines drawn from the centre to the circumference, called points or rhumbs; the interval between the points is subdivided into 360 degrees—consequently, the distance or angle comprehended between any two rhumbs is equal to 11 degrees and 15 minutes. The four cardinal points lie opposite to each other; the north and south points form top and bottom, leaving the east on the right hand, and the west on the left; the names of all the inferior points are compounded of these according to their situation. This card is attached to a magnetic needle, which, carrying the card round with it, points north, excepting for the local annual variation and the deviation caused by the iron in the ship; the angle which the course makes with that meridian is shown by the lubber's point, a dark line inside the box. (See Adjustment of the Compass.)

COMPASS, To. To curve; also to obtain one's object.

COMPASSING. (See Compass-timbers.)[206]

COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCES. Grants are made on the compassionate fund to the legitimate children of deceased officers, on its being shown to the Admiralty that they deserve them.

COMPASS-SAW. A narrow saw, which, inserted in a hole bored by a centre-bit, follows out required curves.

COMPASS-TIMBERS. Such as are curved, crooked, or arched, for ship-building.

COMPENSATION. If a detained vessel is lost by the negligence and misconduct of the prize-master, compensation must be rendered, and the actual captors are responsible. The principal being answerable in law for the agent's acts.

COMPENSATOR OF THE COMPASS. See Magnetic Compensator.

COMPLAIN, To. The creaking of masts, or timbers, when over-pressed, without any apparent external defect. One man threatening to complain of another, is saying that he will report misconduct to the officer in charge of the quarter-deck.

COMPLEMENT. The proper number of men employed in any ship, either for navigation or battle. In navigation the complement of the course is what it wants of eight points; of latitude, what it is short of 90°. (See Co-latitude.)

COMPLEMENT OF LONGITUDE. See Supplement of Longitude.

COMPLETE BOOK. A book which contains the names and particulars of every person borne for wages on board, as age, place of birth, rating, times of entry and discharge, &c.

COMPLIMENT, To. To render naval or military honour where due.

COMPO. The monthly portion of wages paid to the ship's company.

COMPOSITION NAILS. Those which are made of mixed metal, and which, being largely used for nailing on copper sheathing, are erroneously called copper nails.

COMPOUND. A term used in India for a lawn garden, or inclosed ground round a house.

COMPRADOR [Sp]. A Chinese contractor in shipping concerns, or in purchasing present supplies.

COMPRESS. A pad of soft linen used by the surgeon for the dressing of a wound.

COMPRESSION OF THE POLES. The amount of flattening at the polar regions of a planet, by which the polar diameter is less than the equatorial.

COMPRESSOR. A mechanism generally adopted afloat for facilitating the working of the large guns recently introduced; the gun-carriage is thus compressed to its slide or platform during the recoil, and set free again by the turn of a handle for running up. It is of various forms; one of the simpler kind used to be always applied to carronade slides.[207]

COMPRESSOR-STOPPER. A contrivance for holding the chain-cable by compression.

COMPROMISE. The mutual agreement of a party or parties at difference, to refer to arbitration, or make an end of the matter.

COMPTROLLER OF THE CUSTOMS. The officer who controls and has a check on the collectors of customs. (See Controller.)

COMPTROLLER OF THE NAVY. Formerly the chief commissioner of the navy board, at which he presided.

COMRADE. A barrack term for a fellow-soldier, serving in the same company.

CONCEALMENT, or Suppressio Veri. Consists in the suppression of any fact or circumstance as to the state of the ship, the nature of her employ, and the time of sailing or expected arrival, material to the risk of insurance, and is fatal to the insured. But it is held immaterial to disclose the secret destination of privateers, the usages of trade, or matters equally open to both parties.

CONCENTRATED FIRE. The bringing the whole or several guns to bear on a single point.

CONCH. A large univalve, used as a horn by pilots, fishermen, &c., in fogs: a strombus, triton, or sometimes a murex.

CONCHS. A name for the wreckers of the Bahama reefs, in allusion to the shells on those shores. Though plunder is their object, the Conchs are very serviceable to humanity, and evince both courage and address in saving the lives of the wrecked.

CONCLUDING-LINE. A small rope hitched to the middle of the steps of the stern-ladders. Also, a small line leading through the centre of the steps of a Jacob's ladder.

CONDEMNATION. A captured ship declared by sentence of the admiralty court to be lawful prize. But the transfer of a prize vessel carried into a neutral port, and sold without a condemnation, or the authority of any judicial proceedings, is null and void.

CONDEMNED. Unserviceable, as bad provisions, old stores, &c.

CONDENSER. The chamber of a marine engine, where the steam, after having performed its duty, is instantly reduced to water. Sailing ships frequently carry condensers, for the purpose of making fresh from salt water.

CONDER. A watcher of fishes, the same as balker, huer, and olpis. See statute (1 Jac. cap. 23) relating to his employment, which was to give notice to the fishermen from an eminence which way the herring shoals were going.

CONDITIONS. The terms of surrender.

CONDUCT-LIST. A roll to accompany the tickets of all persons sent to a hospital for medical treatment; it details their names, numbers[208] on the ship's books, the date of their being sent, and the nature of their ailment.

CONDUCT-MONEY. A sum advanced to defray the travelling expenses of volunteers, and of soldiers and sailors to their quarters and ships. (See Safe-conduct.)

CONDUCTOR. A thick metal wire, generally of copper, extending from above the main truck downwards into the water, or in the form of a chain with long links. Its use is to defend the ship from the effects of lightning, by conveying the electric fluid into the sea.

CONE. A solid figure having a circle for its base, and produced by the entire revolution of a right-angled triangle about its perpendicular side, which is termed the axis of the cone.

CONE-BUOY. See Can-buoys.

CONEY-FISH. A name of the burbot.

CONFIGURATION. The relative positions of celestial bodies, as for instance those of Jupiter's satellites, with respect to the primary at any one time.

CONFINEMENT. Inflicted restraint; an arrest.

CONFIRMED RANK. When an officer is placed in a vacancy by "acting order," he only holds temporary rank until "confirmed" therein by the Admiralty. An acting order given by competent authority is not disturbed by any casual superior.

CONFLICT. An indecisive action.

CONFLUENTS. Those streams which join and flow together. The confluence is the point of junction of an affluent river with its recipient.

CONGER. A large species of sea-eel, furnishing a somewhat vile viand, but eatable when strongly curried. Not at all despised by the people of Cornwall in "fishy pie."

CONGREVE-ROCKET. A very powerful form of rocket, invented by the late Sir William Congreve, R.A., and intended to do the work of artillery without the inconvenience of its weight. In its present form, however, the rocket is so uncertain, that it is in little favour save for exceptional occasions.

CONICAL Tops of Mountains not unfrequently indicate their nature: the truncated sugar-loaf form is generally assumed by volcanoes, though the same is occasionally met with in other mountains.

CONIC SECTIONS. The curved lines and plane figures which are produced by the intersection of a plane with a cone.

CONJEE. Gruel made of rice.

CONJUGATE AXIS. The secondary diameter of an ellipse, perpendicular to the transverse axis.

CONJUNCTION, in nautical astronomy, is when two bodies have the same longitude or right ascension.[209]

CONN, Con, or Cun, as pronounced by seamen. This word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon conne, connan, to know, or be skilful. The pilot of old was skillful, and later the master was selected to conn the ship in action, that is, direct the helmsman. The quarter-master during ordinary watches conns the ship, and stands beside the wheel at the conn, unless close-hauled, when his station is at the weather-side, where he can see the weather-leeches of the sails.

CONNECTING-ROD. In the marine engine, the part which connects the side-levers and the crank together.

CONNINGS. Reckonings.

CONQUER, To. To overcome decidedly.

CONSCRIPTION. Not only furnishes conscripts for the French army, but also levies a number of men who are compelled to serve afloat.

CONSECRATION OF COLOURS. A rite practised in the army, but not in the navy.

CONSIGN, To. To send a consignment of goods to an agent or factor for sale or disposal.

CONSIGNEE. The party to whose care a ship or a consignment of  goods is intrusted.

CONSIGNMENT. Goods assigned from beyond sea, or elsewhere, to a factor.

CONSOLE-BRACKET. A light piece of ornament at the fore-part of the quarter-gallery, otherwise called a canting-livre.

CONSORT. Any vessel keeping company with another.—In consort, ships sailing together in partnership.

CONSORTSHIP. The practice of two or more ships agreeing to join in adventure, under which a strict division of all prizes must be made. (See Ton for Ton.)

CONSTRUCTION. In naval architecture, is to give the ship such a form as may be most suitable for the service for which she is designed. In navigation, it is the method of ascertaining a ship's course by trigonometrical diagrams. (See Inspection.)

CONSTRUCTIVE TOTAL LOSS. When the repair of damage sustained by the perils of the sea would cost more than the ship would be worth after being repaired.

CONSUL. An officer established by a commission from the crown, in all foreign countries of any considerable trade, to facilitate business, and represent the merchants of his nation. They take rank with captains, but are to wait on them if a boat be sent. Commanders wait on consuls, but vice-consuls wait on commanders (in Etiquette). Ministers and chargés d'affaires retire in case of hostilities, but consuls are permitted to remain to watch the interests of their countrymen. When commerce began to flourish in modern Europe, occasion soon[210] arose for the institution of a kind of court-merchant, to determine commercial affairs in a summary way. Their authority depends very much on their commission, and on the words of the treaty on which it is founded. The consuls are to take care of the affairs of the trade, and of the rights, interests, and privileges of their countrymen in foreign ports. Not being public ministers, they are liable to the lex loci both civil and criminal, and their exemption from certain taxes depends upon treaty and custom.

CONTACT. Brought in contact with, as touching the sides of a ship. In astronomy, bringing a reflected body, as the sun, in contact with the moon or with a star. (See Lunar Distances, Sextant, &c.)

CONTENTS. A document which the master of a merchantman must deliver to the custom-house searcher, before he can clear outwards; it describes the vessel's destination, cargo, and all necessary particulars.

CONTINENT. In geography, a large extent of land which is not entirely surrounded by water, or separated from other lands by the sea, as Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also used in contradistinction to island, though America seems insulated.

CONTINGENT. The quota of armed men, or pecuniary subsidy, which one state gives to another. Also, certain allowances made to commanding officers to defray necessary expenses.

CONTINUED LINES. In field-works, means a succession of fronts without any interruption, save the necessary passages; differing thus from interrupted lines.

CONTINUOUS SERVICE MEN. Those seamen who, having entered for a period, on being paid off, are permitted to have leave, and return to the flag-ship at the port for general service.

CONT-LINE. The space between the bilges of two casks stowed side by side.

CONTOUR. The sweep of a ship's shape.

CONTRABAND. The ship is involved in the legal fate of the cargo; the master should therefore be careful not to take any goods on board without all custom-house duties being paid up, and see that they be not prohibited by parliament or public proclamation. Contraband is simply defined, "merchandise forbidden by the law of nations to be supplied to an enemy;" but it affords fat dodges to the admiralty court sharks.

CONTRABAND OF WAR. Arms, ammunition, and all stores which may aid hostilities; masts, ship-timber going to an enemy's port, hemp, provisions, and even money under stipulations, pitch and tar, sail-cloth. They must, however, be taken in delicto, in the actual prosecution of a voyage to the enemy's port.

CONTRACT OF AFFREIGHTMENT. The agreement for the letting to freight the whole or any part of a vessel for one or more voyages; the charter-party.

CONTRACT TICKET. A printed form of agreement with every passenger in a passenger-ship, prescribed by the legislature.[211]

CONTRARY. The wind when opposed to a vessel's course.

"Cruel was the stately ship that bore her love from Mary,
And cruel was the fair wind that wouldn't blow contrary."
CONTRAVALLATION, Lines of. Continuous lines of intrenchment round the besieged fortress, and fronting towards it, to guard against any sorties from the place. (See Circumvallation.)

CONTRIBUTION. Money paid in order to save a place from being plundered by a hostile force. (See Ransom.) Also, a sum raised among merchants, where goods have been thrown overboard in stress of weather, towards the loss of the owners thereof.

CONTROLLER. Differs from comptroller, which applies chiefly to the duties of an accompt. But the controller of the navy controls naval matters in ship-building, fitting, &c. There is also the controller of victualling, and the controller-general of the coast-guard.

CONTUMACY. The not appearing to the three calls of the admiralty court, after the allegation has been presented to the judge, with a schedule of expenses to be taxed, and an oath of their necessity.

CONVALESCENT. Those men who are recovering health, but not sufficiently recovered to perform their duties, are reported by the surgeon "convalescent." Convalescents are amused by picking oakum!

CONVENIENT PORT. A general law-term in cases of capture, within a certain latitude of discretion; a place where a vessel can lie in safety, and holding ready communication with the tribunals which have to decide the question of capture.

CONVENTION. An agreement made between hostile troops, for the evacuation of a post, or the suspension of hostilities.

CONVERGENT. In geography, a stream which comes into another stream, but whose course is unknown, is simply a convergent.

CONVERSION. Reducing a vessel by a deck, thereby converting a line-of-battle ship into a frigate, or a crank three-decker into a good two-decker; or a serviceable vessel into a hulk, resembling a prison or dungeon, internally and externally, as much as possible.

CONVERSION OF STORES. Adapting the sails, ropes, or timbers from one purpose to another, with the least possible waste.

CONVEXITY. The curved limb of the moon; an outward curve.

CONVICT-SHIP. A vessel appropriated to the convicts of a dockyard; also one hired to carry out convicts to their destination.

CONVOY. A fleet of merchant ships similarly bound, protected by an armed force. Also, the ship or ships appointed to conduct and defend them on their passage. Also, a guard of troops to escort a supply of stores to a detached force.

CONVOY-INSTRUCTIONS. The printed regulations supplied by the senior officer to each ship of the convoy.

CONVOY-LIST. A return of the merchantmen placed under the protection of men-of-war, for safe conduct to their destination.

COOK. A man of each mess who is caterer for the day, and answerable[212] too, wherefore he is allowed the surplus grog, termed plush (which see). The cook, par excellence, in the navy, was a man of importance, responsible for the proper cooking of the food, yet not overboiling the meat to extract the fat—his perquisite. The coppers were closely inspected daily by the captain, and if they soiled a cambric handkerchief the cook's allowance was stopped. Now, the ship's cook is a first-class petty officer, and cannot be punished as heretofore. In a merchantman the cook is, ex officio, the hero of the fore-sheet, as the steward is of the main one.

COOKING A DAY'S WORK. To save the officer in charge. Reckoning too is cooked, as in a certain Antarctic discovery of land, which James Ross afterwards sailed over.

COOK-ROOM, or Cook-house. The galley or caboose containing the cooking apparatus, and where victuals are dressed.

COOLIE, Couley, Kouli, or Chuliah. A person who carries a load; a porter or day-labourer in India and China.

COOMB. The Anglo-Saxon comb; a low place inclosed with hills; a valley. (See Cwm.)

COOMINGS, or Combings. The rim of the hatchways. (See Coamings.)

COOM OF A WAVE. The comb or crest. The white summit when it breaks.

COON-TRAIE. A Manx and Erse term for the neap-tide.

COOP, or Fish-coop. A hollow vessel made with twigs, with which fish are taken in the Humber. (See Hen-coop.)

COOPER. A rating for a first-class petty officer, who repairs casks, &c.

COOT. A water-fowl common on lakes and rivers (Fulica atra). The toes are long and not webbed, but bordered by a scalloped membrane. The name is sometimes used for the guillemot (Uria troile), and often applied to a stupid person.

COOTH. See Cuth.

COP, or Copt. The top of a conical hill.

COPE. An old English word for cape.

COPECK. See Kopek.

COPERNICAN SYSTEM. The Pythagorean system of the universe, revived by Copernicus in the sixteenth century, and now confirmed; in which the sun occupies the central space, and the planets with their attendant satellites revolve about him.

COPILL. An old term for a variety of the coble.

COPING. In ship-building, turning the ends of iron lodging-knees, so that they may hook into the beams.

COPPER, To. To cover the ship's bottom with prepared copper.

COPPER-BOLTS. See Copper-fastened.

COPPERED, or Copper-bottomed. Sheathed with thin sheets of copper, which prevents the teredo eating into the planks, or shell and weed accumulating on the surface, whereby a ship is retarded in her sailing.

COPPER-FASTENED. The bolts and other metal work in the bottom of ships, made of copper instead of iron, so that the vessel may afterwards be[213] coppered without danger of its corroding the heads of the bolts by galvanic action, as ensues when copper and iron are in contact with sea-water.

COPPER-NAILS. These are chiefly used in boat-building, and for plank nails in the vicinity of the binnacle, as iron affects the compass-needle. They are not to be confounded with composition nails, which are cast. (See Roof, or Rove and Clinch.)

COPPERS. The ship's boilers for cooking; the name is generally used, even where the apparatus may be made of iron.

COQUILLAGE. Shell-fish in general. It applies to anchorages where oysters abound, or where fish are plentiful, and shell-fish for bait easily obtainable. It is specially a term belonging to French and Spanish fishermen.

CORAB. A sort of boat, otherwise called coracle.

CORACLE. An ancient British truckle or boat, constructed of wicker-work, and still in use amongst Welsh fishermen and on the Irish lakes. It is covered by skins, oil-cloth, &c., which are removed when out of use; it is of an oval form; contains one man, who, on reaching the shore, shoulders his coracle, deposits it in safety, and covers it with dried rushes or heather. The Arctic baidar is of similar construction. It is probably of the like primitive fabric with the cymba sutiles of Herodotus.

CORACORA. See Korocora.

CORAL. A name applied to the hard calcareous support or skeleton of many species of marine zoophytes. The coral-producing animals abound chiefly in tropical seas, sometimes forming, by the aggregated growth of countless generations, reefs, barriers, and islands of vast extent. The "red coral" (Corallium rubrum) of the Mediterranean is highly prized for ornamental purposes.

CORALAN. A small open boat for the Mediterranean coral fishery.

CORAL-BAND. See Sand and Coral Bank or Islet.

CORBEILLE [Fr. basket]. Miner's basket; small gabion used temporarily for shelter to riflemen, and placed on the parapet, either to fire through, or for protection from a force placed on a higher level.

CORBILLARD [Fr.] A large boat of transport.

CORD. Small rope; that of an inch or less in circumference.

CORD or Churd of Wood; as firewood. A statute stack is 8 feet long, 4 feet broad, and 4 feet high.

CORDAGE. A general term for the running-rigging of a ship, as also for rope of any size which is kept in reserve, and for all stuff to make ropes.—Cable-laid cordage. Ropes, the three strands of which are composed of three other strands, as are cables and cablets. (See Rope.)

CORDILLA. The coarse German hemp, otherwise called torse.

CORDLIE. A name for the tunny fish.

CORDON. In fortification, the horizontal moulding of masonry along the top of the true escarp. Also, sometimes used for lines of circumvallation or blockade, or any connected chain of troops or even sentries. Also, the riband of an order of knighthood or honour, and hence used by the[214] French as signifying a member thereof, as Cordon bleu, Knight of the order of the Holy Ghost, &c.

CORDOVAN. Leather made from seal-skin; the term is derived from the superior leather prepared at Cordova in Spain.

CORDUROY. Applied to roads formed in new settlements, of trees laid roughly on sleepers transverse to the direction of the road; as suddenly for artillery.

CORKIR, or Cudbear. The Lecanora tartarea, a lichen producing a purple dye, growing on the stones of the Western Isles, and in Norway.

CORMORANT. A well-known sea-bird (Phalacrocorax carbo) of the family Pelecanidæ.

CORN, To. A remainder of the Anglo-Saxon ge-cyrned, salted. To preserve meat for a time by salting it slightly.

CORNED. Slightly intoxicated. In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, mention is made of "corny ale."

CORNED POWDER. Powder granulated from the mill-cakes and sifted.

CORNET. A commissioned officer who carries the colours belonging to a cavalry troop, equivalent to an ensign in the infantry; the junior subaltern rank in the horse.

CORNISH RING. The astragal of the muzzle or neck of a gun; it is the next ring from the mouth backwards. (Now disused.)

CORN-SALAD. A species of Valerianella. The top-leaves are used for salad, a good anti-scorbutic with vinegar.

CORNS OF POWDER. The small grains that gunpowder consists of. The powder reduced for fire-works, quill-tubes, &c.; sometimes by alcohol.

COROMONTINES. A peculiar race of negroes, brought from the interior of Africa, and sold; but so ferocious as to be greatly dreaded in the West Indies.

CORONA. In timber, consists of rows of microscopic cylinders, situated between the wood and the pith; it is that part from which all the branches take their rise, and from it all the wood-threads grow.—Corona astronomically means the luminous ring or glory which surrounds the sun or moon during an eclipse, or the intervention of a thin cloud. They are generally faintly coloured at their edges. Frequently when there is a halo encircling the moon, there is a small corona more immediately around it. Coronæ, as well as halos, have been observed to prognosticate rain, hail, or snow, being the result of snow or dense vapours nearer the earth, through which the object becomes hazy.

CORONER. An important officer. Seamen should understand that his duties embrace all acts within a line drawn from one headland to another; or within the body of the county. His duty is to investigate, on the part of the crown, all accidents, deaths, wrecks, &c.; and his warrant is not to be contemned or avoided.

COROUSE. The ancient weapon invented by Duilius for boarding. An attempt was made in 1798 to re-introduce it in French privateers.

COROWNEL. The old word for colonel.[215]

CORPHOUN. An out-of-the-way name for a herring.

CORPORAL, Ship's. In a ship of war was, under the master-at-arms, employed to teach the sailors the use of small arms; to attend at the gangways when entering ports, and see that no spirituous liquors were brought on board without leave. Also, to extinguish the fire and candles at eight o'clock in winter, and nine o'clock in summer, when the evening gun was fired; and to see that there were no lights below, but such as were under the charge of the proper sentinels. In the marines or army in general the corporal is a non-commissioned officer next below the sergeant in the scale of authority. The ship's corporal of the present day is the superior of the first-class working petty officers, and solely attends to police matters under the master-at-arms or superintendent-in-chief.

CORPORAL OATH. So called because the witness when he swears lays his right hand on the holy evangelists, or New Testament.

CORPOSANT. [Corpo santo, Ital.] See Compasant.

CORPS. Any body of troops acting under one commander.

CORPSE. Jack's term for the party of marines embarked; the corps.

CORRECTIONS. Reductions of observations of the sun, moon, or stars.

CORRIDOR. See Covert-way.

CORRYNE POWDER. Corn-powder, a fine kind of gunpowder.

CORSAIR. A name commonly given to the piratical cruisers of Barbary, who frequently plundered the merchant ships indiscriminately.

CORSELET. The old name for a piece of armour used to cover the body of a fighting-man.

CORTEGE. The official staff, civil or military.

CORUSCATIONS. Atmospheric flashes of light, as in auroras.

CORVETTES. Flush-decked ships, equipped with one tier of guns: fine vessels for warm climates, from admitting a free circulation of air. The Bermuda-built corvettes were deemed superior vessels, swift, weatherly, "lie to" well, and carry sail in a stiff breeze. The cedar of which they are chiefly built is very buoyant, but also brittle.

CORVORANT. An old mode of spelling cormorant.

COSIER. A lubber, a botcher, a tailoring fellow [coser, Sp. to sew?]

COSMICAL RISING and SETTING of the Heavenly Bodies. Their rising and setting with the sun.

COSMOGRAPHER. Formerly applied to "too clever by half." Now, one who describes the world or universe in all its parts.

COSS. A measure of distance in India, varying in different districts from one mile and a half to two miles.

COSTAL. Relating to the coast.

COSTEIE. An old English word for going by the coast.

COSTERA. A law archaism for the sea-coast.

COSTS AND DAMAGE. Demurrage is generally given against a captor for unjustifiable detention. Where English merchants provoke expense by using false papers, the court decrees the captors their expenses on restitution. (See Expenses.)[216]

COT. A wooden bed-frame suspended from the beams of a ship for the officers, between decks. It is inclosed in canvas, sewed in the form of a chest, about 6 feet long, 1 foot deep, and 2 or 3 feet wide, in which the mattress is laid.

COTT. An old term for a little boat.

COTTON, Gun. See Gun-cotton.

COTTONINA. The thick sail-cloth of the Levant.

COUBAIS. An ornamented Japanese barge of forty oars.

COUD. An old term used for conn or cunn.

COULTER-NEB. A name of the puffin (Fratercula arctica).

COUNCIL-OF-WAR. The assemblage of officers for concerting measures of moment, too often deemed the symbol of irresolution in the commander-in-chief.

COUNTER. A term which enters into the composition of divers words of our language, and generally implies opposition, as counter-brace, counter-current, &c.—Counter of a ship, refers to her after-seat on the water: the counter above extends from the gun-deck line, or lower ribbon moulding of the cabin windows, to the water-line (or seat of water); the lower counter is arched below that line, and constitutes the hollow run. It is formed on the transom-buttocks.

COUNTER-APPROACHES. Works effected outside the place by the garrison during a siege, to enfilade, command, or otherwise check the approaches of the besieger.

COUNTER-BALANCE WEIGHT, in the marine engine. (See Lever.) Also in many marine barometers, where it slides and is fixed by adjusting screws, so as to produce an even-balanced swing, free from jerk.

COUNTER-BRACE, To. Is bracing the head-yards one way, and the after-yards another. The counter-brace is the lee-brace of the fore-topsail-yard, but is only distinguished by this name at the time of the ship's going about (called tacking), when the sail begins to shiver in the wind, this brace is hauled in to flatten the sail against the lee-side of the top-mast, and increase the effect of the wind in forcing her round. Counter-bracing becomes necessary to render the vessel stationary when sounding, lowering a boat, or speaking a stranger. It is now an obsolete term, and the manœuvre is called heaving-to.

COUNTER-CURRENT. That portion of water diverted from the main stream of a current by the particular formation of the coast or other obstruction, and which therefore runs in a contrary direction. There is also a current formed under the lee-counter of a ship when going through the water, which retains floating objects there, and is fatal to a man, by sucking him under.

COUNTERFORTS. Masonry adjuncts, advantageous to all retaining walls, but especially to those which, like the escarps of fortresses, are liable to be battered. They are attached at regular intervals to the hinder face of the wall, and perpendicular to it; having various proportions, but generally the same height as the wall; they hold it from being[217] thrust forward from behind, and, even when it is battered away, retain the earth at the back at such a steep slope that the formation of a practicable breach remains very difficult. When arches are turned between the counterforts, the strength of the whole structure is much increased: it is then called a counter-arched revêtement.

COUNTERGUARD. In fortification, a smaller rampart raised in front of a larger one, principally with the intention of delaying for a period the besieger's attack. Other means, however, are generally preferred in modern times, except when a rapid fall in the ground renders it difficult to cover the main escarp by ordinary resources.

COUNTER-LINE. A word often used for contravallation.

COUNTERMARCH. To change the direction of a march to its exact opposite. In some military movements this involves the changing of front and wings.

COUNTERMINES. Military defensive mines: they may be arranged on a system for the protection of the whole of a front of fortification by the discovering and blowing up not only the subterranean approaches of the besieger, but also his more important lodgments above.

COUNTER-MOULD. The converse of mould (which see).

COUNTER-RAILS. The balustrade work, or ornamental moulding across a square stern, where the counter terminates.

COUNTERSCARP. In fortification, the outer side of the ditch next the country; it is usually of less height, and less strongly revetted than the escarp, the side which forms the face of the rampart.

COUNTER-SEA. The disturbed state of the sea after a gale, when, the wind having changed, the sea still runs in its old direction.

COUNTERSIGN. A particular word or number which is exchanged between sentinels, and intrusted to those on duty. (See Parole.)

COUNTER-SUNK. Those holes which are made for the heads of bolts or nails to be sunk in, so as to be even with the general surface.

COUNTER-TIMBERS. Short right-aft timbers for the purpose of strengthening the counter, and forming the stern.

COUNTER-TRENCHES. See Counter-approaches.

COUNTRY. A term synonymous with station. The place whither a ship happens to be ordered.

COUP DE GRACE. The finishing shot which brings an enemy to surrender; or the wound which deprives an adversary of life or resistance.

COUP DE MAIN. A sudden and vigorous attack.

COUP D'ŒIL. The skill of distinguishing, at first sight, the weakness of an enemy's position, as Nelson did at the Nile.

COUPLE, To. To bend two hawsers together; coupling links of a cable; coupling shackles.

COUREAU. A small yawl of the Garonne. Also, a narrow strait or channel.

COURSE. The direction taken by anything in motion, shown by the point of the compass towards which they run, as water in a river, tides, and currents;[218] but of the wind, as similarly indicated by the compass-point from which it blows. Course is also the ship's way. In common parlance, it is the point of the compass upon which the ship sails, the direction in which she proceeds, or is intended to go. When the wind is foul, she cannot "lie her course;" if free, she "steers her course."

COURSES. A name by which the sails hanging from the lower yards of a ship are usually distinguished, viz. the main-sail, fore-sail, and mizen: the staysails upon the lower masts are sometimes also comprehended in this denomination, as are the main staysails of all brigs and schooners. A ship is under her courses when she has no sail set but the fore-sail, main-sail, and mizen. Trysails are courses (which see), sometimes termed bentincks.

COURSET. The paper on which the night's course is set for the officer in charge of the watch.

COURT-MARTIAL. A tribunal held under an act of parliament, of the year 1749, and not, like the mutiny act, requiring yearly re-enactment. It has lately, 6th August, 1861, been changed to the "Naval Discipline Act." At present a court may be composed of five, but must not exceed nine, members. No officer shall sit who is under twenty-one years of age. No flag-officer can be tried unless the president also be a flag-officer, and the others flag, or captains. No captain shall be tried unless the president be of higher rank, and the others captains and commanders. No court for the trial of any officer, or person below the rank of captain, shall be legal, unless the president is a captain, or of higher rank, nor unless, in addition, there be two other officers of the rank of commander, or of higher rank. Any witness summoned—civil, naval, or military—by the judge-advocate, refusing to attend or give evidence, to be punished as for same in civil courts. The admiralty can issue commissions to officers to hold courts-martial on foreign stations, without which they cannot be convened. A commander-in-chief on a foreign station, holding such a commission, may under his hand authorize an officer in command of a detached portion to hold courts-martial. Formerly all officers composing the court, attendants, witnesses, &c., were compelled to appear in their full-dress uniforms; but by recent orders, the undress uniform, with cocked hat and sword, is to be worn.

COUTEL. A military implement which served both for a knife and a dagger.

COUTERE. A piece of armour which covered the elbow.

COVE. An inlet in a coast, sometimes extensive, as the Cove of Cork. In naval architecture, the arched moulding sunk in at the foot or lower part of the taffrail.—My cove, a familiar friendly term.

COVER. Security from attack or interruption, as under cover of the ship's guns, under cover of the parapet. In the field exercise and drill of troops, one body is said to cover another exactly in rear of it. Covers for sails when furled (to protect them from the weather when loosing and airing them is precluded), are made of strong canvas painted.[219]

COVERED WAY. In fortification, a space running along the outside of the ditch for the convenient passage of troops and guns, covered from the country by a palisading and the parapet of the glacis. It is of importance to an active defence, as besides enabling a powerful musketry fire to be poured on the near approaches of the besieger, it affords to the garrison a secure base from which to sally in force at any hour of the day or night.

COVERING-BOARD. See Plank-sheer.

COVERING-PARTY. A force detached to protect a party sent on especial duty.

COVERT-WAY. See Covered Way.

COW. Applied by whalers to the female whale.—To cow. To depress with fear.

COWARDICE, and Desertion of Duty in Fight. Are criminal by law, even in the crew of a merchant-ship. Such poltroonery is very rare.

COWD. To float slowly. A Scotch term, as "the boat cowds braely awa."

COW-HITCH. A slippery or lubberly hitch.

COWHORN. The seaman's appellation of the coehorn.

COWIE. A name among Scotch fishermen for the porpoise.

COWL. The cover of a funnel.

COWRIE. Small shells, Cypræa moneta, used for money or barter in Africa and the East Indies.

COXSON, or Coxon. See Cockswain.

COX'S TRAVERSE. Up one hatchway and down another, to elude duty. (See Tom Cox.)

C.P. Mark for men sent by civil power.

CRAB. A wooden pillar, the lower end of which being let down through a ship's decks, rests upon a socket like the capstan, and having in its upper end three or four holes at different heights, long oars are thrust through them, each acting like two levers. It is employed to wind in the cable, or any other weighty matter. Also, a portable wooden or cast-iron machine, fitted with wheels and pinions similar to those of a winch, of use in loading and discharging timber-vessels, &c.—The crab with three claws, is used to launch ships, and to heave them into the dock, or off the key.—To catch a crab. To pull an oar too light or too deep in the water; to miss time in rowing. This derisive phrase for a false stroke may have been derived from the Italian chiappar un gragno, to express the same action.

CRABBING TO IT. Carrying an over-press of sail in a fresh gale, by which a ship crabs or drifts sideways to leeward.

CRABBLER. See Krabla.

CRAB-BOAT. Resembles a large jolly-boat.


CRAB-WINDLASS. A light windlass for barges.


CRACK. "In a crack," immediately.

CRACKER. So named from the noise it makes in exploding; it is applied[220] to a small pistol. Also, to a little hard cabin biscuit, so called from its noise in breaking.

CRACKNEL. A small bark. Also, biscuits (see 1 Ki. xiv. 3).

CRACK OFFICER. One of the best class.

CRACK ON, To. To carry all sail.

CRACK-ORDER. High regularity.

CRACK-SHIP. One uncommonly smart in her evolutions and discipline, perhaps from the old English word for a fine boy. Crack is generally used for first-rate or excellent.

CRADLE. A frame consisting of bilge-ways, poppets, &c., on the principle of the wedge, placed under the bottom of a ship, and resting on the ways on which it slips, thus launching her steadily into the water, at which time it supports her weight while she slides down the greased ways. The cradle being the support of the ship, she carries it with her into the water, when, becoming buoyant, the frame separates from the hull, floats on the surface, and is again collected for similar purposes.

CRADLES. Standing bedsteads made up for wounded seamen, that they may be more comfortable than is possible in a hammock. Boats' chocks are sometimes called cradles.

CRAFT [from the Anglo-Saxon word cræft, a trading vessel]. It is now a general name for lighters, hoys, barges, &c., employed to load or land any goods or stores.—Small craft. The small vessels of war attendant on a fleet, such as cutters, schooners, gunboats, &c., generally commanded by lieutenants. Craft is also a term in sea-phraseology for every kind of vessel, especially for a favourite ship. Also, all manner of nets, lines, hooks, &c., used in fishing.

CRAG. A precipitous cliff whose strata if vertical, or nearly so, subdivide into points.

CRAGER. A small river lighter, mentioned in our early statutes.

CRAGSMAN. One who climbs cliffs overhanging the sea to procure sea-fowls, or their eggs.

CRAIG-FLOOK. The smear-dab, or rock-flounder.

CRAIK, or Crake. A ship; a diminutive corrupted from carrack.

CRAIL. See Kreel.

CRAIL-CAPON. A haddock dried without being split.

CRAKERS. Choice soldiers (temp. Henry VIII.) Perhaps managers of the crakys, and therefore early artillery.

CRAKYS. An old term for great guns.

CRAMP. A machine to facilitate the screwing of two pieces of timber together.

CRAMPER. A yarn or twine worn round the leg as a remedy against cramp.

CRAMPETS. The cramp rings of a sword scabbard. Ferrule to a staff.

CRAMPINGS. A nautical phrase to express the fetters and bolts for offenders.

CRAMPOON. See Creeper.[221]

CRANAGE. The money paid for the use of a wharf crane. Also, the permission to use a crane at any wharf or pier.

CRANCE. A sort of iron cap on the outer end of the bowsprit, through which the jib-boom traverses. The name is not unfrequently applied to any boom-iron.

CRANE. A machine for raising and lowering great weights, by which timber and stores are hoisted upon wharfs, &c. Also, a kind of catapult for casting stones in ancient warfare. Also, pieces of iron, or timber at a vessel's sides, used to stow boats or spars upon. Also, as many fresh or green unsalted herrings as would fill a barrel.

CRANE-BARGE. A low flat-floored lump, fitted for the purpose of carrying a crane, in aid of marine works.

CRANE-LINES. Those which formerly went from the spritsail-topmast to the middle of the fore-stay, serving to steady the former. Also, small lines for keeping the lee backstays from chafing against the yards.

CRANG. The carcass of a whale after being flinched or the blubber stripped off.

CRANK, or Crank-sided. A vessel, by her construction or her stowage, inclined to lean over a great deal, or from insufficient ballast or cargo incapable of carrying sail, without danger of overturning. The opposite term is stiff, or the quality of standing well up to her canvas.—Cranky expresses a foolish capriciousness. Ships built too deep in proportion to their breadth are notoriously crank.—Crank by the ground, is a ship whose floor is so narrow that she cannot be brought on the ground without danger.

CRANK-HATCHES. Are raised coamings on a steamer's deck, to form coverings for the cranks of the engines below.

CRANK-PIN. In steam machinery, it goes through both arms of the crank at their extremities; to this pin the connecting-rod is attached.

CRANKS of a Marine Engine; eccentric, as in a turning-lathe. The bend or knee pinned on the shafts, by which they are moved round with a circular motion. Also, iron handles for working pumps, windlasses, &c. Also, erect iron forks on the quarter-deck for the capstan-bars, or other things, to be stowed thereon. Also, the axis and handle of a grindstone. Also, an old term for the sudden or frequent involutions of the planets in their orbits.

CRANK-SHAFT. In a steamer. (See Intermediate Shaft.)

CRAPPO, or General Crapaud. Jack's name for a Frenchman, one whom he thinks would be a better sailor if he would but talk English instead of French.

CRARE, or Crayer. A slow unwieldy trading vessel of olden times. Thus Shakspeare, in Cymbeline, with hydrographic parlance:—

"Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? Find
The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare
Might easiliest harbour in?"
CRATER of a Mine. Synonymous with funnel (which see).[222]

CRAVAISE. An Anglo-Norman word for cray-fish.

CRAVEN. An old term synonymous with recreant (which see).

CRAWL. A sort of pen, formed by a barrier of stakes and hurdles on the sea-coast, to contain fish or turtle. On the coast of Africa, a pen for slaves awaiting shipment.

CRAWLING OFF. Working off a lee-shore by slow degrees.

CRAY-FISH. A lobster-like crustacean (Astacus fluviatilis) found in fresh-water.

CRAZY. Said of a ship in a bad state.

CREAK. The straining noise made by timbers, cabin bulk-heads, and spars in rolling.

CREAR. A kind of Scotch lighter. (See Crare.)

CREEK. A narrow inlet of the sea shoaling suddenly. Also, the channels connecting the several branches of a river and lake islands, and one lake or lagoon with another. It differs from a cove, in being proportionately deeper and narrower. In law, it is part of a haven where anything is landed from the sea.

CREEL, or Crue, for fishing. See Kreel.

CREENGAL. See Cringle.

CREEPER. A small grapnel (iron instrument with four claws) for dragging for articles dropped overboard in harbour. When anything falls, a dish or other white object thrown immediately after it will greatly guide the creeping.

CREES. See Kris.

CREMAILLEE. More commonly called indented (which see), with regard to lines or parapets.

CRENELLE. A loop-hole in a fortress.

CRENG. See Krang.

CREOLE. This term applies in the West Indies and Spanish America, &c., to a person of European and unmixed origin, but colonial born.

CREPUSCULUM. See Twilight.

CRESPIE. A northern term for a small whale or a grampus.

CRESSET. A beacon light set on a watch-tower.

CRESSIT. A small crease or dagger.

CREST. The highest part of a mountain, or range of mountains, and the summit of a sea-wave.

CREW. Comprehends every officer and man on board ship, borne as complement on the books. There are in ships of war several particular crews or gangs, as the gunner's, carpenter's, sail-maker's, blacksmith's, armourer's, and cooper's crews.

CRIB. A small berth in a packet.

CRICK. A small jack-screw.

CRIMPS. Detested agents who trepan seamen, by treating, advancing money, &c., by which the dupes become indebted, and when well plied with liquor are induced to sign articles, and are shipped off, only discovering their mistake on finding themselves at sea robbed of all they possessed.[223]

CRINGLE. A short piece of rope worked grommet fashion into the bolt-rope of a sail, and containing a metal ring or thimble. The use of the cringle is generally to hold the end of some rope, which is fastened thereto for the purpose of drawing up the sail to its yard, or extending the skirts or leech by means of bowline bridles, to stand upon a side-wind. The word seems to be derived from the old English crencled, or circularly formed. Cringles should be made of the strands of new bolt-rope. Those for the reef and reef-tackle pendant are stuck through holes made in the tablings.

CRINKYL. The cringle or loop in the leech of a sail.

CRIPPLE, To. To disable an enemy's ship by wounding his masts, yards, and steerage gear, thereby placing him hors de combat.

CRISS-CROSS. The mark of a man who cannot write his name.

CROAKER. A tropical fish which makes a cris-cris noise.

CROAKY. A term applied to plank when it curves much in short lengths.

CROCHERT. A hagbut or hand cannon, anciently in use.

CROCK [Anglo-Saxon, croca]. An earthen mess-vessel, and the usual vegetables were called crock-herbs. In the Faerie Queene Spenser cites the utensil:—

"Therefore the vulgar did aboute him flocke,
Like foolish flies about an honey-crocke."
CROCODILES. A designation for those who served in Egypt under Lord Keith.

CROJEK. The mode of pronouncing cross-jack (which see).

CRONNAG. In the Manx and Erse, signifies a rock that can be seen before low-water.

CROOKED-CATCH. An iron implement bent in the form of the letter S.

CROOKS. Crooked timbers. Short arms or branches of trees.

CROONER. The gray gurnard (Trigla gurnardus), so called on account of the creaking noise it makes after being taken.

CROSS-BARS. Round bars of iron, bent at each end, used as levers to turn the shank of an anchor.

CROSS-BAR-SHOT. The famed cross-bar-shot, or properly bar-shot, used by the Americans: when folded it presented a bar or complete shot, and could thus be placed in the gun. But as it left the muzzle it expanded to a cross, with four quarters of a shot at its radial points. It was used to destroy the rigging as well as do execution amongst men.

CROSS-BITT. The same as cross-piece (which see).

CROSS-BORED. Bored with holes alternately on the edges of planks, to separate the fastenings, so as to avoid splitting the timbers or beams.

CROSS-BOW. An ancient weapon of our fleet, when also in use on shore.

CROSS-CHOCKS. Large pieces of timber fayed across the dead-wood amidships, to make good the deficiency of the heels of the lower futtocks.

CROSS-FISH. A northern name for the asterias or star-fish; so called from the Norwegian kors-fisk. Also, the Uraster rubens.[224]

CROSS-GRAINED. Not straight-grained as in good wood; hence the perverse and vexatious disposition of the ne'er-do-wells. As Cotton's Juno—

"That cross-grained, peevish, scolding queen."
CROSS-HEAD. In a steamer's engine, is on the top of the piston-rod athwart the cylinder; and there is another fitted to the air-pump, both having side-rods. (See Cylinder Cross-head.)

CROSSING A SHIP'S WAKE. When a ship sails over the transient track which another has just passed, i.e. passes close astern of her.

CROSSING THE CABLES IN THE HATCHWAY. A method by which the operation of coiling is facilitated; it alludes to hempen cables, which are now seldom used.

CROSS IN THE HAWSE. Is when a ship moored with two anchors from the bows has swung the wrong way once, whereby the two cables lie across each other.—To cross a vessel's hawse is to sail across the line of her course, a little ahead of her.

CROSSJACK-YARD [pronounced crojeck-yard]. The lower yard on the mizen-mast, to the arms of which the clues of the mizen top-sail are extended. The term is applied to any fore-and-aft vessels setting a square-sail, flying, below the lower cross-trees. It is now very common in merchant ships to set a sail called a cross-jack upon this yard.

CROSS-PAWLS. See Cross-spales.

CROSS-PIECE. The transverse timber of the bitts. Also, a rail of timber extending over the windlass of some merchant-ships from the knight-heads to the belfry. It is furnished with wooden pins to fasten the running-rigging to, as occasion requires.—Cross-pieces. Short pieces laid across the keel of a line-of-battle ship, and scarphed to the lower ends of the first futtocks, as strengtheners.

CROSS-SEA. A sea not caused by the wind then blowing. During a heavy gale which changes quickly (a cyclone, for instance), each change of wind produces a direction of the sea, which lasts for some hours after the wind which caused it has changed, so that in a part of the sea which has experienced all the changes of one of these gales, the sea runs up in pyramids, sending the tops of the waves perpendicularly into the air, which are then spread by the prevailing wind; the effect is awfully grand and dangerous, for it generally renders a ship ungovernable until it abates.

CROSS-SOMER. A beam of timber.

CROSS-SPALES or Spalls. Temporary beams nailed across a vessel to keep the sides together, and support the ship in frame, until the deck-knees are fastened.

CROSS-STAFF. See Fore-staff.

CROSS-SWELL. This is similar to a cross-sea, except that it undulates without breaking violently.

CROSS-TAIL. In a steam-engine, is of the same form as the cylinder cross-head: it has iron straps catching the pins in the ends of the side-levers.[225]

CROSS-TIDE. The varying directions of the flow amongst shoals that are under water. (See Current.)

CROSS-TIMBERS. See Cross-piece.

CROSS-TREES. Certain timbers supported by the cheeks and trestle-trees at the upper ends of the lower and top masts, athwart which they are laid to sustain the frame of the tops on the one, and to extend the top-gallant shrouds on the other.

CROTCHED-YARD. The old orthography for crossjack-yard (which see).

CROTCHES. See Crutch.

CROW, or Crow-bar. An iron lever furnished with a sharp point at one end, and two claws on a slight bevel bend at the other, to prize or remove weighty bodies, like pieces of timber, to draw spike-nails, &c. Also, to direct and manage the great guns.

CROWDIE. Meal and milk mixed in a cold state; but sometimes a mere composition of oatmeal and boiled water, eaten with treacle, or butter and sugar, as condiment.

CROWD SAIL, To. To carry an extraordinary press of canvas on a ship, as in pursuit of, or flight from, an enemy, &c.

CROW-FOOT. A number of small lines spreading out from an uvrou or long block, used to suspend the awnings by, or to keep the top-sails from striking violently, and fretting against the top-rims. (See Euphroe.) Also, a kind of stand, attached to the end of mess-tables, and hooked to a beam above.—Crow-foot or beam-arm is also a crooked timber, extended from the side of a beam to the ship's side, in the wake of the hatchway, supplying the place of a beam.—Crow's-foot is the name of the four-pointed irons thrown in front of a position, to hamper the advance of cavalry, and other assailants, for in whatsoever way they fall one point is upwards. The phrase of crow's-feet is also jocularly applied to the wrinkles spreading from the outer corner of the eyes—a joke used both by Chaucer and Spenser.

CROWN. A common denomination in most parts of Europe for a silver coin, varying in local value from 2s. 6d. sterling to 8s. (See also Prerogative.)—Crown of an anchor. The place where the arms are joined to the shank, and unite at the throat.—Crown of a gale. Its extreme violence.—In fortification, to crown is to effect a lodgment on the top of; thus, the besieger crowns the covered way when he occupies with his trenches the crest of the glacis.

CROWN, or Double Crown. A knot; is to pass the strands of a rope over and under each other above the knot by way of finish. (See Knot.)

CROWNING. The finishing part of some knots on the end of a rope, to prevent the ends of the strands becoming loose. They are more particularly useful in all kinds of stoppers. (See Wall-knot and Crown.)

CROWN-WORK. In fortification, the largest definite form of outwork, having for its head two contiguous bastioned fronts, and for its sides two long strait faces, flanked by the artillery fire of the place. Or a detached[226] work, according to the circumstances of the ground, requiring such advanced occupation.

CROW-PURSE. The egg-capsule of a skate.

CROW-SHELL. A fresh-water mussel.

CROW'S NEST. A small shelter for the look-out man: sometimes made with a cask, at the top-gallant mast-head of whalers, whence fish are espied. Also, for the ice-master to note the lanes or open spaces in the ice.

CROY. An inclosure on the sea-beach in the north for catching fish. When the tide flows the fishes swim over the wattles, but are left by the ebbing of the water.

CRUE. See Kreel.

CRUE-HERRING. The shad (Clupea alosa).

CRUER. See Crare.

CRUISE, or Cruize. A voyage in quest of an enemy expected to sail through any particular tract of the sea at a certain season,—the seeker traversing the cruising latitude under easy sail, backward and forward. The parts of seas frequented by whales are called the cruising grounds of whalers.

CRUISERS. Small men-of-war, made use of in the Channel and elsewhere to secure our merchant ships from the enemy's small frigates and privateers. They were generally such as sailed well, and were well manned.

CRUIVES. Inclosed spaces in a dam or weir for taking salmon.

CRUMMY. Fleshy or corpulent.

CRUPPER. The train tackle ring-bolt in a gun-carriage.

CRUSADO. See Cruzado.

CRUTCH, or Crotch. A support fixed upon the taffrail for the main boom of a sloop, brig, cutter, &c., and a chock for the driver-boom of a ship when their respective sails are furled. Also, crooked timber inside the after-peak of a vessel, for securing the heels of the cant or half-timbers: they are fayed and bolted on the foot-waling. Also, stanchions of wood or iron whose upper parts are forked to receive masts, yards, and other spars, and which are fixed along the sides and gangways. Crutches are used instead of rowlocks, and also on the sides of large boats to support the oars and spars.

CRUZADO. A Portuguese coin of 480 reis, value 2s. 71⁄4d. sterling in Portugal; in England, 2s. to 2s. 2d.

CUBBRIDGE HEADS. The old bulk-heads of the forecastle and half-decks, wherein were placed the "murderers," or guns for clearing the decks in emergency.

CUBE. A solid body inclosed by six square sides or faces. A cubical foot is 12 inches square every way, of any solid substance.

CUB-HOUSE, or Cubboos. See Caboose.

CUBICULATÆ. Roman ships furnished with cabins.

CUCKOLD'S-KNOT or Neck. A knot by which a rope is secured to a spar—the two parts of the rope crossing each other, and seized together.

CUDBEAR. (See Corkir.) A violet dye—archil, a test.[227]

CUDBERDUCE. The cuthbert-duck, a bird of the Farne Isles, off Northumberland.

CUDDIC, Cuddy, or Cudle. All derived from cuttle-fish varieties of sepia used for baits.

CUDDIE, or Cuddin. One of the many names for the coal-fish, a staple article of the coast of Scotland. The Gadus carbonarius is taken nearly all the year round by fishing from the rocks, and by means of landing nets. If this fish be not delicate, it is at least nutritious, and as it contains much oil, it furnishes light as well as food.

CUDDING. A northern name for the char.

CUDDY. A sort of cabin or cook-room, generally in the fore-part, but sometimes near the stern of lighters and barges of burden. In the oceanic traders it is a cabin abaft, under the round-house or poop-deck, for the commander and his passengers. Also, the little cabin of a boat.

CUDDY-LEGS. A name in the north for large herrings.

CUIRASS. Armour or covering for the breast, anciently made of hide.

CUIRASSIERS. Horse soldiers who wear the cuirass, a piece of defensive armour, covering the body from the neck to the waist.

CUISSES. Armour to protect the thighs.

CULAGIUM. An archaic law-term for the laying up of a ship in the dock to be repaired.

CULCH. See Oyster-bed.

CULLOCK. A species of bivalved mollusc on our northern shores, the Tellina rhomboides.

CULMINATION, in nautical astronomy, is the transit or passage of any celestial body over the meridian of a place.

CULRING. An old corruption of culverin.

CULTELLUS. See Coutel.

CULVER. A Saxon word for pigeon, whence Culver-cliff, Reculvers, &c., from being resorted to by those birds. [Latin, columba; b and v are often interchanged.]

CULVERIN. An ancient cannon of about 51⁄4 inches bore, and from 9 to 12 feet long, carrying a ball of 18 pounds, with a first graze at 180 paces. Formerly a favourite sea-gun, its random range being 2500 paces. The name is derived from a snake (coluber), or a dragon, being sculptured upon it, thus forming handles.

CULVER-TAIL. The fastenings of a ship's carlings into the beams.

CULVER-TAILED. Fastened by dove-tailing—a way of letting one timber into another, so that they cannot slip asunder.

CULWARD. The archaic term for a coward.

CUMULO-CIRRO-STRATUS. A horizontal sheet of cloud, with cirrus above and cumulus beneath; it is better known as the nimbus or rain-cloud.

CUMULO-STRATUS. This is the twain-cloud, so called because the stratus blends with the cumulus; it is most frequent during a changeable state of the barometer.[228]

CUMULUS. A cloud indicative of fair weather, when it is small: it is sometimes seen in dense heaps, whence it obtained the name of stacken cloud. It is then a forerunner of change.

CUND, To. To give notice which way a shoal of fish is gone.

CUNETTE. See Cuvette.

CUNN, or Con. See Conn.

CUNNENG. A northern name for the lamprey.

CUP. A solid piece of cast-iron let into the step of the capstan, and in which the iron spindle at the heel of the capstan works. Also, colloquially used for come, as, "Cup, let me alone."

CUPOLA-SHIP. Captain Coles's; the cupola being discontinued, now called turret-ship (which see).

CUR. An east-country term for the bull-head.

CURE, To. To salt meat or fish.

CUR-FISH. A small kind of dog-fish.

CURIET. A breast-plate made of leather.

CURL. The bending over or disruption of the ice, causing it to pile. Also, the curl of the surf on the shore.

CURL-CLOUD. The same as cirrus (which see).

CURLEW. A well-known coast bird, with a long curved bill, the Numenius arquatus.

CURRACH. A skiff, formerly used on the Scottish coasts.

CURRA-CURRA. A peculiarly fast boat among the Malay Islands.

CURRENT. A certain progressive flowing of the sea in one direction, by which all bodies floating therein are compelled more or less to submit to the stream. The setting of the current, is that point of the compass towards which the waters run; and the drift of the current is the rate it runs at in an hour. Currents are general and particular, the former depending on causes in constant action, the latter on occasional circumstances. (See Direction.)

CURRENT SAILING. The method of determining the true motion of a ship, when, besides being acted upon by the wind, she is drifting by the effect of a current. A due allowance must therefore be made by the navigator.

CURRIER. A small musketoon with a swivel mounting.

CURSOR. The moving wire in a reading microscope.

CURTAIN. In fortification, that part of the rampart which is between the flanks of two opposite bastions, which are thereby connected.

CURTALL, or Curtald. An ancient piece of ordnance used in our early fleets, apparently a short one.

CURTATE DISTANCE. An astronomical term, denoting the distance of a body from the sun or earth projected upon the ecliptic.

CURTLE-AXE. The old term for cutlass or cutlace.

CURVED FIRE. A name coming into use with the increasing application of the fire of heavy and elongated shells to long-range bombardment and cannonade. It is intermediate between horizontal and vertical fire, possessing[229] much of the accuracy and direct force of the former, as well as of the searching properties of the latter.

CURVE OF THE COAST. When the shore alternately recedes and projects gradually, so as to trend towards a curve shape.

CUSEFORNE. A long open whale-boat of Japan.

CUSHIES. Armour for the thighs. The same as cuisses.

CUSK. A fine table-fish taken in cod-schools. See Tusk or Torsk.

CUSPS. The extremities of a crescent moon, or inferior planet.

CUSSELS. The green-bone, or viviparous blenny.

CUSTOM. The toll paid by merchants to the crown for goods exported or imported; otherwise called duty.—Custom of the country, a small present to certain authorities in the less frequented ports, being equally gift and bribe.

CUSTOM-HOUSE. An office established on the frontiers of a state, or in some chief city or port, for the receipt of customs and duties imposed by authority of the sovereign, and regulated by writs or books of rates.

CUSTOM-HOUSE AGENT. He who transacts the relative business of passing goods, as to the entries required for the ship's clearance.

CUSTOM-HOUSE OFFICERS. A term comprehending all the officials employed in enforcing the customs.

CUT. A narrow boat channel; a canal.—To cut, to renounce acquaintance with any one.

CUT AND RUN, To. To cut the cable for an escape. Also, to move off quickly; to quit occupation; to be gone.

CUT AND THRUST. To give point with a sword after striking a slash.

CUT A STICK, To. To make off clandestinely.—Cut your stick, be off, or go away.

CUTE. Sharp, crafty, apparently from acute; but some insist that it is the Anglo-Saxon word cuth, rather meaning certain, known, or familiar.

CUTH. A name given in Orkney and Shetland to the coal-fish, before it is fully grown; perhaps the same as piltock (which see).

CUTLAS, or Coutelas. A sabre which was slightly curved, but recently applied to the small-handled swords supplied to the navy—the cutlash of Jack. By Shakspeare called a curtle-axe; thus Rosalind, preparing to disguise herself as a man, is made to say,

"A gallant curtle-ax upon my thigh."
CUT-LINE. The space between the bilges of two casks stowed end to end.

CUT OFF. A term used to denote a vessel's being seized by stratagem by the natives, and the crew being murdered. Also, to intercept a retreat.

CUT OF THE JIB. A phrase for the aspect of a vessel, or person.

CUT OUT, To. To attack and carry a vessel by a boat force; one of the most dashing and desperate services practised by Nelson and Cochrane, of which latter that of cutting out the Esmeralda at Callao stands unequalled.

CUTTER. A small single-masted, sharp-built broad vessel, commonly[230] navigated in the English Channel, furnished with a straight running bowsprit, occasionally run in horizontally on the deck; except for which, and the largeness of the sails, they are rigged much like sloops. Either clincher or carvel-built, no jib-stay, the jib hoisting and hanging by the halliards alone. She carries a fore-and-aft main-sail, gaff-topsail, stay-foresail, and jib. The name is derived from their fast sailing. The cutter (as H.M.S. Dwarf) has been made to set every sail, even royal studding-sails, sky-scrapers, moon-rakers, star-gazers, water and below-water sails, that could be set by any vessel on one mast. One of the largest which has answered effectually, was the Viper, of 460 tons and 28 guns; this vessel was very useful during the American war, particularly by getting into Gibraltar at a critical period of the siege.

CUTTER-BRIG. A vessel with square sails, a fore-and-aft main-sail, and a jigger-mast with a smaller one. (See Ketch.)

CUTTERS of a ship are broader for their length, deeper and shorter in proportion than the barge or pinnace; are fitter for sailing, and commonly employed in carrying light stores, passengers, &c., to and from the ships; some are clench-built. They generally row ten oars; others of similar build only four, which last are termed jolly-boats. The cutters for ships of the line are carvel-built of 25 feet, and fit for anchor work.

CUTTER-STAY FASHION. The turning-in of a dead-eye with the end of the shroud down.

CUT THE CABLE, To. A manœuvre sometimes necessary for making a ship cast the right way, or when the anchor cannot be weighed.

CUTTIE. A name on our northern coasts for the black guillemot (Uria grille).

CUTTING. The adjusting of a cask or spar, or turning it round.

CUTTING A FEATHER. It is common when a ship has too broad a bow to say, "She will not cut a feather," meaning that she will not pass through the water so swift as to make less foam or froth.

CUTTING DOWN. Taking a deck off a ship; as ships of the line are converted into frigates, the Royal Sovereign into a turret ship, &c.—Cutting down is also a dangerous midshipman's trick, and sometimes practised by the men: it consists in cutting the laniard of a cot or hammock in which a person is then asleep, and letting him fall—lumpus—either by the head or the feet.

CUTTING-DOWN LINE. An elliptical curve line used by shipwrights in the delineation of ships; it determines the depth of all the floor timbers, and likewise the height of the dead-wood fore and aft. It is limited in the middle of the ship by the thickness of the floor timbers, and abaft by the breadth of the keelson, and must be carried up so high upon the stern as to leave sufficient substance for the breeches of the rising timbers.

CUTTING HIS PAINTER. Making off suddenly or clandestinely, or "departed this life."

CUTTING IN. Making the special directions for taking the blubber off[231] a whale, which is flinched by taking off circularly ribbons of the skin with blubber attached; the animal being made to turn in the water as the purchases at the mast-heads heave it upwards.

CUTTING-OUT. A night-meal or forage in the officer's pantry.

CUTTING OUT or In. In polar phraseology, is performed by sawing canals in a floe of ice, to enable a ship to regain open water.

CUTTING RIGGING. This includes the act of measuring it.

CUTTLE-FISH. A common marine animal of the genus Sepia, and class Cephalopoda. It has ten tentacles or arms ranged around the mouth, two being of much greater length than the others. When in danger it ejects a black inky substance, darkening the water for some distance around. The oval internal calcareous shell, "cuttle-bone," often found lying on the beach, was formerly much used in pharmacy.

CUTTS. Flat-bottomed horse-ferry boats of a former day.

CUTTY-GUN. A northern term for a short pipe.

CUT-WATER. The foremost part of a vessel's prow, or the sharp part of the knee of a ship's head below the beak. It cuts or divides the water before reaching the bow, which would retard progress. It is fayed to the fore-part of the main stem. (See Knee of the Head.)

CUVETTE, called also Cunette. A deeper trench cut along the middle of a dry moat; a ditch within a ditch, generally carried down till there be water to fill it.

CWM, or Comb. A British word signifying an inlet, valley, or low place, where the hilly sides round together in a concave form; the sides of a glyn being, on the contrary, convex.

CYCLE. A term generally applied to an interval of time in which the same phenomena recur.

CYCLE OF ECLIPSES. A period of about 6586 days, which is the time of a revolution of the moon's node; after the lapse of this period the eclipses recur in the same order as before, with few exceptions. This cycle was known to the ancients under the name of Saros.

CYCLOID. A geometrical curve of the higher kind.

CYCLONE. See Typhoon.

CYLINDER. The body of a pump; any tubular part of an engine.—Charge cylinder of a gun, is the part which receives the powder and ball, the remaining portion being styled the vacant cylinder. Especially in marine steam-engines, the cylindrical metal tube, with a diameter proportionate to the power of the engine, of which it may be termed the chief part, since it contains the active steam. Also, a cartridge box for the service of artillery. (See Cartridge-box.)

CYLINDER-COVER. In the steam-engine, is a metal lid with a hole in the centre for the piston-rod to work through.

CYLINDER CROSS-HEAD. An adaptation on the top of the piston-rod, stretching out athwart the cylinder, from the ends of which the side-rods hang.

CYLINDER ESCAPE-VALVES. Small conical valves at each end of[232] the cylinder, for the purpose of letting off any water that may collect above or below the piston.

CYLINDER POWDER. That made upon the improved method of charring the wood to be used as charcoal in iron cylinders. All British government gunpowder is now made thus.

CYPHERING. A term in carpentry. (See Syphered.)


D. In the Complete Book, D means dead or deserted; Dsq., discharged from the service, or into another ship.

DAB. The sea-flounder. An old general term for a pleuronect or flat fish of any kind, but usually appropriated to the Platessa limanda. The word is familiarly applied to one who is expert in anything.

DABBERLACK. A kind of long sea-weed on our northern coasts.

DAB-CHICK. The little grebe, Podiceps minor. A small diving bird common in lakes and rivers.

DACOITS. See Dekoyts.

DADDICK. A west-country term for rotten-wood, touch-wood, &c.

DAGEN. A peculiar dirk or poignard.

DAGGAR. An old term for a dog-fish.

DAGGER-KNEE. A substitute for the hanging-knee, applied to the under side of the lodging-knee; it is placed out of the perpendicular to avoid a port-hole. Anything placed aslant or obliquely, now generally termed diagonal, of which, indeed, it is a corruption.

DAGGER-PIECE, or Dagger-wood. A timber or plank that faces on to the poppets of the bilge-ways, and crosses them diagonally, to keep them together. The plank securing the head is called the daggerplank.

DAGGES. An old term for pistols or hand-guns.

DAHLGREN GUN. A modification of the Paixhan gun, introduced into the United States service by Lieut., now Admiral, Dahlgren, of that navy; having, in obedience to the results of ingenious experiment on the varying force of explosion on different parts of a gun, what has been called the soda-water bottle or pear-shaped form.

DAHM. An Arab or Indian decked boat.

DAILY PROGRESS. A daily return when in port of all particulars relative to the progress of a ship's equipment.

DAIRS. Small unsaleable fish.

DALE. A trough or spout to carry off water, usually named from the office it has to perform, as a pump-dale, &c. Also, a place forward, to save the decks from being wetted, now almost abolished.[233]

DALLOP. A heap or lump in a clumsy state. A large quantity of anything.

DAM. A barrier of stones, stakes, or rubble, constructed to stop or impede the course of a stream. (See Inundations and Floating Dam.)

DAMASCENED. The mixing of various metals in the Damascus blades, the kris, or other weapons; sometimes by adding silver, to produce a watered effect.

DAMASCUS BLADE. Swords famed for the quality and temper of the metal, as well as the beauty of the jowhir, or watering of the blades.

DAMASK. Steel worked in the Damascus style, showing the wavy lines of the different metals; usually termed watered or twisted.

DAMBER. An old word for lubberly rogue.

DAMELOPRE. An ancient flat-floored vessel belonging to Holland, and intended to carry heavy cargoes over their shallow waters.

DAMMAH. A kind of turpentine or resin from a species of pine, which is used in the East Indies for the same purposes to which turpentine and pitch are applied. It is exported in large quantities from Sumatra to Bengal and other places, where it is much used for paying seams and the bottoms of vessels, for which latter purpose it is often mixed with sulphur, and answers admirably in warm climates.

DAMPER. The means by which the furnace of each boiler in a steamer can be regulated independently, by increasing or diminishing the draught to the fire.

DAMSEL. A coast name for the skate-fish.

DANCERS. The coruscations of the aurora. (See Merry Dancers.)

DANDIES. Rowers of the budgerow boats on the Ganges.

DANDY. A sloop or cutter with a jigger-mast abaft, on which a mizen-lug-sail is set.

DANGER. Perils and hazard of the sea. Any rock or shoal which interferes with navigation.

DANK. Moist, mouldy: a sense in which Shakspeare uses it; also Tusser—

"Dank ling forgot will quickly rot."
DANKER. A north-country term for a dark cloud.

DANSKERS. Natives of Denmark.

DARBIES. An old cant word for irons or handcuffs; it is still retained.

DARE. An old word for to challenge, or incite to emulation; still in full use.

DARE-DEVIL. One who fears nothing, and will attempt anything.

DARKENING. Closing of the evening twilight.

DARK GLASSES. Shades fitted to instruments of reflection for preventing the bright rays of the sun from hurting the eye of the observer.

DARKS. Nights on which the moon does not shine,—much looked to by smugglers.

DARKY. A common term for a negro.

DARNING THE WATER. A term applied to the action of a fleet cruising to and fro before a blockaded port.[234]

DARRAG. A Manx or Erse term for a strong fishing-line made of black hair snoods.

DARSENA. An inner harbour or wet dock in the Mediterranean.

DARTS. Weapons used in our early fleets from the round-tops.

DASH. The present with which bargains are sealed on the coast of Africa.

DASHING. The rolling and breaking of the sea.

DATOO. West wind in the Straits of Gibraltar: very healthy. Also, a Malay term of rank, and four of whom form the council of the sultan of the Malayu Islands.

DATUM. The base level.

DAVID'S-STAFF. A kind of quadrant formerly used in navigation.

DAVIE. An old term for davit.

DAVIT. A piece of timber or iron, with sheaves or blocks at its end, projecting over a vessel's quarter or stern, to hoist up and suspend one end of a boat.—Fish-davit, is a beam of timber, with a roller or sheave at its end, used as a crane, whereby to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow, without injuring the planks of the ship's side as it ascends, and called fishing the anchor; the lower end of this davit rests on the fore-chains, the upper end being properly secured by a tackle from the mast-head; to which end is hung a large block, and through it a strong rope is rove, called the fish-pendant, to the outer end of which is fitted a large hook, and to its inner end a tackle; the former is called the fish-hook, the latter the fish-tackle. There is also a davit of a smaller kind, occasionally fixed in the long-boat, and with the assistance of a small windlass, used to weigh the anchor by the buoy-rope, &c.

DAVIT-GUYS. Ropes used to steady boats' davits.

DAVIT-ROPE. The lashing which secures the davit to the shrouds when out of use.

DAVIT-TOPPING-LIFT. A rope made fast to the outer end of a davit, and rove through a block made fast to a vessel's mast aloft, with a tackle attached. Usually employed for bringing the anchor in-board.

DAVY JONES. The spirit of the sea; a nikker; a sea-devil.

DAVY JONES'S LOCKER. The ocean; the common receptacle for all things thrown overboard; it is a phrase for death or the other world, when speaking of a person who has been buried at sea.

DAW-FISH. The Scyllium catulus, a small dog-fish.

DAWK-BOAT. A boat for the conveyance of letters in India; dawk being the Hindostanee for mail.

DAY. The astronomical day is reckoned from noon to noon, continuously through the twenty-four hours, like the other days. It commences at noon, twelve hours after the civil day, which itself begins twelve hours after the nautical day, so that the noon of the civil day, the beginning of the astronomical day, and the end of the nautical day, occur at the same moment. (See the words Solar and Sidereal.)

DAY-BOOK. An old and better name for the log-book; a journal [Fr.][235]

DAY-MATES. Formerly the mates of the several decks—now abolished. (See Sub-lieutenant.)

DAY-SKY. The aspect of the sky at day-break, or at twilight.

DAY'S WORK. In navigation, the reckoning or reduction of the ship's courses and distances made good during twenty-four hours, or from noon to noon, according to the rules of trigonometry, and thence ascertaining her latitude and longitude by dead-reckoning (which see).

D-BLOCK. A lump of oak in the shape of a D, bolted to the ship's side in the channels to reeve the lifts through.

DEAD-ANGLE. In fortification, is an angle receiving no defence, either by its own fire or that of any other works.

DEAD-CALM. A total cessation of wind; the same as flat-calm.

DEAD-DOORS. Those fitted in a rabbet to the outside of the quarter-gallery doors, with the object of keeping out the sea, in case of the gallery being carried away.

DEADEN A SHIP'S WAY, To. To retard a vessel's progress by bracing in the yards, so as to reduce the effect of the sails, or by backing minor sails. Also, when sounding to luff up and shake all, to obtain a cast of the deep-sea lead.

DEAD-EYE, or Dead Man's Eye. A sort of round flattish wooden block, or oblate piece of elm, encircled, and fixed to the channels by the chain-plate: it is pierced with three holes through the flat part, in order to receive a rope called the laniard, which, corresponding with three holes in another dead-eye on the shroud end, creates a purchase to set up and extend the shrouds and stays, backstays, &c., of the standing and top-mast rigging. The term dead seems to have been used because there is no revolving sheave to lessen the friction. In merchant-ships they are generally fitted with iron-plates, in the room of chains, extending from the vessel's side to the top of the rail, where they are connected with the rigging. The dead-eyes used for the stays have only one hole, which, however, is large enough to receive ten or twelve turns of the laniard—these are generally termed hearts, on account of their shape. The crowfeet dead-eyes are long cylindrical blocks with a number of small holes in them, to receive the legs or lines composing the crow-foot. Also called uvrous.

DEAD-FLAT. The timber or frame possessing the greatest breadth and capacity in the ship: where several timbers are thrown in, of the same area, the middle one is reckoned a dead-flat, about one third of the length of the ship from the head. It is generally distinguished as the midship-bend.

DEAD-FREIGHT. The sum to which a merchant is liable for goods which he has failed to ship.

DEAD-HEAD. A kind of dolphin (which see). Also, a rough block of wood used as an anchor-buoy.

DEAD-HEADED. Timber trees which have ceased growing.

DEAD-HORSE. A term applied by seamen to labour which has been paid for in advance. When they commence earning money again, there[236] is in some merchant ships a ceremony performed of dragging round the decks an effigy of their fruitless labour in the shape of a horse, running him up to the yard-arm, and cutting him adrift to fall into the sea amidst loud cheers.

DEAD-LIFT. The moving of a very inert body.

DEAD-LIGHTS. Strong wooden shutters made exactly to fit the cabin windows externally; they are fixed on the approach of bad weather. Also, luminous appearances sometimes seen over putrescent bodies.

DEAD-LOWN. A completely still atmosphere.

DEAD-MEN. The reef or gasket-ends carelessly left dangling under the yard when the sail is furled, instead of being tucked in.

DEAD-MEN'S EFFECTS. When a seaman dies on board, or is drowned, his effects are sold at the mast by auction, and the produce charged against the purchasers' names on the ship's books.

DEAD-MONTHS. A term for winter.

DEAD-ON-END. The wind blowing directly adverse to the vessel's intended course.

DEAD-PAY. That given formerly in shares, or for names borne, but for which no one appears, as was formerly practised with widows' men.

DEAD-RECKONING. The estimation of the ship's place without any observation of the heavenly bodies; it is discovered from the distance she has run by the log, and the courses steered by the compass, then rectifying these data by the usual allowance for current, lee-way, &c., according to the ship's known trim. This reckoning, however, should be corrected by astronomical observations of the sun, moon, and stars, whenever available, proving the importance of practical astronomy.

DEAD-RISING. In ship-building, is that part of a ship which lies aft between the keel and her floor-timbers towards the stern-post; generally it is applied to those parts of the bottom, throughout the ship's length, where the sweep or curve at the head of the floor-timber terminates, or inflects to join the keel. (See Rising-line.)

DEAD-ROPES. Those which do not run in any block.

DEAD-SHARES. An allowance formerly made to officers of the fleet, from fictitious numbers borne on the complement (temp. Henry VIII.), varying from fifty shares for an admiral, to half a share for the cook's mate.

DEAD-SHEAVE. A scored aperture in the heel of a top-mast, through which a second top-tackle pendant can be rove. It is usually a section of a lignum-vitæ sheave let in, so as to avoid chafe.

DEAD-TICKET. Persons dying on board, those discharged from the service, and all officers promoted, are cleared from the ship's books by a dead-ticket, which must be filled up in a similar manner to the sick-ticket (which see).

DEAD UPON A WIND. Braced sharp up and bowlines hauled.

DEAD-WATER. The eddy-water under the counter of a ship under way; so called because passing away slower than the water alongside. A ship is said to make much dead-water when she has a great eddy following[237] her stern, often occasioned by her having a square tuck. A vessel with a round buttock at her line of floatation can have but little dead-water, the rounding abaft allowing the fluid soon to recover its state of rest.

DEAD WEIGHT. A vessel's lading when it consists of heavy goods, but particularly such as pay freight according to their weight and not their stowage.

DEAD WOOD. Certain blocks of timber, generally oak, fayed on the upper side of the keel, particularly at the extremities before and abaft, where these pieces are placed upon each other to a considerable height, because the ship is there so narrow as not to admit of the two half timbers, which are therefore scored into this dead wood, where the angle of the floor-timbers gradually diminishes on approaching the stem and stern-post. In the fore-part of the ship the dead wood generally extends from the stemson, upon which it is scarphed, to the loof-frame; and in the after-end, from the stern-post, where it is confined by the knee, to the after balance frame. It is connected to the keel by strong spike nails. The dead wood afore and abaft is equal in depth to two-thirds of the depth of the keel, and as broad as can be procured, not exceeding the breadth of the keel, i.e. continued as high as the cutting-down line in both bodies, to afford a stepping for the heels of the cant timbers.

DEAD-WOOD KNEES. The upper foremost and aftermost pieces of dead wood; being crooked pieces of timber, the bolting of which connects the keel with the stem and stern posts.

DEAD WORKS. All that part of the ship which is above water when she is laden. The same as upper work, or supernatant (which see).

DEAL BEACH. This coast consists of gravelly shingle; and a man who is pock-marked, or in galley-cant cribbage-faced, is figuratively said to have been rolled on Deal beach.

DEAL-ENDS. Applied to deal-planks when under 6 feet in length.

DEATH or Money Boats. So termed from the risk in such frail craft. They were very long, very narrow, and as thin as the skiffs of our rivers. During the war of 1800-14 they carried gold between Dover and Calais, and defied the custom-house officers.

DEATH-WOUND. A law-term for the starting of a butt end, or springing a fatal leak. A ship had received her death-wound, but by pumping was kept afloat till three days after the time she was insured for: it was determined that the risk was at an end before the loss happened, and that the insurer was not liable.

DEBARK, To. To land; to go on shore.

DEBENTURE. A custom-house certificate given to the exporter of goods, on which a bounty or drawback is allowed. Also, a general term for a bill or bond.

DEBOUCHE. The mouth of a river, outlet of a wood, defile, or narrow pass. In military language, troops defile or march out from.

DECAGON. A plane geometrical figure that has ten equal sides, and as many equal angles.[238]

DECAMP, To. To raise the camp; the breaking up from a place where an army has been encamped.

DECEPTIO VISUS. Any extraordinary instance of deception to the sight, occasioned by the effects of atmospheric media. (See Terrestrial Refraction and Mirage.)

DECIMATION. The punishing every tenth soldier by lot, was truly decimatio legionis.

DECIME. A small copper coin of France, equal to two sous, or one-tenth of a franc.

DECK, To. A word formerly in use for to trim, as "we deckt up our sails."

DECK-BEAM KNEES. The same as lodging-knees.

DECK-BEAMS. See Beams.

DECK-CARGO, otherwise deck-load (which see).

DECK-CLEATS. Pieces of wood temporarily nailed to the deck to secure objects in bad weather, as guns, deck-load, &c.

DECK-HOOK. The compass timber bolted horizontally athwart a ship's bow, connecting the stem, timbers, and deck-planks of the fore-part; it is part and parcel of the breast-hooks.

DECK-HOUSE. An oblong-house on the deck of some merchantmen, especially east-country vessels, and latterly in passenger steamers, with a gangway on each side of it. (Sometimes termed round-house.)

DECK-LOAD. Timber, casks, or other cargo not liable to damage from wet, stowed on the deck of merchant vessels. This, with the exception of carboys of vitriol, is not included in a general policy of insurance on goods, unless it be specially stipulated.

DECK-NAILS. A kind of spike with a snug head, commonly made in a diamond form; they are single or double deck-nails, and from 4 to 12 inches long.

DECK-PIPE. An iron pipe through which the chain cable is paid into the chain-locker.

DECK-PUMPS. In a steamer, are at the side of the vessel, worked with a lever by manual power, to supply additional water. In a ship-of-war, used for washing decks (one of the midship pumps).

DECKS. The platforms laid longitudinally over the transverse beams; in ships of war they support the guns. The terms in use for these decks are, assuming the largest ship of the line:—Poop, the deck which includes from the mizen-mast to the taffrail. The upper or spar-deck, from stem to stern, having conventional divisions; as, quarter-deck, which is, when clear for action, the space abaft the main-mast, including the cabin; next, the waist, between the fore and main masts, on which the spars and booms are secured. In some ships guns are continued (always in flush-decked ships) along the gangway; then the forecastle, which commences on the gangway, from the main-tack chock forward to the bows. Small craft, as brigs and corvettes, are sometimes fitted with top-gallant forecastles, to shelter the men from heavy seas which wash over. Next, the main or gun-deck, the entire length of the ship. It is also divided conventionally[239] into the various cabins, the waist (under the gangway), the galley, from the fore-hatchway to the sick bay, and bows. Next below, is the middle deck of a three-decker, or lower of a two-decker, succeeded by lower deck and the orlop-deck, which carries no guns. The guns on these several decks increase in size and number from the poop downwards. Thus, although a vessel termed a three-decker was rated 120 guns, the fact stood thus:—

  Guns. Pounders. lbs.
Poop, 10 24 240
Quarter-deck, 22 24 long } 848
Forecastle, 10 32 cans.
Main-deck, 34 24 816
Middle, 36 24 864
Lower, 36 32 1152
148 3920
Broadside of 1960
But latterly, 56 and 84 pounders on the lower, and 32 on the middle, afforded a heavier weight of broadside. The Santissima Trinidada, taken from the Spaniards, carried four whole tiers of guns. Now, the tonnage of the largest of these would be insignificant. "Deckers" are exploded, and a Pallas of the same tonnage (2372) carries 8 guns, a Bellerophon (4272) carries 18 guns, ranging in size, however, from the 64-pounder up to the 300-pounder.—Flush-deck, or deck flush fore and aft, implies a continued floor laid from stem to stern, upon one line, without any stops or intervals.—Half-deck. In the Northumberland colliers the steerage itself is called the half-deck, and is usually the habitation of the ship's crew.

DECK-SEAM. The interstices between the planks.

DECK-SHEET. That sheet of a studding-sail which leads directly to the deck, by which it is steadied until set; it is also useful in taking it in, should the down-haul be carried away.

DECK STANDARD-KNEES. Iron knees having two tails, the one going on the bottom of a deck-beam, the other on the top of a hold-beam, while the middle part is bolted to the ship's side.

DECK-STOPPER. (See Stopper of the Cable.) A strong stopper used for securing the cable forward of the capstan or windlass while it is overhauled. Also abaft the windlass or bitts to prevent more cable from running out.

DECK-TACKLE. A purchase led along the decks.

DECLARATION OF WAR. A ceremonial frequently omitted, and esteemed by the greatest authorities rather a proof of magnanimity than a duty. The Romans proclaimed it; but except Achaia, none of the Grecian states did. It would be to the interests of humanity and courtesy were it made indispensable. It has been held (especially in the case of the Leopard and Chesapeake) that without a declaration of war, no hostile act at the order of an admiral is legal.

DECLINATION, of a celestial object, is the arc between its centre and the[240] equinoctial: with the sun, it is its angular distance from the equator, either north or south, and is named accordingly.

DECLINATION, To Correct. A cant phrase for taking a glass of grog at noon, when the day's works are being reduced.

DECOY. So to change the aspect of a ship-of-war by striking a topgallant-mast, setting ragged sails, disfiguring the sides by whitewash or gunpowder, yellow, &c., as to induce a vessel of inferior force to chase; when, getting within gun-shot range, she becomes an easy capture. Similar manœuvres are sometimes used by a single ship to induce an enemy's squadron to follow her into the view of her own fleet.

DEEP. A word figuratively applied to the ocean. On the coast of Germany, to the northward of Friesland, it is of the same import as gulf on the coasts of France, Spain, Italy, &c. Also, any depth over 20 fathoms.—Deep-sea fishing. In contradistinction to coast, or when the hand-lead reaches bottom at 20 fathoms.—Hand deeps. Out of ordinary leadsman's sounding.—A vessel is deep as regards her lading, and is also said to sail deep when her expenses run high.

DEEPENING. Running from shoal water by the lead.

DEEP-SEA LINE. Usually a strong and water-laid line. It is used with a lead of 28 lbs., and adapted to find bottom in 200 fathoms or more. It is marked by knots every ten fathoms, and by a small knot every five. The marks are now nearly superseded by Massey's patent sounding-machine.—Marks and Deeps, &c., see Lead and Line.

DEEP-WAIST. That part of the open skids between the main and fore drifts in men-of-war. It also relates to the remaining part of a ship's deck, when the quarter-deck and forecastle are much elevated above the level of the main-deck, so as to leave a vacant space, called the waist, on the middle of the upper deck, as in many packets.

DEESE. An east-country term for a place where herrings are dried.

DEFAULTER'S BOOK. Where men's offences are registered against them, and may be magnified without appeal.

DEFECTS. An official return of the state of a ship as to what is required for her hull and equipment, and what repairs she stands in need of. Upon this return a ship is ordered to sea, into harbour, into dock, or paid out of commission.

DEFICIENCY. What is wanting of a ship's cargo at the time of delivery.

DEFILADE. In fortification, is the art of so disposing defensive works, on irregular or commanded sites, that the troops within them shall be covered from the direct fire of the enemy.

DEFILE. A narrow pass between two heights, which obliges a force marching through to narrow its front. This may prove disastrous if attacked, on account of the difficulty of receiving aid from the rear.

DEFILING. Filing off, marching past.

DEFINITIVE. Conclusive; decisive.

DEFLECTION. The tendency of a ship from her true course; the[241] departure of the magnetic needle from its true bearing, when influenced by iron or the local attraction of the mass. In artillery, the deviation of a shot from the direction in which it is fired. The term is usually reserved to lateral deviations, especially those resulting from irregular causes—those constant ones due to the regular motion of rifled projectiles coming under either of the designations "constant deflection," "derivation," borrowed from the French, or "drift," from the Americans. These latter, according to the direction usually given to the rifling in the present day, all tend away to the right, though they include some subordinate curves not yet distinctly determined.

DEFORMED BASTION. One out of shape from the irregularity of its lines and angles.

DEGRADATION. Debasement and disgrace. The suspension of a petty officer from his station; and also the depriving an officer or soldier of his arms previous to his being delivered over to the civil power for execution.

DEGREE. A degree of longitude is the 1-360th part of the great equatorial circle, or any circle parallel to it. A degree of latitude is the 90th part of the quadrant, or quarter of a great meridional circle. Each degree is divided into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds, according to the sexagesimal division of the circle. Also, rank or condition.

DEKOYTS, or Dacoits. Robbers in India, and also pirates who infested the rivers between Calcutta and Burhampore, but now suppressed by the improved system of river police, and the establishment of fast rowing boats of light draught.

DEL. Saxon for part.—Del a bit, not a bit, a phrase much altered for the worse by those not aware of its antiquity.

DEL CREDERE. A percentage on a cargo, under particular circumstances of trust. Also, the commission under which brokers sometimes guarantee to the insured the solvency of the underwriters.

DELEGATES. Not heard of in the navy since the mutiny at the Nore.

DELFYN. The old form of spelling dolphin.

DELICTUM. To be actual, must unite intention and act.

DELIVER. To yield, to rescue, to deliver battle, to deliver a broadside, a shot, or a blow. Also, to take goods from the ship to the shore. To discharge a cargo from a vessel into the keeping of its consignees.

DELIVERED. The state of the harpoon when imbedded in the body of a fish, so that the barbs hold fast.

DELIVERERS. Particular artificers employed in our early ships of war, in constructing the castles.

DELL. A narrow valley, ravine, or small dale.

DELTA. A name given by the Greeks to the alluvial tract inclosed between the bifurcating branches of the Nile and the sea-line. It is well known that rivers which deposit great quantities of matter, do also very often separate into two or more branches, previous to their discharge into the sea; thus forming triangular spaces, aptly called deltas from their resemblance to the Greek letter Δ.[242]

All deltas appear by their section to be formed of matter totally different from that of the adjacent country. They are the creation of the rivers themselves, which, having brought down with their floods vast quantities of mud and sand from the upper lands, deposit them in the lowest place, the sea; at whose margin, the current which has hitherto impelled them ceasing, they are deposited by the mere action of gravity. This is particularly illustrated on the western coast of Africa by the shoals off the Rio Grande, Rio Nunez, and others. The coast, as well as the embouchures of the rivers, exhibit a deposit of deep mud, and yet far at sea banks of clean siliceous sand arise.

DEMAND. The official paper by which stores are desired for a ship, the making out of which is the duty of the officer in whose charge the stores will be placed: they must be approved by the captain and admiral before being presented to the dockyard authorities. Also, whence from? where bound?

DEMI-BASTION. In fortification, a bastion which has a flank on one side only.

DEMI-CANNON. An ancient name for a gun carrying a ball of 33 pounds weight, with a length of from 12 to 14 feet, and a diameter of bore of 61⁄2 inches; its point-blank range was estimated at 162 paces, and its random one at 2000.

DEMI-CULVERIN. An ancient cannon which threw a ball of 9 pounds weight, was about 9 feet long, and 4 inches in diameter of bore; its point-blank range was called 174 paces, and its random one about 1800.

DEMIHAG. A long pistol, much used in the sixteenth century.

DEMILANCE. A light horseman, who carried a light lance.

DEMILUNE. In fortification, the outwork, more properly called a ravelin (which see).

DEMI-REVETMENT. In fortification, that form of retaining wall for the face of a rampart which is only carried up as high as cover exists in front of it, leaving above it the remaining height, in the form of an earthen mound at its natural slope, exposed to, but invulnerable by shot.

DEMONSTRATION-SHIPS. Those kept in a certain state of preparation for war, though on a peace establishment.

DEMURRAGE. The compensation due to a ship-owner from a freighter for unduly delaying his vessel in port beyond the time specified in the charter-party or bill of lading. It is in fact an extended freight. A ship unjustly detained, as a prize, is entitled to demurrage. Vessels chartered to convey government stores have a term given for discharge by government aid. If not delivered within that period, demurrage, as stated in the document, is paid per diem for any "unavoidable delay."

DEN. A sandy tract near the sea, as at Exmouth and other places.

DEN AND STROND. A liberty for ships or vessels to run or come ashore. Edward I. granted this privilege to the barons of the Cinque Ports.

DE NAUTICO FŒNORE. Of nautical usury; bottomry.

DENE. The Anglo-Saxon dæne; implying a kind of hollow or ravine[243] through which a rivulet runs, the banks on either side being studded with trees.

DENEB. The bright star in the constellation Cygnus, well known as a standard nautical star.

DENSITY. The weight of a body in comparison with its bulk.

DENTICE. An excellent fish, so named from being well furnished with teeth. It is of the Sparidæ family, and frequents the Adriatic.

DEPARTMENT. A term by which the divisions in the public services are distinguished, as the civil, the commissariat, the military, the naval, the victualling, &c.

DEPARTURE. The bearing of an object on the coast from which a vessel commences her dead-reckoning and takes her departure. The distance of any two places lying on the same parallel counted in miles of the equator.

DEPOT. A magazine in which military stores are deposited. Also, a company left in England for the purpose of recruiting when regiments are ordered abroad.

DEPRESS. The order to adjust the quoin in great-gun exercise; to depress the muzzle to point at an object below the level, in contradistinction to elevate.

DEPRESSED POLE. That end of the earth's axis which is below the horizon of the spectator according to his being in the northern or southern hemisphere. Also applied to the stars. (See Polar Distance.)

DEPRESSION, of the Horizon. (See Dip.) In artillery, the angle below the horizon at which the axis of a gun is laid in order to strike an object on a lower level. The depression required in batteries of very elevated site (those of Gibraltar for example), for the laying the guns on near vessels, is so great as to necessitate a peculiar carriage.

DEPTH OF A SAIL. The extent of the square sails from the head-rope to the foot-rope, or the length of the after-leech of a staysail or boom-sail; in other words, it is the extent of the longest cloth of canvas in any sail.

DEPTH OF HOLD. The height between the floor and the lower-deck; it is therefore one of the principal dimensions given for the construction of a ship. It varies, of course, according to the end for which she is designed, trade or war.

DERELICT [Lat. derelictus, abandoned]. Anything abandoned at sea. A ship is derelict either by consent or by compulsion, stress of weather, &c., and yet, to save the owner's rights, if any cat, dog, or other domestic animal be found on board alive, it is not forfeited. The owner may yet recover, on payment of salvage, within a year and a day—otherwise the whole may be awarded. (See Salvage.)

DERIVATION. In artillery, the constant deflection of a rifled projectile. (See Deflection.)

DERRICK. A single spar, supported by stays and guys, to which a purchase is attached, used in loading and unloading vessels. Also, a small crane either inside or outside of a ship.[244]

DERRICK, To. A cant term for setting out on a small not over-creditable enterprise. The act is said to be named from a Tyburn executioner.

DERRING-DO. A Spenserian term for deeds of arms.


DESCENDING SIGNS. Those in which the sun appears to descend from the north pole, or in which his motion in declination is towards the south.

DESCENDING SQUALL. A fitful gust of wind issuing from clouds which are formed in the lower parts of the atmosphere. It is usually accompanied with heavy showers, and the weatherwise observe that the squall is seldom so violent when it is followed as when it is preceded by rain. (See White Squall as a forerunner.)

DESCENSION. The same as oblique ascension (which see).

DESCENT. The landing of troops for the purpose of invading a country. The passage down a river.

DESCRIPTION-BOOK. A register in which the age, place of birth, and personal description of the crew are recorded.

DESERT. An extensive tract, either absolutely sterile, or having no other vegetation than small patches of grass or shrubs. Many portions of the present deserts seem to be reclaimable.

DESERTER. One that quits his ship or the service without leave. He is marked R (run) on the books, and any clothes or other effects he may have left on board are sold by auction at the mast, and the produce borne to account.

DESERTION. The act of quitting the Army or Navy without leave, with intention not to return.

DESERTION-MONEY. The sum of three pounds paid to him who apprehends a deserter, which is charged against the offender's growing pay—his wages for previous service having become forfeited from his having run.

DESTROYING PAPERS. A ground of condemnation in the Admiralty court.

DETACHED. On detached service. A squadron may be detached under a commodore or senior officer.

DETACHED BASTION. A bastion cut off by a ditch about its gorge from the body of the place, which latter is thus rendered in a degree independent of the fall of the former.

DETACHED ESCARP. An escarp wall, originally invented by Carnot, and revived by the Prussians, removed some distance to the front of the rampart; which latter, being finished exteriorly at the natural slope of the earth, remains effective after the destruction of the wall by a besieger. It was at first intended, being kept low and covered by a near counterguard, to offer extraordinary difficulties to the besieger's breaching batteries; but improved artillery has nullified that supposed advantage.

DETACHED WORKS. Works included in the scheme of defence of a fortress, but separated from it, and beyond the glacis.[245]

DETACHMENT. A force detached from the main body for employment on any particular service.

DETAIL OF DUTY. The captain's night orders.

DETENTION of a Vessel: on just ground, as supposed war, suspicious papers, undue number of men, found hovering, or cargo not in conformity with papers or law.

DETONATING HAMMER. A modern introduction into the Royal Navy for firing the guns. With the aid of an attached laniard, it is made to descend forcibly upon the percussion arm of the tube, and fires the piece instantaneously. It is, however, already generally superseded by the use of the friction-tube (which see).

DEVIATION. A voluntary departure from the usual course of the voyage, without any necessary or justifiable cause: a step which discharges the insurers from further responsibility. Liberty to touch, stay, or trade in any particular place not in the usual course of the voyage must be expressly specified in the contract, and even this is subordinate to the voyage. The cases of necessity which justify deviation are—1, stress of weather; 2, urgent want of repairs; 3, to join convoy; 4, succouring ships in distress; 5, avoiding capture or detention; 6, sickness; 7, mutiny of the crew. It differs from a change of voyage, which must have been resolved upon before the sailing of the ship. (See Change.)—Deviation is also the attraction of a ship's iron on the needle. It is a term recently introduced to distinguish a sort of second variation to be allowed for in iron vessels.

DEVIL. A sort of priming made by damping and bruising gunpowder.

DEVIL-BOLTS. Those with false clenches, often introduced into contract-built ships.

DEVIL-FISH. The Lophius piscatorius, a hideous creature, which has also obtained the name of fish-frog, monk-fish, bellows-fish, sea-devil, and other appellatives significant of its ugliness and bad manners. There is also a powerful Raia, which grows to an immense size in the tropics, known as the devil-fish, the terror of the pearl-divers. Manta of Spaniards.

DEVILRY. Spirited roguery; wanton mischief, short of crime.

DEVIL'S CLAW. A very strong kind of split hook made to grasp a link of a chain cable, and used as a stopper.

DEVIL'S SMILES. Gleams of sunshine among dark clouds, either in the heavens or captain's face!

DEVIL'S TABLE-CLOTH. See Table-cloth.

DEVIL TO PAY AND NO PITCH HOT. The seam which margins the water-ways was called the "devil," why only caulkers can tell, who perhaps found it sometimes difficult for their tools. The phrase, however, means service expected, and no one ready to perform it. Impatience, and naught to satisfy it.

DEW-POINT. A meteorological term for the degree of temperature at which the moisture of the atmosphere would begin to precipitate; it may be readily ascertained by means of the hygrometer.[246]

DHOLL. A kind of dried split pea supplied in India to the navy.

DHONY, or Dhoney. A country trading-craft of India from 50 to 150 tons; mostly flat-bottomed. (See Doney.)

DHOW. The Arab dhow is a vessel of about 150 to 250 tons burden by measurement—grab-built, with ten or twelve ports; about 85 feet long from stem to stern, 20 feet 9 inches broad, and 11 feet 6 inches deep. Of late years this description of vessel has been well built at Cochin, on the Malabar coast, in the European style. They have a great rise of floor; are calculated for sailing with small cargoes; and are fully prepared, by internal equipment, for defence—many of them are sheathed on 21⁄2-inch plank bottoms, with 1-inch board, and the preparation of chunam and oil, called galgal, put between; causing the vessel to be very dry and durable, and preventing the encroachments of the worm or Teredo navalis. The worm is one of the greatest enemies in India to timber in the water, as the white ant (termites) is out of it. On the outside of the sheathing board there is a coat of whitewash, made from the same materials as that between the sheathing and planks, and renewed every season they put to sea. They have generally one mast and a lateen sail. The yard is the length of the vessel aloft, and the mast rakes forward, for the purpose of keeping this ponderous weight clear in raising and lowering. The tack of the sail is brought to the stem-head, and sheets aft in the usual way. The halyards lead to the taffrail, having a pendant and treble purchase block, which becomes the backstay, to support the mast when the sail is set. This, with three pairs of shrouds, completes the rigging, the whole made of coir rope. Several of these vessels were fitted as brigs, after their arrival in Arabia, and armed by the Arabs for cruising in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, as piratical vessels. It was of this class of vessel that Tippoo Sultan's navy at Onore consisted. The large dhows generally make one voyage in the season, to the southward of Arabia; taking advantage of the north-east monsoon to come down, and the south-west to return with an exchange cargo. The Arabs who man them are a powerful well-grown people, and very acute and intelligent in trade. They usually navigate their ships to Bengal in perfect safety, and with great skill. This was well known to Captain Collier and his officers of the Liverpool frigate, when they had the trial cruise with the Imam of Muscat's fine frigate in 1820.

DIACLE. An old term for a boat-compass.

DIAGONAL BRACES, knees, planks, &c., are such as cross a vessel's timbers obliquely. (See Diagonal Trussing.)

DIAGONAL RIBBAND. A narrow plank made to a line formed on the half-breadth plan, by taking the intersections of the diagonal line with the timbers. (See Ribbands.)

DIAGONALS. A line cutting the body-plan diagonally from the timbers to the middle line. Diagonals are the several lines on the draughts, delineating the station of the harpings and ribs, to form the body by.

DIAGONAL TRUSSING. A particular method of binding and strengthening[247] a vessel internally by a series of riders and truss-pieces placed diagonally.

DIAMETER. In geometry, a right line passing through the centre of any circular figure from one point of its circumference to another.

DIAMETER, Apparent. The angle which the diameter of a heavenly body subtends at any time, varying inversely with its distance. The true is the real diameter, commonly expressed in miles.

DIAMOND-CUT. See Rhombus.

DIAMOND-KNOT. An ornamental knot worked with the strands of a rope, sometimes used for bucket-strops, on the foot-ropes of jib-booms, man-ropes, &c.

DIBBS. A galley term for ready money. Also, a small pool of water.

DICE. See Dyce.

DICHOTOMIZED. A term applied to the moon, when her longitude differs 90° from that of the sun, in which position only half her disc is illuminated.

DICKADEE. A northern name for the sand-piper.

DICK-A-DILVER. A name for the periwinkle on our eastern coasts.

DICKER-WORK. The timbering of tide-harbours in the Channel. Wattling between piles.

DICKEY. An officer acting in commission.—It's all dickey with him. It's all up with him.

DIDDLE, To. To deceive.

DIEGO. A very strong and heavy sword.

DIE ON THE FIN, To. An expression applied to whales, which when dying rise to the surface, after the final dive, with one side uppermost.

DIET. The regulated food for patients in sick-bays and hospitals.

DIFFERENCE. An important army term, meaning firstly the sum to be paid by officers when exchanging from the half to full pay; and, secondly, the price or difference in value of the several commissions.

DIFFERENCE OF LATITUDE. The distance between any two places on the same meridian, or the difference between the parallels of latitude of any two places expressed in miles of the equator.

DIFFERENCE OF LONGITUDE. The difference of any place from another eastward or westward, counted in degrees of the equator: that is, the difference between two places is an arc of the equator contained between their meridians, but measured in space on the parallel. Thus the difference of a degree of longitude in miles of the meridian would be—

At 20° lat. 56·4 miles
" 40 " 38·6 "
" 60 " 30·0 "
" 80 " 10·4 "
DIFFERENTIAL OBSERVATION. Taking the differences of right ascension and declination between a comet and a star, the position of which has been already determined.

DIFFICULTY. A word unknown to true salts.[248]

DIGHT [from the Anglo-Saxon diht, arranging or disposing]. Now applied to dressing or preparing for muster; setting things in order.

DIGIT. A twelfth part of the diameter; a term employed to denote the magnitude of an eclipse; as, so many digits eclipsed.

DIKE. See Dyke.

DILL. An edible dark brown sea-weed, torn from the rocks at low-water.

DILLOSK. The dried leaves of an edible sea-weed. (See Dulce and Pepper-dulse.)

DILLY-WRECK. A common corruption of derelict (which see).

DIME. An American silver coin, in value the tenth of a dollar.

DIMINISHED ANGLE. In fortification, that formed by the exterior side and the line of defence.

DIMINISHING PLANK. The same as diminishing stuff (which see).


DIMINISHING STUFF. In ship-building, the planking wrought under the wales, where it is thinned progressively to the thickness of the bottom plank.

DIMINUTION OF OBLIQUITY. A slow approximation of the planes of the ecliptic and the equator, at the present rate of 0·485″ annually.

DIMSEL. A piece of stagnant water, larger than a pond and less than a lake.

DING, To. To dash down or throw with violence.

DING-DONG. Ships firing into each other in good earnest.

DINGHEY. A small boat of Bombay, propelled by paddles, and fitted with a settee sail, the mast raking forwards; also, the boats in use on the Hooghly; also, a small extra boat in men-of-war and merchant ships.

DINGLE. A hollow vale-like space between two hills. A clough; also, a sort of boat used in Ireland, a coracle.

DINNAGE. See Dunnage.

DIP. The inclination of the magnetic needle towards the earth. (See Dipping-needle.) Also, the smallest candle formerly issued by the purser.

DIP, To. To lower. An object is said to be dipping when by refraction it is visible just above the horizon. Also, to quit the deck suddenly.

DIP of the Horizon. The angle contained between the sensible and apparent horizons, the angular point being the eye of the observer; or it is an allowance made in all astronomical observations of altitude for the height of the eye above the level of the sea.

DIPPED. The limb of the sun or moon as it instantly dips below the horizon.

DIPPER. A name for the water-ousel (Cinclus aquaticus). A bird of the Passerine order, but an expert diver, frequenting running streams in mountainous countries.

DIPPING-LADLE. A metal ladle for taking boiling pitch from the cauldron.

DIPPING-NEEDLE. An instrument for ascertaining the amount of the[249] magnet's inclination towards the earth; it is so delicately suspended, that, instead of vibrating horizontally, one end dips or yields to the vertical force. This instrument has been so perfected by Mr. R. W. Fox of Falmouth, that even at sea in the heaviest gales of wind the dip could instantly, by magnetic deflectors, be ascertained to minutes, far beyond what heretofore could be elicited from the most expensive instruments, observed over 365 days on shore.

DIPPING-NET. A small net used for taking shad and other fish out of the water.

DIPS. See Lead-line.

DIP-SECTOR. An ingenious instrument for measuring the true dip of the horizon, invented by Dr. Wollaston, and very important, not only where the nature and quantity of the atmospherical refraction are to be examined, but for ascertaining the rates of chronometers, and the exact latitude in those particular regions where accidental refractions are very great, for the difference between the calculated dip and that observed by the sector may exceed three minutes. It is a reflecting instrument, of small compass, but requiring patience and practice in its use.

DIPSY. The float of a fishing-line.

DIRECT-ACTING ENGINE. A steam engine in which the connecting rod is led at once from the head of the piston to the crank, thus communicating the rotatory motion without the intervention of side-levers.

DIRECT FIRE. One of the five varieties into which artillerists usually divide horizontal fire (which see).

DIRECTION or Set of the Wind and Current. These are opposite terms; the direction of the winds and waves being named from the point of the compass whence they come; but the direction of a current is the point towards which it runs. A current running to leeward is said to have a leeward set, the opposite is a windward set.

DIRECTION. See Arc of Direction.


DIRK. A small do-little sword or dagger, formerly worn by junior naval officers on duty.

DIRT-GABARD. A large ballast-lighter.

DIRTY AULIN. A name for the arctic skua (Cataractes parasiticus), a sea-bird, allied to the gulls.

DIRTY DOG and no Sailor or Soldier. A mean, spiritless, and utterly useless rascal.

DISABLED. To be placed hors de combat by the weather or an enemy.

DISAPPOINT. To counterwork an enemy's operations in mining.

DISARM. To deprive people of their weapons and ammunition.

DISBANDED. When the officers and men of a regiment are dismissed, on a reduction of the army.

DISC, or Disk. In nautical astronomy, the circular visible surface presented by any celestial body to the eye of the observer.

DISCARCARE. [Ital.] An old term meaning to unlade a vessel.[250]

DISCHARGED. When applied to a ship, signifies when she is unladen. When expressed of the officers or crew, it implies that they are disbanded from immediate service; and in individual cases, that the person is dismissed in consequence of long service, disability, or at his own request. When spoken of cannon, it means that it is fired off.

DISCHARGE-TICKET. On all foreign stations men are discharged by foreign remove-tickets, and in other cases by dead, sick, or unserviceable ticket, whether at home or abroad.

DISCHARGE-VALVE. In the marine engine, is a valve covering the top of the barrel of the air-pump, opening when pressed from below.

DISCIPLINARIAN. An officer who maintains strict discipline and obedience to the laws of the navy, and himself setting an example.

DISCOURSE, To. An old sea term to traverse to and fro off the proper course.

DISCOVERY SHIP. A vessel fitted for the purpose of exploring unknown seas and coasts. Discovery vessels were formerly taken from the merchant service; they have latterly been replaced by ships of war, furnished with every improved instrument, and acting, on occasion, as active pilots leading in war service.

DISCRETION. To surrender at discretion, implies an unconditional yielding to the mercy of the conquerors.

DISEMBARK. The opposite of embark; the landing of troops from any vessel or transport.

DISEMBAY. To work clear out of a gulf or bay.

DISEMBOGUE. The fall of a river into the sea; it has also been used for the passage of vessels across the mouth of a river and out of one.

DISGUISE. Ships in all times have been permitted to assume disguise to impose upon enemies, and obtain from countries in their possession commodities of which they stand in need.

DISH, To. To supplant, ruin, or frustrate.

DISLODGE. To drive an enemy from any post or station.

DI-SLYNG. See Slyng.

DISMANTLED. The state of a ship unrigged, and all her stores, guns, &c., taken out, in readiness for her being laid up in ordinary, or going into dock, &c. &c. To dismantle a gun is to render it unfit for service. The same applies to a fort.

DISMASTED. State of a ship deprived of her masts, by gales or by design.

DISMISS. Pipe down the people. To dismiss a drill from parade is to break the ranks.

DISMISSION. A summary discharge from the service; which a court-martial is empowered to inflict on any officer convicted of a breach of special laws, though it cannot for minor offences which formerly carried death!

DISMOUNT, To. To break the carriages of guns, and thereby render them unfit for service. Also, in gun exercise, to lift a gun from its carriage and deposit it elsewhere.[251]

DISMOUNTED. The state of a cannon taken off a carriage, or when, by the enemy's shot, it is rendered unmanageable. Also, cavalry on foot acting as infantry.

DISOBEDIENCE. An infraction of the orders of a superior; punishable by a court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offence.

DISORDER. The confusion occasioned by a heavy fire from an enemy.

DISORGANIZE, To. To degrade a man-of-war to a privateer by irregularity.

DISPART, or Throw of the Shot. The difference between the semi-diameter of the base-ring at the breech of a gun, and that of the ring at the swell of the muzzle. On account of the dispart, the line of aim makes a small angle with the axis; so that the elevation of the latter above the horizon is greater than that of the line of aim: an allowance for the dispart is consequently necessary in determining the commencement of the graduations on the tangent scale, by which the required elevation is given to the gun.

DISPARTING A GUN. To bring the line of sight and line of metal to be parallel by setting up a mark on the muzzle-ring of a cannon, so that a sight-line, taken from the top of the base-ring behind the touch-hole, to the mark set near the muzzle, may be parallel to the axis of the bore. (See Gun.)

DISPART-SIGHT. A gun-sight fixed on the top of the second reinforce-ring—about the middle of the piece—for point-blank or horizontal firing, to eliminate the difference of the diameters between the breech and the mouth of the cannon.

DISPATCH. All duty is required to be performed with diligence.

DISPATCHES. Not simply letters, but such documents as demand every effort for their immediate delivery. "Charged with dispatches" overrides all signals of hindrance on a voyage.

DISPLACEMENT. The centre of gravity of the displacement relates to the part of the ship under water, considered as homogeneous. The weight of water which a vessel displaces when floating is the same as the weight of the ship. (See Centre of Cavity.)

DISPOSED QUARTERS. The distribution when the camp is marked about a place besieged.

DISPOSITION. A draught representing the several timbers that compose a ship's frame properly disposed with respect to ports and other parts. Also, the arrangement of a ship's company for watches, quarters, reefing, furling, and other duties. In a military sense it means the placing of a body of troops upon the most advantageous ground.

DISRANK, or Disrate. To degrade in rank or station.

DISREPAIR. A bar to any claim on account of sea-unworthiness in a warrantry.

DISTANCE. The run which a ship has made upon the log-board. In speaking of double stars, it is the space separating the centres of the two stars, expressed in seconds of arc. (See Lunar Distances.)[252]

DISTILLING SEA-WATER. Apparatus for the conversion of sea-water into potable fresh water have long been invented, though little used; but of late the larger ships are effectively fitted with adaptations for the purpose.

DISTINCTION. Flags of distinction, badges, honourable note of superiority.

DISTINGUISHING PENDANT. In fleets and squadrons, instead of hoisting several flags to denote the number of the ship on the list of the Navy, pendants are used. Thus ten ships may be signalled separately. If more, then, as one answers, her pendant is hauled down, and then two pendants succeed. (See Signals.)

DISTRESS. A term used when a ship requires immediate assistance from unlooked-for damage or danger. (See Signal of Distress.)

DISTRICT ORDERS. Those issued by a general commanding a district.

DISTURBANCE. See Spanish Disturbance.

DITCH. In fortification the excavation in front of the parapet of any work, ranging in width from a few feet in field fortification to thirty or forty yards in permanent works, having its steep side next the rampart called the escarp: the opposite one is the counterscarp. Its principal use is to secure the escarp as long as possible. There are wet ditches and dry ones, the former being less in favour than the latter, since a dry ditch so much facilitates sorties, counter-approaches, and the like. That kind which may be made wet or dry at pleasure is most useful.

DITTY-BAG. Derives its name from the dittis or Manchester stuff of which it was once made. It is in use among seamen for holding their smaller necessaries. The ditty-bag of old, when a seaman prided himself on his rig, as the result of his own ability to fit himself from clue to earing, was a treasured article, probably worked in exquisite device by his lady-love. Well can we recollect the pride exhibited in its display when "on end clothes" was a joyful sound to the old pig-tailed tar.

DITTY-BOX. A small caddy for holding a seaman's stock of valuables.

DIURNAL ARC. That part of a circle, parallel to the equator, which is described by a celestial body from its rising to its setting.


DIVE, To. To descend or plunge voluntarily head-foremost under the water. To go off deck in the watch. A ship is said to be "diving into it" when she pitches heavily against a head-sea.

DIVER. One versed in the art of descending under water to considerable depths and abiding there a competent time for several purposes, as to recover wrecks of ships, fish for pearls, sponges, corals, &c. The diver is now a rating in H.M. ships; he may be of any rank of seaman, but he receives £1, 10s. 5d. per annum additional pay—one penny a-day for risking life! Also, a common web-footed sea-bird of the genus Colymbus.

DIVERGENT. A stream flowing laterally out of a river, contradistinguished from convergent.

DIVERSION. A manœuvre to attract, wholly or partially, the enemy's attention away from some other part of the operations.[253]

DIVIE-GOO. A northern term for the Larus marinus or black-backed gull.

DIVINE SERVICE. Ordered by the articles of war, whenever the weather on a Sunday will allow of it.

DIVING-APPARATUS. Supplied to the flag-ship, and also a man with the title of diver, to examine defects below water.

DIVING-BELL. Used in under-water operations for recovering treasure, raising ships, anchors, &c.

DIVING-DRESS. India-rubber habiliments, the head-piece is of light metal fitted with strong glass eyes, and an attached pliable pipe to maintain a supply of air. The shoes are weighted.

DIVISION. A select number of ships in a fleet or squadron of men-of-war, distinguished by a particular flag, pendant, or vane. A squadron may be ranged into two or three divisions, the commanding officer of which is always stationed in the centre. In a fleet the admiral divides it into three squadrons, each of which is commanded by an admiral, and is again divided into divisions; each squadron had its proper colours (now distinguishing mark) according to the rank of the admiral who commanded it, and each division its proper mast. The private ships carried pendants of the same colour with their respective squadrons at the masts of their particular divisions, so that the ships in the last division of the blue squadron carried a blue pendant at their main topgallant-mast head, the vane at the mizen. All these are superseded by the abolition of the Red and Blue. The St. George's white ensign flag and pendant alone are used.

DIVISIONS. The sub-classification of a ship's company under the lieutenants. Also, a muster of the crew. Also, of an army, a force generally complete in itself, commanded by a major-general, of an average strength of eight or ten thousand men: it is itself composed of several brigades, each of which again is composed of several battalions, besides the complement of artillery, transport-corps, and generally also of cavalry, for the whole. Of a battalion, a term sometimes used in exercise, when the companies of a battalion have been equalized as to strength, for one of such companies.

DJERME. See Jerme.

DOA. A Persian trading vessel.

DOASTA. An inferior spirit, often drugged or doctored for unwary sailors in the pestiferous dens of filthy Calcutta and other sea-ports in India.

DOB. The animal inhabiting the razor-shell (solen), used as a bait by fishermen.

DOBBER. The float of a fishing-line.

DOBBIN. A phrase on our southern coasts for sea-gravel mixed with sand.

DOCK. An artificial receptacle for shipping, in which they can discharge or take in cargo, and refit.—A dry dock is a broad and deep trench, formed on the side of a harbour, or on the banks of a river, and commodiously fitted either to build ships in or to receive them to be repaired[254] or breamed. They have strong flood-gates, to prevent the flux of the tide from entering while the ship is under repair. There are likewise docks where a ship can only be cleaned during the recess of the tide, as she floats again on the return of the flood. Docks of the latter kind are not furnished with the usual flood-gates; but the term is also used for what is more appropriately called a float (which see). Also, in polar parlance, an opening cut out of an ice-floe, into which a ship is warped for security.

DOCK-DUES. The charges made upon shipping for the use of docks.

DOCKERS. Inhabitants of the town which sprang up between the docks and the town of Plymouth. Dock solicited and obtained the royal license, in 1823, to be called Devonport—a very inappropriate name, Plymouth being wholly within the county of Devon, while Hamoaze is equally in Devon and Cornwall.

DOCK HERSELF, To. When a ship is on the ooze, and swaddles a bed, she is said to dock herself.

DOCKING A SHIP. The act of drawing her into dock, and placing her properly on blocks, in order to give her the required repair, cleanse the bottom, and cover it anew. (See Breaming.)

DOCK UP, or DUCK UP. To clue up a corner of a sail that hinders the helmsman from seeing.

DOCKYARD DUTY. The attendance of a lieutenant and party in the arsenal, for stowing, procuring stores, &c.

DOCKYARD MATIES. The artificers in a dockyard. In former times an established declaration of war between the mates and midshipmen versus the maties was hotly kept up. Many deaths and injuries never disclosed were hushed up or patiently borne. It terminated about 1830.

DOCKYARDS. Arsenals containing all sorts of naval stores and timber for ship-building. In England the royal dockyards are at Deptford, Woolwich, Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth, Devonport, Pembroke. Those in our colonies are at the Cape of Good Hope, Gibraltar, Malta, Bermuda, Halifax, Jamaica, Antigua, Trincomalee, and Hong Kong. There Her Majesty's ships and vessels of war are generally moored during peace, and such as want repairing are taken into the docks, examined, and refitted for service. These yards are generally supplied from the north with hemp, pitch, tar, rosin, canvas, oak-plank, and several other species of stores. The largest masts are usually imported from New England. Until 1831 these yards were governed by a commissioner resident at the port, who superintended all the musters of the officers, artificers, and labourers employed in the dockyard and ordinary; he also controlled their payment, examined their accounts, contracted and drew bills on the Navy Office to supply the deficiency of stores, and, finally, regulated whatever belonged to the dockyard. In 1831 the commissioners of the Navy were abolished, and admirals and captains superintendent command the dockyards under the controller of the Navy and the Admiralty.[255]

DOCTOR. A name which seamen apply to every medical officer. Also, a jocular name for the ship's cook.

DOCTOR'S LIST. The roll of those excused from duty by reason of illness.

DODD. A round-topped hill, generally an offshoot from a higher mountain.

DODECAGON. A regular polygon, having twelve sides and as many angles.

DODECATIMORIA. The anastrous signs, or twelve portions of the ecliptic which the signs anciently occupied, but have since deserted by the precession of the equinoxes.

DODGE. A homely but expressive phrase for shuffling conduct, or cunning of purpose. Also, to watch or follow a ship from place to place.

DODMAN. A shell-fish with a hod-like lump. A sea-snail, otherwise called hodmandod.

DOFF, To. To put aside.

DO FOR, To. A double-barrelled expression, meaning alike to take care of or provide for an individual, or to ruin or kill him.

DOG. The hammer of a fire-lock or pistol; that which holds the flint, called also dog-head. Also, a sort of iron hook or bar with a sharp fang at one end, so as to be easily driven into a piece of timber, and drag it along by means of a rope fastened to it, upon which a number of men can pull. Dog is also an iron implement with a fang at each end, to be driven into two pieces of timber, to support and steady one of them while being dubbed, hewn, or sawn.—Span-dogs. Used to lift timber. A pair of dogs linked together, and being hooked at an extended angle, press home with greater strain.

DOG-BITCH-THIMBLE. An excellent contrivance by which the topsail-sheet-block is prevented making the half cant or turn so frequently seen in the clue when the block is secured there.

DOG-BOLT. A cap square bolt.

DOG-DRAVE. A kind of sea-fish mentioned in early charters.

DOG-FISH. A name commonly applied to several small species of the shark family.

DOGG. A small silver coin of the West Indies, six of which make a bitt. Also, in meteorology, see Stubb.

DOGGED. A mode of attaching a rope to a spar or cable, in contradistinction to racking, by which slipping is prevented; half-hitched and end stopped back, is one mode.

DOGGER. A Dutch smack of about 150 tons, navigated in the German Ocean. It is mostly equipped with a main and a mizen mast, and somewhat resembles a ketch or a galliot. It is principally used for fishing on the Dogger Bank.

DOGGER-FISH. Fish bought out of the Dutch doggers.

DOGGER-MEN. The seafaring fishermen belonging to doggers.

DOGS. The last supports knocked away at the launching of a ship.[256]

DOG'S-BODY. Dried pease boiled in a cloth.

DOG-SHORES. Two long square blocks of timber, resting diagonally with their heads to the cleats. They are placed forward to support the bilge-ways on the ground-ways, thereby preventing the ship from starting off the slips while the keel-blocks are being taken out.

DOG-SLEEP. The uncomfortable fitful naps taken when all hands are kept up by stress.

DOG'S TAIL. A name for the constellation Ursa Minor or Little Bear.

DOG-STOPPER. Put on before all to enable the men to bit the cable, sometimes to fleet the messenger.

DOG-TONGUE. A name assigned to a kind of sole.

DOG-VANE. A small vane made of thread, cork, and feathers, or buntin, fastened on the end of a half-pike, and placed on the weather gunwale, so as to be readily seen, and show the direction of the wind. The term is also familiarly applied to a cockade.

DOG-WATCH. The half-watches of two hours each, from 4 to 6, and from 6 to 8, in the evening. By this arrangement an uneven number of watches is made—seven instead of six in the twenty-four hours; otherwise there would be a succession of the same watches at the same hours throughout the voyage or cruise. Theodore Hook explained them as cur-tailed. (See Watch.)

DOIT. A small Dutch coin, valued at about half a farthing; formerly current on our eastern shores.

DOLDRUMS. Those parts of the sea where calms are known to prevail. They exist between and on the polar sides of the trade-winds, but vary their position many degrees of latitude in the course of the year, depending upon the sun's declination. Also applied to a person in low spirits.

DOLE. A stated allowance; but applied to a scanty share or portion.

DOLE-FISH. The share of fish that was given to our northern fishermen as part payment for their labour.

DOLING. A fishing-boat with two masts, on the coasts of Sussex and Kent; each of the masts carries a sprit-sail.

DO-LITTLE, or DO-LITTLE SWORD. The old term for a dirk.

DOLLAR. For this universally known coin, see Piece of Eight.

DOLLOP. An old word for a lump, portion, or share. From the Gaelic diolab.

DOLPHIN. Naturalists understand by this word numerous species of small cetaceous animals of the genus Delphinus, found in nearly all seas. They greatly resemble porpoises, and are often called by this name by sailors; but they are distinguished by having a longer and more slender snout. The word is also generally, but less correctly, applied to a fish, the dorado (Coryphæna hippuris), celebrated for the changing hues of its surface when dying. Also, a small light ancient boat, which gave rise to Pliny's story of the boy going daily to school across the Lucrine lake on a dolphin. Also, in ordnance, especially brass guns, two handles nearly over the trunnions for lifting the guns by. Also, a French gold coin[257] (dauphine), formerly in great currency. Also, a stout post on a quay-head, or in a beach, to make hawsers fast to. The name is also given to a spar or block of wood, with a ring-bolt at each end, through which a hawser can be rove, for vessels to ride by; the same as wooden buoys.

DOLPHIN OF THE MAST. A kind of wreath or strap formed of plaited cordage, to be fastened occasionally round the lower yards to prevent nip, or as a support to the puddening, where the lower yards rest in the sling, the use of which is to sustain the fore and main yards by the jeers, in case the rigging or chains, by which those yards are suspended, should be shot away in action. (See Puddening.)

DOLPHIN-STRIKER. A short perpendicular gaff spar, under the bowsprit-end, for guying down the jib-boom, of which indeed it is the chief support, by means of the martingales. (See Martingale.)

DOLVER. The reclaimed fen-grounds of our eastern coasts.

DOMESTIC NAVIGATION. A term applied to coasting trade.

DOMINIONS. It is a settled point that a conquered country forms immediately a part of the king's dominions; and a condemnation of ships within its harbours as droits of admiralty, is valid, although the conquest may not yet have been confirmed by treaty.

DON. A general name for Spaniards. One of the "perfumed" terms of its time.—To don. To put on.

DONDERBASS. See Bombard.

DONEY. The doney of the Coromandel coast is about 70 feet long, 20 feet broad, and 12 feet deep; with a flat bottom or keel part, which at the broadest place is 7 feet, and diminishes to 10 inches in the siding of the stem and stern-post. The fore and after bodies are similar in form from midships. Their light draught of water is about 4 feet, and when loaded about 9 feet. These unshapely vessels in the fine season trade from Madras and Ceylon, and many of them to the Gulf of Manar, as the water is shoal between Ceylon and the southern part of the continent. They have only one mast, and are navigated by the natives in the rudest way; their means for finding the latitude being a little square board, with a string fast to the centre, at the other end of which are certain knots. The upper edge of the board is held by one hand so as to touch the north star, and the lower edge the horizon. Then the string is brought with the other hand to touch the tip of the nose, and the knot which comes in contact with the tip of the nose tells the latitude.

DONJON. The keep, or place of retreat, in old fortifications. A redoubt of a fortress; the highest and strongest tower.

DONKEY-ENGINE. An auxiliary steam-engine for feeding the boilers of the principal engine when they are stopped; or for any other duties independent of the ship's propelling engines.

DONKEY-FRIGATE. Those of 28 guns, frigate-built; that is, having guns protected by an upper deck, with guns on the quarter-deck and forecastle; ship-sloops, in contradistinction to corvettes and sloops.

DONNY. A small fishing-net.[258]

DOOLAH. A passage-boat on the Canton river.

DOOTED. Timber rendered unsound by fissures.

DORADO. The Coryphæna hippuris, an oceanic fish; often called "dolphin."

DOREY. A flat-floored cargo-boat in the West Indies, named after the fish John Dory.

DORNICLE. A northern name for the viviparous blenny.

DORRA. From the Gaelic dorga; a crab-net.

DORSAL FIN. The median fin placed upon the back of fishes.

DORY. A fish, Zeus faber, commonly known as "John Dory," or truly jaune dorée, from its golden hues.

DOTTLE. The small portion of tobacco remaining unsmoked in the pipe.

DOUBLE, To. To cover a ship with an extra planking, usually of 4 inches, either internally or externally, when through age or otherwise she has become loosened; the process strengthens her without driving out the former fastenings. Doubling, however, is a term applied only where the plank thus used is not less than 2 inches thick.—To double a cape. (See Doubling a Cape.)

DOUBLE-ACTING ENGINE. One in which the steam acts upon the piston against a vacuum, both in the upward and downward movement.

DOUBLE-BANK A ROPE, To. To clap men on both sides.

DOUBLE-BANKED. When two opposite oars are pulled by rowers seated on the same thwart; or when there are two men labouring upon each oar. Also, 60-gun frigates which carry guns along the gangway, as was the custom with Indiamen, are usually styled double-bankers.

DOUBLE-BITTED. Two turns of the cable round the bitts instead of one.

DOUBLE-BLOCK. One fitted with a couple of sheaves, in holes side by side.

DOUBLE-BREECHING. Additional breeching on the non-recoil system, or security for guns in heavy weather.

DOUBLE-CAPSTAN. One shaft so constructed as to be worked both on an upper and lower deck, as in ships of the line, or in Phillips' patent capstan.

DOUBLE-CROWN. A name given to a plait made with the strands of a rope, which forms part of several useful and ornamental knots.

DOUBLE DECK-NAILS. See Deck-nails.

DOUBLE DUTCH coiled against the Sun. Gibberish, or any unintelligible or difficult language.

DOUBLE EAGLE. A gold coin of the United States, of 10 dollars; value £2, 1s. 8d., at the average rate of exchange.

DOUBLE-FUTTOCKS. Timbers in the cant-bodies, extending from the dead-wood to the run of the second futtock-head.

DOUBLE-HEADED MAUL. One with double faces; top-mauls in contradistinction to pin-mauls.

DOUBLE-HEADED SHOT. Differing from bar-shot by being similar to dumb-bells, only the shot are hemispherical.[259]

DOUBLE-IMAGE MICROMETER. Has one of its lenses divided, and separable to a certain distance by a screw, which at the same time moves an index upon a graduated scale. When fitted to a telescope for sea use, as in chase, it is called a coming-up glass.

DOUBLE INSURANCE. Where the insured makes two insurances on the same risks and the same interest.

DOUBLE-IRONED. Both legs shackled to the bilboe-bolts.

DOUBLE-JACK. See Jack-screw.

DOUBLE-LAND. That appearance of a coast when the sea-line is bounded by parallel ranges of hills, rising inland one above the other.

DOUBLE-SIDED. A line-of-battle ship painted so as to show the ports of both decks; or a vessel painted to resemble one, as used to be frequent in the Indian marine.

DOUBLE-STAR. Two stars so close together as to be separable only with a telescope. They are either optically so owing to their accidental situation in the heavens, or physically near each other in space, and one of them revolving round the other.

DOUBLE-TIDE. Working double-tides is doing extra duty. (See Work Double-tides.)

DOUBLE UPON, To. See Doubling upon.

DOUBLE WALL-KNOT. With or without a crown, or a double crown, is made by intertwisting the unlaid ends of a rope in a peculiar manner.

DOUBLE-WHIP. A whip is simply a rope rove through a single block; a double whip is when it passes through a lower tail or hook-block, and the standing end is secured to the upper block, or where it is attached.

DOUBLING. (See Rank.) Putting two ranks into one.

DOUBLING A CAPE. In navigation, is to sail round or pass beyond it, so that the point of land separates the ship from her former situation.

DOUBLING-NAILS. The nails commonly used in doubling.

DOUBLING UPON. In a naval engagement, the act of inclosing any part of a hostile fleet between two fires, as Nelson did at the Nile. The van or rear of one fleet, taking advantage of the wind or other circumstances, runs round the van or rear of the enemy, who will thereby be exposed to great danger and confusion.

DOUBLOON. A Spanish gold coin, value 16 dollars: £3, 3s. to £3, 6s. English.

DOUGH-BOYS. Hard dumplings boiled in salt water. A corruption of dough-balls.

DOUSE, To. To lower or slacken down suddenly; expressed of a sail in a squall of wind, an extended hawser, &c. Douse the glim, your colours, &c., to knock down.

DOUT, To. To put out a light; to extinguish; do out. Shakspeare makes the dauphin of France say in "King Henry V.:"—

"That their hot blood may spin in English eyes,
And dout them."
DOUTER, or Douser. An extinguisher.[260]

D'OUTRE MER. From beyond the sea.

DOVER COURT BEETLE. A heavy mallet. There is an old proverb: "A Dover court; all speakers and no hearers."

"A Dover court beetle, and wedges with steel,
Strong lever to raise up the block from the wheel."—Tusser.
DOVE-TAIL. The fastening or letting in of one timber into another by a dove-tailed end and score, so that they hold firmly together, and cannot come asunder endwise. The operation of cutting the mortise is called dove-tailing.

DOVE-TAIL PLATES. Metal plates resembling dove-tails in form, let into the heel of the stern-post and the keel, to bind them together; and also those used for connecting the stem-foot with the fore end of the keel.

DOWAL. A coak of metal in a sheave.

DOWBREK. A northern term for the fish also called spärling or smelt.

DOWEL. A cylindrical piece of hard wood about three inches in diameter, and the same in length, used as an additional security in scarphing two pieces of timber together. Dowels are also used to secure the joinings of the felloes, or circumferential parts of wheels; and by coopers in joining together the contiguous boards forming the heads of casks.—Dowel, or dowel-bit, is the tool used to cut the holes for the dowels.

DOWELLING. The method of uniting the butts of the frame-timbers together with a cylindrical piece or tenon let in at each end.

DOWN ALL CHESTS! The order to get all the officers' and seamen's chests down below from off the gun-decks when clearing the ship for an engagement.

DOWN ALL HAMMOCKS! The order for all the sailors to carry their hammocks down, and hang them up in their respective berths in readiness to go to bed, or to lessen top-weight and resistance to wind in chase.

DOWN ALONG. Sailing coastways down Channel.

DOWN EAST. Far away in that bearing. This term, as down west, &c., is an Americanism, recently adopted into our vernacular.

DOWNFALLS. The descending waters of rivers and creeks.

DOWN-HAUL. A rope passing up along a stay, leading through cringles of the staysails or jib, and made fast to the upper corner of the sail to pull it down when shortening sail. Also, through blocks on the outer clues to the outer yard-arms of studding-sails, to take them in securely. Also, the cockpit term for a great-coat.

DOWN-HAUL TACKLES. Employed when lower yards are struck in bad weather to prevent them from swaying about after the trusses are unrove.

DOWN IN THE MOUTH. Low-spirited or disheartened.

DOWN KILLOCK! Let go the grapnel; the corruption of keel-hook or anchor.

DOWN OARS! The order on shoving off a boat when the men have had them "tossed up."

DOWNS. An accumulation of drifted sand, which the sea gathers along[261] its shores. The name is also applied to the anchorage or sea-space between the eastern coast of Kent and the Goodwin Sands, the well-known roadstead for ships, stretching from the South to the North Foreland, where both outward and homeward-bound ships frequently make some stay, and squadrons of men-of-war rendezvous in time of war. It is defended by the castles of Sandwich, Deal, and Dover.

DOWN WIND, DOWN SEA. A proverbial expression among seamen between the tropics, where the sea is soon raised by the wind, and when that abates is soon smooth again.

DOWN WITH THE HELM! An order to put the helm a-lee.

DOWSING CHOCK. A breast-hook or piece fayed athwart the apron and lapped on the knight-heads, or inside stuff, above the upper deck; otherwise termed hawse-hook.

DOYLT. Lazy or stupid.

DO YOU HEAR THERE? An inquiry following an order, but very often needlessly.

DRABLER. A piece of canvas laced on the bonnet of a sail to give it more drop, or as Captain Boteler says—"As the bonnet is to the course, so in all respects is the drabler to the bonnet." It is only used when both course and bonnet are not deep enough to clothe the mast.

DRACHMA. A Greek coin, value sevenpence three farthings sterling; 14 cents. American or Spanish real.

DRAFT, or Draught. A small allowance for waste on goods sold by weight.

DRAFT OF HANDS. A certain number of men appointed to serve on board a particular man-of-war, who are then said to be drafted. A transfer of hands from one ship to complete the complement of another.

DRAG. A machine consisting of a sharp square frame of iron encircled with a net, and commonly used to rake the mud off from the platform or bottom of the docks, or to clean rivers, or for dragging on the bottom for anything lost. Also, a creeper.

DRAG FOR THE ANCHOR, To. The same as creep or sweep.

DRAGGING. An old word for dredging.

DRAGGING ON HER. Said of a vessel in chase, or rounding a point, when she is obliged to carry more canvas to a fresh wind than she otherwise would.

DRAG-NET. A trawl or net to draw on the bottom for flat-fish.

DRAGOMAN. The name for a Turkish interpreter; it is corrupted from tarij-mân.

DRAGON. An old name for a musketoon.

DRAGON BEAM or Piece. A strut or abutment.

DRAGONET. A sea-fish, the gowdie, or Callionymus lyra.

DRAGON-VOLANT. The old name for a gun of large calibre used in the French navy, whence the term was adopted into ours.

DRAGOON. Originally a soldier trained to serve alike on horse or foot, or as Dr. Johnson equivocally explains it, "who fights indifferently on[262] foot or on horseback." (See Troop.) The term is now applied to all cavalry soldiers who have no other special designation.

DRAG-ROPES. Those used in the artillery by the men in pulling the gun backwards and forwards in practice and in action.

DRAGS. Whatever hangs over the ship into the sea, as shirts, coats, or the like; and boats when towed, or whatever else that after this manner may hinder the ship's way when she sails, are called drags.

DRAG-SAIL. Any sail with its clues stopped so as when veered away over the quarter to make a stop-water when veering in emergency. The drag-sail formed by the sprit-sail course was frequently used in former wars to retard the ship apparently running away until the enemy got within gun-shot.

DRAG-SAW. A cross-cut saw.

DRAG THE ANCHOR, To. The act of the anchors coming home.

DRAKE. An early piece of brass ordnance.

DRAKKAR. A Norman pirate boat of former times.

DRAUGHT, or Draft. The depth of water a ship displaces, or of a body of fluid necessary to float a vessel; hence a ship is said to draw so many feet of water when she requires that depth to float her, which, to be more readily known, are marked on the stem and stern-post from the keel upwards. Also, the old name for a chart. Also, the delineation of a ship designed to be built, drawn on a given scale, generally a quarter-inch to the foot, for the builders. (See Sheer-draught.)

DRAUGHT-HOOKS. Iron hooks fixed on the cheeks of a gun-carriage for dragging the gun along by draught-ropes.

DRAUGHTSMAN. The artist who draws plans or charts from instructions or surveys.

DRAW. A sail draws when it is filled by the wind. A ship draws so many feet of water.—To let draw a jib is to cease from flattening-in the sheet.—Draw is also a term for halliards in some of the northern fishing-boats.—To draw. To procure anything by official demand from a dockyard, arsenal, or magazine.—To draw up the courses. To take in.—To draw upon a ship is to gain upon a vessel when in pursuit of her.

DRAWBACK. An abatement or reduction of duties allowed by the custom-house in certain cases; as for stores to naval officers in commission.

DRAW-BELLOWS. A northern term for limber-holes (which see).

DRAWING. The state of a sail when there is sufficient wind to inflate it, so as to advance the vessel in her course.

DRAWING UP. Adjusting a ship's station in the line; the converse of dropping astern.

DRAWING WATER. The number of feet depth which a ship submerges.

DRAWN BATTLE. A conflict in which both parties claim the victory, or retire upon equal terms.

DRAW-NET. Erroneously used for drag-net.

DRAWN FOR THE MILITIA. When men are selected by ballot for the defence of the country.[263]

DRAW THE GUNS. To extract the charge of wad, shot, and cartridge from the guns.

DREDGE. An iron scraper-framed triangle, furnished with a bottom of hide and stout cord net above, used for taking oysters or specimens of shells from the bottom.

DREDGER-BOAT. One that uses the net so called, for turbots, soles, sandlings, &c.

DREDGING. Fishing by dragging the dredge.

DREDGING MACHINE. A large lighter, or other flat-bottomed vessel, equipped with a steam-engine and machinery for removing the mud and silt from the bottom, by the revolution of iron buckets in an endless chain.

DREDGY. The ghost of a drowned person.

DREINT. The old word used for drowned, from the Anglo-Saxon.

DRESS, To. To place a fleet in organized order; also, to arrange men properly in ranks; to present a true continuous line in front.—To dress a ship. To ornament her with a variety of colours, as ensigns, flags, pendants, &c., of various nations, displayed from different parts of her masts, rigging, &c., on a day of festivity.

DREW. A name in our northern isles for the Fucus loreus, a narrow thong-shaped sea-weed.

DRIBBLE. Drizzling showers; light rain.

DRIES. A term opposed to rains on the west coast of Africa.

DRIFT. The altered position of a vessel by current or falling to leeward when hove-to or lying-to in a gale, when but little head-way is made by the action of sails. In artillery, a priming-iron of modern introduction used to clear the vent of ordnance from burning particles after each discharge. Also, a term sometimes used for the constant deflection of a rifled projectile. (See Deflection.)

DRIFTAGE. The amount due to lee-way. (See Drift.)

DRIFT-BOLTS. Commonly made of steel, are used as long punches for driving out other bolts.

DRIFT-ICE. The debris of the main pack. (See Open Ice.)

DRIFTING-UP. Is used as relating to sands which are driven by the winds. As at Cape Blanco, on the coast of Africa, off the tail of the Desert of Zahara, where the houses and batteries have been thus obliterated.

DRIFT-MUD. Consisting chiefly of an argillaceous earth, brought down by the rivers, floated about, and successively deposited in banks; forming the alluvial and fertile European settlements of Guiana.

DRIFT-NET. A large net, with meshes of one inch, used in the pilchard fishery in August; also, for herrings and mackerel in March: used in drifting in the Chops of the Channel. Also, of strong gauze, for molluscs.

DRIFT-PIECES. Solid pieces fitted at the drifts, forming the scrolls on the drifts: they are commonly mitred into the gunwale.

DRIFTS. Detached masses of soil and underwood torn off the shore by floods and floating about, often mistaken for rocks and dangers. Also,[264] in ship-building, those parts where the sheer is raised, and the rails are cut off, ending with a scroll; as the drift of the quarter-deck, poop-deck, and forecastle.

DRIFT-SAIL. A contrivance, by means of immersing a sail, to diminish the drift of a ship during a gale of wind. (See Drags.)

DRIFT-WAY. Synonymous with lee-way.

DRILL. Systematized instruction in the practice of all military exercises.

DRILL-SHIPS. A recent establishment of vessels in which the volunteers composing the Royal Naval Reserve are drilled into practice.

DRINK-PENNY. Earnest money at rendezvous houses, &c.

DRIP-STONE. The name usually given to filters composed of porous stone.

DRIVE, To [from the Anglo-Saxon dryfan]. A ship drives when her anchor trips or will not hold. She drives to leeward when beyond control of sails or rudder; and if under bare poles, may drive before the wind. Also, to strike home bolts, tree-nails, &c.

DRIVER. A large sail formerly used with the wind aft or quartering. It was a square sail cut like a studding-sail, and set with a great yard on the end of the spanker-boom, across the taffrail. The name latterly has been officially applied to the spanker, both being the aftermost sails of a ship, the ring-tail being only an addition, as a studding or steering sail. (See Steering-sail.) Also, the foremost spur in the bilge-ways, the heel of which is fayed to the fore-side of the foremost poppet, and the sides of it look fore and aft. Also, a sort of fishing-boat.

DRIVER-BOOM. The boom to which the driver is hauled out.

DRIVING A CHARGE. Ramming home the loading of a piece of ordnance.

DRIVING PILES. The motion of a ship bobbing in a head sea, compared to the vertical fall of monkeys on pile heads.

DROG. A Gaelic term, still in use, to express the agitation of the sea.

DROGHER. A small craft which goes round the bays of the West India Islands, to take off sugars, rum, &c., to the merchantmen.—Lumber-drogher is a vessel built solely for burden, and for transporting cotton and other articles coastwise.

DROGHING. The carrying trade of the West India coasts.

DROITS OF ADMIRALTY. Rights, or rather perquisites, which flowed originally from the king by grant or usage, and now reserved to the crown by commission. They are of two kinds—viz. the civil, or those arising from wrecks of the sea, flotsam, jetsam, and lagan, royal fishes, derelicts, and deodands, ejectamenta maris, and the goods of pirates, traitors, felons, suicides, and fugitives within the admiralty jurisdiction; and the prize droits, or those accruing in the course of war, comprehending all ships and goods taken without commission, all vessels improperly captured before hostilities have been formally declared, or found or by accident brought within the admiralty, salvage for all ships rescued, and all ships seized, in any of the ports, creeks, or roads of the United Kingdom[265] of Great Britain and Ireland before any declaration of war or reprisals by the sovereign.

DROM-FISH. A large fish taken and cured in quantities in the Portuguese harbours of South America, as well for ship's stores as for the times of fast.

DROMON. A Saracen term denoting the large king's ships from the ninth to the fifteenth century.

DROP, or Droop. When a line diverges from a parallel or a curve. It is also a name generally used to the courses, but sometimes given to the depth of the square sails in general; as, "Her main top-sail drops seventeen yards." The depth of a sail from head to foot amidships.—To drop anchor is simply to anchor:—underfoot, in calms, a kedge or stream is dropped to prevent drift.

DROP ASTERN, To. To slacken a ship's way, so as to suffer another one to pass beyond her. Also, distancing a competitor.

DROP DOWN A RIVER. Synonymous with falling (which see).

DROP-DRY. Completely water-tight.

DROPPING. An old mode of salute by lowering flags or uppermost sails.

DROPS. In ship-building, are small foliages of carved work in the stern munnions and elsewhere. The term also means the fall or declivity of a deck, which is generally of several inches.

DROUD. A fish of the cod kind, frequenting the west coast of Scotland.

DROUGES. Quadrilateral pieces of board, sometimes attached to the harpoon line, for the purpose of checking in some degree the speed of the whale.

DROW. An old northern term for a severe gust of wind accompanied with rain.

DROWNED LAND. Extensive marshes or other water-covered districts which were once dry and sound land.

DROWNING. An early naval punishment; Richard I. enacted that whoever killed a man on ship-board, "he should be bound to the corpse, and thrown into the sea."

DROWNING-BRIDGE. A sluice-gate for overflowing meadows.

DROWNING THE MILLER. Adding too much water to wine or spirits; from the term when too much water has been put into a bowl of flour.

DRUB. To beat. (Captain's despatch.) "We have drubbed the enemy."

DRUDGE. A name truly applied to a cabin-boy.

DRUGGERS. Small vessels which formerly exported fish from Dieppe and other Channel ports, and brought back from the Levant spices and drugs.

DRUM. See Storm-drum.

DRUM-CAPSTAN. A contrivance for weighing heavy anchors, invented by Sir S. Morland, who died in 1695.

DRUMHEAD COURT-MARTIAL. Sudden court held in the field for the immediate trial of thefts or misconduct. (See Provost-Marshal.)[266]

DRUMHEAD OF CAPSTAN. A broad cylindrical piece of elm, resembling a millstone, and fixed immediately above the barrel and whelps. On its circumference a number of square holes are cut parallel to the deck, to receive the bars.

DRUMLER. An ancient transport. (See Dromon.) Also, a small piratical vessel of war.

DRUMMER. The marine who beats the drum, and whose pay is equivalent to that of a private of fourteen years' standing. Also, a singular fish of the corvinas kind, which has the faculty of emitting musical noises, whence it has acquired the name of crocros.

DRUXY. Timber in a state of decay, the condition of which is manifested by veins or spots in it of a whitish tint.

DRY-BULB THERMOMETER. The readings of this instrument, when compared with those of a wet-bulb thermometer, indicate the amount of moisture in the air, and thence the probability of rain.

DRY DOCK. An artificial receptacle for examining and repairing vessels. (See Graving-Dock.)

DRY DUCKING. Suspending a person by a rope a few yards above the surface of the water.

DRY FLOGGING. Punishing over the clothes of a culprit.

DRY GALES. Those storms which are accompanied with a clear sky, as the northers of the Gulf of Mexico, the harmattan of Africa, &c.

DRY HOLY-STONING. See Holy-stone.

DRY-ROT. A disease destructive of timber, occasioned by a fungus, the Merulius lachrymans, which softens wood and finally destroys it; it resembles a dry pithy cottony substance, whence the name dry-rot, though when in a perfect state, its sinuses contain drops of clear water, which have given rise to its specific Latin name. Free ventilation and cleanliness appear to be the best preservatives against this costly evil.

DRY ROWING. "Row dry." Not to dash the spray with the blade of the oar in the faces of those in the stern-sheets.

D.S.Q. Means, in the complete book, discharged to sick quarters.

DUB. A northern term for a pool of deep and smooth water in a rapid river.

DUBB, To. To smooth and cut off with an adze the superfluous wood.—To dubb a vessel bright, is to remove the outer surface of the plank completely with an adze. Spotting to examine planks with the adze is also dubbing.

DUBBAH, or Dubber. A coarse leathern vessel for holding liquids in India.

DUBHE. A standard nautical star in the Great Bear.

DUCAT. A well-known coin in most parts of Europe; the average gold ducat being nine shillings and sixpence, and the silver three shillings and fourpence.

DUCATOON. A coin of the Dutch Oriental Isles, of seven shillings. Also, a silver coin of Venice, value four shillings and eightpence.[267]

DUCK, To. To dive, or immerse another under water; or to avoid a shot.

DUCK. The finest canvas (No. 8) for small sails, is sometimes so called; but it is really a lighter cloth than canvas, and is greatly used by seamen and soldiers on tropical stations for frocks and trousers.

DUCKING. A penalty which veteran sailors inflict on those who, for the first time, pass the tropics, the equator, or formerly even the Straits of Gibraltar; and is usually performed in the grog-tub or half-butt, with the assistance of a few buckets of water; the usual fine, however, always prevents the penalty being inflicted.

DUCKING AT THE YARD-ARM. A marine punishment unknown, except by name, in the British navy; but formerly inflicted by the French for grave offences, thus: the criminal was placed astride a short thick batten, fastened to the end of a rope which passed through a block hanging at the yard-arm. Thus fixed, he was hoisted suddenly up to the yard, and the rope being then slackened at once, he was plunged into the sea. This chastisement was repeated several times; conformable to the sentence, a gun advertised the other ships of the fleet thereof that their crews might become spectators. If the offence was very great, he was drawn underneath the keel of the ship, which was called keel-hauling. (See Keel-hauling.)

DUCKS. The general name for a sailor's dress in warm climates. Also, the military English of Bombay. See also Jemmy Ducks, the keeper of the poultry on board ship. Dried herrings, or Digby ducks in N. S.

DUCK-UP! A term used by the steersman when the main-sail, fore-sail, or sprit-sail hinders his seeing to steer by a landmark, upon which he calls out, "Duck-up the clue-lines of those sails," that is, haul the sails out of the way. Also, when a shot is made by a chase-piece, if the clue of the sprit-sail hinders the sight, they call out, "Duck-up," &c.

DUDGEON. An old word for the box-handle of a dirk; it is mentioned by Shakspeare with the blade of the ideal dagger which Macbeth saw before him. It also means offence, anger.

DUDS. A cant term for clothes or personal property. The term is old, but still in common use, though usually applied to clothing of an inferior quality, and even rags and tatters.

DUEL. A single combat at a time and place appointed in consequence of a challenge; a practice which had its uses and abuses, now prohibited.

DUELLO. An Italian word expressive of duelling, long appropriated into our language.

DUFF. Pudding or dough.

DUFFERS. Low pedlars; also those women who assist smugglers. Also, cowardly fellows.

DUG-OUT. A canoe.

DUKE OF YORK. A nickname for a particular storm trysail used in the northern seas.

DULCE, Dulse, Delse. Iridea dulce, one of the edible fuci. It is an article of trade in America and Holland, and is plentiful on the rocky[268] coasts of Ireland and western England. It probably derived its name from being sweet and pleasant, not requiring cooking.

DULEDGE PLATES. An old name for the tyre-streaks or iron plates on the circumference of the wheel of a field-piece. Duledge was also used for dowel, the wooden pin connecting the felloes.

DULL'D. When said of the wind, fallen or moderated.

DULLISH. The Manx term for the marine eatable leaf dillisk.

DUMB-CHALDER. A metal cleat bolted to the back of the stern-post for one of the pintles to rest upon, to lessen both strain and friction. (See Pintles.)

DUMB-CLEAT. Synonymous with dumb-chalder and thumb-cleat.

DUMB-CRAFT. Lighters, lumps, or punts, not having sails. Also, a name for the screws used for lifting a ship on a slip.

DUMB-PINTLE. A peculiar rudder-strap. (See Pintles.)

DUMB-SCRAPING. Scraping wet decks with blunt scrapers.

DUMFOUNDER. To confuse or perplex.

DUMMY. A wood frame landing-place in front of a pier.

DUMP-BOLT. A short bolt driven in to the plank and timber as a partial security previous to the thorough fastenings being put in.

DUMPS. Nearly synonymous with down in the mouth.

DUN. A hill, an eminence.

DUNBAR MEDLAR. A salted herring.

DUNDERHEAD. A term used for the devil, as also for a stupid fellow.

DUN-DIVER. A name for the goosander (Mergus merganser) in immature plumage.

DUNES. An Anglo-Saxon word still in use, signifying mounds or ridges of drifted sands. (See Downs.)

DUN-FISH. A peculiar preparation of cod for the American market, by which it retains a dun or dark yellow colour. Dunning is extensively carried on in the spring at Portsmouth and other places in New Hampshire.

DUNGAREE-DUCK. A name given to a small dried fish in Bombay.

DUNGAREE-STUFF. A blue or striped cotton cloth much worn by the seafaring classes in India.

DUNGIYAH. A broad-beamed flat-bottomed Arabian coaster trading between the Red Sea, Gulf of Persia, and the Malabar coast.

DUN-HEAD. In east-country barges the after-planking which forms the cabin.

DUNKIRKS. The well-known name for pirates who sailed out of Dunkirk.

DUNLIN. The name of a species of sand-piper (Tringa cinclus).

DUNN, or Duin. A Gaelic word for a fort, a hill, a heap, or a knoll.

DUNNAGE. Loose wood or other substances, as horns, rattan, coir, &c., to stow amongst casks and other cargo to prevent their motion. A vessel dunnages below the dry cargo to keep it from bilge-water.

DUNNAGE BATTENS. An extra floor in a merchantman to preserve the cargo from wet in the event of leakage. They are also used in magazines[269] and sail-rooms so as to form a vacant space beneath the powder-barrels and ceiling.

DUNNAGED. Goods or packages secured with dunnage.

DUNNAGE GRATINGS. Express gratings placed on a steamer's deck to place cargo upon, serving as dunnage.

DUNTER. A northern designation of the porpoise.

DUNTER-GOOSE. A name in the Orkneys for the Somateria mollissima, or eider-duck.

DUR-MAST. An inferior oak of more rapid growth than the true English.

DUST. The refuse of biscuit in the bread-room. Also used for money. This term probably got into use in India, where the boat hire on the Ganges was added to by the Ghât-Manjees, in the way of "Dustooree." Moreover, a tumult or uproar.

DUTCH. Language, or rather gibberish, which cannot be understood by a listener. (See Double Dutch.)

DUTCH-CAPER. A light-armed vessel of the seventeenth century, adapted for privateering, and much used by the Dutch.

DUTCH CONSOLATION. "Whatever ill befalls you, there's somebody that's worse;" or "It's very unfortunate; but thank God it's no worse."

DUTCH COURAGE. The excitement inspired by drinking spirits; false energy.

DUTCH EEL-SKUYT. A flat-bottomed somewhat cutter-rigged sea-boat, carrying lee-boards, fitted with two water-tight bulk-heads, making a well for keeping live fish in, the water being admitted through perforated plates fastened on inside the ribs.

DUTCHIFYING. A term used for converting square sterns to round ones.

DUTCHMAN'S BREECHES. The patch of blue sky often seen when a gale is breaking, is said to be, however small, "enough to make a pair of breeches for a Dutchman." Others assign the habiliment to a Welshman, but give no authority for the assumption.

DUTCH PLAICE. The Pleuronectes platessa. When small, it is called fleak; when large, Dutch plaice.

DUTCH PUMP. A punishment so contrived that, if the prisoner would not pump hard, he was drowned.

DUTCH RECKONING. A bad day's work, all in the wrong.

DUTCH REDS. High-smoked herrings prepared in Holland.

DUTIES. Taxes levied by the custom-house upon goods exported or imported.

DUTTEES. Coarse brown calicoes of India.

DUTY. The exercise of those functions which belong to the service, and are carried out from the highest to the lowest.

DWANG-STAFF. This is otherwise the wrain-staff (which see).

DYCE. A langridge for the old hail-shot pieces.

DYCE, or Thyst, "Very Well Dyce." (See Thus.)[270]

DYELLE. A kind of mud-drag used for cleaning rivers on our eastern coasts.

DYING MAN'S DINNER. A snatch of refreshment when the ship is in extreme danger.

DYKE. From the Anglo-Saxon dic, a mound or bank; yet in some parts of England the word means a ditch.

DYKE-CAM. A ditch-bank.

DYNAMOMETER. An instrument for measuring the amount of force, and used for indicating the thrust or force of a screw-propeller, or any other motor. There are many, varying in mode according to the express purpose of each, but all founded on the same principle as the name expresses—power and measure, so that a steel-yard is the simplest exponent.


E. The second class of rating on Lloyd's books for the comparative excellence of merchant ships. (See A.)

EAGER. See Eagre.

EAGLE. The insignia of the Romans, borrowed also by moderns, as Frederic of Prussia and Napoleon. Also, a gold coin of the United States, of the value of five dollars, or £1, 0s. 10d. sterling, at the average rate of exchange.

EAGLE, or Spread-eagle. A punishment inflicted by seizing the offender by his arms and legs to the shrouds, and there leaving him for a specified time.

EAGRE, or Hygre. The reciprocation of the freshes of various rivers, as for instance the Severn, with the flowing tide, sometimes presenting a formidable surge. The name seems to be from the Anglo-Saxon eágor, water, or Ægir, the Scandinavian god of the sea. (See Bore and Hygre.)

EAR. A west-country term for a place where hatches prevent the influx of the tide.

EARING-CRINGLE, at the Head of a Sail. In sail-making it is an eye spliced in the bolt-rope, to which the much smaller head-rope is attached. The earings are hauled out, or lashed to cleats on the yards passing through the head corners or cringles of the sails.

EARINGS. Certain small ropes employed to fasten the upper corners of a sail to its yard, for which purpose one end of the earing is passed through itself; and the other end is passed five or six times round the yard-arm, and through the cringle; the two first turns, which are intended to stretch the head of the sail tight along the yard, are passed beyond[271] the lift and rigging on the yard-arm, and are called outer turns, while the rest, which draw it close up to the yard, and are passed within the lift, &c., are called inner turns. Below the above are the reef-earings, which are used to reef the sail when the reef-tackles have stretched it to take off the strain.

EARNE. See Erne.

EARNEST. A sum paid in advance to secure a seaman's service.

EARS. In artillery the lugs or ear-shaped rings fashioned on the larger bombs or mortar-shells for their convenient handling with shell-hooks. The irregularity of surface caused by the ears is intended to be modified in future construction by the substitution of lewis-holes (which see).

EAR-SHOT. The distance or range of hearing.

EARS OF A BOAT. The knee-pieces at the fore-part on the outside at the height of the gunwale.

EARS OF A PUMP. The support of the bolt for the handle or break.

EARTH. One of the primary planets, and the third in order from the sun.

EARTH-BAGS. See Sand-bags.

EAR-WIGGING. Feeding an officer's ear with scandal against an absent individual.

EASE, To Stand at. To remain at rest.

EASE AWAY! To slacken out a rope or tackle-fall.

EASE HER! In a steamer, is the command to reduce the speed of the engine, preparatory to "stop her," or before reversing for "turn astern."

EASE OFF! Ease off handsomely, or Ease away there! To slacken out a rope or tackle-fall carefully.

EASE THE HELM! An order often given in a vessel close-hauled, to put the helm down a few spokes in a head sea, with the idea that if the ship's way be deadened by her coming close to the wind she will not strike the opposing sea with so much force. It is thought by some that extreme rolling as well as pitching are checked by shifting the helm quickly, thereby changing the direction of the ship's head, and what is technically called "giving her something else to do."

EASE UP, To. To come up handsomely with a tackle-fall.

EAST. From the Anglo-Saxon, y'st. One of the cardinal points of the compass. Where the sun rises due east, it makes equal days and nights, as on the equator.

EAST-COUNTRY. A term applied to the regions bordering on the Baltic.

EAST-COUNTRY SHIPS. The same as easterlings.

EASTERLINGS. Traders of the Baltic Sea. Also, natives of the Hanse Towns, or of the east country.

EASTERN AMPLITUDE. An arc of the horizon, intercepted between the point of the sun's rising and the east point of the magnetic compass.

EAST INDIA HOY. A sloop formerly expressly licensed for carrying stores to the E. I. Company's ships.[272]

EASTING. The course made good, or gained, to the eastward.

EASTINTUS. From the Saxon, east-tyn, an easterly coast or country. Leg. Edward I.

EAST WIND. This, in the British seas, is generally attended with a hazy atmosphere, and is so ungenial as to countenance the couplet—

"When the wind is in the east,
'Tis good for neither man nor beast."
EASY. Lower gently. A ship not labouring in a sea.—Taking it easy. Neglecting the duty. "Not so violent."

EASY DRAUGHT. The same as light draught of water (which see).

EASY ROLL. A vessel is said to "roll deep but easy" when she moves slowly, and not with quick jerks.

EATING THE WIND OUT OF A VESSEL. Applies to very keen seamanship, by which the vessel, from a close study of her capabilities, steals to windward of her opponent. This to be done effectually demands very peculiar trim to carry weather helm to a nicety.

EAVER. A provincial term for the direction of the wind. A quarter of the heavens.

EBB. The lineal descendant of the Anglo-Saxon ep-flod, meaning the falling reflux of the tide, or its return back from the highest of the flood, full sea, or high water. Also termed sæ-æbbung, sea-ebbing, by our progenitors.

EBB, Line of. The sea-line of beach left dry by the tide.

EBBER, or Ebber-shore. From the Anglo-Saxon signifying shallow.

EBB-TIDE. The receding or running out of the sea, in contradistinction to flood.

EBONY. A sobriquet for a negro.

ECHELON. [Fr.] Expressing the field-exercise of soldiers, when the divisions are placed in a situation resembling the steps of a ladder, whence the name.

ECHINUS. A word lugged in to signify the sweep of the tiller. (See Sea-egg.)

ECLIPSE. An obscuration of a heavenly body by the interposition of another, or during its passage through the shadow of a larger body. An eclipse of the sun is caused by the dark body of the moon passing between it and the earth. When the moon's diameter exceeds the sun's, and their centres nearly coincide, a total eclipse of the sun takes place; but if the moon's diameter be less, then the eclipse is annular.

ECLIPTIC. The great circle of the heavens which the sun appears to us to describe in the course of a year, in consequence of the earth's motion round that luminary. It is inclined to the equinoctial at an angle of nearly 23° 28′, called the obliquity of the ecliptic, and cuts it in two points diametrically opposite to each other, called the equinoctial points. The time when the sun enters each of these points (which occurs about the 20th of March and 23d of September, respectively) is termed the equinox, day and night being then equal; at these periods, especially about the[273] time of the vernal equinox, storms, called the equinoctial gales, are prevalent in many parts of the globe. The two points of the ecliptic, which are each 90° distant from the equinoctial points, are called the solstitial points. That great circle which passes through the equinoctial points and the poles of the earth, is called the equinoctial colure; and that which passes through the solstitial points and the poles of the earth, the solstitial colure.

ECLIPTIC CONJUNCTION. Is the moon in conjunction with the sun at the time of new moon, both luminaries having then the same longitude, or right ascension.

ECLIPTIC LIMITS. Certain limits of latitude within which eclipses take place, and beyond which they cannot occur.

ECONOMY. A term expressive of the system and internal arrangement pursued in a ship.

EDDY. Sometimes used for the dead-water under a ship's counter. Also, the water that by some interruption in its course, runs contrary to the direction of the tide or current, and appears like the motion of a whirlpool. Eddies in the sea not unfrequently extend their influence to a great distance, and are then merely regarded as contrary or revolving currents. It is the back-curl of the water to fill a space or vacuum formed sometimes by the faulty build of a vessel, having the after-body fuller than the fore, which therefore impedes her motion. It also occurs immediately after a tide passes a strait, where the volume of water spreads suddenly out, and curves back to the edges. The Chinese pilots call eddies, chow-chow water.

EDDY-TIDE. When the water runs back from some obstacle to the free passage of the stream.

EDDY-WIND. That which is beat back, or returns, from a sail, bluff hill, or anything which impedes its passage; in other words, whenever the edges or veins of two currents of air, coming from opposite directions, meet, they form an eddy, or whirlwind (which see). They are felt generally near high coasts intersected by ravines. The eddy-wind of a sail escaping, in a curve, makes the sail abaft shiver.

EDGE AWAY, To. To decline gradually from the course which the ship formerly steered, by sailing larger, or more off, or more away from before the wind than she had done before.

EDGE DOWN, To. To approach any object in an oblique direction.

EDGING OF PLANK. Sawing or hewing it narrower.

EDUCTION PIPE. A pipe leading from the bottom of a steam-cylinder to the upper part of the condenser in a steam-engine.

EEAST. The Erse term for a fish, still used in the Isle of Man.

EEKING. See Ekeing.

EEL. A well-known fish (Anguilla vulgaris), of elongated form, common in rivers and estuaries, and esteemed for food.

EELER. An adept at knowing the haunts and habits of eels, and the methods of taking them.[274]

EEL-FARES. A fry or brood of eels.

EEL-GRASS. A name for the sea-wrack (Zostera marina); it is thrown ashore by the sea in large quantities.

EEL-POUT. A name for the burbot (Molva lota), a fresh-water fish.

EEL-SKUYT. See Dutch Eel-skuyt.

EEL-SPEAR. A sort of trident with ten points for catching eels, called in Lincolnshire an eel-stang.

EFFECTIVE. Efficient, fit for service; it also means the being present and at duty.

EFFECTS. Personal property; sale of effects; or the auction of the property of deceased officers and seamen:

"The effects of that sail
Will be a sale of effects."
EFFLUENT, or Divergent, applied to any stream which runs out of a lake, or out of another river. All tributaries are affluents.

EGG, To. To instigate, incite, provoke, to urge on: from the Anglo-Saxon eggion.

EGGS. These nutritious articles of food might be used longer at sea than is usual. The shell of the egg abounds with small pores, through which the aqueous part of the albumen constantly exhales, and the egg in consequence daily becomes lighter, and approaches its decomposition. Reaumur varnished them all over, and thus preserved eggs fresh for two years; then carefully removing the varnish, he found that such eggs were still capable of producing chickens. Some employ, with the same intention, lard or other fatty substance for closing the pores, and others simply immerse the egg for an instant in boiling water, by which its albumen is in part coagulated, and the power of exhalation thereby checked. Eggs packed in lime-water suffered to drain, have after three years' absence in the West Indies been found good; this does not destroy vitality.

EGMONT, or Port Egmont Fowls. The large Antarctic gulls with dark-brown plumage, called shoemakers.

EGRESS. At a transit of an inferior planet over the sun, this term means the passing off of the planet from his disc.

EGYPTIAN HERRING. A northern coast name for the gowdanook, saury-pike, or Scomberesox saurus.

EIDER DUCK. The Somateria mollissima. A large species of duck, inhabiting the coasts of the northern seas. The down of the breast, with which it lines its nest, is particularly valuable on account of its softness and lightness.

EIGHEN. The index of the early quadrant.

EILET-HOLE [Fr. œillet]. Refer to Eyelet-holes.

EJECTAMENTA MARIS. Sea products thrown on the beach, whence they become droits of admiralty. (See Jetsam.)

EKE, To. [Anglo-Saxon eácan, to prolong.] To make anything go far by reduction and moderation, as in shortening the allowance of provisions on a voyage unexpectedly tedious.[275]

EKEING. A piece of wood fitted, by scarphing or butting, to make good a deficiency in length, as the end of a knee and the like. The ekeing is also the carved work under the lower part of the quarter-piece, at the aft part of the quarter-gallery.

ELBOW. That part of a river where it suddenly changes its direction, forming a reach to the next angle or turn. Also, a promontory. Also, a communication in a steam-pipe.

ELBOW-GREASE. Hard labour with the arms.

ELBOW IN THE HAWSE. Two crosses in a hawse. When a ship, being moored in a tide-way, swings twice the wrong way, thereby causing the cables to take half a round turn on each other. (See Hawse.)

ELDEST. The old navy term for first, as applied to the senior lieutenant.

ELEMENTS. The first principles of any art or science.—The elements of an orbit are certain proportions which define the path of a heavenly body in space, and enable the astronomer to calculate its position for past or future times.

ELEPHANTER. A heavy periodical rain of Bombay.

ELEPHANT-FISH. The Chimæra callorynchus, named from the proboscis-like process on its nose. Though inferior to many other fish, it is yet palatable food.

ELEVATE! In great-gun exercise, the order which prepares for adjusting the quoin.

ELEVATED POLE. That terrestrial pole which is above the horizon of a spectator.

ELEVATION, in Ship-building. A vertical and longitudinal view of a vessel, synonymous with sheer-draught and sheer-plan. In other words, it is the orthographic design whereon the heights and lengths are expressed.

ELEVATION, Angle of. In gunnery, that which the axis of the bore makes with the plane of the horizon. It is attained by sinking the breech of the gun until its axis points above the object to be fired at, so that the shot may describe a curve somewhat similar to a parabola, counteracting the action of gravity during its flight, and alighting upon the mark.

ELGER. An eel-spear, Promptorium Parvulorum, yielding many together.

ELIGUGS. Aquatic birds of passage of the auk kind on our western coasts; called also razor-bills.

ELITE. The élite of naval or military forces is the choicest selection from them.

ELLECK. The trivial name of the Trigla cuculus.

ELLIOT-EYE. The Elliot-eye, introduced by the Hon. Admiral Elliot, secretary of the Admiralty, is an eye worked over an iron thimble in the end of a hempen bower-cable, to facilitate its being shackled to the chain for riding in very deep water.

ELLIPSE. In geometry, an oval figure, formed of the section of a cone by a plane cutting through both its sides obliquely.[276]

ELMO'S FIRE, ST. See Compasant.

ELONGATION. The angular distance of a heavenly body from the sun eastward or westward.

ELVERS. The name of eels on the western coasts of England.

EMBARGO. A temporary injunction or arrest laid on ships or merchandise by public authority, sometimes general, to prevent all ships departing, and sometimes partial, as upon foreign ships only, or to prevent their coming in. A breach of embargo, under the knowledge of the insured, discharges the underwriters from liability.

EMBARK, To. To go on board, or to put on board a vessel.

EMBARKATION. Applies to the shipping of goods, troops, and stores. Also, the peculiar boats of a country. [Sp. embarcation.]

EMBARMENT. An old term, meaning an embargo.

EMBARRAS. An American term for places where the navigation of rivers or creeks is rendered difficult by the accumulation of driftwood, trees, &c.

EMBATTLE. To arrange forces for conflict.

EMBATTLED. In buildings, crenellated or pierced with loop-holes.

EMBEDDED. Firmly fixed in the mud or sand.

EMBER-GOOSE (or Imber?). A name for the great northern diver or loon (Colymbus glacialis).

EMBEZZLEMENT, or simple theft, by persons belonging to a merchant ship, is not deemed a peril of the sea. But robbery violently committed by persons not belonging to the ship, is a peril for which the insurer is answerable.—To embezzle is to misappropriate by a breach of trust.

EMBOUCHURE. A French word adopted as signifying the mouth of a river, by which its waters are discharged, or by which it is entered. The term is now in general use.

EMBRASURES. The cut or opening made through the parapet of a battery for the muzzle of the gun and the passage of the shot.

EMERALDERS. A term for the natives of Ireland, from its evergreen verdure.

EMERGENCY. Imminent want in difficult circumstances.

EMERSION. The prismatic space or solid raised out on the weather side by the inclination of the ship. In astronomy it signifies the re-appearance of a celestial object after undergoing occultation or eclipse.

EMINENCE. A high or rising ground overlooking the country around.

EMISSARY. A culvert or drain.

EMPRISE. A hazardous attempt upon the enemy.

EMPTIONS. Stores purchased.

EMPTY. Cargo discharged.

EMPTY BASTION. In fortification is a bastion whereof the terreplein, or terrace in rear of the parapet, not having been carried farther to the rear than its regular distance, leaves a large space within it of a lower level.

EMPTY BOTTLE. See Marine Officer.[277]


ENCEINTE. [Fr.] A slightly bastioned wall or rampart line of defence, which sometimes surrounds the body of a place; when only flanked by turrets it is called a Roman wall.

ENCIRCLING REEFS. A name given to a form of coral reef, the architecture of myriads of zoophytes in tropical seas.

ENCOUNTER. The hostile meeting of two ships or squadrons; also, a conflict between troops.

ENDANGER, To. To expose to peril.

ENDECAGON. In geometry, a plane figure of eleven sides and angles.

ENDELONG. The old English word for lengthways.

END FOR END. Reversing cordage, casks, logs, spars, &c.—To shift a rope end for end, as in a tackle, the fall is made the standing part, and the standing part becomes the fall; or when a rope runs out all a block, and is unreeved; or in coming to an anchor, if the stoppers are not well put on, and the cable runs all out end for end. (See An-end.)

END OF A TRENCH. The place where the trenches are opened.

END-ON. Said particularly of a ship when only her bows and head-sails are to be seen, but generally used in opposition to broadside-on.

ENEMY. The power or people against whom war is waged.

ENFIELD RIFLE. The name of the present regulation musket for infantry, as made at the government works at Enfield, on an improvement of the Minié principle; whether the breach-loading rifle, which it is intended to substitute for this arm, will acquire the same title, remains to be determined.

ENFILADE FIRE. Is that which sweeps a line of works or men from one end to the other; it is on land nearly the equivalent to "raking fire" at sea.

ENGAGEMENT. In a naval sense, implies a battle at sea, or an action of hostility between single ships, squadrons, or fleets of men-of-war. Also, a conflict between two contending armies.

ENGINE, Marine. (See Marine Engines.) Engine was of old a military machine for warfare.

ENGINE-BEARERS. Sleepers, or pieces of timber placed between the keelson, in a steamer, and the boilers of the steam-engine, to form a proper seat for the boilers and machinery.

ENGINEER. A duly qualified officer appointed to plan and direct the attack or defence of a fortification, as well as the construction of fortified works. Engineers are also persons in charge of the machinery of steam-vessels. In government steamers they are in three classes, under warrant from the admiralty.

ENGINE-ROOM TELEGRAPH. A dial-contrivance by which the officer on deck can communicate with the engineer below.

ENGLAND expects every man will do his duty. This is introduced into a naval vocabulary, not as wanting explanation, but that in recording the most remarkable signal ever made to a fleet, we may remind the tyro,[278] that these words of Nelson are admirably adapted for all the varying changes of sea-life, whether in times of war or peace.

ENGLISH. A term applied to the vessels and men of the whole empire, and its maritime population. "Indeed," says Burke in a letter to Admiral Keppel, "I am perfectly convinced that Englishman and seaman are names that must live and die together."

ENLARGE. The wind is said to enlarge when it veers from the side towards the stern.

ENLISTMENT. The engaging recruits for the army or marines.

ENNEAGON. A figure that has nine sides and as many angles.

ENNIS, or Innis. A term for island on the west coast of Ireland and in some parts of Scotland.

ENROL, To. To enter the name on the roll of a corps.

ENSCONCE, To. To intrench; to protect by a slight fortification.

ENSENADA [Sp. bay]. This term is frequently used on the coasts of Chili and Peru.

ENSIGN. [From the Anglo-Saxon segn.] A large flag or banner, hoisted on a long pole erected over the stern, and called the ensign-staff. It is used to distinguish the ships of different nations from each other, as also to characterize the different squadrons of the navy; it was formerly written ancient. Ensign is in the army the title of the junior rank of subaltern officers of infantry; from amongst them are detailed the officers who carry the colours.

ENTERING at Custom-house. The forms required of the master of a merchant ship before her cargo can be discharged.

ENTERING-LADDERS. Are of two sorts; one of them being used by the vessel's side in harbour or in fair weather, the other is made of ropes, with small staves for steps, and is hung out of the gallery to come aboard by, when the sea runs so high as to risk staving the boat if brought alongside; the latter are termed stern-ladders.

ENTERING-PORTS. Ports cut down on the middle gun-deck of three-deckers, to serve as door-ways for persons going in and out of the ship.

ENTERING-ROPES, or Side-ropes. Three are sometimes used to aid in climbing the ship's side. They hang from the upper part on the right, left, and middle of the steps. (See Gangway.) The upper end of an entering-rope is rove through an eye in the iron stanchion at the gangway; it is walled, crowned, and otherwise ornamentally fitted.

ENTERPRISE. An undertaking of difficulty and danger.

ENTRANCE. A term for the bow of a vessel, or form of the fore-body under the load water-line; it expresses the figure of that which encounters the sea, and is the opposite of run. Also, the first appearance of a person on board after entry on the ship's books. Also, the fore-foot of a ship. Also, the mouth of a harbour.

ENTRANCE MONEY. Payment on entering a mess.

ENTRY. In the ship's books; first putting down the appearance or day on which a man joins. Also, the forcing into an enemy's ship.[279]

ENVELOPE. In astronomy, a band of light encircling the head of a comet on the side near the sun, and passing round it, so as to form the commencement of the tail.—In fortification, a work of single lines thrown up to inclose a weak ground; usually a mere earth-work.

EPAULE, or Shoulder. In fortification, that part of a bastion adjacent to the junction of a face with a flank. The actual meeting of these two lines forms the "angle of the shoulder."

EPAULEMENT. In fortification, a covering mass raised to protect from the fire of the enemy, but differing from a parapet in having no arrangement made for the convenient firing over it by defenders. It is usually adopted for side-passages to batteries and the like.

EPAULET. The bullion or mark of distinction worn on the shoulders by officers, now common to many grades, but till recently worn only by captains and commanders, whence the brackish poet—

"Hail, magic power that fills an epaulet,
No wonder hundreds for thee daily fret!"
the meaning of which is now pointless.

EPHEMERIS, or Nautical Almanac. This in its wide sense, and recognizing its value to navigators and astronomers, must be pronounced one of the most useful of publications. How Drake and Magellan got on is matter of marvel, for sailors were not especially administered to till 1675, when the Kalendarium Nauticum, by Henry Seaman, Mariner, appeared; it comprised the usual matter of annual almanacs, and was enriched with such precepts and rules in the practice of navigation and traffic as are in daily use. But in 1767 our nautical almanac, a tabular statement of the geocentric planetary positions, which may be said to have created a new era in voyaging, was published; and this book, with certain alterations, was in force up to 1830, when a commission of the Royal Society and astronomers established the present Ephemeris, now so much valued. It is published annually, but computed to four years in advance, to accommodate those proceeding on long voyages. Attempts have been made in other countries to publish The Nautical Almanac, improved and corrected, but they are mere copies, corrected by the errata furnished annually in advance.

EPICYCLOID. A geometrical curve generated by making a circle roll upon the circumference of another circle; it is found useful in determining the figure of the teeth of wheel-work, and other purposes in mechanics. If the generating circle proceeds along the convexity of the periphery, it is called an upper or exterior epicycloid; if along the concavity, a lower or interior epicycloid.

EPOCH. The time to which certain given numbers or quantities apply.

EPROUVETTE. A small piece of ordnance specially fitted for testing the projectile force of samples of gunpowder.

EQUATED ANOMALY. This is also called the true anomaly, and is the distance of the sun from the apogee, or a planet from its aphelion, seen from the sun.[280]

EQUATION, Annual. See Annual Equation.

EQUATION OF EQUINOXES. The difference between the mean and apparent places of the equinox.

EQUATION OF THE CENTRE. The difference between the true and mean anomalies of a planet.

EQUATION OF TIME. The difference between mean and apparent time, or the acceleration or retardation of the sun's return to the meridian.

EQUATOR. Called also the equinoctial line, or simply the line, being an imaginary circle round the earth, dividing the globe into two equal parts, and equally distant from both poles. Extended to the heavens, it forms a circle called the celestial equator, which in like manner divides the heavens into two equal parts, the northern and southern hemispheres.

EQUATORIAL CURRENT. The set, chiefly westerly, so frequently met with near the equator, especially in the Atlantic Oceans.


EQUATORIAL SECTOR. An instrument of large radius for finding the difference in the right ascension and declination of two heavenly bodies.

EQUATORIAL TELESCOPE. A glass so mounted that it enables the observer to follow the stars as they move equatorially.

EQUES AURATUS. An heraldic term for a knight.

EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE. A figure of three equal straight sides, and therefore of three equal angles.

EQUINOCTIAL. Synonymous with equator (which see).

EQUINOCTIAL GALES. Storms which are observed to prevail about the time of the sun's crossing the equator, at which time there is equal day and night throughout the world.


EQUINOXES. The two points of intersection of the ecliptic and the equator; so called, because on the sun's arrival at either of them, the night is everywhere equal in length to the day.

EQUIP, To. A term frequently applied to the business of fitting a ship for a trading voyage, or arming her for war. (See Fitting.)

EQUIPAGE. An admiral's retinue. Camp equipage consists of tents, furniture, cooking utensils, &c.

EQUIPMENT. The complete outfit of an officer.

EQUITABLE TITLE. Either this, or a legal claim, are absolutely necessary to establish an insurable interest in a ship or cargo. (See Qualified Property.)

ERIGONE. A name sometimes applied to the constellation Virgo.

ERNE. From the Anglo-Saxon earne, a vulture, a bird of the eagle kind. Now used to denote the sea-eagle.

ERRATIC WINDS. See Variables.

ESCALADE. The forcing a way over a rampart or other defence, properly by means of ladders or other contrivances for climbing.[281]

ESCAPE-VALVES. In marine engines. (See Cylinder Escape-valves.)

ESCARP. In fortification, that steep bank or wall immediately in front of and below the rampart, which is thus secured against being directly stormed by a superior force; it is generally the inner side of the ditch.

ESCHEATOR, The King's. An officer at the exchequer of very ancient establishment, under the lord-treasurer, whose business it is to inform of escheats and casual profits of the crown, and to seize them into the king's hands.

ESCORT. A guard of troops attending an individual by way of distinction. Also, a guard placed over prisoners on a march.

ESCUTCHEON. The compartment in the middle of the ship's stern, where her name is written. [Derived from ex-scutum.]

ESKIPPAMENTUM. An archaism for tackle or ship-furniture.

ESKIPPER. Anglo-Norman to ship, and eskipped was used for shipped.

ESKIPPESON. An old law term for a shipping or passage by sea.

ESNECCA. In the twelfth century, a royal yacht, though some deem it to have been a kind of transport.

ESPIALS. Night watches afloat, in dockyards and harbours; generally a boat named by the ordinary.

ESPLANADE. Generally that space of level ground kept vacant between the works of a fortress and neighbouring houses or other obstructions; though originally applied to the actual surface of the glacis.

ESQUIMAUX. A name derived from esquimantsic, in the Albinaquis language, eaters of raw flesh. Many tribes in the Arctic regions are still ignorant of the art of cookery.

ESSARA. The prickly heat.

ESTABLISHMENT. The regulated complement or quota of officers and men to a ship, either in time of war or peace. The equipment. The regulated dimensions of spars, cabin, rigging, &c.—Establishment of a port. An awkward phrase lately lugged in to denote the tide-hour of a port.

ESTIVAL. See Æstival.

ESTOC. A small stabbing sword.

ESTUARY. An inlet or shoaly arm of the sea into which a river or rivers empty, and subject to tidal influence.

ESTURE. An old word for the rise and fall of water.

ETESIAN WINDS. The Etesiæ of the ancients; winds which blow constantly every year during the time of the dog-days in the Levant.

ETIQUETTE. Naval or military observances, deemed to be law.

EUPHROE. See Uvrou.

EVACUATE. To withdraw from a town or fortress, in virtue of a treaty or capitulation; or in compliance with superior orders.

EVECTION. A term for the libration of the moon, or that apparent oscillatory inequality in her motion, caused by a change in the excentricity of her orbit, whereby her mean longitude is sometimes increased or diminished to the amount of 1° 20′, whereby we sometimes see a little further round one side than at others.[282]

EVE-EEL. A northern name for the conger; from the Danish hav-aal, or sea-eel.

EVENING GUN. The warning-piece, after the firing of which the sentries challenge.

EVEN KEEL. When a ship is so trimmed as to sit evenly upon the water, drawing the same depth forward as aft. Some vessels sail best when brought by the head, others by the stern.

EVERY INCH OF THAT! An exclamation to belay a rope without rendering it.


EVERY ROPE AN-END. The order to coil down the running rigging, or braces and bowlines, after tacking, or other evolution. Also, the order, when about to perform an evolution, to see that every rope is clear for running.

EVERY STITCH SET. All possible canvas spread.

EVOLUTION. The change of form and disposition during manœuvres, whether of men or ships; movements which should combine celerity with precision and regularity.

EWAGE. An old law term meaning the toll paid for water-passage.

EXALTATION. A planet being in that sign in which it is supposed to exert its utmost influence.

EXAMINATION. A searching by, or cognizance of, a magistrate, or other authorized officer. Now strict in navy and army.

EXCENTRIC. In a steam-engine, a wheel placed on the crank-shaft, having its centre on one side of the axis of the shaft, with a notch for the gab-lever.

EXCENTRIC ANOMALY. An auxiliary angle employed to abridge the calculations connected with the motion of a planet or comet in an elliptic orbit.

EXCENTRICITY. In astronomical parlance, implies the deviation of an elliptic orbit from a circle.

EXCENTRIC ROD, by its action on the gab-lever, which it catches either way, puts the engine into gear.

EXCHANGE. A term in the mercantile world, to denote the bills by which remittances are made from one country to another, without the transmission of money. The removal of officers from one ship to another. Also, a mutual agreement between contending powers for exchange of prisoners.

EXCHEQUERED. Seized by government officers as contraband. Marked with the broad arrow. It also refers to proceedings on the part of the crown against an individual in the Exchequer Court, where suits for debts or duties due to the crown are brought.

EXECUTION. The Lords of the Admiralty have a right to issue their warrant, and direct the time and manner, without any special warrant from the crown for that purpose.—Military execution is the ravaging and destroying of a country that refuses to pay contribution.[283]

EXECUTIVE BRANCH. The commissioned and working officers of the ship, as distinguished from the civilian branch.

EXERCISE. The practice of all those motions, actions, and management of arms, whereby men are duly trained for service. Also, the practice of loosing, reefing, and furling sails.—Exercise, in naval tactics, may be applied to the forming a fleet into order of sailing, line of battle, &c. The French term is évolutions or tactiques, and may be defined as the execution of the movements which the different orders and disposition of fleets occasionally require, and which the several ships are directed to perform by means of signals. (See Signals.)

EX LEX. An outlaw (a term of law).

EXPANSION-VALVE. In the marine engine, a valve which shuts off the steam in its passage to the slide-valves, when the piston has travelled a certain distance in the cylinder, leaving the remaining part of the stroke to be performed by the expansion of the steam.

EXPEDIENT. A stratagem in warfare.

EXPEDITION. An enterprise undertaken either by sea or land, or both, against an enemy; it should be conducted with secrecy and rapidity of movement.

EXPENDED. Used up, consumed, or asserted to be so.

EXPENSE BOOKS. Accounts of the expenditure of the warrant officer's stores, attested by the signing officers.

EXPLOITING. Transporting trees or timber by a river. Exploit was an old verb meaning to perform.

EXPLORATOR. An examiner of a country. A scout.

EXPORT, To. To send goods or commodities out of a country, for the purposes of traffic, under the general name of exports.

EXPORTATION. The act of sending exports to foreign parts.

EXPORTER. The person who sends the exports abroad.

EXPOSED ANCHORAGE. An open and dangerous place, by reason of the elements or the enemy.

EXTERIOR SIDE. The side of an imaginary polygon, upon which the plan of a fortification is constructed.

EXTERIOR SLOPE. In fortification, that slope of a work towards the country which is next outward beyond its superior slope.

EXTERNAL CONTACT. In a transit of Mercury or Venus over the sun's disc, this expression means the first touch of the planet's and sun's edges, before any part of the former is projected on the disc of the luminary.

EXTRAORDINARIES. Contingent expenses.

EXTREME BREADTH. The extent of the midships, or dead flat, with the thickness of the bottom plank included.

EXTREMITIES. The stem and stern posts of a ship.

EY. See Eyght.

EYE. The circular loop of a shroud or stay where it goes over the mast.—To eye, to observe minutely.—Flemish eye, a phrase particularly applied[284] to the eye of a stay, which is either formed at the making of the rope; or by dividing the yarns into two equal parts, knotting each pair separately, and pointing the whole over after parcelling. This eye stopped by the mouse forms the collar. It is not strong, soon rots, and seldom, if ever, used now where strength is of more importance than neatness.

EYE-BOLTS. Those which have an eye or opening in one end, for hooking tackles to, or fastening ropes.

EYELET-HOLES, are necessary in order to bend a sail to its yard or boom, or to reef it; they consist of round holes worked in a sail to admit a cringle or small rope through, chiefly the robands (or rope-bands), and the points of the reef-line. (See Sail.)

EYE OF A BLOCK-STROP. That part by which it is fastened or suspended to any particular place upon the sails, masts, or rigging; the eye is sometimes formed by making two eye-splices, termed lashing eyes, on the ends of the strop, and then seizing them together with a small line, so as to bind both round a mast, yard, or boom, as is deemed necessary.

EYE OF AN ANCHOR. The hole in the shank wherein the ring is fixed.

EYE OF A STAY. That part of a stay which is formed into a sort of collar to go round the mast-head; the eye and mouse form the collar.

EYE OF THE WIND. The direction to windward from whence it blows. (See Wind's-eye.)

EYE-SHOT. Within sight.

EYES OF A MESSENGER. Eyes spliced in its ends to lash together.

EYES OF A SHIP. (See Eyes of her.)

EYES OF HER. The foremost part of the bay, or in the bows of a ship. In olden times, and now in Spanish and Italian boats, as well as Chinese junks, an eye is painted on each bow. The hawse-holes also are deemed the "eyes of her."

EYE-SORE. Any disagreeable object.

EYE-SPLICE. (See Splice.) A kind of splice made by turning the end of a rope back, and the strands passed through the standing part.—Eye of a splice, the strand turned up, by the fid or marline-spike, to receive the opposite strand.

EYGHT. An alluvial river-island, where osiers usually grow, called also ait, ayt, ey, eyet, or eyot. Also, the thickest part of a scule of herrings; when this is scattered by the fishermen, it is termed "breaking the ey."


FACE. The edge of a sharp instrument. Also, the word of command to soldiers, marines, and small-arm men, to turn upon the heel a quarter or half a circle round in the direction ordered.[285]

FACED. Turned up with facings on the cuffs and collars of uniforms and regimentals.

FACE OF A GUN. The surface of the metal at the extremity of the muzzle.

FACE-PIECE. A piece of elm tabled on to the knee of the head, in the fore-part, to assist the conversion of the main piece; and likewise to shorten the upper bolts, and prevent the cables from rubbing against them as the knee gets worn.

FACES OF A WORK. In fortification, are the two lines forming its most prominent salient angle.

FACHON. An Anglo-Norman term for a sword or falchion.

FACING. Letting one piece of timber into another with a rabbet to give additional strength or finish. Also, a movement for forming soldiers and small-arm men.—Facings. The front of regimentals and uniforms.

FACK. See Fake.

FACTOR. A commercial superintendent, or agent residing beyond sea, commissioned by merchants to buy or sell goods on their account by a letter of attorney.

FACTORAGE. A certain percentage paid to the factor by the merchant on all he buys or sells.

FACTORY. A place where a considerable number of factors reside; as Lisbon, Leghorn, Calcutta, &c. Factory comprehends the business of a firm or company, as that of the India Company at Canton, or the Hudson's Bay Fur Company in North America.

FACULÆ. Luminous streaks upon the disc of the sun, among which the maculæ, or dark spots, usually appear.

FADOME. The old form used for fathom (which see).

FAFF, To. To blow in flaws.

FAG, To. To tire.—A fag. A deputy labouring-man, or one who works hard for another.

FAG-END. Is the end of any rope. This term is also applied to the end of a rope when it has become untwisted.

FAGGOTS. Men who used to be hired to answer to names on the books, when the crew were mustered by the clerk of the cheque. Such cheating was once still more prevalent in the army.

FAGOT. A billet for stowing casks. A fascine (which see).

FAG-OUT, To. To wear out the end of a rope or end of canvas.

FAIK, or Falk. A name in the Hebrides for the sea-fowl razor-bill (Alca torda).

FAIR. A general term for the wind when favourable to a ship's course, in opposition to contrary or foul; fair is more comprehensive than large, since it includes about 16 points, whereas large is confined to the beam or quarter, that is, to a wind which crosses the keel at right angles, or obliquely from the stern, but never to one right astern. (See Large and Scant.)—Fair, in ship-building, denotes the evenness or regularity of a curve or line.—To fair, means to clip the timbers fair.[286]

FAIR-CURVE. In delineating ships, is a winding line whose shape is varied according to the part of the ship it is intended to describe. This curve is not answerable to any of the figures of conic sections, although it occasionally partakes of them all.

FAIRING. Sheering a ship in construction. Also, the draught of a ship. To run off a great number of different lines or curves, in order to ascertain the fairness in point of curvature of every part, and the beauty of the whole.

FAIR-LEAD. Is applied to ropes as suffering the least friction in a block, when they are said to lead fair.

FAIR-LEADER. A thimble or cringle to guide a rope. A strip of board with holes in it, for running-rigging to lead through, and be kept clear, so as to be easily distinguished at night.

FAIR-MAID. A west-country term for a dried pilchard.

FAIR-WAY. The navigable channel of a harbour for ships passing up or down; so that if any vessels are anchored therein, they are said to lie in the fair-way. (See Pilot's Fair-way.) Also, when the proper course is gained out of a channel.

FAIR-WEATHER. That to which a ship may carry the small sails.

FAKE. One of the circles or windings of a cable or hawser, as it lies disposed in a coil. (See Coiling.) The fakes are greater or smaller in proportion to the space which a cable is allowed to occupy.

FALCON. In early times a small cannon, having a length of about 7 feet, a diameter of bore of 3 inches, and throwing a ball of nearly 3 lbs. weight, with a point-blank range of 130 paces, and a random one of 1500.

FALCONET. A primitive cannon smaller than the falcon; it threw a ball of 11⁄2 lb.

FALK. See Fake.

FALL. A vertical descent of a river through a narrow rocky pass, or over a ledge, to the impediment of navigation. Also, the loose end of a tackle, or that part to which the power is applied in hoisting, and on which the people pull. Also, in ship-building, the descent of a deck from a fair-curve lengthwise, as frequently seen in merchantmen and yachts, to give height to the commander's cabin, and sometimes forward at the hawse-holes. Also, a large cutting down of timber. Also, North American English for autumn, when the navigation of northern inland waters is about to close till the succeeding spring.

FALL, To. A town or fortress is said to fall when it is compelled to surrender to besiegers.

FALL ABOARD OF, To. To strike another vessel, or have a collision with it. Usually applied to the motion of a disabled ship coming in contact with another.

FALL! A FALL! The cry to denote that the harpoon has been effectively delivered into the body of a whale.

FALL ASTERN, To. To lessen a ship's way so as to allow another to get ahead of her. To be driven backwards.[287]

FALL BACK, To. To recede from any position previously occupied.

FALL CALM, To. Speaking of the weather, implies a total cessation of the wind.

FALL CLOUD. See Stratus.

FALL DOWN, To. To sail, drift, or be towed to some lower part nearer a river's mouth or opening.

FALLEN-STAR. A name for the jelly-fish or medusa, frequently thrown ashore in summer and autumn.

FALL FOUL OF, To. To reprimand severely. (See Fall aboard of.)

FALL IN, To. The order to form, or take assigned places in ranks. (See Assembly.)

FALLING GLASS. When the mercury of the barometer is sinking in the tube.

FALLING HOME. When the top-sides are inclined within the perpendicular; opposite of wall-sided. (See Tumbling Home.)

FALLING OFF. The opposite of griping, or coming up to the wind; it is the movement or direction of the ship's head to leeward of the point whither it was lately directed, particularly when she sails near the wind, or lies by. Also, the angle contained between her nearest approach to the direction of the wind, and her furthest declination from it when trying.

FALLING OUT. When the top-sides project beyond a perpendicular, as in flaring.

FALLING STARS. Meteors which have very much the appearance of real stars. They were falsely regarded as foreboders of wind, as Seneca in Hippolytus, "Ocior cursum rapiente flamma stella cum ventis agitata longos porrigit ignes." Some are earthy, others metallic.

FALLING TIDE, or Ebb of Tide. This phrase, implying a previous flow of tide towards high-water, requires here only a partial explanation: the sea, after swelling for about six hours, and thus entering the mouths of rivers, and rising along the sea-shore more or less, according to the moon's age and other circumstances, rests for a quarter of an hour, and then retreats or ebbs during the next six hours. After a similar pause the phenomenon recommences,—occupying altogether about twelve hours and fifty minutes. A table of the daily time of high-water at each port is requisite for the shipping. There are curious variations to this law, as when strong rivers rise and fall, and yet do not admit salt water. Their currents, indeed, of fresh water, are found far off the land, as in the Tiber, and off several in the West Indies, South America, &c. (See Tide.)

FALL IN WITH, To. To meet, when speaking of a ship; to discover, when speaking of the land.


FALL OUT, To. To increase in breadth. Among soldiers and small-arm men, to quit the ranks of a company.

FALLS. When a ship is not flush, this is the term given to those risings of some parts of her decks (which she may have) more than others.[288]

FALL-WIND. A sudden gust.

FALMADAIR. An old word signifying rudder, or a pilot.


FALSE ATTACK. A feigned assault, made to induce a diversion or distraction of the enemy's forces, in order that the true object elsewhere may be carried.

FALSE COLOURS. To sail under false colours and chase is an allowable stratagem of war, but firing under them is not permitted by the maritime law of England.

FALSE FIRE, Blue Flames. A composition of combustibles filled into a wooden tube, which, upon being set fire to, burns with a light blue flame from a half to several minutes. They are principally used as night-signals, but often to deceive an enemy.

FALSE KEEL. A kind of supplemental or additional keel secured under the main one, to protect it should the ship happen to strike the ground.

FALSE KELSON, or Kelson Rider. A piece of timber wrought longitudinally above the main kelson.

FALSE MUSTER. An incorrect statement of the crew on the ship's books, which if proved subjects the captain to cashiering.

FALSE PAPERS. Frequently carried by slavers and smugglers.

FALSE POST. See False Stern-post.

FALSE RAIL. A thin plank fayed at the head-rails as a strengthener.

FALSE STEM. A hard timber fayed to the fore-part of the main stem, its tail covering the fore-end of the keel. (See Cut-water.)

FALSE STERN. An additional stern fixed on the main one, to increase the length and improve the appearance of a vessel.

FALSE STERN-POST. A piece bolted to the after-edge of the main stern-post to improve steerage, and protect it should the ship tail aground.

FAMILY-HEAD. When the stem was surmounted with several full-length figures, as was the custom many years ago.

FAMLAGH. The Erse or Manx term for oar or ore weed, wrack, or manure of sea-weed.

FANAL [Fr.] A lighthouse.

FANCY-LINE. A line rove through a block at the jaws of a gaff, used as a down-haul. Also, a line used for cross-hauling the lee topping-lift. Also, a cord laid up neatly for sashed cabin-windows. Sometimes used for tracing-line.

FANE. An old term for weather-cock: "a fayne of a schipe." (See Vane.)

FANG, To. To pour water into a pump in order to fetch it, when otherwise the boxes do not hold the water left on them.

FANGS. The valves of the pump-boxes.

FANIONS. Small flags used in surveying stations, named after the bannerets carried by horse brigades, and corrupted from the Italian word gonfalone, a standard.

FANNAG-VARRY. The Erse term for a shag or cormorant, still in use on our north-western shores, and in the Isle of Man.[289]

FANNING. The technical phrase for breadthening the after-part of the tops. Also, widening in general.

FANNING-BREEZE. One so gentle that the sail alternately swells and collapses.

FANTODS. A name given to the fidgets of officers, who are styled jib-and-staysail Jacks.

FARDAGE. Dunnage; when a ship is laden in bulk.

FARE [Anglo-Saxon, fara]. A voyage or passage by water, or the money paid for such passage. Also, a fishing season for cod; and likewise the cargo of the fishing vessel. (See How Fare Ye?)

FARE-CROFTS. The vessels that formerly plied between England and France.

FARRANE. The Erse term for a gentle breeze, still used on our north-western shores.

FARTHEL. An old word for furling sails. Also, a burden, according to Shakspeare in Hamlet; and a weight, agreeably to the depositions of the "Portingalls" before Sir Francis Drake, in re the great carrack's cargo in 1592; there were "ijc fardells of synamon:" of this famous prize the queen reserved to herself the lion's share.

FASCINES. Faggots of brush or other small wood, varying according to the object in view and the material available, from about 6 to 9 inches in diameter, and from 6 to 18 feet in length, firmly bound with withes at about every 18 inches. They are of vast use in military field-engineering.

FASH. An irregular seam. The mark left by the moulds upon cast bullets. (Short for fashion—ship-fashion, soldier-fashion.)

FASHION-PIECES. The fashion of the after-part of a ship, in the plane of projection. They are the hindmost timbers in the run of a ship, which terminate the breadth, and form the shape of the stern; they are united to the stern-post, and to the end of the wing-transom by a rabbet.

FASKIDAR. A name of the Cataractes parasiticus, or Arctic gull.

FAST. A rope, cablet, or chain by which a vessel is secured to a wharf; and termed bow, head, breast, quarter, or stern fasts, as the case may be.

FAST AGROUND. Immovable, or high and dry.

FAST AND LOOSE. An uncertain and shuffling conduct.

FASTENINGS. "Let go the fasts!" throw off the ropes from the bollards or cleats. Also used for the bolts, &c., which hold together the different parts of a ship.

FASTNESS. A strong post, fortified by nature and art.

FAST SAILER. A ship which, in nautical parlance, "has legs."

FAST STAYING. Quick in going about.

FAT, or Broad. If the tressing in or tuck of a ship's quarter under water hangs deep, or is overfull, they say she has a fat quarter.

FATHER. The dockyard name given to the person who constructs a ship of the navy.

FATHER-LASHER. A name of the scorpius or scorpion, Cottus scorpius, a fish about 9 inches long, common near rocky coasts.[290]

FATHOM [Anglo-Saxon, fædm]. The space of both arms extended. A measure of 6 feet, used in the length of cables, rigging, &c., and to divide the lead (or sounding) lines, for showing the depth of water.—To fathom, is to ascertain the depth of water by sounding. To conjecture an intention.

FATHOM-WOOD. Slab and other offal of timber, sold at the yards, by fathom lots: cubic measurement.

FATIGUE-PARTY. A party of soldiers told off to any labour-duty not strictly professional.

FAULCON. A small cannon. (See Falcon.)

FAUN. Anglo-Norman for a flood-gate or water-gate.

FAUSSEBRAYE. In fortification, a kind of counterguard or low rampart, intended to protect the lower part of the main escarp behind it from being breached, but considered in modern times to do more harm than good to the defence.

FAVOUR, To. To be careful of; also to be fair for.—"Favour her" is purely a seaman's term; as when it blows in squalls, and the vessel is going rap-full, with a stiff weather-helm and bow-seas, "favour her boy" is "ease the helm, let the sails lift, and head the sea." So, in hauling in a rope, favour means to trust to the men's force and elasticity, and not part the rope by taking a turn on a cleat, making a dead nip. A thorough seaman "favours" his spars and rigging, and sails his ship economically as well as expeditiously.

FAY, To. To fit any two pieces of wood, so as to join close and fair together; the plank is said to fay to the timbers, when it lies so close to them that there shall be no perceptible space between them.

FAY FENA. A kind of Japanese galley, of 30 oars.

FEALTY. Loyalty and due devotion to the queen's service.

FEARN. A small windlass for a lighter.

FEAR-NOUGHT. Stout felt woollen cloth, used for port-linings, hatchway fire-screens, &c. The same as dread-nought.

FEATHER. (See Swine's or Swedish Feather.) It is used variously. (See also Full Feather and White Feather.)

FEATHER, To Cut a. When a ship has so sharp a bow that she makes the spray feather in cleaving it.

FEATHER AN OAR, To. In rowing, is to turn the blade horizontally, with the top aft, as it comes out of the water. This lessens the resistance of the air upon it.

FEATHER-EDGED. A term used by shipwrights for such planks as are thicker on one edge than the other.

FEATHERING-PADDLES. (Morgan's patent.)

FEATHER-SPRAY. Such as is observed at the cut-water of fast steamers, forming a pair of wing feathers.

FEATHER-STAR. The Comatula rosacea, one of the most beautiful of British star-fishes.

FEAZE, To. To untwist, to unlay ropes; to teaze, to convert it into oakum.[291]

FEAZINGS. The fagging out or unravelling of an unwhipped rope.

FECKET. A Guernsey frock.

FECKLESS. Weak and silly.

FEEDER. A small river falling into a large one, or into a dock or float. Feeders, in pilot slang, are the passing spurts of rain which feed a gale.

FEEDING-GALE. A storm which is on the increase, sometimes getting worse at each succeeding squall. When a gale freshens after rain, it is said to have fed the gale.

FEEDING-PART OF A TACKLE. That running through the sheaves, in opposition to the standing part.

FEED OF GRASS. A supply of any kind of vegetables.

FEED-PUMP. The contrivance by which the boilers of a steamer are supplied with water from the hot-well, while the engines are at work.

FEED-WATER. In steamers, the water which supplies the boiler.

FEEL THE HELM, To. To have good steerage way, carrying taut weather-helm, which gives command of steerage. Also said of a ship when she has gained head-way after standing still, and begins to obey the helm.

FEINT. A mock assault, generally made to conceal a true one.

FELL, To. To cut down timber. To knock down by a heavy blow. Fell is the Anglo-Saxon for a skin or hide.

FELL-HEAD. The top of a mountain not distinguished by a peak.

FELL IN WITH. Met by chance.

FELLOES [from felly]. The arch-pieces which form the rim or circumference of the wheel, into which the spokes and handles are fitted.

FELLOW. A sailor's soubriquet for himself; he will ask if you "have anything for a fellow to do?"

FELLS. Upland levels and mountainous tracts.

FELT. Stuff made of wool and hair. Patent felt is saturated with tar, and used to place inside the doubling or sheathing of a vessel's bottom. Employed also in covering the boilers and cylinders of steam-engines.

FELUCCA. (See Luntra.) A little vessel with six or eight oars, frequent in the Mediterranean; its helm may be applied in the head or stern, as occasion requires. Also, a narrow decked galley-built vessel in great use there, of one or two masts, and some have a small mizen; they carry lateen sails.

FEN. Low tracts inundated by the tides, capable, when in a dry state, of bearing the weight of cattle grazing upon them; differing therein from bog or quagmire. When well drained, they form some of the best land in the country.

FENCE. A palisade. Also, the arm of the hammer-spring of a gun-lock.

FENCIBLES. Bodies of men raised for limited service, and for a definite period. In rank they are junior to the line and royal marines, but senior to yeomanry or volunteers.

FENCING. The art of using the small-sword with skill and address.

FEND. An aphæresis from defend; to ward off.[292]

FEND or FENDER BOLTS. Made with long and thick heads, struck into the outermost bends or wales of a ship, to save her sides from hurts and bruises.

FENDER-PILES. In a dock, &c.

FENDERS. Two pieces of oak-plank fayed edgeways against the top-sides, abreast the main hatchway, to prevent the sides being chafed by the hoisting of things on board. They are not wanted where the yard-tackles are constantly used. Also, pieces of old cable, or other materials, hung over the side to prevent it from chafing against a wharf; as also to preserve a small vessel from being damaged by a large one. The fenders of a boat are usually made of canvas, stuffed, and neatly painted.

FEND OFF, To. In order to avoid violent contact, is, by the application of a spar, junk, rattans, &c., to prevent one vessel running against another, or against a wharf, &c. Fend off, with the boat-hook or stretchers in a boat.—Fend the boat, keep her from beating against the ship's side.

FERNAN BAG. A small ditty-bag, often worn by sailors, for holding tobacco and other things. They have applied the term to the pouches in monkeys' cheeks, where they carry spare food.

FERRARA. A species of broadsword, named after the famous Spanish sword-smith, Andrea Ferrara.

FERRIAGE. An old right of the admiralty over all rivers between the sea and the first bridges.

FERRY. A passage across a river or branch of the sea by boat.

FERRY-BOATS. Vessels or wherries duly licensed for conveying passengers across a river or creek.

FETCH, To. To reach, or arrive at; as, "we shall fetch to windward of the lighthouse this tack."

FETCH HEAD-WAY or Stern-way. Said of a vessel gathering motion ahead or astern.

FETCHING THE PUMP. Pouring water into the upper part in order to expel the air contained between the lower box and that of the pump-spear. (See Pump.)

FETCH OF A BAY or Gulf. The whole stretch from head to head, or point to point.

FETCH WAY, To. Said of a gun, or anything which escapes from its place by the vessel's motion at sea.

FETTLE, To. To fit, repair, or put in order. Also, a threat.

FEU-DE-JOIE. A salute fired by musketry on occasions of public rejoicing, so that it should pass from man to man rapidly and steadily, down one rank and up the other, giving one long continuous sound.

FEZ. A red cloth skull-cap, worn by the people of Fez and Morocco, and in general use amongst Mediterranean sailors.

F.G. The initials on a powder cask, denote fine grain.

FICHANT. In fortification, said of flanking fire which impinges on the face it defends; that is, of a line of defence where the angle of defence is less than a right angle.[293]

FID. A square bar of wood or iron, with a shoulder at one end, used to support the weight of the top-mast when erected at the head of the lower mast, by passing through a mortise or hole at the lower end of the former, and resting its ends on the trestle-trees, which are sustained by the head of the latter; the fid, therefore, must be withdrawn every time the mast is lowered; the topgallant-mast is retained at the head of the top-mast in the same manner. There is also a patent screw fid, which can be removed after hauling taut the mast rope, without having first to lift the mast. (See Mast.) A fid is also a conical pin of hard wood, of any size from 10 inches downwards, tapering to a point, used to open the strands of a rope in splicing: of these some are large, for splicing cables, and some small, for the bolt-ropes of sails, &c. Fid is improperly applied to metal of the same shape; they are then termed marling-spikes (called stabbers by sail-makers—which see). Also, the piece of oakum with which the vent of a gun is plugged. Some call it the vent-plug (which see). Also, colloquially used for a quid or chew of tobacco, or a small but thick piece of anything, as of meat in clumsy carving.

FIDDED. When a mast has been swayed high enough the fid is then inserted, and the mast-rope relieved of the weight.

FIDDLE. A contrivance to prevent things from rolling off the table in bad weather. It takes its name from its resemblance to a fiddle, being made of small cords passed through wooden bridges, and hauled very taut.

FIDDLE-BLOCK. A long shell, having one sheave over the other, and the lower smaller than the upper (see Long-tackles), in contradistinction to double blocks, which also have two sheaves, but one abreast of the other. They lie flatter and more snugly to the yards, and are chiefly used for lower-yard tackles.

FIDDLE-FISH. A name of the king-crab (Limulus polyphemus), from its supposed resemblance to that instrument.

FIDDLE-HEAD. When there is no figure; this means that the termination of the head is formed by a scroll turning aft or inward like a violin: in contradistinction to the scroll-head (which see).

FIDE JUSSORS. Bail sureties in the instance court of the admiralty.

FIDLER. A small crab, with one large claw and a very small one. It burrows on drowned lands.

FIDLER'S GREEN. A sort of sensual Elysium, where sailors are represented as enjoying, for "a full due," those amenities for which Wapping, Castle Rag, and the back of Portsmouth Point were once noted.

FIELD. The country in which military operations are being carried on; the scene of a conflict.—Taking the field, quitting cantonments, and going on active service.

FIELD-ALLOWANCE. A small extra payment made to officers, and sometimes to privates, on active service in the field, to compensate partly the enhanced price of all necessaries.

FIELD-ARTILLERY. Light ordnance fitted for travel as to be applicable to the active operations of the field. The term generally includes[294] the officers, men, and horses, also the service. According to the present excellent establishment of rifled field-guns for the British service, the Armstrong 12-pounder represents the average type.

FIELD-DAY. A day of exercise and evolutions.

FIELD-FORTIFICATION. Is the constructing of works intended to strengthen the position of forces operating in the field; works of that temporary and limited quality which may be easily formed with the means at hand.

FIELD-GLASS. A telescope, frequently so termed. Also, the binocular or opera-glass, used for field-work, night-work, and at races.

FIELD-GUN. See Field-artillery.

FIELD-ICE. A sheet of smooth frozen water of a general thickness, and of an extent too large for its boundaries to be seen over from a ship's mast-head. Field-ice may be all adrift, but yet pressed together, and when any masses detach, as they suddenly do, they are termed floes. They as suddenly become pressed home again and cause nips. (See Nip.)

FIELD-MARSHAL. The highest rank in the British army.

FIELD-OFFICERS. The colonel, lieutenant-colonels, and majors of a regiment; so called because, not having the common duties in quarters, they are mostly seen when the troops are in the field.

FIELD OF VIEW. That space which is visible in a telescope at one view, and which diminishes under augmenting eye-pieces.

FIELD-PIECES. Light guns proper to be taken into field operations; one or more of them is now carried by all ships of war for land service.

FIELD-WORKS. The constructions of field-fortification (which see).

FIERY-FLAW, or Fire-flaire. A northern designation of the sting-ray (Raia pastinaca).

FIFE-RAILS. Those forming the upper fence of the bulwarks on each side of the quarter-deck and poop in men-of-war. Also, the rail round the main-mast, and encircling both it and the pumps, furnished with belaying pins for the running rigging, though now obsolete under the iron rule.

FIFER AND FIDLER. Two very important aids in eliciting exact discipline; for hoisting, warping, and heaving at the capstan in proper time; rated a second-class petty officer styled "musician," pay £30, 8s. per annum.

FIG, or Full Fig. In best clothes. Full dress.

FIGALA. An East Indian craft with one mast, generally rowed with paddles.

FIGGER. The soubriquet of a Smyrna trader.

FIGGIE-DOWDIE. A west-country pudding, made with raisins, and much in vogue at sea among the Cornish and Devon men. Cant west-country term for plum-pudding—figs and dough.

FIGHT, Sea. See Battle, Engagement, Exercise, &c.

FIGHTING-LANTERNS. Kept in their respective fire-buckets at quarters, in readiness for night action only. There is usually one attached[295] to each gun; the bucket is fragile, but intended to screen the light, and furnished with a fire-lanyard.

FIGHTING-SAILS. Those to which a ship is reduced when going into action; formerly implying the courses and top-sails only.

FIGHTING-WATER. Casks filled and placed on the decks, expressly for use in action. When the head was broken in, vinegar was added to prevent too much being taken by one man.

FIGHTS. Waste-cloths formerly hung about a ship, to conceal the men from the enemy. Shakspeare, who knew everything, makes Pistol bombastically exclaim—

"Clap on more sails: pursue, up with your fights."
Close fights, synonymous with close quarters.

FIGURE. The principal piece of carved work or ornament at the head of a ship, whether scroll, billet, or figure-head.

FIGURE-HEAD. A carved bust or full-length figure over the cut-water of a ship; the remains of an ancient superstition. The Carthaginians carried small images to sea to protect their ships, as the Roman Catholics do still. The sign or head of St. Paul's ship was Castor and Pollux.

FIGURE OF EIGHT. A knot made by passing the end of a rope over and round the standing part, up over its own part, and down through the bight.

FIGURE OF THE EARTH. The form of our globe, which is that of an oblate spheroid with an ellipticity of about 1⁄299.

FIKE. See Fyke.

FILADIERE. A small flat-bottomed boat of the Garonne.

FILE. Originally a string of soldiers one behind the other, though in the present formation of British troops, the length of the string has been reduced to two.

FILE. An old file. A somewhat contemptuous epithet for a deep and cunning, but humorous person.

FILE OFF, To. To march off to a flank by files, or with a very small front.

FILL, To. To brace the yards so that the wind strikes the after side of the sails, and advances the ship in her course, after the sails had been shivering, or braced aback. A ship may be forced backward or forward, or made to remain in her place, with the same wind, by "backing, filling," or shivering the sails. (See Brace, Back, and Shiver.) Colliers generally tide it, "backing and filling" down the Thames until they gain the reaches, where there is room for tacking, or the wind is fair enough for them to lay their course.—An idle skulker, a fellow who loiters, trying to avoid being seen by the officer of the watch, is said to be "backing and filling;" otherwise, doing nothing creditably.

FILL AND STAND ON. A signal made after "lying by" to direct the fleet to resume their course.

FILLER. A filling piece in a made mast.

FILLET. An ornamental moulding. Rings on the muzzle and cascabel of guns.[296]

FILLET-HORSE. The horse employed in the shafts of the limbers.

FILLING. In ship-carpentry, wood fitted on a timber or elsewhere to make up a defect in the moulding way. This name is sometimes given to a chock.

FILLING A SHIP'S BOTTOM. Implies covering the bottom of a ship with broad-headed nails, so as to give her a sheathing of iron, to prevent the worms getting into the wood; sheathing with copper is found superior, but the former plan is still used for piles in salt-water.

FILLING IN. The replacing a ship's vacant planks opened for ventilation, when preparing her, from ordinary, for sea.

FILLING POWDER. Taking gunpowder from the casks to fill cartridges, when lights and fires should be extinguished.

FILLING ROOM. Formerly a small place parted off and lined with lead, in a man-of-war magazine, wherein powder may be started loosely, in order to fill cartridges.

FILLINGS. Fir fayed in between the chocks of the head, and wherever solidity is required, as making the curve fair for the mouldings between the edges of the fish-front and the sides of the mast, or making the spaces between the ribs and timbers of a vessel's frame solid.

FILLING-TIMBERS. Blocks of wood introduced in all well-built vessels between the frames, where the bilge-water may wash.

FILLING-TRANSOM, is just above the deck-transom, securing the ends of the gun-deck plank and lower-transoms.

FILL THE MAIN-YARD. An order well understood to mean, fill the main-topsail, after it has been aback, or the ship hove-to.

FILTER. A strainer to free water from its impurities, usually termed by seamen drip-stone (which see).

FILUM AQUÆ. The thread or middle of any river or stream which divides countries, manors, &c.—File du mer, the high tide of the sea.

FIMBLE HEMP; female hemp, is that which is chiefly used for domestic purposes, and therefore falls to the care of the women, as carl or male hemp, which produces the flower, does to the maker of cordage.

"Wife, pluck fro thy seed hemp, the fimble hemp clean,
This looketh more yellow, the other more green;
Use this one for thy spinning, leave Michael the t'other,
For shoe-thread and halter, for rope and such other."—Tusser.
FIN [Anglo-Saxon, Finn]. A native of Finland; those are Fins who live by fishing. We use the whole for a part, and thus lose the clue which the Fin affords of a race of fishermen.

FIN-BACK. See Finner.

FIND, To. To provide with or furnish.

FINDING. The verdict of a court-martial.

FINDON HADDOCK. The Finnan Haddie, a species of haddock cured by smoke-drying at Montrose and Aberdeen.

FINE. A term of comparison, as fine ship, &c., or lean (which see). Also, see Fyen.[297]

FINE BREEZES. Said of the wind when the flying-kites may be carried, but requiring a sharp look-out.

FINISHINGS. The carved ornaments of the quarter-galleries: upper and lower, as above or below the stools.

FINNER. Whales of the genus Balænoptera are so termed, being distinguished from the right whales by the possession of a small triangular adipose dorsal fin. There are several species, some of which grow to a greater length than any other animals of the order, viz. 80 or perhaps 90 feet. They are very active and difficult to harpoon, yield comparatively little oil, and their baleen, or "whalebone," is almost worthless; consequently, they suffer much less than the right whales from the persecutions of the whalers. The finner, or great black fish, is feared by whalers in general. It is vicious, and can only be attacked by large boats in shallow water, as at the Bermudas, where the whale-boats are about 50 or 60 feet long, and 12 feet beam. The fish yields one barrel of oil for every foot in length beyond thirty. (See Razor-back and Rorqual.)

FINNIE. A northern name for salmon under a year old.

FINNOCK. A white kind of small salmon taken on the west coast of Scotland.

FINTRUM SPELDIN. A small dried haddock.

FIN-WHALE. See Finner.

FIORD. A Norwegian pilot term for good channels among islets, and deep inlets of the sea.

FIRBOME. An old term for a beacon, and appears thus in the Promptorium Parvulorum.

FIR-BUILT. Constructed of fir.

FIRE! The order to put the match to the priming, or pull the trigger of a cannon or other fire-arm so as to discharge it. The act of discharging ordnance.

FIRE, Loss by. Is within the policy of insurance, whether it be by accident, or by the fault of the master or mariners. Also, if a ship be ordered by a state to be burnt to prevent infection, or if she be burnt to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy.

FIRE-AND-LIGHTS. Nickname of the master-at-arms.

FIRE-ARMS. Every description of arms that discharge missiles by gunpowder, from the heaviest cannon to a pistol.

FIRE-ARROWS. Missiles in olden times carrying combustibles; much used in the sea-fights of the middle ages.

FIRE-AWAY. Go on with your remarks.

FIRE-BALL. In meteorology, a beautiful phenomenon seen at times, the origin of which is as yet imperfectly accounted for. It is also the popular name for aërolites in general, because in their descent they appear to be burning.

FIRE-BALLS. Are used for destroying vessels run aground, and firing buildings. They are made of a composition of meal-powder, sulphur, saltpetre, and pitch, moulded into a mass with suet and tow.[298]

FIRE-BARE. An old term from the Anglo-Saxon for beacon.

FIRE-BARS. The range fronting a steam-boiler.

FIRE-BILL. The distribution of the officers and crew in case of the alarm of fire, a calamity requiring judicious conduct.

FIRE-BOOMS. Long spars swung out from a ship's side to prevent the approach of fire-ships, fire-stages, or vessels accidentally on fire.

FIRE-BOX. A space crossing the whole front of the boiler over the furnace doors, opposite the smoke-box.

FIRE-BUCKETS. Canvas, leather, or wood buckets for quarters, each fitted with a sinnet laniard of regulated length, for reaching the water from the lower yards. (See Firemen.)

FIRE-DOOR. An access to the fire-place of an engine.

FIRE-DRAKE. A meteor, or the Corpo Santo. Also, a peculiar fire-work, which Shakspeare in Henry VIII. thus mentions: "That fire-drake did I hit three times on the head, and three times was his nose discharged against me; he stands there like a mortar-piece to blow us."

FIRE-EATER. One notoriously fond of being in action; much humbled by iron-clads.

FIRE-FLAUGHTS. The aurora borealis, or northern lights.

FIRE-HEARTH. The security base of the galley-range and all its conveniences.

FIRE-HEARTH-CARLINE. The timber let in under the beams on which the fire-hearth stands, with pillars underneath, and chocks thereon.

FIRE-HOOPS. A combustible invented by the knights of Malta to throw among their besiegers, and afterwards used in boarding Turkish galleys.

FIRE-LOCK. Formerly the common name for a musket; the fire-arm carried by a foot-soldier, marine, or small-arm man, until the general introduction of rifles. It carried a ball of about an ounce in weight.

FIREMEN. A first and second man is stationed to each gun, in readiness for active duty. The firemen, when called with the first and second division of boarders, were an effective force. If for duty aloft, each bucket had a lanyard which reached from the main-yard to the sea, so as to keep the lower sails well wet. The ship's engine was also manned by the second division of boarders, while the first division and carpenters cut away obstacles. (For firemen in a steamer, see Stoker.)

FIRE-RAFTS. Timber constructions bearing combustible matters, used by the Chinese to destroy an enemy's vessel.

FIRE-RAILS. See Rails.

FIRE-ROLL. A peculiar beat of the drum to order people to their stations on an alarm of fire. Summons to quarters.

FIRE-SCREENS. Pieces of fear-nought, a thick woollen felt put round the hatchways in action.

FIRE-SHIP. A vessel filled with combustible materials, and fitted with grappling-irons, to hook and set fire to the enemy's ships. Notwithstanding what is said respecting the siege of Tyre, perhaps the practice of using[299] regular fire-ships ought to be dated from the destruction of the fleet of Basilicus by the victorious Genseric near Carthage.

FIRE-SWAB. The bunch of rope-yarns sometimes secured to the tompion, saturated with water to cool the gun in action, and swab up any grains of powder.

FIRE-WORKS. See Pyrotechny.

FIRING-PARTY. A detachment of soldiers, marines, or small-arm men selected to fire over the grave of an individual buried with military honours.

FIRMAUN. A Turkish passport.

FIRST. The appellation of the senior lieutenant; also, senior lieutenant of marines, and first captain of a gun.

FIRST FUTTOCKS. Timbers in the frame of a ship which come down between the floor-timbers almost to the keel on each side.



FIRST WATCH. The men on deck-duty from 8 p.m. till midnight.

FIRTH. A corruption of frith, in Scotland applied to arms of the sea, and estuaries of various extent; also given to several channels amongst the Orkneys.

FISH, or Fish-piece. A long piece of hard wood, convex on one side and concave on the other; two are bound opposite to each other to strengthen the lower masts or the yards when they are sprung, to effect which they are well secured by bolts and hoops, or stout rope called woolding. Also, colloquially, an epithet given to persons, as a prime fish, a queer fish, a shy fish, a loose fish, &c. As mute as a fish, when a man is very silent. Also, fish among whalers is expressly applied to whales. At the cry of "Fish! fish!" all the boats are instantly manned.

FISH, Royal. Whale and sturgeon, to which the sovereign is entitled when either thrown on shore or caught near the coasts.

FISH-DAVIT. (See Davit.) That which steps into a shoe in the fore-chains, and is used for fishing an anchor.

FISHER-BOYS. The apprentices in fishing vessels.

FISHER-FISH. A species of Remora, said to be trained by the Chinese to catch turtle. When a turtle is perceived basking on the surface of the sea, the men, avoiding all noise, slip one of their remoras overboard, tied to a long and fine cord. As soon as the fish perceives the floating reptile he swims towards it, and fixes himself on it so firmly that the fishermen easily pull in both together.

FISHERMAN'S BEND. A knot, for simplicity called the king of all knots. Its main use is for bending studding-halliards to the yard, by taking two turns round the yard, passing the end between them and the yard, and half hitching it round the standing part. (See Studding-sail Bend.)

FISHERMAN'S WALK. An extremely confined space; "three steps and overboard," is often said of what river yachtsmen term their quarter-decks.[300]

FISH-FAG. A woman who fags under heavy fish-baskets, but is applied also in opprobrium to slatterns.

FISH-FLAKE. A stage covered with light spars for the purpose of drying fish in Newfoundland.

FISH-FRONT. The strengthening slab on a made mast.

FISH-GARTH. The water shut in by a dam or weir by the side of a river for securing fish.

FISH-GIG. A staff with three, four, or more barbed prongs of steel at one end, and a line fastened to the other; used for striking fish at sea. Now more generally called grains.

FISH-HACK. A name of the Gobius niger.

FISHICK. An Orkney name for the brown whistle-fish, Gadus mustela.

FISHING. In taking celestial observations, means the sweeping to find a star or other object when near its approximate place.

FISHING-BOAT. A stout fishing-vessel with two lug-sails.

FISHING-FROG. A name of the Lophius piscatorius, angler or devil-fish, eaten in the Mediterranean.

FISHING-GROUND. Any bank or shoal frequented by fish.

FISHING-SMACK. A sloop having in the hold a well wherein to preserve the fish, particularly lobsters, alive.

FISHING-TAUM. A northern designation of an angling line, or angling gear.

FISHING-VESSELS. A general term for those employed in the fisheries, from the catching of sprats to the taking of whales.

FISH-LEEP. An old term for a fish-basket.

FISH-ROOM. A space parted off by bulk-heads in the after-hold, now used for waste stores, but formerly used for stowing salt fish—an article of food long discontinued. In line-of-battle ships, a small store-room near the bread-room, in which spirits or wine, and sometimes coals, were stowed, with the stock-fish.

FISH-SPEAR. An instrument with barbed spikes.

FISH-TACKLE. A tackle employed to hook and draw up the flukes of a ship's anchor towards the top of the bow, after catting, in order to stow it; formerly composed of four parts, viz. the pendant, the block, the hook, and the tackle, for which see Davit.

FISH THE ANCHOR, To. To turn up the flukes of an anchor to the gunwale for stowage, after being catted.—Other fish to fry, a common colloquialism, expressing that a person has other occupation demanding his attention.

FISH-WIFE, or Fish-woman. A female carrier and vendor of fish in our northern cities.

FIST, To. To handle a rope or sail promptly; thus fisting a thing is readily getting hold of it.

FIT FOR DUTY. In an effective state for service.

FIT RIGGING, To. To cut or fit the standing and running rigging to the masts, [301]&c.

FIT-ROD. A small iron rod with a hook at the end, which is put into the holes made in a vessel's side, to ascertain the length of the bolts or tree-nails required to be driven in.

FITTED FURNITURE. Rudder-chocks, bucklers, hawse-plugs, dead-lights, pump-boxes, and other articles of spare supply, sent from the dockyard.

FITTERS. Persons in the north who vend and load coals, fitting ships with cargoes, &c.

FITTING OUT A SHIP. The act of providing a ship with sufficient masts, sails, yards, ammunition, artillery, cordage, anchors, provisions, stores, and men, so that she is in proper condition for the voyage or purpose to which she is appointed.

FIUMARA. A term common to the Italian coasts for a mountain torrent.

FIVE-FINGERS. The name given to the Asterias, or star-fish, found on our shore. Cocker in 1724 describes it thus: "Five-fingers, a fish like a spur-rowel, destructive to oysters, to be destroyed by the admiralty law." They destroy the spat of oysters.

FIVE-SHARE MEN. In vessels, as whalers, where the men enter on the chances of success, &c., in shares.

FIX BAYONETS! Ship them ready for use.

FIXED AMMUNITION. Is, complete in each round, the cartridge being attached to the projectile, to facilitate simultaneous loading. In the British service it is only used for small mountain-pieces, but in the French for field-artillery in general. It does not stow conveniently.

FIXED BLOCKS. Solid pieces of oak let through the sides of the ship, and fitted with sheaves, to lead the tacks, sheets, &c., of the courses in-board.

FIXED STAR. See Stars (Fixed).

FIZZ. The burning of priming.

FLABBERGAST, To. To throw a person aback by a confounding assertion; to produce a state of extreme surprise.

FLADDERMUS. A base silver German coin of four kreutzers' value.

FLAG. A general name for the distinguishing colours of any nation. Also, a certain banner by which an admiral is distinguished at sea from the inferior ships of his squadron. The flags of the British navy were severally on a red, white, or blue field, and were displayed from the top of the royal pole of the main, fore, or mizen mast, according to the rank of the admiral, thus indicating nine degrees. This diversity of colour has now been long done away with. The white field, with the red St. George's cross, and the sinister upper corner occupied by the union, is now alone used in the British navy—the blue being assigned to the reserve, and the red to the mercantile navy. An admiral still displays his flag exclusively at the main truck; a vice-admiral at the fore; a rear-admiral at the mizen. The first flag in importance is the royal standard of Great Britain and Ireland, hoisted only when the king or queen is on board; the second is the anchor of hope, for the lord high-admiral, or the lords-commissioners of the admiralty; and the third is the union flag, for the admiral of the[302] fleet, who is the next officer under the lord high-admiral. The various other departments, such as the navy board, custom-house, &c., have each their respective flags. Besides the national flag, merchant ships are permitted to bear lesser flags on any mast, with the arms or design of the firm to which they belong, but they "must not resemble or be mistaken for any of the flags or signals used by the royal navy," under certain penalties. When a council of war is held at sea, if it be on board the admiral's ship, a flag is hung on the main-shrouds; if the vice-admiral's, on the fore-shrouds; and if the rear-admiral's, on the mizen-shrouds. The flags borne on the mizen were particularly called gallants. There are also smaller flags used for signals. The word flag is often familiarly used to denote the admiral himself. Also, the reply from the boat if an admiral is on board—Flag!

FLAG-OFFICER. A term synonymous with admiral.

FLAG OF TRUCE. A white flag, hoisted to denote a wish to parley between the belligerent parties, but so frequently abused, with the design of obtaining intelligence, or to cover stratagems, &c., that officers are very strict in its admission. It is held sacred by civilized nations.

FLAG-SHARE. The admiral's share (one-eighth) in all captures made by any vessels within the limits of his command, even if under the orders of another admiral; but in cases of pirates, he has no claim unless he participates in the action.

FLAG-SHIP. A ship bearing an admiral's flag.

FLAG-SIDE of a Split Fish. The side without the bone.

FLAG-STAFF. In contradistinction to mast-head, is the staff on a battery, or on a ship's stern, where the colours are displayed. (See Flare.)

FLAKE. A small shifting stage, hung over a ship's side to caulk or repair a breach. (See Fish-flake.)

FLAM. Wedge-shaped. Also, a sudden puff of wind. Also, a shallow.

FLAM-FEW. The brilliant reflection of the moon on the water.

FLAN. An old word, equivalent to a flaw, or sudden gust of wind from the land.

FLANCHING. The bellying out; synonymous with flaring.

FLANGE. In steamers, is the projecting rim at the end of two iron pipes for uniting them. (See Port-flange.)

FLANK, To. To defend that part; incorrectly used sometimes for firing upon a flank.

FLANK of an Army. The right or left side or end, as distinguished from the front and rear—a vulnerable point. Also, the force composing or covering that side. In fortification, a work constructed to afford flank defence.

FLANK-COMPANIES. The extreme right and left companies of a battalion, formerly called the grenadiers and light infantry, and wearing distinctive marks in their dress; now the title, dress, and duties of all the companies of a battalion are the same.

FLANK-DEFENCE. A line of fire parallel, or nearly so, to the front of another work or position.[303]

FLANKED ANGLE. In fortification, a salient angle formed by two lines of flank defence.

FLAP. The cover of a cartridge-box or scupper.

FLAPPING. The agitation of a sail with sheet or tack carried away, or the sudden jerk of the sails in light winds and a heavy swell on.

FLARE. In ship-building, is flanching outwards, as at the bows of American ships, to throw off the bow-seas; it is in opposition to tumbling home and wall-sided.

FLARE. A name for the skate, Raia batis.

FLARE, To. To rake back, as of a fashion-piece or knuckle-timber.

FLASH. The laminæ and grain-marks in timber, when cut into planks. Also, a pool. Also, in the west, a river with a large bay, which is again separated from the outer sea by a reef of rocks.—To make a flash, is to let boats down through a lock; to flash loose powder at night to show position.

FLASHING-BOARD. To raise or set off.

FLASHING-SIGNALS. By Captain Colomb's plan, the lime light being used on shore, and a plain white light at sea, is capable of transmitting messages by the relative positions of long and short dashes of light by night, and of collapsing cones by day.

FLASH IN THE PAN. An expressive metaphor, borrowed from the false fire of a musket, meaning to fail of success after presumption.

FLASH RIM. In carronades, a cup-shaped enlargement of the bore at the muzzle, which facilitates the loading, and protects the ports or rigging of the vessel from the flash of explosion.

FLASH VESSELS. All paint outside, and no order within.

FLASK. A horn or other implement for carrying priming-powder. Smaller ones for fire-arms are usually furnished with a measure of the charge for the piece on the top.

FLAT. In ship-building, a straight part in a curve. In hydrography, a shallow over which the tide flows, and over the whole extent of which there is little or no variation of soundings. If less than three fathoms, it is called shoal or shallow.

FLAT-ABACK. When all the sails are blown with their after-surface against the mast, so as to give stern-way.

FLAT-AFT. The sheets of fore-and-aft sails may be hauled flat-aft, as the jib-sheet to pay her head off, the driver or trysail sheets to bring her head to the wind; hence, "flatten in the head-sheets."

FLAT-BOTTOMED. When a vessel's lower frame has but little upward inclination.

FLAT CALM. When there is no perceptible wind at sea.

FLAT-FISH. The Pleuronectidæ, a family of fishes containing the soles, flounders, turbots, &c., remarkable for having the body greatly compressed laterally; they habitually lie on one side, which is white, the uppermost being coloured, and having both the eyes placed on it.

FLAT-NAILS. Small sharp-pointed nails with flat thin heads, longer than tacks, for nailing the scarphs of moulds and the like.[304]

FLATS. All the floor-timbers that have no bevellings in midships, or pertaining to the dead-flat (which see). Also, lighters used in river navigation, and very flat-floored boats for landing troops.

FLAT SEAM. The two edges or selvedges of canvas laid over each other and sewed down.

FLAT SEIZING. This is passed on a rope, the same as a round seizing, but it has no riding turns.

FLATTEN IN, To. The action of hauling in the aftmost clue of a sail to give it greater power of turning the vessel; thus, if the mizen or after sails are flatted in, it is to carry the stern to leeward, and the head to windward; and if, on the contrary, the head-sails are flatted in, the intention is to make the ship fall off when, by design or accident, she has come so near as to make the sails shiver; hence flatten in forward is the order to haul in the jib and foretop-mast staysail-sheets towards the middle of the ship, and haul forward the fore-bowline; this operation is seldom necessary except when the helm has not sufficient government of the ship, as in variable winds or inattentive steerage.

FLAUT. See Flute.

FLAVER. An east-country term for froth or foam of surf.

FLAWS. Sudden gusts of wind, sometimes blowing with violence; whence Shakspeare in Coriolanus:

"Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw."
But flaws also imply occasional fickle breezes in calm weather. Flaw is also used to express any crack in a gun or its carriage.

FLEACHES. Portions into which timber is cut by the saw.

FLEAK. See Dutch Plaice.

FLEAM. A northern name for a water-course.

FLEAT, or Fleet. See Fleeting.

FLEATE, To. To skim fresh water off the sea, as practised at the mouths of the Rhone, the Nile, &c. The word is derived from the Dutch vlieten, to skim milk; it also means to float. (See Fleet.)

FLECHE. The simplest form of field-work, composed of two faces meeting in a salient angle, and open at the gorge. It differs from the redan only in having no ditch.

FLECHERRA. A swift-sailing South American despatch vessel.

FLECK. An east-country term for lightning.

FLEECH. An outside portion of timber cut by the saw.

FLEET [Teut. flieffen]. The old word for float: as "we fleeted down the river with our boats;" and Shakspeare makes Antony say,

"Our sever'd navy too
Have knit again, and fleet, threat'ning most sea-like."
Fleet is also an old term for an arm of the sea, or running water subject to the tide. Also, a bay where vessels can remain afloat. (See Float.) A salt-water tide-creek.

FLEET. A general name given to the royal navy. Also, any number of ships, whether designed for war or commerce, keeping in company. A[305] fleet of ships of war is usually divided into three squadrons, and these, if numerous, are again separated into subdivisions. The admiral commands the centre, the second in command superintends the vanguard, and the third directs the rear. The term in the navy was any number exceeding a squadron, or rear-admiral's command, composed of five sail-of-the-line, with any amount of smaller vessels.

FLEET-DYKE. From the Teut. vliet, a dyke for preventing inundation.

FLEETING. To come up a rope, so as to haul to more advantage; especially the act of changing the situation of a tackle when the blocks are drawn together; also, changing the position of the dead-eyes, when the shrouds are become too long, which is done by shortening the bend of the shroud and turning in the dead-eye again higher up; the use of fleeting is accordingly to regain the mechanical powers, when destroyed by the meeting of the blocks or dead-eyes.—Fleet ho! the order given at such times. (See Tackle.)

FLEET THE MESSENGER. When about to weigh, to shift the eyes of the messenger past the capstan for the heavy heave.

FLEET-WATER. Water which inundates.

FLEMISH, To. To coil down a rope concentrically in the direction of the sun, or coil of a watch-spring, beginning in the middle without riders; but if there must be riding fakes, they begin outside, and that is the true French coil.

FLEMISH ACCOUNT. A deficit in accounts.

FLEMISH EYE. A kind of eye-splice, in which the ends are scraped down, tapered, passed oppositely, marled, and served over with spun yarn. Often called a made-eye.

FLEMISH FAKE. A method of coiling a rope that runs freely when let go; differing from the French, and was used for the head-braces. Each bend is slipped under the last, and the whole rendered flat and solid to walk on.

FLEMISH HORSE, is the outer short foot-rope for the man at the earing; the outer end is spliced round a thimble on the goose-neck of the studding-sail boom-iron. The inner end is seized by its eye within the brace-block-strop and head-earing-cleat.

FLEMISHING. A forcing or scoring of the planks.

FLENCH-GUT. The blubber of a whale laid out in long slices.

FLENSE, To. To strip the fat off a flayed seal, or the blubber from a whale.

FLESHMENT. Being in the first battle; and "fleshing the sword" alludes to the first time the beginner draws blood with it.

FLESH-TRAFFIC. The slave-trade.

FLET. A name of the halibut.

FLETCH, To. To feather an arrow.

FLEUZ. A north-country term for the fagged end of a rope.

FLEXURE. The bending or curving of a line or figure.

FLIBOAT. See Fly-boat.[306]

FLIBUSTIER [Fr.] A freebooter, pirate, &c.

FLICKER, To. To veer about.

FLIDDER. A northern name for the limpet.

FLIGHERS. An old law-term meaning masts of ships.

FLIGHT. A Dutch vessel or passage-boat on canals. In ship-building, a sudden rising, or a greater curve than sheer, at the cheeks, cat-heads, &c.

FLIGHT of a Shot. The trajectory formed between the muzzle of the gun and the first graze.

FLIGHT of the Transoms. As their ends gradually close downwards on approaching the keel, they describe a curve somewhat similar to the rising of the floors; whence the name.

FLINCH. In ship-building. (See Snape.)

FLINCH-GUT. The whale's blubber; as well as the part of the hold into which it is thrown before being barrelled up.

FLINCHING, Flensing, or Flinsing. See Flense.

FLINDERS. An old word for splinters; thus Walter Scott's Borderer—

"The tough ash-spear, so stout and true,
Into a thousand flinders flew."
FLINT. The stone of a gun-lock, by which a spark was elicited for the discharge of the loaded piece.

FLIP. A once celebrated sea-drink, composed of beer, spirits, and sugar, said to have been introduced by Sir Cloudesley Shovel. Also, a smart blow.

FLIPPER. The fin-like paw or paddle of marine mammalia; it is also applied to the hand, as when the boatswain's mate exulted in having "taken a lord by the flipper."

FLITCH. The outside cut or slab of a tree.

FLITTER. The Manx name for limpet.

FLITTERING. An old English word for floating.

FLIZZING. The passage of a splinter [from the Dutch flissen, to fly].

FLO. An old English word for arrow, used by Chaucer.

FLOAT [Anglo-Saxon fleot or fleet]. A place where vessels float, as at Northfleet. Also, the inner part of a ship-canal. In wet-docks ships are kept afloat while loading and discharging cargo. Two double gates, having a lock between them, allow the entry and departure of vessels without disturbing the inner level. Also, a raft or quantity of timber fastened together, to be floated along a river by a tide or current.

FLOATAGE. Synonymous with flotsam (which see). Pieces of wreck floating about.

FLOAT-BOARDS. The same as floats of a paddle-wheel.

FLOATING ANCHOR. A simple machine consisting of a fourfold canvas, stretched by two cross-bars of iron, rivetted in the centre, and swifted at the ends. It is made to hang perpendicularly at some distance below the surface, where it presents great resistance to being dragged through the water, diminishing a ship's leeward drift in a gale where there is no anchorage.[307]

FLOATING BATTERY. A vessel expressly fitted for action in harbours or sheltered waters, having heavier offensive and defensive dispositions (generally including much iron-plating) than would be compatible with a sea-going character. Also, a vessel used as a battery to cover troops landing on an enemy's coast. Also, one expressly fitted for harbour defence.

FLOATING BETHEL. An old ship fitted up in a commercial port for the purpose of public Worship.

FLOATING BRIDGE. A passage formed across a river or creek by means of bridges of boats, as over the Douro, Rhine, &c.

FLOATING COFFIN. (See Frapping a Ship.) A term for the old 10-gun brigs.

FLOATING DAM. A caisson used instead of gates for a dry-dock.


FLOATING GRAVING-DOCK. A modified camel (which see).

FLOATING LIGHT. A vessel moored off rocks or sand-banks, hoisting lights at night.

FLOATING PIER. As the stage at Liverpool.

FLOATING STAGE. For caulkers, painters, &c.

FLOATS. Large flat-bottomed boats, for carrying blocks of stone. Also, the 'thwart boards forming the circumference and force of the paddle-wheels of steamers.

FLOE. A field of floating ice of any extent, as beyond the range of vision, for notwithstanding its cracks the floes pressed together are assumed as one; hence, if ships make fast to the floe-edge, and it parts from the main body, sail is made, and the ship goes to the next available floe-edge.

FLOGGING THE GLASS. Where there is no ship time-piece the watches and half-hour bells are governed by a half-hour sand-glass. The run of the sand was supposed to be quickened by vibration, hence some weary soul towards the end of his watch was said to flog the glass.

FLOME. An old word for a river or flood.

FLOOD and FLOOD-TIDE. The flux of the tide, or the time the water continues rising. When the water begins to rise, it is called a young flood, next it is quarter-flood, half-flood, and top of flood, or high water.

FLOOD-ANCHOR. That which the ship rides by during the flood-tide.

FLOOD-MARK. The line made by the tide upon the shore at its greatest height; it is also called high-water mark. This denotes the jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty, or vice-admirals of counties.

FLOOK, or Fluck. The flounder; but the name, which is of very old standing, is also applied to various other pleuronects or flat-fish.

FLOOR. The bottom of a vessel on each side of the kelson; but strictly taken, it is only so much of her bottom as she rests upon when aground. Such ships as have long and withal broad floors, lie on the ground with most security; whereas others which are narrow in the floor, fall over on their sides and break their timbers.[308]

FLOOR-GUIDE. In ship-building, is a ribband placed between the floor and the keel.

FLOOR-HEAD. This, in marine architecture, is the third diagonal, terminating the length of the floors near the bilge of the ship, and bevellings are taken from it both forward and abaft. The upper extremities of a vessel's floor-timbers, plumb to the quarter-beam.

FLOOR-HOLLOW. The inflected curve of the floor, extending from the keel to the back of the floor-sweep, which the floor does not take.

FLOOR-PLANS. In naval architecture, are longitudinal sections, whereon are represented the water-lines and ribband-lines.

FLOOR-RIBBAND. This is an important fir-timber which runs round a little below the floor-heads, for the support of the floors.

FLOOR-RIDERS. Knees brought in from side to side over the floor ceiling and kelson, to support the bottom, if bilged or weak, for heavy cargo.

FLOORS, or Floor-timbers. Those parts of the ship's timbers which are placed immediately across the keel, and upon which the bottom of the ship is framed; to these the upper parts of the timbers are united, being only a continuation of floor-timbers upwards.

FLOOR-SWEEPS. The radii that sweep the heads of the floors. The first in the builder's draught, which is limited by a line in the body-plan, perpendicular to the plane of elevation, a little above the keel; and the height of this line above the keel is called the dead-rising.

FLOP, To. To fall flat down: as "soused flop in the lee-scuppers."

FLORY-BOATS. A local term for boats employed in carrying passengers to and fro from steamers which cannot get alongside of a quay at low-water.

FLOSH. A swamp overgrown with weeds.

FLOSK. The Sepia loligo, sea-sleeve, or anker-fish.

FLOTA. A Spanish fleet. (See Galleon.)

FLOTAGES. Things accidentally floating on seas or rivers.

FLOTA NAVIUM. An old statute term for a fleet of ships.

FLOTE. An old English term for wave: thus Ariel tells Prospero that the dispersed ships—

"All have met again,
And are upon the Mediterranean flote."
FLOTE-BOTE. An old term for a yawl—a rough-built river boat.

FLOTERY. Floating, used by Chaucer and others.

FLOTILLA. A fleet or squadron of small vessels.

FLOT-MANN. A very early term for sailor.

FLOTSAM. In legal phraseology, is the place where shipwrecked goods continue to float and become derelict property. Sometimes spelled flotson.

FLOUNDER. A well-known pleuronect, better to fish for than to eat. Called also floun-dab.

FLOW. In tidology, the rising of the tide; the opposite of ebb. Also, the course or direction of running waters.[309]

FLOWER of the Winds. The mariner's compass on maps and charts.

FLOWERING. The phenomenon observed usually in connection with the spawning of fish, at the distance of four leagues from shore. The water appears to be saturated with a thick jelly, filled with the ova of fish, which is known by its adhering to the ropes that the cobles anchor with while fishing, for they find the first six or seven fathom of rope free from spawn, the next ten or twelve covered with slimy matter, and the remainder again free to the bottom; this gelatinous material may supply the new-born fry with food, and protect them by clouding the water.

FLOWING-HOPE. See Forlorn Hope.

FLOWING-SHEET. In sailing free or large, is the position of the sheets or lower clues of the principal sails when they are eased off to the wind, so as to receive it more nearly perpendicular than when they are close-hauled, although more obliquely than when going before the wind; a ship is therefore said to have a flowing-sheet, when the wind crosses the line of her course nearly at right angles; that is to say, a ship steering due north with the wind at east, or directly on her side, will have a flowing-sheet; whereas, if the sheets were hauled close aft, she would sail two points nearer the wind—viz. N.N.E. This explanation will probably be better understood by considering the yards as plane faces of wedges—the more oblique fore and aft, the less head-way force is given, until 22° before the transverse line or beam. This is the swiftest line of sailing. As the wind draws aft of the beam the speed decreases (unless the wind increases), so that a vessel with the wind abeam, and every sail drawing, goes much faster than she would with the same wind before it.

FLUCTUATION of the Tide. The rising and falling of the waters.

FLUE. See Flukes.

FLUES. In a steamer's boiler, are a series of oblong passages from the furnaces for the issue of heated air. Their object being, that the air, before escaping, shall impart some of its heat to the water in the boiler, thereby economizing fuel.

FLUFFIT. The movement of fishes' fins.

FLUID COMPASS. That in which the card revolves in its bowl floated by alcohol, which prevents the needle from undue vibrations. The pin is downwards to prevent rising, as in the suspended compass-card. The body, or card, on which the points of the compass are marked, is constructed of two segments of a globe, having a diameter of 7 inches to the (double) depth of 1 inch at the poles.

FLUKES. The two parts which constitute the large triangular tail of the whale; from the power of these the phrase obtained among whalers of fluking or all-a-fluking, when running with a fresh free wind. Flukes, or palms, are also the broad triangular plates of iron on each arm of the anchor, inside the bills or extreme points, which having entered the ground, hold the ship. Seamen, by custom, drop the k, and pronounce the word flue.

FLUMMERY. A dish made of oatmeal, or oats soured, [310]&c.

FLURRY. The convulsive movements of a dying whale. Also, a light breeze of wind shifting to different points, and causing a little ruffling on the sea. Also, hurry and confusion.

FLUSH. An old word for even or level. Anything of fair surface, or in continuous even lines. Colloquially the word means full of, or abounding in pay or prize-money.

FLUSH-DECK. A continued floor laid from the stem to the stern, upon one range, without any break.

FLUSHED. Excited by success; flushed with victory.

FLUSTERED. Performing duty in an agitated and confused manner. Also, stupefied by drink.

FLUTE, or Fluyt. A pink-rigged fly-boat, the after-part of which is round-ribbed. Also, vessels only partly armed; as armed en flute.

FLUTTERING. Used in the same sense as flapping.

FLUVIAL, or Fluviatile. Of or belonging to a river.

FLUVIAL LAGOONS. Contradistinguished from marine lagoons, in being formed by river deposits.

FLUX. The flowing in of the tide.

FLY of a Flag. The breadth from the staff to the extreme end that flutters loose in the wind. If an ensign, the part which extends from the union to the outer part; the vertical height, to the head-toggle of which the halliards are bent, or which is next to the staff, is called the hoist; the lower (which is a rope rove through the canvas heading, and into which the head-toggle is spliced) is the long tack; on this rope the whole strain is sustained.

FLY, or Compass-card, placed on the magnetic-needle and supported by a pin, whereon it turns freely. (See Compass.)

FLY-AWAY. Fictitious resemblance of land; "Dutchman's cape," &c. (See Cape Fly-away.)

FLY-BLOCK. The block spliced into the topsail-tye; it is large and flat, and sometimes double.

FLY-BOAT. A large flat-bottomed Dutch vessel, whose burden is generally from 300 to 600 tons. It is distinguished by a remarkably high stern, resembling a Gothic turret, and by very broad buttocks below. Also, a swift canal passage-boat.

FLY-BY-NIGHT. A sort of square-sail, like a studding-sail, used in sloops when running before the wind; often a temporary spare jib set from the topmast-head to the yard-arm of the square-sail.

FLYER. A fast sailer; a clipper.

FLYING ABOUT. Synonymous with chop-about (which see).

FLYING COLUMN. A complete and mobile force kept much on the move, for the sake of covering the designs of its own army, distracting those of the enemy, or maintaining supremacy in a hostile or disaffected region.

FLYING DUTCHMAN. A famous marine spectre ship, formerly supposed to haunt the Cape of Good Hope. The tradition of seamen was[311] that a Dutch skipper, irritated with a foul wind, swore by donner and blitzen, that he would beat into Table Bay in spite of God or man, and that, foundering with the wicked oath on his lips, he has ever since been working off and on near the Cape. The term is now extended to false reports of vessels seen.

FLYING JIB. A light sail set before the jib, on the flying jib-boom. The third jib in large ships, as the inner jib, the jib, and the flying jib, set on the flying jib-boom. (See Jib.)

FLYING JIB-BOOM. A spar which is pointed through the iron at the jib-boom end. It lies beside it, and the heel steps into the bowsprit cap.

FLYING-KITES. The very lofty sails, which are only set in fine weather, such as skysails, royal studding-sails, and all above them.

FLYING-LIGHT. The state of a ship when she has little cargo, provisions, or water on board, and is very crank.

FLYING-TO. Is when a vessel, from sailing free or having tacked, and her head thrown much to leeward, is coming to the wind rapidly, the warning is given to the helmsman, "Look out, she is flying-to."

FLY THE SHEETS, To let. To let them go suddenly.

FLY-UP. A sudden deviation upwards from a sheer line; the term is nearly synonymous with flight.—To fly up in the wind, is when a ship's head comes suddenly to windward, by carelessness of the helmsman.

FLY-WHEEL. The regulator of a machine.

FOAM [Anglo-Saxon, feám]. The white froth produced by the collision of the waves, or by the bow of a ship when acted on by the wind; and also by their striking against rocks, vessels, or other bodies.

FOCAL LENGTH. The distance between the object-glass and the eye-piece of a telescope.

FOCUS. A point where converging rays or lines meet.

FOEMAN. An enemy in war; now used only by poets. One of Falstaff's recruits, hight Shadow, presented no mark to the enemy: "The foeman may with as great aim level at the edge of a pen-knife."

FŒNUS NAUTICUM. Nautical usury, bottomry.

FOG. A mist at sea, consisting of the grosser vapours floating in the air near the surface of the sea. The fog of the great bank of Newfoundland is caused by the near proximity of warm and cold waters. The air over the Gulf Stream, being warmer than that over the banks of Newfoundland, is capable of keeping much more moisture in invisible suspension; and when this air comes in contact with that above the cold water, it parts with some of its moisture, or rather holds it in visible suspension. There are also dry fogs, which are dust held in suspension, as the so-called African dust, which often partially obscures the sun, and reddens the sails of ships as they pass through the north-east trades.

FOG-BANK. A dense haze, presenting the appearance of a thick cloud resting upon the horizon; it is known in high latitudes as the precursor of wind from the quarter in which it appears. From its frequent resemblance to land it has obtained the name of Cape Fly-away.[312]

FOG-BOW. A beautiful natural phenomenon incidental to high latitudes. It appears opposite to the sun, and is usually broad and white, but sometimes assumes the prismatic colours. Indicative of clearing off of mists. (See Fog-eater.)

FOG-DOGS. Those transient prismatic breaks which occur in thick mists, and considered good symptoms of the weather clearing.

FOG-EATER. A synonym of fog-dog and fog-bow. It may be explained as the clearing of the upper stratum, permitting the sun's rays to exhibit at the horizon prismatic colours; hence "sun-gall."

FOGEY. An old-fashioned or singular person; an invalid soldier or sailor. Often means a stupid but irascible fellow.

FOGGY. Not quite sober.

FOGRAM. Wine, beer, or spirits of indifferent quality; in fact, any kind of liquor.

FOG-SIGNALS. The naval code established by guns to keep a fleet together, to tack, wear, and perform sundry evolutions. Also, certain sounds made in fogs as warnings to other vessels, either with horns, bells, gongs, guns, or the improved fog-whistle.

FOIL. A blunt, elastic, sword-like implement used in fencing.—To foil means to disconcert or defeat an enemy's intention.

FOILLAN. The Manx or Erse term for a gull.

FOIN. A thrust with a pike or sword.

FOKE-SILL. Among old salts may be termed a curt or nicked form of forecastle.

FOLDER. The movable sight of a fire-arm.

FOLLIS. A net with very large meshes, principally for catching thorn-backs.

FOLLOWERS. A certain number of men permitted by the regulations of the service to be taken by the captain when he removes from one ship to another. Also, the young gentlemen introduced into the service by the captain, and reared with a father's care, moving with him from ship to ship; a practice which produced most of our best officers formerly, but innovation has broken through it, to the serious detriment of the service and the country.

FOLLOWING, North or South. See Quadrant.

FOMALHAUT. A standard nautical star, called also α Piscis australis.

FOOL. "He's no fool on a march," a phrase meaning that such a person is equal to what he undertakes.

FOOLEN. The space between the usual high-water mark in a river and the foot of the wall on its banks, built to prevent its occasionally overflowing the neighbouring lands.

FOOL-FISH. A name of the long-finned file-fish, and so called from its apparently whimsical manner of swimming.

FOOLISH GUILLEMOT. The web-footed diving-bird, Uria troile, common on our coasts.

FOOT. The lower end of a mast or sail. Also, the general name of infantry[313] soldiers. Also, the measure of 12 inches, or one-sixth of a fathom.—To foot. To push with the feet; as, "foot the top-sail out clear of the top-rim."

FOOT-BANK. Synonymous with banquette (which see).

FOOT-BOARD. The same as gang-board, but not so sailor-like. (See Stretchers.)

FOOT-BOAT. A west-country term for a boat used solely to convey foot passengers.

FOOT-CLUE of a Hammock. See Hammock.

FOOT-HOOKS. Synonymous with futtocks.

FOOTING. A fine paid by a youngster or landsman on first mounting the top. Also, a slight payment from new comers on crossing the line, passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, entering the Arctic Seas, &c.

FOOT IT IN. An order to stow the bunt of a sail snugly in furling, executed by the bunt-men dancing it in, holding on by the topsail-tye. Frequently when a bunt-jigger has parted men have fallen on deck.

FOOT-RAILS. Narrow mouldings raised on a vessel's stern.

FOOT-ROPE. The rope to which the lower edge of a sail is sewed. (See Bolt-rope.)

FOOT-ROPES. Those stretching under the yards and jib-booms for the men to stand on; they are the same with horses of the yards (which see).

FOOT-SPACE-RAIL. The rail that terminates the foot of the balcony, in which the balusters step, if there be no pedestal rail.

FOOT-VALVE. A flat plate of metal filling up the passage between the air-pump and condenser. The lower valve of a steam-engine situated anywhere between the bottom of the working barrel and that of the condenser.

FOOT-WALING. The inside planking or lining of a ship over the floor-timbers; it is intended to prevent any part of her ballast or cargo from falling between her floor-timbers.

FORAD. An old corruption of foreward—in the fore-part of the ship.

FORAGE. Food for horses and cattle belonging to an army. Also, the act of a military force in collecting or searching for such forage, or for subsistence or stores for the men; or, with ill-disciplined troops, for valuables in general. Land-piracy.

FORAGE-GUARD. A party detached to cover foragers, those wooding, watering, &c.

FORAY. A plundering incursion.

FOR-BY. Near to; adjacent.

FORCAT. A rest for a musket in olden times.

FORCE. A term which implies the sudden rush of water through a narrow rocky channel, and accompanied by a fall of the surface after the obstacle is passed. It is synonymous with fall. Also, the force of each ship stated agreeably to the old usage in the navy, according to the number of guns actually carried. In these days of iron-clads, turret-ships, and heavy guns, this does not give a true estimate of a ship's force. Also, the general[314] force, ships, men, soldiers, &c., engaged in any expedition; as expeditionary force.—Also, force of wind, now described by numbers, 0 being calm, 12 the heaviest gale.—To force, is to take by storm; to force a passage by driving back the enemy.—Colloquially, no force—gently.

FORCED MARCH. One in which the marching power of the troops is forced or exerted beyond the ordinary limit.

FORCED MEN. Those serving in pirate vessels, but who refused to sign articles.

FORCER. The piston of a forcing-pump.

FORCES. The army collectively, or naval and military forces engaged.

FORCING-PUMP. Any pump used to force water beyond that force demanded to deliver at its level, as fire-engines, &c.

FORD. The shallow part of a river, where troops may pass without injuring their arms.

FORE. The distinguishing character of all that part of a ship's frame and machinery which lies near the stem, or in that direction, in opposition to aft or after. Boarders to the fore—advance!

FORE-AND-AFT. From head to stern throughout the ship's whole length, or from end to end; it also implies in a line with the keel; and is the opposite of athwart-ships, which is from side to side.

FORE-AND-AFTER. A cocked hat worn with the peak in front instead of athwart. Also, a very usual term for a schooner with only fore-and-aft sails, even when she has a crossjack-yard whereon to set a square-sail when occasion requires.

FORE-AND-AFT SAILS. Jibs, staysails, and gaff-sails; in fact, all sails which are not set to yards. They extend from the centre line to the lee side of a ship or boat, so set much flatter than square-sails.

FORE-BAY. A rising at a lock-gate flooring. Also, the galley or the sick-bay.

FORE-BODY. An imaginary figure of that part of the ship afore the midships or dead-flat, as seen from ahead.

FORE-BOWLINE. The bowline of the fore-sail.

FORE-BRACES. Ropes applied to the fore yard-arms to change the position of the fore-sail occasionally.

FORECAST. A storm warning, or reasonable prediction of a gale from the inferences of observed meteorological instruments and phenomena.

FORECASTLE. Once a short deck placed in the fore-part of a ship above the upper deck; it was usually terminated, both before and behind, in vessels of war by a breast-work, the foremost part forming the top of the beak-head, and the hind part, of the fore-chains. It is now applied in men-of-war to that part of the upper deck forward of the after fore-shroud, or main-tack block, and which is flush with the quarter-deck and gangways. Also, a forward part of a merchantman under the deck, where the seamen live on a platform. Some vessels have a short raised deck forward, which is called a top-gallant forecastle; it extends from the bow to abaft the fore-mast, which it includes.[315]

FORECASTLE-DECK. The fore-part of the upper deck at a vessel's bows.

FORECASTLE-JOKES. Practical tricks played upon greenhorns.

FORECASTLE-MEN. Sailors who are stationed on the forecastle, and are generally, or ought to be, prime seamen.

FORECASTLE-NETTINGS. See Hammock-nettings.

FORECASTLE-RAIL. The rail extended on stanchions across the after-part of the forecastle-deck in some ships.

FORE CAT-HARPINGS. See Cat-harpings.

FORE-COCKPIT. See Cockpit.

FORE-COURSE. The fore-sail (which see).

FORE-DECK. That part from the fore-mast to the bows.

FORE-FINGER, or Index-finger. The pointing finger, which was called shoot-finger by the Anglo-Saxons, from its use in archery, and is now the trigger-finger from its duty in gunnery. (See Shoot-finger.)

FORE-FOOT. The foremost piece of the keel, or a timber which terminates the keel at the forward extremity, and forms a rest for the stem's lower end; it is connected by a scarph to the extremity of the keel, and the other end of it, which is incurvated upwards into a sort of knee, is attached to the lower end of the stem; it is also called a gripe. As the lower arm of the fore-foot lies on the same level with the keel, so the upper one coincides with the middle line of the stem; its breadth and thickness therefore correspond with the dimensions of those pieces, and the heel of the cut-water is scarphed to its upper end. Also, an imaginary line of the ship's course or direction.

FORE-GANGER of the Chain Bower Cables. Is a length of 15 fathoms of stouter chain, in consequence of greater wear and tear near the anchor, and exposure to weather. Fore-ganger is also the short piece of rope immediately connecting the line with the shank of the harpoon, when spanned for killing.

FORE-GOER. The same as fore-ganger.

FORE-GRIPE. See Gripe.

FORE-GUY. A rope to the swinging-boom of the lower studding-sail.

FORE-HAMMER. The sledge-hammer which strikes the iron on the anvil first, if it be heavy work, but the hand-hammer keeps time.

FORE-HOLD. The part of the hold before the fore hatchway.

FORE-HOODS. The foremost of the outside and inside planks of a vessel.

FORE-HOOKS. The same as breast-hooks (which see).

FOREIGN. Of another country or society; a word used adjectively, being joined with divers substantives in several senses.

FOREIGN-GOING. The ships bound on oceanic voyages, as distinguished from home-traders and coasters.


FOREIGN REMITTANCE. See Wages Remitted from Abroad.

FOREIGN REMOVE-TICKET. A document for discharging men from one ship to another on foreign stations: it is drawn up in the same form as the sick-ticket (which see).[316]

FOREIGN SERVICE. Vessels or forces stationed in any part of the world out of the United Kingdom. The opposite of home service.

FORELAND. A cape or promontory projecting into the sea: as the North and South Forelands. It is nearly the same with headland, only that forelands usually form the extremes of certain lines of sea-coast. Also, a space left between the base of a canal bank, and an adjacent drainage cut or river, so as to favour the stability of the bank.

FORE-LIGHTROOM. See Light-room.

FORELOCK. A flat pointing wedge of iron, used to drive through a mortise hole in the end of a bolt, to retain it firmly in its place. The forelock is sometimes twisted round the bolt's point to prevent its drawing. Also, spring-forelock, which expands as it passes through.

FORELOCK-BOLTS. Those with an eye, into which an iron forelock is driven to retain them in place. When secured in this way, the bolt is said to be forelocked.

FORELOCKS. The pins by which the cap-squares of gun-carriages are secured.

FORE-MAGAZINE. See Magazine.

FORE-MAN AFLOAT. The dockyard officer in charge of the shipwrights working on board a ship not in dock.

FORE-MAST. The forward lower-mast in all vessels. (See Mast.)

FORE-MAST MAN. From "before the mast." A private seaman as distinguished from an officer of a ship.

FOREMOST. Anything which is nearer to the head of a ship than another.

FORE-NESS. An old term for a promontory.

FORE-PART of a Ship. The bay, or all before the fore-hatches.

FORE-PEAK. The contracted part of a vessel's hold, close to the bow; close forward under the lower deck.

FORE-RAKE. That part of the hull which rakes beyond the fore-end of the keel.

FORE-REACH, To. To shoot ahead, or go past another vessel, especially when going in stays: to sail faster, reach beyond, to gain upon.

FORERUNNER. A precursor, an avant-courier.

FORERUNNERS of the Log-line. A small piece of red bunting laid into that line at a certain distance from the log, the space between them being called the stray-line, which is usually from 12 to 15 fathoms, and is an allowance for the log to be entirely out of the ship's dead-water before they begin to estimate the ship's velocity, consequently the knots begin from that point. (See Log-line.)

FORE-SAIL. The principal sail set on the fore-mast. (See Sail.)

FORE-SHEET HORSE. An iron bar fastened at its ends athwart the deck before the mast of a sloop, for the foresail-sheet to traverse upon from side to side.

FORE-SHEETS of a Boat. The inner part of the bows, opposite to stern-sheets, fitted with gratings on which the bowman stands.[317]

FORE-SHEET TRAVELLER. An iron ring which traverses along on the fore-sheet horse of a fore-and-aft rigged vessel.

FORE-SHIP. An archaic form of forecastle of a ship; it means the fore-part of a vessel.

FORE-SHROUDS. See Shrouds.

FORE-STAFF. An instrument formerly used at sea for taking the altitudes of heavenly bodies. The fore-staff, called also cross-staff, takes its name hence, that the observer in using it turns his face towards the object, in contradistinction to the back-staff, where he turns his back to the object. The fore or cross staff consists of a straight square staff, graduated like a line of tangents, and four crosses or vanes which slide thereon. The first and shortest of these vanes is called the ten cross or vane, and belongs to that side of the instrument whereon the divisions begin at 3° and end at 10°. The next longer vane is called the thirty cross, belonging to that side of the staff on which the divisions begin at 10° and end at 30°, called the thirty scale. The next is called the sixty cross, and belongs to that side where the divisions begin at 20° and end at 60°. The last and longest, called the ninety cross, belongs to that side whereon the divisions begin at 30° and end at 90°.

FORE-STAGE. The old name for forecastle.

FORE-STAY. See Stay.

FORE-TACK. Weather tack of the fore-sail hauled to the fore-boomkin when on a wind.

FORE-TACKLE. A tackle on the fore-mast, similar to the main-tackle (which see). It is used for similar purposes, and also in stowing the anchor, &c.

FORE-THWART. The seat of the bowman in a boat.

FORE-TOP. See Top.

FORETOP-GALLANT-MAST. See Topgallant-mast, to which may be added its proper sail, yard, and studding-sail.

FORETOP-MAST. See Top-mast.

FORETOP-MEN. Men stationed in the fore-top in readiness to set or take in the smaller sails, and to keep the upper rigging in order.

FORE-TYE. See Tye.

FORE-YARD. (See Yard.) For the yards, sails, rigging, &c., of the top-mast and topgallant-mast see those two articles.

FORFEITURE. The effect or penalty of transgressing the laws.

FORGE. A portable forge is to be found in every ship which bears a rated armourer; and it can be used either on board or ashore.

FORGE AHEAD, To. To shoot ahead, as in coming to an anchor—a motion or moving forwards. A vessel forges ahead when hove-to, if the tide presses her to windward against her canvas.

FORGING OVER. The act of forcing a ship violently over a shoal, by the effort of a great quantity of sail, steam, or other manœuvre.

FORK-BEAMS. Short or half beams to support the deck where there is no framing, as in the intervention of hatchways. The abeam arm fork is[318] a curved timber scarphed, tabled, and bolted for additional security where the openings are large.

FORKERS. Those who reside in sea-ports for the sake of stealing dockyard stores, or buying them, knowing them to be stolen.

FORLORN HOPE. Officers and men detached on desperate service to make a first attack, or to be the first in mounting a breach, or foremost in storming a fortress, or first to receive the whole fire of the enemy. Forlorn-hopes was a term formerly applied to the videttes of the army. This ominous name (the enfants perdus of the French) is familiarized into a better one among soldiers, who call it the flowing-hope. Promotion is usually bestowed on the survivors.

FORMATION. The drawing up or arrangement of troops, or small-arm men, in certain orders prescribed as the basis of manœuvres in general. Also, the particulars of a ship's build.

FORMER. The gunner's term for a small cylindrical piece of wood, on which musket or pistol cartridge-cases are rolled and formed. The name is also applied to the flat piece of wood with a hole in the centre used for making wads, but which is properly form.

FORMICAS. Clusters of small rocks [from the Italian for ants]. Also, Hormigas [Sp.]



FORMS. The moulds for making wads by. (See Former.)

FORT. In fortification, an inclosed work of which every part is flanked by some other part; though the term is loosely applied to all places of strength surrounded by a rampart.

FORTALEZZA [Sp.] A fort on the coast of Brazil.

FORTALICE. A small fortress or fortlet; a bulwark or castle.

FORTH. An inlet of the sea.

FORTIFICATION. The art by which a place is so fortified that a given number of men occupying it may advantageously oppose a superior force. The same word also signifies the works that cover and defend a place. Fortification is defensive when surrounding a place so as to render it capable of defence against besiegers; and offensive when comprehending the various works for conducting a siege. It is natural when it opposes rocks, woods, marshes, ravines, &c., to impede the progress of an enemy; and artificial, when raised by human ingenuity to aid the advantages of the ground. The latter is again subdivided into permanent and field fortification: the one being constructed at leisure and of permanent materials, the other raised only for temporary purposes.

FORTIFYING. The strengthening a ship for especial emergency, by doubling planks, chocks, and additional timbers and knees, strongly secured.

FORT-MAJOR. An officer on the staff of a garrison or fortress, who has, under the commanding officer, general charge of the routine duties and of the works.[319]

FORTUNE OF WAR. The usual consolation in reverses—"Fortune de la guerre," or the chances of war.

FORTY-THIEVES. A name given to forty line-of-battle ships ordered by the Admiralty at one fell swoop, to be built by contract, towards the end of the Napoleon war, and which turned out badly. The writer served in one, the Rodney 74, which fully exposed her weakness in the first gale she experienced, and was sent home, thereby weakening the blockading fleet. Many never went to sea as ships of the line, but were converted into good frigates.

FORWARD. In the fore-part of the ship; the same as afore. Also, the word of command when troops are to resume their march after a temporary interruption.

FORWARD THERE! The hail to the forecastle.

FOSSE [Ital.] Synonymous with moat or ditch.

FOTHER [Anglo-Saxon foder]. A burden; a weight of lead equal to 191⁄2 cwts. Leaden pigs for ballast.

FOTHERING. Is usually practised to stop a leak at sea. A heavy sail, as the sprit-sail, is closely thrummed with yarn and oakum, and drawn under the bottom: the pressure of the water drives the thrumming into the apertures. If one does not succeed others are added, using all the sails rather than lose the ship.

FOUGADE, or Fougass. A small charged mine, from 6 to 8 feet under a post in danger of falling into the enemy's hands.

FOUL. Generally used in opposition to clear, and implies entangled, embarrassed, or contrary to: as "a ship ran foul of us," that is, entangled herself among our rigging. Also, to contaminate in any way.

FOUL AIR. May be generated by circumstances beyond control: decomposing fungi, timber injected with coal tar, hatches battened down, and ashes or coal washed about. Whole crews on the coast of Africa, and in the West Indies, have been thus swept away, despite every precaution. But generally it may be avoided by cleanliness.

FOUL ANCHOR. An anchor is said to be foul, or fouled, either when it hooks some impediment under water, or when the ship, by the wind shifting, entangles her slack cable a turn round the stock, or round the upper fluke thereof. The last, from its being avoidable by a sharp look-out, is termed the seaman's disgrace.

FOUL BERTH. When a ship anchors in the hawse of another she gives the latter a foul berth; or she may anchor on one tide so near as to swing foul on the change either of wind or tide.

FOUL BILL. See Bill of Health.

FOUL BOTTOM. A ship to which sea-weed, shells, or other encumbrances adhere. Also, the bottom of the sea if rocky, or unsafe from wrecks, and thence a danger of fouling the anchor.

FOUL COAST. One beset with reefs and breakers, offering dangerous impediments to navigation.

FOUL FISH. Applied to salmon in the spawning state, or such as have[320] not for the current year made their way to the sea for purification; shedders.

FOUL GROUND. Synonymous with foul bottom.

FOUL HAWSE. When a vessel is riding with two anchors out, and the cables are crossed round each other outside the stem by the swinging of the ship when moored in a tide-way. (See Elbow in the Hawse.)

FOUL ROPE. A rope entangled or unfit for immediate use.

FOUL WEATHER. That which reduces a ship to snug-sail.

FOUL-WEATHER BREEDER. A name given to the Gulf Stream from such a volume of warm water occasioning great perturbations in the atmosphere while traversing the Atlantic Ocean.

FOUL-WEATHER FLAG. Denotes danger for boats leaving the shore; watermen's fares increase with these signals.

FOUL WIND. That which prevents a ship from laying her course.

FOUNDER. The fall of portions of cliff, as along the coasts of Hampshire and Dorsetshire, occasioned by land-springs.

FOUNDER, To. To fill with water and go down.

FOUR-CANT. A rope composed of four strands.

FOWAN. The Manx term for a dry scorching wind; it is also applied by the northern fishermen to a sudden blast.

FOX. The old English broadsword. Also, a fastening formed by twisting several rope-yarns together by hand and rubbing it with hard tarred canvas; it is used for a seizing, or to weave a paunch or mat, &c. (See Spanish Fox.)

FOXEY. A defect in timber which is over-aged or has been indifferently seasoned, and gives the defective part a reddish hue. The word is very old, and meant tainted or incipient rot.

FOY. A local term for the charge made for the use of a boat.

FOYING. An employment of fishermen or seamen, who go off to ships with provisions, or to help them in distress.

FOYST. An old name for a brigantine. The early voyagers applied the name to some large barks of India, which were probably grabs.

FRACTURES. Defects in spars which run across the fibres, being short fractures marked by jagged lines. (See Sprung.)

FRAISES. Principally in field fortification, palisades placed horizontally, or nearly so, along the crest of the escarp, or sometimes of the counterscarp; being generally concealed from direct artillery fire they very materially increase the difficulty of either of those slopes to an assailant. They project some 5 feet above the surface, and are buried for about the same length in the ground.

FRAME. The outer frame timbers of a vessel consist of the keel, stem, stern-posts, and ribs, which when moulded and bolted form the frame. (See Timbers.)

FRAME of the Marine Steam-engine, is the strong supporter of the paddle-shafts and intermediate shaft; it rests on columns, and is firmly bolted to the engine bottom.[321]

FRAMES. The bends of timbers constituting the shape of the ship's body—when completed a ship is said to be in frame.

FRAME-TIMBERS. These consist of the floor-timbers, futtocks, and top-timbers; they are placed upon the keel at right angles to it, and form the bottom and sides of the ship.

FRAMING. The placing, scarphing, and bolting of the frame-timbers of a ship. (See Warping.)

FRANC. A French silver coin of the value of 91⁄2d., and consisting of 100 centimes. The 20-franc piece in gold, formerly called Louis, now Napoleon, is current for 15s. 101⁄2d. English.

FRANCESCONI. The dollars of Tuscany, in value 4s. 51⁄4d. sterling. They each consist of 10 paoli.

FRANK. The large fish-eating heron of our lakes and pools.

FRAP. A boat for shipping salt, used at Mayo, one of the Cape de Verde Islands.

FRAP, To. To bind tightly together. To pass lines round a sail to keep it from blowing loose. To secure the falls of a tackle together by means of spun yarn, rope yarn, or any lashing wound round them. To snap the finger and thumb; to beat.

FRAPPING. The act of crossing and drawing together the several parts of a tackle, or other complication of ropes, which had already been strained to a great extent; in this sense it exactly resembles the operation of bracing up a drum. The frapping increases tension, and consequently adds to the security acquired by the purchase; hence the cat-harpings were no other than frappings to the shrouds.

FRAPPING A SHIP. The act of passing four or five turns of a large cable-laid rope round a ship's hull when it is apprehended that she is not strong enough to resist the violence of the sea. This expedient is only made use of for very old ships, which their owners venture to send to sea as long as possible, insuring them deeply. Such are termed, not unaptly, floating coffins, as were also the old, 10-gun brigs, or any vessel deemed doubtful as to sea-worthiness. St. Paul's ship was "undergirded" or frapped.

FRAPPING TURNS. In securing the booms at sea the several turns of the lashings are frapped in preparation for the succeeding turns; in emergency, nailed.

FRAUDS, ACT OF. A statute of Charles II., the object of which was to meet and prevent certain practices by which the navigation laws were eluded.

FREDERIC. A Prussian gold coin, value 16s. 6d. sterling.

FREE, To.—To free a prisoner. To restore him to liberty.—To free a pump. To disengage or clear it.—To free a boat or ship. To clear it of water.

FREE. A vessel is said to be going free when the bowlines are slacked and the sheets eased; beyond this is termed large. (See Sailing Large.)

FREE-BOARD. See Plank-sheer.[322]

FREEING. The act of pumping, or otherwise throwing out the water which has leaked into a ship's bottom. When all the water is pumped or baled out, the vessel is said to be free. Said of the wind when it exceeds 67° 30′ from right-ahead.

FREE PORT. Ports open to all comers free of entry-dues, as places of call, not delivery.

FREE SHIP. A piratical term for one where it is agreed that every man shall have an equal share in all prizes.

FREE TRADER. Ships trading formerly under license to India independent of the old East India Company's charter. Also, a common woman.

FREEZE, To. To congeal water or any fluid. Thus sea-water freezes at 28° 5′ Fah.; fresh water at 32°; mercury at 39° 5′ below zero. All fluids change their degree of freezing in accordance with mixtures of alcohol or solutions of salt used for the purpose. Also, according to the atmospheric pressure; and by this law heights of mountains are measured by the boiling temperature of water.

FREIGHT. By former English maritime law it became the mother of wages, as the crew were obliged to moor the ship on her return in the docks or forfeit them. So severely was the axiom maintained, that if a ship was lost by misfortune, tempest, enemy, or fire, wages also were forfeited, because the freight out of which they were to arise had perished with it. This harsh measure was intended to augment the care of the seamen for the welfare of the ship, but no longer holds, for by the merchant shipping act it is enacted that no right of wages shall be dependent on the earning of freight; in cases of wreck, however, proof that a man has not done his utmost bars his claim. Also, for the burden or lading of a ship. (See Dead-freight.) Also, a duty of 50 sols per ton formerly paid to the government of France by the masters of foreign vessels going in or out of the several ports of that kingdom. All vessels not built in France were accounted foreign unless two-thirds of the crew were French. The Dutch and the Hanse towns were exempted from this duty of freight.—To freight a vessel, means to employ her for the carriage of goods and passengers.

FREIGHT of a Ship. The hire, or part thereof, usually paid for the carriage and conveyance of goods by sea; or the sum agreed upon between the owner and the merchant for the hire and use of a vessel, at the rate of so much for the voyage, or by the month, or per ton.

FREIGHTER. The party who hires a vessel or part of a vessel for the carriage of goods.

FREIGHTING. A letting out of vessels on freight or hire; one of the principal practices in the trade of the Dutch.

FRENCH FAKE. A name for what is merely a modification of the Flemish coil, both being extremely good for the object, that is, when a rope has to be let go suddenly, and is required to run freely. Fake, in contradistinction to long coil is, run a rope backward and forward in one-fathom[323] bends, beside each other, so that it may run free, as in rocket-lines, to communicate with stranded vessels. (See Flemish Fake.)

FRENCH LAKE. A soubriquet for the Mediterranean.

FRENCH LEAVE. Being absent without permission.

FRENCHMAN. Formerly a term among sailors for every stranger or outlandish man.

FRENCH SHROUD-KNOT. The shroud-knot with three strands single walled round the bights of the other three and the standing part. (See Shroud-knot.)

FRENCH THE BALLAST. A term used for freshen the ballast.

FRESCA. Fresh water, or rain, and land floods; old term.

FRESH. When applied to the wind, signifies strong, but not violent; hence an increasing gale is said to freshen. (See Force.) Also used for sweet; as, fresh water. Also, bordering on intoxication; excited with drinking. Also, an overflowing or flood from rivers and torrents after heavy rains or the melting of mountain snows. Also, an increase of the stream in a river. Also, the stream of a river as it flows into the sea. The fresh sometimes extends out to sea for several miles, as off Surinam, and many other large rivers.

FRESH BREEZE. A brisk wind, to which a ship, according to its stability, carries double or treble or close-reefed top-sails, &c. This is a very peculiar term, dependent on the stability of the ship, her management, and how she is affected by it, on a wind or before it. It is numbered 6. Thus, a ship running down the trades, with studding-sails set, had registered "moderate and fine;" she met with a superior officer, close-hauled under close-reefed top-sails and courses, was compelled to shorten sail, and lower her boat; the log was then marked "fresh breezes."

FRESHEN, To. To relieve a rope of its strain, or danger of chafing, by shifting or removing its place of nip.

FRESHEN HAWSE, To. To relieve that part of the cable which has for some time been exposed to friction in one of the hawse-holes, when the ship rolls and pitches at anchor in a high sea; this is done by applying fresh service to the cable within board, and then veering it into the hawse. (See Service, Keckling, or Rounding.)

FRESHEN THE BALLAST. Divide or separate it, so as to alter its position.

FRESHEN THE NIP, To. To veer a small portion of cable through the hawse-hole, or heave a little in, in order to let another part of it bear the stress and friction. A common term with tipplers, especially after taking the meridian observation.

FRESHEN WAY. When the ship feels the increasing influence of a breeze. Also, when a man quickens his pace.

FRESHES. Imply the impetuosity of an ebb tide, increased by heavy rains, and flowing out into the sea, which it often discolours to a considerable distance from the shore, as with the Nile, the Congo, the Mississippi, the Indus, the Ganges, the Rhone, Surinam, [324]&c.

FRESHET. A word long used for pools or ponds, when swollen after rain or temporary inundations. It is also applied to a pond supplied by a spring.

FRESH GALE. A more powerful wind than a fresh breeze (which see).

FRESH GRUB. The refreshments obtained in harbour.

FRESH HAND AT THE BELLOWS. Said when a gale freshens suddenly.

FRESH SHOT. A river swollen by rain or tributaries; it also signifies the falling down of any great river into the sea, by which fresh water is often to be found on the surface a good way from the mouth of the river.

FRESH SPELL. Men coming to relieve a gang at work.

FRESH WATER. Water fit to drink, in opposition to sea or salt water; now frequently obtained at sea by distillation. (See Iceberg.)

FRESH-WATER JACK. The same as fresh-water sailor.

FRESH-WATER SAILOR. An epithet for a green hand, of whom an old saying has it, "whose shippe was drowned in the playne of Salsbury."

FRESH-WATER SEAS. A name given to the extensive inland bodies of fresh water in the Canadas. Of these, Lake Superior is upwards of 1500 miles in circuit, with a depth of 70 fathoms near the shores, while Michigan and Huron are almost as prodigious; even Erie is 600 miles round, and Ontario near 500, and Nepigon, the head of the system geographically, though the least important at present commercially, but just now partially explored, is fully 400. Their magnitude, however, appears likely to be rivalled geographically by the lakes lately discovered in Central Africa, the Victoria Nyanza and the Albert Nyanza.

FRESH WAY. Increased speed through the water; a ship is said to "gather fresh way" when she has tacked, or hove-to, and then fills her sails.

FRET. A narrow strait of the sea, from fretum.

FRET, To. To chafe.

FRET of Wind. A squally flaw.

FRETTUM, or Frectum. The freight of a ship, or freight-money.

FRETUM BRITANNICUM. A term used in our ancient writings for the Straits of Dover.

FRIAR-SKATE. The Raia oxyrinchus, or sharp-nosed ray.

FRICTION-ROLLER. A cylinder of hard wood, or metal, with a concave surface, revolving on an axis, used to lessen the friction of a rope which is passed over it. Friction-rollers are a late improvement in the sheaves of blocks, &c., by which the pin is relieved of friction by three rollers in the coak, placed equilaterally.

FRICTION-TUBE. The means of firing a gun most in favour at present in the British service; ignition is caused by the friction on sudden withdrawal of a small horizontal metal bar from the detonating priming in the head of the tube.

FRIDAY. The dies infaustus, on which old seamen were desirous of not getting under weigh, as ill-omened.[325]

FRIEZE-PANEL. The lower part of a gun-port.

FRIEZING. The ornamental carving or painting above the drift-rails, and likewise round the stern or the bow.

FRIGATE. In the Royal Navy, the next class vessel to a ship of the line; formerly a light nimble ship built for the purpose of sailing swiftly. The name was early known in the Mediterranean, and applied to a long kind of vessel, navigated in that sea, with sails and oars. The English were the first who appeared on the ocean with these ships, and equipped them for war as well as for commerce. These vessels mounted from 28 to 60 guns, and made excellent cruisers. Frigate is now apocryphal, being carried up to 7000 tons. The donkey-frigate was a late invention to serve patronage, and sprigs of certain houses were educated in them. They carried 28 guns, carronades, and were about 600 tons burden, commanded by captains who sometimes found a commander in a sloop which could blow him out of water.—Frigate is also the familiar name of the membranous zoophyte, Physalia pelagica, or Portuguese man-of-war.

FRIGATE-BIRD. Tachypetes aquila, a sea-bird generally seen in the tropics. It seems to live on the wing, is partially web-footed, and only visits the land at breeding time.

FRIGATE-BUILT. The disposition of the decks of such merchant ships as have a descent of some steps from the quarter-deck and forecastle into the waist, in contradistinction to those whose decks are on a continued line for the whole length of the ship, which are called galley-built. (See Decks.)

FRIGATOON. A Venetian vessel, commonly used in the Adriatic, built with a square stern, and with only a main-mast, jigger mizen-mast, and bowsprit. Also applied to a ship sloop-of-war.

FRINGING REEFS. Narrow fringes of coral formation, at a greater or less distance from the shore, according to the slopes of the land.

FRISKING. The wind freshening.

FRITH. Derived from fretum maris, a narrow strait: an arm of the sea into which a river flows. Synonymous with firth (which see).

FRITTERS. Tendinous fibres of the whale's blubber, running in various directions, and connecting the cellular substance which contains the oil. They are what remains after the oil has been tried out, and are used as fuel to try out the next whale.

FROG. An old term for a seaman's coat or frock.

FROG-BELT. A baldrick (which see).

FROG-FISH. See Fishing-frog.

FROG-LANDERS. Dutchmen in colloquial language.

FROG-PIKE. A female pike, so called from its period of spawning being late, contemporary with the frogs.

FRONT. The foremost rank of a battalion, squadron, file, or other body of men.—To front, to face.

FRONTAGE. The length or face of a wharf.

FRONTIER. The limits or borders of a country.[326]

FRONT OF FORTIFICATION. The whole system of works included between the salient angles, or the capitals prolonged, of any two neighbouring bastions.

FROSTED STEEL. The damasked sword-blades.

FROST-FISH. A small fish, called also tommy-cod; in North America they are taken in large quantities in the depth of winter by fishing through holes cut in the ice.

FROST-RIME. See Frost-smoke.

FROST-SMOKE. A thick mist in high latitudes, arising from the surface of the sea when exposed to a temperature much below freezing; when the vapours as they rise are condensed either into a thick fog, or, with the thermometer about zero, hug the water in eddying white wreaths. The latter beautiful form is called in North America a "barber," probably from its resemblance to soap-suds.

FROTH. See Foam.

F.R.S. The sigla denoting a Fellow of the Royal Society.

FRUMENTARIÆ. The ancient vessels which supplied the Roman markets with corn.

FRUSH. A northern term for wood that is apt to splinter and break.

FRY. Young fishes.

FUCUS MAXIMUS. An enormous sea-weed, growing abundantly round the coasts of Tristan d'Acunha, and perhaps the most exuberant of the vegetable tribe. Said to rise from a depth of many fathoms, and to spread over a surface of several hundred feet, it being very tenacious.

FUDDLED. Not quite drunk, but unfit for duty.

FUELL. An old nautical word signifying an opening between two headlands, having no bottom in sight.

FU-FU. A well-known sea-dish of barley and treacle, in merchant ships.

FUGITIVES over the Sea. By old statutes, now obsolete, to depart this realm without the king's license incurred forfeiture of goods; and masters of ships carrying such persons beyond seas, forfeited their vessels.

FUGLEMAN, or more properly Flugelman. A corporal, or active adept, who exhibits the time for each motion at the word of command, to enable soldiers, marines, and small-arm men to act simultaneously.

FULCRUM. The prop or support of a lever in lifting or removing a heavy body.

FULL. The state of the sails when the wind fills them so as to carry the vessel ahead.

FULL AND BY. Sailing close-hauled on a wind; when a ship is as close as she will lie to the wind, without suffering the sails to shiver; hence keep her full is the order to the helmsman not to incline too much to windward, and thereby shake the sails, which would retard the ship's velocity.

FULL BASTION. In fortification, is a bastion whereof the terreplein, or terrace in rear of the parapet, is extended at nearly the same level over the whole of its interior space.[327]

FULL-BOTTOMED. An epithet to signify such vessels as are designed to carry large cargoes.

FULL DRIVE. Fully direct; impetuous violence.

FULL DUE. For good; for ever; complete; belay.

FULLER. The fluting groove of a bayonet.

FULL FEATHER. Attired in best dress or full uniform.

FULL FOR STAYS! The order to keep the sails full to preserve the velocity, assisting the action of the rudder in tacking ship.

FULL MAN. A rating in coasters for one receiving whole pay, as being competent to all his duties; able seaman.

FULL MOON. When her whole illuminated surface is turned towards us; she is then in opposition, or diametrically opposite, to the sun.

FULL PAY. The stipend allowed when on actual service.

FULL RETREAT. When an army, or any body of men, retire with all expedition before a conquering enemy.

FULL REVETMENT. In fortification, that form of retaining wall which is carried right up to the top of the mass retained, leaving no exterior slope above it; the term is principally used with reference to the faces of ramparts.

FULL SAILS. The sails well set, and filled by the wind.

FULL SEA. High water.

FULL SPEED! A self-explanatory order to the engineer of a steamer to get his engine into full play.

FULL SPREAD. All sail set.

FULL SWING. Having full power delegated; complete control.

FULMAR. A web-footed sea-bird, Procellaria glacialis, of the petrel kind, larger than the common gull; its eggs are taken in great quantity at St. Kilda and in the Shetlands.

FUMADO. A commercial name of the pilchard, when garbaged, salted, smoked, pressed, and packed.

FUMBLE-FISTED. Awkward in catching a turn, or otherwise handling a rope.

FUMIGATE, To. To purify confined or infectious air by means of smoke, sulphuric acid, vinegar, and other correctives.

FUMIGATION-LAMP. An invention for purifying the air in hospital-ships and close places.

FUNERAL HONOURS. Obsequies with naval or military ceremonies.

FUNGI. An almost incalculably numerous order of plants growing on dead vegetable matter, and often produced on a ship's lining by long-continued damp.

FUNK. Touch-wood. Also nervousness, cowardice, or being frightened.—To funk. To blow the smoke of tobacco.

FUNNEL. An iron tube used where necessary for carrying off smoke. The cylindrical appendages to the furnaces of a steam-ship: the funnel is fastened on the top of the steam-chest, where the flues for both boilers meet. Also, the excavation formed by the explosion of a mine. Also,[328] in artillery, a cup-shaped funnel of leather, with a copper spout, for filling powder into shells.

FUNNEL-STAYS. The ropes or chains by which the smoke-funnel is secured in a steam-ship.

FUNNY. A light, clinker-built, very narrow pleasure-boat for sculling, i.e. rowing a pair of sculls. The stem and stern are much alike, both curved. The dimensions are variable, from 20 to 30 feet in length, according to the boat being intended for racing purposes (for which they are mostly superseded by wager-boats), or for carrying one or more sitters.

FUR. The indurated sediment sometimes found in neglected ships' boilers. (See Furring.)

FURL, To. To roll up and bind a sail neatly upon its respective yard or boom.

FURLING. Wrapping or rolling a sail close up to the yard, stay, or mast, to which it belongs, by hauling on the clue-lines and buntlines, and winding a gasket or cord about it, to fasten it thereto and secure it snugly.

FURLING IN A BODY. A method of rolling up a top-sail only practised in harbour, by gathering all the loose part of the sail into the top, about the heel of the top-mast, whereby the yard appears much thinner and lighter than when the sail is furled in the usual manner, which is sometimes termed, for distinction sake, furling in the bunt. It is often practised to point the yards, the earings and robins let go, and the whole sail bunted in the top, and covered with tarpaulins.

FURLING-LINE. Denotes a generally flat cord called a gasket. In bad weather, with a weak crew, the top-sail is brought under control by passing the top-mast studding-sail halliards round and round all, from the yard-arm to the bunt; then furling is less dangerous.

FURLOUGH. A granted leave of absence.

FURNACE. The fire-place of a marine boiler.

FURNITURE. The rigging, sails, spars, anchors, cables, boats, tackle, provisions, and every article with which a ship is fitted out. The insurance risk may continue on them when put on shore, during a repair.

FUROLE. The luminous appearance called the corpo santo (which see).

FURRENS. Fillings: those pieces supplying the deficiency of the timber in the moulding-way.

FURRING. Doubling planks on a ship. Also, a furring in the ship's frame.—Furring the boilers, in a steamer, cleaning off the incrustation or sediment which forms on their inner surfaces.

FURROW. The groove or rabbet of a screw; the breech-sight or notch cut on the base-ring of a gun, and also on the swell of the muzzle, by which the piece is laid.

FURTHER ORDERS. These are often impedimenta to active service.

FURTHER PROOF. In prize matters, a privilege, where the court is not satisfied with that originally produced, by which it is allowed to state circumstances affecting it.[329]

FURUBE. A fish taken in the Japanese seas, and considered to be dangerously poisonous.

FURZE. Brushwood, prepared for breaming.

FUSIL. Formerly a light musket with which sergeants of infantry and some particular regiments were armed.

FUSILIERS. Originally those regiments armed with fusils, by whom, though the weapon is obsolete, the title is retained as a distinction.

FUST. A low but capacious armed vessel, propelled with sails and oars, which formerly attended upon galleys; a scampavia, barge, or pinnace.

FUSTICK. In commerce, a dyewood brought principally from the West Indies and Spanish Main.

FUTTLING. A word meaning foot-waling (which see).

FUTTOCK-HEAD. In ship-building, is a name for the 5th, the 7th, and the 9th diagonals, the intervening bevellings being known as sirmarks.

FUTTOCK-HOLES. Places through the top-rim for the futtock-plates.

FUTTOCK-PLANK. The first plank of the ceiling next the kelson; the limber-strake.

FUTTOCK-PLATES. Iron plates with dead-eyes, crossing the sides of the top-rim perpendicularly. The dead-eyes of the top-mast rigging are set up to their upper ends or dead-eyes, and the futtock-shrouds hook to their lower ends.

FUTTOCK-RIDERS. When a rider is lengthened by means of pieces batted or scarphed to it and each other, the first piece is termed the first futtock-rider, the next the second futtock-rider, and so on.

FUTTOCKS, or Foot-hooks. The separate pieces of timber which compose the frame. There are four futtocks (component parts of the rib), and occasionally five, to a ship. The timbers that constitute her breadth—the middle division of a ship's timbers, or those parts which are situated between the floor and the top timbers—separate timbers which compose the frame. Those next the keel are called ground-futtocks or navel-timbers, and the rest upper futtocks.

FUTTOCK-SHROUDS, or Foot-hook Shrouds. Are short pieces of rope or chain which secure the lower dead-eyes and futtock-plates of top-mast rigging to a band round a lower mast.

FUTTOCK-STAFF. A short piece of wood or iron, seized across the upper part of the shrouds at equal distances, to which the cat-harping legs are secured.


FUZE. Formerly called also fuzee. The adjunct employed with shells for igniting the bursting charge at the required moment. Time-fuzes, prepared with some composition burning at a known rate, are cut or set to a length proportionate to the time which the shell is destined to occupy in its flight; concussion and percussion fuzes ignite the charge on impact on the object: the former by the dislocation of some of its parts throwing open new passages for its flame, and the latter by the action of various mechanism on its inner priming of detonating composition. They are[330] made either of wood or of metal, and of various form and size according to the kind of ordnance they are intended for. Time-fuzes of special manufacture are also applied to igniting the charges of mines, subaqueous blasts, &c.

FUZZY. Not firm or sound in substance.

FYKE. A large bow-net used on the American coasts for taking the shad; hence called shad-fykes. Also, the Medusa cruciata, or Medusa's head.

FYRDUNG [the Anglo-Saxon fyrd ung, military service]. This appears on our statutes for inflicting a penalty on those who evaded going to war at the king's command.

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