M to S


MAASH. A large trading vessel of the Nile.

MACE. A war-club of old.

MACHICOULIS. A projecting gallery over gateways, or walls insufficiently flanked: being open at the bottom between its supporting corbels, it allows of defending the foot of the wall.

MACKEREL. The Scomber vulgaris, a well-known sea-fish.

MACKEREL-BOAT. A stout clinch-worked vessel, with a large fore-sail, sprit-sail, and mizen.[462]

MACKEREL-SKY. See Cirro-cumulus.

MACKEREL-STURE. A northern name for the tunny, Scomber thynnus.

MACULÆ. Dark temporary spots which are very frequently observed upon the sun's disc: they are of various forms, surrounded by a lighter shade or penumbra.

MAD. The state of a compass needle, the polarity of which has been injured.

MADDY, or Maddie. A large species of mussel abundant among the rocks of the western islands of Scotland and Wales.

MADE. A professional term for having obtained a commission, or being promoted. Also, in some points synonymous with built. (See Made Masts, &c.)

MADE-EYE. Synonymous with Flemish eye (which see).

MADE MASTS. The large masts made in several pieces. A ship's lower mast is a made spar; her top-mast is a whole spar.—Made block is one having its shell composed of different pieces.

MADRIERS. Long and broad planks, used for supporting the earth in mining. Also, an old term for sheathing.

MAGAZINE. A place built for the safe-keeping of ammunition; afloat it is confined to a close room, in the fore or after part, or both, of a ship's hold, as low down as possible; it is lighted occasionally by means of candles fixed in the light-room adjoining it, and no person is allowed to enter it with a lamp or candle. (See Light-room.)

MAGELLANIC CLOUDS. A popular term for the two Nubeculæ, or great cloudy-looking spots in the southern heavens, which are found to consist of a vast number of nebulæ and clusters of stars.

MAGELLAN JACKET. A name given to a watch-coat with a hood, worn in high latitudes—first used by Cook's people.

MAGGED. Worn, fretted, and stretched rope, as a magged brace. Also, reproved.

MAGNET. See Compass.

MAGNETIC AMPLITUDE. The angle between the east or west point of a compass and any heavenly body at its rising or setting.

MAGNETIC AZIMUTH. An arc of the horizon intercepted between the azimuth circle of a celestial object and the magnetic meridian.

MAGNETIC COMPENSATOR. An iron plate fixed near the compass, to neutralize the effect of local attraction upon the needle.

MAGNETIC NEEDLE. Applied to theodolites, ships' compasses, &c. A balanced needle, highly magnetized, which points to the magnetic pole, when not influenced by the local attraction of neighbouring iron. The magnetism may be discharged by blows, or a fall; hence, after an action at sea, the needles are often found to be useless, until re-magnetized.

MAGNETIC STORM. An extraordinary magnetic action indicated by delicate magnetometers in a magnetic observatory, not perceptible on ordinary magnets.

MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH. An instrument for communicating messages by means of magnetism.[463]

MAGNITUDE OF AN ECLIPSE. The proportion which the eclipsed part of the surface of the sun or moon bears to the diameter; it is sometimes expressed in digits, but more frequently as a decimal, the diameter being taken as unity.

MAGNITUDES OF STARS. The relative degrees of apparent size in which the fixed stars are arranged, and classed according to the intensity of their light. The first six classes, designated by Greek letters, include all those which are distinctly visible to the naked eye.

MAHONE, Mahonna, or Maon. A former Turkish flat-bottomed vessel of burden, mentioned among the ships of Soliman Pasha, in the siege of Diu.

MAID. A coast name of the skate.

MAIDEN. A fortress which has never been taken.

MAIL. A coat of armour. Also, a number of rings interwoven net-wise, and used for rubbing off the loose hemp from white cordage after it is made.

MAIL-SHELL. A name for the chiton.

MAIN. A continent or mainland. Also, figuratively, the ocean.

MAIN-BODY. The body of troops that marches between the advance-guard and the rear-guard of an army.

MAIN-BOOM. The spar which stretches the foot of the boom-mainsail in a fore-and-aft rigged vessel.

MAIN-BRACE. A purchase attached to the main-yard for trimming it to the wind.

MAIN-BREADTH. The broadest part of a ship at any particular timber or frame, distinguished by upper and lower heights of breadth lines.

MAIN-CAPSTAN. The after one, as distinguished from the jeer-capstan.

MAIN-COURSE. The main-sail.

MAIN-GUARD. The principal guard of a garrison town, usually posted in the place-of-arms, or the market-place.

MAIN-HOLD. That part of a ship's hold which lies near the main-hatch.

MAIN-ICE. A body of impenetrable ice apparently detached from the land, but immovable; between which and the land are lanes of water.

MAIN-JEERS. Jeers for swaying up the main-yard.

MAIN-KEEL. The principal keel, as distinguished from the false-keel and the keelson.

MAIN-PIECE. The strong horizontal beam of the windlass, supported at the ends by iron spindles in the windlass-bitts.

MAIN-PIECE of the Rudder. The rudder-stock, or piece which is connected by the rudder-bands to the stern-post.

MAIN-POST. The stern-post, as distinguished from the false-post and inner-post.

MAIN ROYAL-MAST. That above the main topgallant-mast.

MAIN-SAIL. This, in a square-rigged vessel, is distinguished by the so-termed square main-sail; in a fore-and-aft rigged vessel it obtains the name of boom main-sail. Brigs carry both.[464]

MAIN-SAIL HAUL! The order given to haul the after-yards round when the ship is nearly head to wind in tacking.

MAIN-SHAFT. The principal shaft in machinery.

MAINSHEET-HORSE. A kind of iron dog fixed at the middle of a wooden beam, stretching across a craft's stern, from one quarter stanchion to the other; on it the mainsheet-block travels.

MAIN-SPRING. The source of continuous motion in a time-keeper. Also, that part of a musket-lock which is sunk into the stock.

MAIN-STAYSAIL. A storm-sail set between the fore and main masts.

MAIN-TACK BLOCK. A block forming part of the purchase used for hauling the main-tack down to.

MAIN-TACKLE. A large and strong tackle, hooked occasionally upon the main pendant, and used for various purposes, particularly in securing the mast, by setting up the rigging, stays, &c.

MAIN-TACKLE PENDANT. A stout piece of rope with a hook in one end, and a thimble in the other, sometimes used for hauling the main-tackle down.

MAIN-TOP BOWLINE. The bowline of the main-topsail. It is used to haul the weather-leech forward when on a wind, which makes the sail stand better.

MAIN-TOPSAIL HAUL! The order used instead of main-sail haul, when the main-sail is not set.

MAIN-TRANSOM. A term often applied to the wing-transom (which see).

MAIN-WALES. The lower wales, which are generally placed on the lower breadth, and so that the main-deck knee-bolts may come into them.

MAIN-YARD MEN. Those in the doctor's list.

MAISTER. See Master.

MAIZE. Indian corn, an article of extensive commerce in many countries. In Italy it is called Turkey grain and grano d'India; in America simply corn, all other grains retaining their distinctive names.

MAJOR. The next rank below that of lieutenant-colonel; the junior field-officer.

MAJOR AXIS. In the orbit of a planet, means the line joining its aphelion and perihelion.

MAJOR-GENERAL. The next in rank below the lieutenant-general.

MAJOR OF BRIGADE. See Brigade-major.

MAKE, To. Is variously applied in sea-language.


MAKE A LANE THERE! The order of the boatswain for the crew to separate at muster, to facilitate the approach of any one whose name is called. (See Lane.)

MAKE BAD WEATHER, To. A ship rolling, pitching, or leaking violently in a gale.

MAKE FAST. A word generally used for tying or securing ropes. To fasten.[465]

MAKE FREE WITH THE LAND, To. To approach the shore closely.

MAKE HEAD-WAY. A ship makes head-way when she advances through the water.

MAKE IT SO. The order of a commander to confirm the time, sunrise, noon, or sunset, reported to him by the officer of the watch.

MAKE LEE-WAY, To. To drift to leeward of the course.

MAKE READY! Be prepared.

MAKES. This expresses coming on; as, the tide makes, &c.

MAKE SAIL, To. To increase the quantity of sail already set, either by letting out reefs, or by setting additional sails.

MAKE STERN-WAY, To. To retreat, or move stern foremost.

MAKE THE LAND, To. To see it from a distance after a voyage.

MAKE WATER, To. Usually signifies the act of a ship leaking, unless the epithet foul be added. (See Foul Water.)

MAKING IRON. One of the caulker's tools; it has a groove in it, and is used after the caulking iron to finish off the seam. (See Meaking.)

MAKING OFF. Cutting the flensed blubber of a whale into pieces, fitted to pass in at the bilge-holes of the butts which receive it.

MALA FIDES. In admiralty law, not to be presumed, even under concealment of letters, or deviation from truth in formal papers.

MALDUCK. One of the names given to the fulmar, Procellaria glacialis.

MALKIN. A joint-staff sponge, for cleaning out a piece of ordnance.

MALINGERER [Fr. malingre]. One who counterfeits illness for the purpose of avoiding duty.

MALLARD. The male of the wild duck (Anas boschas).

MALLEMAK, or Mollymauk. A sea-bird; the Procellaria glacialis, called also fulmar (which see).

MALLEMAROKING. The visiting and carousing of seamen in the Greenland ships.

MALLET. A wooden hammer, of which there are several sorts.—A caulking mallet is employed to drive the oakum into the seams of a ship. The head of this mallet is long, cylindrical, and hooped with iron.—Serving mallet. A cylindrical piece of wood with a groove on one side and a handle on the other. It is used in serving the rigging, binding the spun yarn more firmly about it than could be done by hand.

MALLOW. A northern name for the sea-plant Zostera marina.

MALTHA. Mineral pitch.

MAN. A ship is frequently spoken of as man; as man-of-war, merchantman, Guineaman, East or West Indiaman, Greenlandman, &c.

MAN, To. To provide a competent number of hands for working and fighting a ship; to place people for duty, as "Man the barge;" "Man the capstan;" "Man the yards," &c.

MAN, Isle of, Battery. A name given to the three guns mounted on ships' turrets.

MANACLE. A handcuff.[466]

MANARVEL, To. To pilfer small stores.

MANATEE, Manati, or Sea-cow (Manatus americanus). A herbivorous aquatic animal of the order Sirenia, found in the West Indies and South American rivers. Another species (Manatus senegalensis) inhabits the west coast of Africa.

MAN-BOUND. Detained in port in consequence of being short of complement.

MAN-BROKER. Synonymous with crimp (which see).

MANBY'S MORTAR. An efficient apparatus for throwing a shell with a line and chain attached to it, over a stranded vessel, and thereby opening a communication between the wreck and the shore.

MANCHE of Mangalore. A flat-bottomed boat of burden, about 25 to 35 feet long, 6 or 7 feet broad, and 4 or 5 feet deep, for landing the cargoes of the patamars, which are discharged and loaded at the mouth of the river. These boats are sewed together like the Masulah boats of Madras.—The Manché of Calicut is very similar to the foregoing, with the exception of a raking stem for the purpose of taking the beach.

MANCHINEEL. Hippomane mancinella, a tree which grows to a vast size on the coasts of the Caribbee Isles and neighbouring continent. The fruit and sap are highly poisonous; but sleeping beneath the branches does not cause death, as was erroneously supposed.

MANDARIN. A Portuguese word derived from mandare, "to command." It is unknown to the Chinese and Tonquinese, who style their dignitaries "quahn."

MANDILION. A loose boat-cloak of former times.

MANDRIL. A wooden cylinder for forming paper cartridges.

MANGER. A small berthing in the bows, extending athwart the deck of a ship-of-war immediately within the hawse-holes, and separated on the after-part from the rest of the deck by the manger-board, a strong coaming rather higher than the hawse-holes, serving to prevent the ingress of the sea when the cables are bent; this water is returned to the sea through the manger-scuppers, which are made large for that purpose.

MANGONEL. An ancient military engine in the form of a gigantic cross-bow, discharging large darts and stones, used in battering fortified places: a kind of ballista.

MANGONIZE, To. To traffic in slaves.

MAN-HANDLE, To. To move by force of men, without levers or tackles.

MAN-HOLE. The aperture, secured by a door, in the upper part of a steam-boiler, which allows a person to enter for repairing it or removing the deposit or crust of salt.

MAN-HUNTING. The impress service.

MANIFEST. An official inventory of the cargo of a merchant ship, specifying the name and tonnage of the vessel, the description of goods, the names of shippers and consignees, and the marks of each package.

MANILLA ROPE. A valuable cordage made in the Philippines, which, not being subject to rot, does not require to be tarred.[467]

MANIPLE. A small armed party; a term derived from the subdivision of a Roman cohort.

MANŒUVRE. A dexterous management of anything connected with the ship.

MAN-OF-WAR. Any vessel in the royal navy.

MAN-OF-WAR BIRD, or Frigate Bird. Fregata aquila, a sea-bird of the family Pelecanidæ, found in the tropics, remarkable for the length of its wings and rapidity of its flight.

MAN-OF-WAR FASHION. A state of order, tidiness, and good discipline.

MAN-OF-WAR'S MAN. A seaman belonging to the royal navy.

MANOMETER. A steam-gauge.

MAN OVERBOARD! A cry which excites greater activity in a ship than any other, from the anxious desire to render assistance.

MAN SHIP! Is to range the people on the yards and rigging in readiness to give three cheers, as a salute on meeting, parting company, or other occasions; a good old custom now slackening. In war, as instanced by the Nymphe and Cleopatra, the meeting of enemies was truly chivalrous; though there was a case where the response was so moderated as to be laughed at as "a cheer with the chill on."

MANSIONS OF THE MOON. See Lunar Mansions.

MANTILLIS. A kind of shield anciently fixed upon the tops of ships as a cover for archers.

MANTLETS. Large movable musket-proof blinds used by besiegers at the head of a sap, now mostly fitted to embrasures to protect the gunners from sharpshooters: they are best when made of plaited rope.

MANUAL-EXERCISE. The regulated series of motions for handling and carrying the musket, except what is connected with firing it.

MANUBALIST. A stout cross-bow.

MANXMAN. A seaman or native of the Isle of Man.

MANZERA. A vessel used in the Adriatic for carrying cattle.

MAON. See Mahone.

MAR. Latin mare, the sea: a prefix, as Margate, the sea-way, &c.

MARABUT. A sail which galleys hoisted in bad weather. Also, small edifices on Barbary headlands, occupied by a priest.

MARCHES. Borders or confines of a country, as the marches of Ancona, &c.

MARCHING ORDER. A soldier fully equipped with arms, ammunition, and a portion of his kit, carries from 30 to 35 lbs. In service marching order, by the addition of provisions and some campaigning necessaries, he carries nearly 50 lbs. But heavy marching order, which was yet heavier, is now happily abolished.

MARCO-BANCO. An imaginary coin of Hamburg commerce, equal to 1s. 53⁄4d. sterling.

MARE'S TAILS. A peculiar modification of the cirrus, indicating wind.

MARGIN LINE. A line or edge parallel to the upper side of the wing[468] transom, and just below it, where the butts of the after bottom planks terminate.

MARINARIUS. An old statute term for a mariner or seaman.

MARINATE, To. To salt fish, and afterwards preserve it in oil or vinegar.

MARINE. Belonging to the sea. It is a general name for the royal or mercantile navy of any state; also the whole economy of nautical affairs.

MARINE BAROMETER. A barometer, the tube of which is contracted in one part to prevent the sudden oscillations of the mercury by the ship's motion.

MARINE BOARDS. Establishments at our different ports for carrying into effect the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act.

MARINE BUILDINGS. Those constructed for making or preserving ships, as docks, arsenals, store-houses, &c.

MARINE CLOTHING-ROOM. A compartment of the after-platform, to receive the clothes and stores of the royal marines.

MARINE ENGINES. Those steam engines which are used to propel ships, whether on the ocean or in rivers, in contradistinction to locomotives on shore.

MARINE GLUE, or Jeffrey's Glue. A well-known adhesive composition of great importance in ship carpentry, and in various nautical uses. The substance is said to consist of caoutchouc, gum, and mineral oil.

MARINE INSURANCE. A contract by which an individual or a company agree to indemnify the losses or damages happening to a ship or cargo during a voyage. For this agreement the ship-owner pays a sum in advance, called the premium, which falls to the insurer in case the ship arrives safe in a specified harbour. If the ship or cargo, however, be lost by default of the person insured, the insurer shall not be accountable. Among the Romans, the state made good losses by shipwreck, which occasioned many frauds. It is mentioned in the laws of Oleron, but was regulated under its present bearings in England in 1601.

MARINE LAGOON. A lake or inlet formed by the encroachments of the sea, and the deposits of fluviatile action.

MARINE OFFICER. An officer of the Royal Marines. Jocularly and witlessly applied to an empty bottle, as being "useless;" but better rendered as having "done its duty, and ready to do it again."

MARINER. One who obtains his living on the sea, in whatever rank. But with our old voyagers mariners were able seamen, and sailors only ordinary seamen. Thus, Middleton's ship sailed from Bantam in 1605, leaving 18 men behind, "of whom 5 were mariners, and 13 sailors."

MARINE RAILWAY. A term which has been applied to a slip for hauling vessels on to repair.


MARINER'S NEEDLE. The magnetized bar of a mariner's compass.

MARINES, THE ROYAL. A body of officers and soldiers raised to serve on board men-of-war, and trained to fight either at sea or on shore:[469] their chosen body of artillery was esteemed one of the best under the crown. (See Artillery.) "Tell that to the marines" was a common rejoinder to any improbable assertion, when those fine fellows had not acquired their present high estimation.

MARINE STORES. A general term for the iron-work, cordage, sails, provisions, and other outfit, with which a vessel is supplied.

MARITIMA ANGLIÆ. The profit and emolument formerly arising to the king from the sea, but which was afterwards granted to the lord high admiral.

MARITIME. Pertaining to sea affairs: all but synonymous with marine (which see.)

MARITIME COUNTRY. A country which has its shores washed by the sea.


MARITIME LAW. That branch of international law, or the law of nations, which consists of general principles, chiefly derived from ancient codes of law, and admitted by civilized nations, as to commercial intercourse with enemies and neutrals.

MARITIME LIEN. A privileged claim in respect of service done to, or injury caused by, a ship, to be carried into effect by legal process.

MARITIME POSITIONS. The intersection of the geographical co-ordinates of the latitudes and longitudes of places on the globe.

MARITIME POWERS. Those states which possess harbours, &c., on the coasts, and a powerful navy to defend them.

MARK. A certain regulated length for Spanish sword-blades, under penalty of fine, and the weapon to seizure. Also, any object serving for the guidance of ships, as sea-marks, land-marks, leading-marks, &c. Also, a piece of twine on a running rope, as a brace, &c., to show when, by being near the belaying pin or the bitts, it has been sufficiently hauled in. "Mark of the fore-brace down, sir;"—answer, "Belay, oh."

MARKAB. The lucida, or chief star, in the ancient constellation Pegasus.

MARKS and DEEPS. Marks are the measured notifications on the hand lead-line, with white, blue, and red bunting, leather, and knots; deeps are the estimated fathoms between these marks. They are thus noted: mark 2 leather; mark 3 blue; deep 4; mark 5 white; deep 6; mark 7 red; deep 8; deep 9; mark 10 leather; deep 11; deep 12; mark 13 blue; deep 14; mark 15 white; deep 16; mark 17 red; deep 18; deep 19; mark 20 two knots.

MARL, To. To souse fish in vinegar to be eaten cold. See Souse.

MARLE, To. To wind marline, spun-yarn, twine, &c., about a rope, so that every turn is secured by a kind of knot, and remains fixed, in case the rest should be cut through by friction. It is commonly used to fasten slips of canvas, called parsling, upon the surface of a rope, to prevent its being galled, or to attach the foot of a sail to its bolt-rope, &c., with marling hitches, instead of sewing it.

MARLINE. See Line.[470]

MARLINE-HOLES. Holes made for marling, or lacing the foot-rope and clues in courses and top-sails.

MARLINE-SPIKE. An iron pin tapering to a point, and principally used to separate the strands of a rope, in order to introduce the ends of some other through the intervals in the act of knotting or splicing; it is also used as a lever in marling, fixing seizings, &c. (See Fid.)

MARLINE-SPIKE HITCH. A peculiar hitch in marling, made by laying the marline-spike upon the seizing stuff, and then bringing the end of that seizing over the standing part, so as to form a jamming bight.

MARMIT. A pot fitted with a hook for hanging it to the bars of the galley-range.

MAROON. A name for a bright light of that colour used for signals; and also for an explosive ball of prepared paste-board.

MAROONING. A custom among former pirates, of putting an offender on shore on some desolate cape or island, with a gun, a few shot, a flask of powder, and a bottle of water.

MARQUE. See Letters of Marque.

MARQUEE. An officer's oblong tent; has two poles, and curtains all round; it is often assigned to various staff purposes.

MARROT. A name for the guillemot.

MARRY, To, the Ropes, Braces, or Falls. To hold both together, and by pressure haul in both equally. Also so to join the ends of two ropes, that they will pass through a block.

MARS. One of the ancient superior planets, the next to the earth in order of distance from the sun.

MARSH [Anglo-Saxon mersc, a fen]. Low land often under water, and producing aquatic vegetation. Those levels near the sea coast are usually saturated with salt water.

MARSILIANA. A Venetian ship of burden, square-sterned.

MART. A commercial market. Also a colloquialism for marque, as a letter of mart or marque.

MARTELLO TOWER. So named from a tower in the Bay of Mortella, in Corsica, which, in 1794, maintained a very determined resistance against the English. A martello tower at the entrance of the bay of Gaeta beat off H.M.S. Pompée, of 80 guns. A martello is built circular, and thus difficult to hit, with walls of vast thickness, pierced by loop-holes, and the bomb-proof roof is armed with one heavy traversing gun. They are 30 to 40 feet high, surrounded by a dry fosse, and the entrance is by a ladder at a door several feet from the ground.

MARTIAL LAW. The law of war, obtaining between hostile forces, or proclaimed in rebellious districts; it rests mainly on necessity, custom in like cases, and the will of the commander of the forces; thus differing from military law (which see). Martial law is proclaimed when the civil law is found to be insufficient to preserve the peace; in the case of insurrection, mutiny, &c., the will and judgment of the officer in command becomes law.[471]

MARTIN. A cat-sized creature with a valuable fur imported from Hudson's Bay and Canada in prodigious numbers.—"My eye and Betty Martin," is a common expression implying disbelief; a corruption of the Romish mihi, beate Martine!

MARTINET. A rigid disciplinarian; but one who, in matters of inferior moment, harasses all under him.

MARTINGALE. A rope extending downwards from the jib-boom end to a kind of short gaff-shaped spar, fixed perpendicularly under the cap of the bowsprit; its use is to guy the jib-boom down in the same manner as the bobstays retain the bowsprit. The spar is usually termed the dolphin-striker, from its handy position whence to strike fish.

MARTNETS. The leech-lines of a sail—they were said to be topped when the leech was hauled by them close to the yard.

MARYN [Anglo-Nor.] The sea-coast.

MARYNAL. An ancient term for mariner.

MASCARET. A peculiar movement of the sea near Bordeaux in summer, at low water.

MASK. A cruive or crib for catching fish. A battery is said to be masked when its external appearance misleads the enemy.

MAST [Anglo-Saxon mæst, also meant chief or greatest]. A long cylindrical piece of timber elevated perpendicularly upon the keel of a ship, to which are attached the yards, the rigging, and the sails. It is either formed of one piece, and called a pole-mast, or composed of several pieces joined together and termed a made mast. A lower mast is fixed in the ship by sheers (which see), and the foot or keel of it rests in a block of timber called the step, which is fixed upon the keelson.—Expending a mast, or carrying it away, is said, when it is broken by foul weather.—Fore-mast. That which stands near the stem, and is next in size to the main-mast.—Jury-mast. (See Jury-mast.)—Main-mast. The largest mast in a ship.—Mizen-mast. The smallest mast, standing between the main-mast and the stern.—Over-masted, or taunt-masted. The state of a ship whose masts are too tall or too heavy.—Rough-mast, or rough-tree. A spar fit for making a mast. (See Bowsprit and Jib-boom.)—Springing a mast. When it is cracked horizontally in any place.—Top-mast. A top-mast is raised at the head or top of the lower-mast through a cap, and supported by the trestle-trees.—Topgallant-mast. A mast smaller than the preceding, raised and secured to its head in the same manner.—Royal-mast. A yet smaller mast, elevated through irons at the head of the topgallant-mast; but more generally the two are formed of one spar.—Under-masted or low-masted ships. Vessels whose masts are small and short for their size.—To mast a ship. The act of placing a ship's masts.

MAST-CARLINGS. Those large carlings which are placed at the sides of the masts from beam to beam, to frame the partners and give support.

MAST-COAT. A conical canvas fitted over the wedges round the mast, to prevent water oozing down from the decks.

MASTER. The epithet for the captain or commander of a merchant[472] vessel. When England first became a maritime power, ships with sailors, and a master to navigate, were furnished by the Cinque Ports, &c., and the fighting part of the men was composed of soldiers sent on board, commanded by generals, &c. Among the early voyagers there was a distinction between master and maister, the latter being the office; as, "we spoke the Dragon, whereof Master Ivie was maister," in Welsh's Voyage to Benin, a.d. 1590. In most applications, master denotes chief; as master boat-builder, master caulker, master sail-maker, &c.

MASTER of a Ship-of-war. An officer appointed by the commissioners of the navy to attend to the navigating a ship under the direction of the captain, the working of a ship into her station in the order of battle, and in other circumstances of danger, but he reports to the first lieutenant, who carries out any necessary evolution. It is likewise his duty, in concert with lieutenants on surveys, to examine and report on the provisions. He is moreover charged with their stowage. For the performance of these services he is allowed several assistants, who are termed second-masters, master's assistants, &c. This officer's station has been termed the meridional altitude of the lower order of midshipmen, but it is requisite that he be both a good officer and a seaman. He ranks after lieutenants according to date, but is subordinate in command to all lieutenants.

MASTER AND COMMANDER. A title which, in 1814, was simplified to commander, the next degree above lieutenant; he ranks with, but after, a lieutenant-colonel.

MASTER-AT-ARMS. In former times was an officer appointed to command the police-duty of a ship, to teach the crew the exercise of small arms, to confine by order of superiors any prisoners, and to superintend their confinement. Also, to take care that fires and lights were put out at the proper hour, and no spirituous liquors brought on board. He was assisted by ship's corporals, who also attended the gangway with the sentinels. Until 1816, the junior lieutenant was nominally lieutenant-at-arms, and drilled the seamen, assisted by the serjeant of marines.

MASTER-ATTENDANT. An officer in the royal dockyards appointed to assist in the fitting or dismantling, removing or securing vessels of war, &c., at the port where he resides; to inspect the moorings in the harbour, to visit all the ships in ordinary, and to attend at the general musters in the dockyard, taking care that all the individuals registered in the navy-book are present at their duty.

MASTER MARINER. Shipmaster or captain of a merchant vessel.

MASTER OF MISRULE. An officer of an hour or two, when the hands were piped "to mischief." The lord or abbot of misrule on shore has immemorially been a person selected to superintend the diversions of Christmas. In these larks, however, malicious mischief was unknown.

MASTER OF THE FLEET. A master on board the commander-in-chief's ship, who has a general superintendence of the stores issued to the fleet, and reports to the flag-captain any deviations from rule which he may observe.[473]

MASTER-SHIPWRIGHT. The chief superintendent in the building and repairing of ships in the royal dockyards.

MAST-HEAD. The upper part of a mast above the rigging.

MAST-HEADING. A well-known marine punishment, said to give midshipmen the best time for reading. A court-martial, as a substitute, punishes the parents as well as the thoughtless youth.

MAST-HEAD MEN. The men stationed aloft to keep a look-out.


MAST-HIGH. A figurative expression of height.

MAST-HOLES. The apertures in the deck-partners for stepping the masts.

MAST-HOOPS. The iron hoops on made or built masts.

MAST-HOUSE. In dockyards, where masts are made.

MASTIC. An excellent cement latterly introduced into ship-building, instead of putty and other appliances, to protect the heads of bolts.

MAST-ROPE [Anglo-Saxon mæst-ràp]. That which is used for sending masts up or down.

MASULAH or Massoolah Boats. Madras boats, of which the planks are sewed together with coir yarn, crossing the stitches over a wadding of coir or straw, which presses on the joints, and prevents much leakage. The vessel is thus rendered pliable, and yields to the shock on taking the ground in the surf, which at times runs from 10 to 16 feet high. They are rowed by twelve men, in double banks, with oars formed by an oval piece of board lashed to the end of a rough piece of wood. They are guided by one man with a long steer-oar, who stamps and yells with excitement as he urges the men to pull when a rolling surf is coming up astern. These boats are from 30 to 35 feet in length, 10 to 11 feet in breadth, and 7 to 8 feet in depth.

MAT. To prevent chafing, a thick mat is woven from strands of old rope, spun yarn, or foxes, containing each a greater or lesser number of rope-yarns, in proportion to the intended mat to be made. The largest and strongest kinds are called paunch-mats. The thrum-mat is precisely similar to the present cocoa-nut fibre door-mats. Where it is possible, rounding is now used instead of mats, it being neater and holding less water.

MATCH. A wager of emulation by rowing, sailing, manœuvring, &c. (See Quick Match.)—Slow match, used by artillerymen, is a very loose rope steeped in a solution of nitre, and burns at the rate of about one inch an hour, and is either used alone, or for lighting the port-fires, by which guns are yet fired for salutes on shore.

MATCHLOCK. A musket fired with a match fixed on the cock opening the pan; long out of use, except in China and some parts of India.

MATCH-TUBS. Conical tubs about 18 inches in height, which have a sunken head perforated with holes, to admit the slow match to hang with the lighted end downwards.

MATE. Generally implies adjunct or assistant.

MATE of a Merchant-ship. The officer who commands in the absence[474] of the master, and shares the duty with him at sea. (See Chief Mate or Officer.) There are first, second, third, and fourth mates.

MATE of a Watch. The senior or passed midshipman is responsible to the officer of the watch. He heaves the log, inserts on the log-board all incidents occurring during his watch, musters the men of the watch, and reports to the officer in charge, who, when he is relieved, writes his initials on the log-board.

MATE of the Lower-deck. An officer of considerable importance in former times in ships of the line; he was responsible for the state and condition of the lower deck, and the residents there.

MATE of the Main-deck. The officer appointed to superintend all the duties to be executed upon the main-deck during the day.

MATERIAL MEN. The persons who furnish all tackles and stores, &c., to repair or fit out ships. The high court of Admiralty allows material men to sue against remaining proceeds in the registry, notwithstanding past prohibitions.

MATERIEL. A French word that has been naturalized in speaking of naval or military stores.

MATHEMATICS. The science which treats of every kind of quantity that can be numbered or measured.

MATIES, or Mateys. Dockyard artificers, shipwrights, carpenters, &c.

MATO. A shell formerly of some commercial value on the west coast of Africa.

MATRASS. The square head of an arrow called quarril. In chemistry it is the Florence oil flask used for evaporation. From its thinness it will stand great gradual heat.

MATROSS. Formerly an assistant gunner in the artillery.

MATTHEW WALKER. A knot, so termed from the originator. It is formed by a half hitch on each strand in the direction of the lay, so that the rope can be continued after the knot is formed, which shows as a transverse collar of three strands. It is the knot used on the end of the laniards of rigging, where dead-eyes are employed.

MAUD. A salmon-net fixed in a square form by four stakes.

MAUL. A heavy iron hammer, used for driving tree-nails or bolts; it has one end faced, and the opposite pointed, whence it is often called a pin-maul.—Top-maul is distinguished by having an iron handle, with an eye at the end, by which it is tied fast to the mast-head. It is kept aloft for driving the iron fid in or out of the top-mast.

MAUND. An Indian weight, which varies in amount depending on the part of the country. Also, a basket used by fishermen; a measure of small fish.

MAUNJEE. The native boatmen of the river Hooghly.

MAVIS-SKATE. The sharp-nosed ray. (See Friar-skate.)

MAW, or Sea-maw. The common gull, Larus canus.

MAY. See Vendaval.

MAYHEM, or Mahim. The law-term for maim.[475]

MAZE. In the herring trade, 500 fishes.

MAZOLET. An Indian bark boat, caulked with moss.

MEAKER. A west-country term for a minnow.

MEAKING IRON. The tool used by caulkers to run old oakum out of the seams before inserting new.

MEALED. Mixed or compounded.—Mealed powder, gunpowder pulverized by treating with spirits of wine.

MEALES, or Miols. Immense sand-banks thrown up by the sea on the coasts of Norfolk, Lancashire, &c.

MEAN. As a general term implies the medium, but a mean of bad observations can never make a good one.

MEAN ANOMALY. See Anomaly.

MEAN DISTANCE. The average distance of a planet from the sun; it is equal to half the longer axis of the ellipse, and hence is frequently termed the semi-axis major.

MEAN EQUINOX. The position of the equinox independent of the effects of nutation.

MEAN MOTION. The rate at which a body moving in an elliptic orbit would proceed at an equal velocity throughout.

MEAN NOON. The noon of a mean day supposing the year to be divided into days of equal length. It differs from apparent noon by the amount of the equation of time for that date.

MEAN OBLIQUITY. The obliquity of the ecliptic, unaffected with nutation.

MEAN PLACE OF A STAR. Its position at a given time, independent of aberration and nutation.

MEAN SUN. See Time.

MEAN TIME. See Time.

MEASURE. A comprehensive term including length, surface, time, weight, solidity, capacity, and force of gravity.

MEASURING LINE. The old term for the first meridian reckoned off from a ship's longitude. Also, the five-fathom line used by the boatswain.

MECHANICS. The science which explains the properties of moving bodies, and of the machines from which they receive their impetus. The mechanical powers consist of six primary instruments, the lever, the balance, the pulley, the wheel, the screw, and the wedge: to which is sometimes added the inclined plane; and of some, or all of these, every compound machine consists.

MECK. A notched staff in a whale-boat on which the harpoon rests.

MEDICAL BOARD. A number of medical officers convened to examine sick and wounded officers and men, for invaliding or discharge.

MEDICINE-CHEST. A large chest containing the medical necessaries that may be required for 100 men during the cruize. Several chests are thus fitted and supplied in proportion to the ship's crew, ready for detached service.[476]

MEDICINES. Merchantmen are legally bound to carry medicines in proportion to their crew, with instructions for their use if there be no surgeon on board.

MEDICO. A familiar appellation for the ship's surgeon.

MEDITERRANEAN or INLAND SEA. A term applied to a sea surrounded on all sides, except its immediate entrance, by land; as the Mediterranean, so styled par excellence; also, the Baltic, the Red Sea, &c.

MEDITERRANEAN PASS. A document formerly granted by the Lords of the Admiralty to registered vessels, which was valuable when the Barbary powers were unchecked. (See Pass.)

MEDIUM. See Resisting Medium.

MEERMAID. A name given by our northern fishermen to the Lophius piscatorius, or frog-fish, without reference to the mermaid (which see).

MEER-SWINE. The porpoise [from the German meerschwein].

MEET HER! The order to adjust the helm, so as to check any further movement of the ship's head in a given direction.

MEGANESE [Gr.] A large portion of land, inferior in extent to a continent, but which, though insular, is too large to be termed an island, as New Holland.

MEMORIAL. An official petition on account of services performed.

MEN. The ship's company in general.

MEND SAILS, To. To loose and skin them afresh on the yards.

MEND THE SERVICE. Put on more service to the cable, or any part of the rigging chafed.


MERCANTILE MARINE FUND. A public fund accumulated by fees payable to the Board of Trade on account of the merchant shipping.

MERCATOR'S CHART or Projection. Introduced by Gerard Mercator, circa 1556: it is a projection of the surface of the earth in the plane, with all the meridians made parallel with each other, consequently the degrees of longitude all equal, the degrees of latitude increasing in a corresponding ratio towards the poles. This is the chart most commonly used in navigation; and its use appears to have obtained quickly, for in 1576, among the items of Martin Frobisher's outfit, we find, "For a greate Mappe Universall of Mercator, in prente, £1, 6s. 8d."

MERCATOR'S SAILING. Performed loxodromically, by means of Mercator's charts.

MERCHANTMAN. A trading vessel employed in importing and exporting goods to and from any quarter of the globe.

MERCHANT SERVICE. The mercantile marine.

MERCHANT-VENTURERS. A company of merchants who traded with Russia, Turkey, and other distant parts. In the Affectionate Shepheard, 1594, we find—

"Well is he tearm'd a merchant venturer,
Since he doth venter lands, and goods, and all;
When he doth travell for his traffique far,
Little he knowes what fortune may befall."
[477]MERCURIAL GAUGE. A curved tube partly filled with mercury, to show the pressure of steam in an engine.

MERCURY. One of the ancient inferior planets, and the nearest to the sun, as far as we yet know. (See Transit of.) Also, a name for quicksilver; the fluid metal so useful in the construction of the marine barometer, thermometer, and artificial horizon.

MERE. An Anglo-Saxon word still in use, sometimes meaning a lake, and generally the sea itself.

MERIDIAN, of the Earth. Is an imaginary great circle passing through the zenith and the poles, and cutting the equator at right angles. When the sun is on the meridian of any place, it is mid-day there, and at all places situated under the same meridian.—First meridian is that from which the longitude is reckoned. Magnetic meridian is not a great circle but a wavy line uniting those poles. In common acceptation, a meridian is any line supposed to be drawn from the north to the south pole; therefore a place being under the same meridian as another place, is either due north or south of it.—Plane of the meridian is the plane of this great circle, and its intersection with the sensible horizon is called the meridian line.—The meridian transit of a heavenly body is the act of passing over the said plane, when it is either due north or south of the spectator.—Ante meridiem, or A.M., before noon.—Post meridiem, or P.M., after noon.

MERIDIAN ERROR. The deviation of a transit-instrument from the plane of the meridian at the horizon; it is also termed the azimuthal error.

MERLON. That part of the parapet of a battery between two adjacent embrasures, 15 or 20 feet long in general.

MERMAID. A fabulous sea-creature of which the upper half was said to resemble a woman, the lower half a fish.

MERMAID'S GLOVE. The name of a peculiar sponge, Spongia palmata, abundant at Bermuda.

MERMAID'S PURSE. The oblong horny cases with long filiform appendages developed from each of the four corners, found on the sea-shore, being the outer covering of the eggs of several species of rays and sharks. Also, the hollow root of the sea-weed Fucus polyschides.

MERRY DANCERS. The glancings and coruscations of the aurora borealis, or northern lights.

MERRY MEN OF MAY. Dangerous currents formed by the ebb-tides.

MESON. A very old form of spelling mizen.

MESS. Any company of the officers or crew of a ship, who eat, drink, and associate together. (See Number.) Also, the state of a ship in a sudden squall, when everything is let go and flying, and nothing hauled in.

MESS-DECK. The place where a ship's crew mess.

MESSENGER. A large cable-laid rope, used to unmoor or heave up the anchor of a ship, by the aid of the capstan. This is done by binding a part of the messenger to the cable by which the ship rides, in several places, with pliant nippers, and by winding another part of it about the[478] capstan. The messenger has an eye-splice at each end, through which several turns of a strong lashing are passed, forming an endless rope. So that by putting on fresh nippers forward, and taking them off as they are hove aft, the capstan may be kept constantly going, and the cable is walked in without stopping. (See Viol.) A superior plan is now adopted, in which the messenger, consisting of a pitch chain which has a double and single link alternately, works in iron spurs fastened above the lower rim of the capstan. This avoids the trouble of shifting or fleeting the messenger while heaving in. Again, the cable itself is commonly brought to the capstan.—Light forward the messenger! is the order to pull the slack of it towards the hawse holes, on the slack or opposite side, so as to be ready to fasten upon the cable which is being hove in, as it comes off the manger-roller at the bows.

MESSENGERS. Boys appointed to carry orders from the quarter-deck. In some ships they wore winged caps of the Mercury type.

MESS-KID. A wooden tub for holding cooked victuals or cocoa.

MESSMATE. A companion of the same mess-table, hence comrades in many ways; whence the saw: "Messmate before a shipmate, shipmate before a stranger, stranger before a dog."

MESS-TRAPS. The kids, crockery, bowls, spoons, and other articles of mess service.

META-CENTRE. That point in a ship where a vertical line drawn from the centre of cavity cuts a line perpendicular to the keel, passing through the centre of gravity. As this depends upon the situation of the centre of cavity, the meta-centre is often called the shifting-centre. Safety requires this point to be above the centre of gravity.

METAL. A word comprehending the great guns, or ordnance generally, of a ship or battery.

METEINGS. The measurement and estimate of timber.

METEOR. See Compasant, Water-spout, &c.

METEORITES. Meteoric stones which fall from the atmosphere, composed of earthy and metallic substances, in which iron, nickel, &c., enter largely.

METEOROLOGIC TELEGRAPHY. The sending of telegrams to various stations at home and abroad, with the object of improving the science of meteorology, and issuing storm warnings, &c.

METONIC CYCLE. A cycle of 19 years, which contains 235 lunations, and results in a correspondence of the solar and lunar years. The discovery of this astronomical period may be safely assigned to Meton in 432 b.c.

MEW [Anglo-Saxon mæw]. A name for the sea-gull.

MIASMA. An impure effluvium in the air—proceeding from marshes or moist ground acted upon by solar heat—by which malaria fevers, particularly intermittents, are produced.

MICROMETER. An instrument used to measure small angles, diameters, and distances of heavenly bodies.[479]

MID. The intermediate or middle part of anything. Also, per contractionem, a midshipman.

MID-CHANNEL. Implies half way across any river, channel, &c.

MIDDLE BAND. One of the bands of a sail, to give additional strength.

MIDDLE-LATITUDE SAILING. A method of converting departure in difference of longitude, and vice versâ, by using the middle latitude instead of the meridional parts, as in Mercator's sailing.

MIDDLE-TIMBER. That timber in the stern which is placed amidships.

MIDDLE-TOPSAIL. A deep-roached sail, set in some schooners and sloops on the heel of their top-masts between the top and the cap. A modification of this, under the name of a lower top-sail, is now very common in double-topsail-yarded ships. (Cunningham's top-sails.)

MIDDLE-WALES. The three or four thick strakes worked along each side between the lower and middle-deck-ports in three-deckers.

MIDDLE-WATCH. The portion of the crew on deck-duty from midnight to 4 a.m.

MIDDLE-WATCHER. The slight meal snatched by officers of the middle-watch about five bells (or 2·30 a.m.)

MIDDLING A SAIL. Arranging it for bending to the yard.

MIDDY. An abbreviation for the younger midshipmen, synonymous with mid.

MIDRIB. A narrow canal or culvert.

MIDSHIPMAN. A naval cadet appointed by the admiralty, with the exception of one in each ship appointed by the captain. No person can be appointed midshipman until he has served one year, and passed his examinations; nor a lieutenant without having previously served six years in the royal navy as midshipman, and having further passed two severe examinations—one in seamanship and one in gunnery. A midshipman is then the station in which a young volunteer is trained in the several exercises necessary to attain a knowledge of steam, machinery, discipline, the general movements and operations of a ship, and qualify him to command.

MIDSHIPMAN'S NUTS. Broken pieces of biscuit as dessert.

MIDSHIPMAN'S ROLL. A slovenly method of rolling up a hammock transversely, and lashing it endways by one clue.

MIDSHIPS. The middle part of the vessel, either with regard to her length or breadth. (See Amidships.)

MILDERNIX. A strong canvas of which courses were formerly made; it appears in old statutes.

MILE. The statute mile is 5280 feet; but that used at sea, termed the mean nautic mile, consists of 6075·6 feet, or 60 to a degree.

MILITARY EXECUTION. The levying contributions from a country by military occupation and force.

MILITARY LAW. That under which soldiers and sailors are governed, founded on the acts of parliament passed to that end.

MILITIA. A military force raised by ballot.[480]

MILKY WAY. See Via Lactea.

MILL. A boxing match, whether standing up or nailed to a chest.

MILLAR'S SIGHT. General Millar's simple dispart—a sliding pillar bearing a scale graduated to tangents of degrees for setting the gun by.

MILLED LEAD. Sheet lead.

MILLER, To Drown the. To put an overdose of water to grog.

MILLER'S THUMB. A fresh-water fish, the Cottus cataphractus.

MILT. The soft roe, or spermatic part, of the male fish.

MINE. A passage made under ground, with a chamber at the end, under the place intended to be blown up; it is entered by the shaft, which leads through the gallery to the chamber.

MINERAL OIL. See Petroleum.

MINIE RIFLE. This has acquired a great name, though not yet in general use.

MINION. An old four-pounder gun about 7 feet long. Its point-blank range was 120 paces, with a random one of 1500. Bourne, in 1578, mentions the minion as requiring shot 3 inches in diameter.

MINISTER. A minister, though termed plenipotentiary, has no power to grant protection to vessels or cargoes otherwise subject to the operations and laws of hostilities.

MINNIS. An old British word for a rock or piece of rising ground.

MINNOW. A small fresh-water fish—the Leuciscus phoxinus. The term was used in contempt by Shakspeare and the elders.

MINOR AXIS. In a planetary orbit, signifies the line perpendicular to the major axis, and passing through the centre of the ellipse.

MINOR PLANETS. See Asteroids.

MINUTE MILE. The sixtieth part of a degree of longitude or latitude; in the latter case it is the sixtieth part of a degree of a great circle, in the former it decreases in length as the latitude increases.


MINUTE-GUNS. Fired at intervals of a minute each during the progress of important funerals.

MINUTES. Short notices taken in writing of any important proceedings.

MIRA. A remarkable variable star in Cetus.

MIRACH. One of the bright stars in Andromeda.

MIRAGE, or Loom. A word, which has crept into use since the French expedition to Egypt, to express the extraordinary refraction which light undergoes when strata of air, of different densities, extend above each other. The mirage, reflecting objects at a great height, inverts and doubles the image.

MIRE-BUMPER and Mire-Drum. North-country names of the bittern.

MIRKLES. The radicle leaves of the Fucus esculentus, a sea-weed eaten on our northern coasts.

MIRROR. The speculum of a quadrant, or any silvered or polished reflecting surface.

MISCHIEF. See Master of Misrule.[481]

MISREPRESENTATION to the Underwriters, of any fact or circumstance material to the risk of insuring, whether by the insured or his agent, and whether fraudulent or innocent, renders the contract null and void. (See Representation.)

MISSILES. Projectiles of every kind propelled by force.

MISSING. If a vessel is not heard of within six months after her departure (or after the last intelligence of her) from any port in Europe, and within twelve months from other parts of the world, she is deemed to be lost. Presumptive proof will suffice if none of her crew appear.

MISSING STAYS. To fail in going about from one tack to another; when, after a ship gets her head to the wind, she comes to a stand, and begins to fall off on the same tack.

MIST [Anglo-Saxon]. A thin vapour, between a fog and haze, and is generally wet.

MISTICO. Equivalent to our hermaphrodite, being a small Mediterranean vessel, between a xebec and a felucca. (See Xebec.)

MISTRAL. A cold N.W. wind experienced on the Mediterranean shores of France. [Corrupted from maestrale.]

MITTS. A protection for the hand, covering the thumb in one space and the fingers in another, so that men wearing them can still handle ropes.

MIXED MATHEMATICS. Pure mathematics when applied to practical subjects, as astronomy, optics, hydrography, gunnery, engineering, and the like.

MIZAR. The star ζ in Ursa Major; the middle one in the tail.

MIZEN. The spanker or driver is often so named.

MIZEN-MAST. The aftermost mast of a ship (see Shrouds, Stay, Yard, &c.), observing only that the epithet of fore, main, or mizen, is added to each term, to distinguish them from each other. (See Bonaventure.)

MIZEN MAST-HEAD. Rear-admirals carry their flag at their mizen.

MIZEN STAYSAIL. A fore-and-aft sail of various shapes set on the mizen stay.

MOAT. Synonymous with ditch (which see).

MOBILIZATION. The organizing a body of men for active service. Also, a term in naval tactics, applied to the movement of fleets.

MOCCASIN. A slipper made of green hide, and worn in cases of necessity; a term derived from the North American Indians.

MODERATE BREEZE. When all the flying kites may be pleasantly carried.

MODERATE GALE. In which a ship carries double reefs in her top-sails.

MOHUR. A gold coin in the East Indies, value 30s. to 32s.

MOIDORE. A Portuguese gold coin, the sterling value of which is £1, 7s.

MOINEAU. A little flat bastion formerly raised before a curtain, otherwise too long.

MOIST DAUGHTERS. Spenser's term for the Hyades, a group of seven stars in the head of the Bull.[482]

MOKES. The meshes of a fishing-net.

MOLE. A long pier of massy masonry, covering the entrance of a harbour. Also applied to the harbours formed by them, as those of Genoa, Marseilles, Naples, &c.

MOLLY-MAWK. A bird which follows in the wake of a ship rounding the Cape. It is a small kind of albatross.

MOMENTUM. Is the product of a weight multiplied by its velocity; that is, in marine dynamics, by its distance from a point determined as the centre of momentum; or from a line called the axis of the momentum.

MONERES, or Monocrata. Galleys with only one rank of oars.

MONEY-BOUND. A phrase expressive of such passengers as are detained on board till a remittance arrives for paying the passage made.

MONGER. A trader. (See Monkey.)

MONITION. Legal notice or warning.

MONITOR. A very shallow, semi-submerged, heavily-armoured steamer, carrying on her open deck either one or two plated revolving turrets, each containing either one or two enormous guns: originally designed by Ericson in the United States during the recent war, to combine the maximum of gun power with the minimum of exposure; they have been very formidable in sheltered and intricate waters, but it remains yet to be shown that they would be effective on the open sea.

MONKEY. A machine composed of a long pig of iron, traversing in a groove, which is raised by a pulley, and let fall suddenly on the head of large bolts for driving them. A larger kind is used in pile-driving. Also, a kind of wooden kid for grog. Also, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, a small trading vessel. Also, passion; as a man's "monkey is up." Also, a machine with which the hercules facilitates the welding of anchors.

MONKEY-BLOCK. A small single block strapped with a swivel. Also, those nailed on the topsail-yards of some merchantmen, to lead the buntlines through.

MONKEY-BOAT. A half-decked boat above-bridge on the Thames.

MONKEY-JACKET. A warm jacket for night-watches, &c.

MONKEY-PUMP. Straws or quills for sucking the liquid from a cask, through a gimlet-hole made for the purpose—a practice as old as the time of Xenophon, who describes this mode of drinking from the prize jars of Armenia.

MONKEY-SPARS. Reduced masts and yards for a vessel devoted to the instruction and exercise of boys.

MONKEY-TAIL. A lever for training a carronade.

MONK-FISH. The Squatina angelus. (See Devil-fish.)

MONK'S SEAM. That made after sewing the edges of sails together, one over the other, by stitching through the centre of the seam. Also, the fash left at the junction of the moulds when a ball is cast.

MONMOUTH CAP. A flat worsted cap formerly worn by soldiers and sailors. In the old play Eastward Ho, it is said, "Hurl away a dozen of Monmouth caps or so, in sea ceremony to your bon voyage."[483]

MONOXYLON [Gr.] Boats in the Ionian Isles propelled with one oar.

MONSOON [from the Persian monsum, season]. The periodical winds in certain latitudes of India and the Indian Ocean. They continue five or six months from one direction, and then alter their course, and blow (after the tempestuous tumult of their shifting has subsided) during an equal space of time from an opposite point of the compass, with the same uniformity. They are caused by the unequal heating of land and water, and occur in the tropics, where the "trade" would constantly blow if it were not for the presence of land. (See Winds.) The south-west monsoon is called by the Arabs khumseen, denoting fifty, as they suppose it to precede the overflowing of the Nile by fifty days. (See Kamsin.)

MONTE PAGNOTE. In former days an eminence out of cannon shot of operations, where spectators were not exposed to danger.

MONTERO. A military cap and hood formerly worn in camp.

MONTHLY ALLOWANCE. A sum paid monthly to warrant and petty officers not allowed to draw bills; and to seamen, marines, and boys serving on board. Wages are now paid regularly.

MONTHLY NOTES. See Allotment.

MOON. Our satellite; she performs her revolution in 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes. (See Full Moon and New Moon.) A hazy or pale colour of the moon, revealing the state of our atmosphere, is supposed to forebode rain, and a red or copper colour to forebode wind.

MOON-BLINK. A temporary evening blindness occasioned by sleeping in the moonshine in tropical climates; it is technically designated nyctalopia.

MOON-CULMINATORS. Certain stars near the same parallel of declination as the moon, and not differing greatly from her in right ascension, given in the Ephemeris as proper objects for comparison with her, to determine the longitudes of places.

MOONEY. Not quite intoxicated, but unfitted for duty.

MOON IN DISTANCE. When the angle between her and the sun, or a star, admits of measurement for lunar observation.

MOONISH. Variable, as with Shakspeare's Rosalind.

MOON-RAKERS. Sails above the skysails. They are usually designated moon-sails.

MOON-SHEERED. A ship the upper works of which rise very high, fore and aft.

MOONSHINE. Illicit hollands, schiedam, and indeed smuggling in general; excused as a matter of moonshine. A mere nothing.

MOON-STRUCK. An influence imputed to the moon in the tropics, by which fish, particularly of the Scomber class, though recently taken, become intenerated, and even spoiled; while some attribute poisonous qualities to them in this state. Human beings are also said to be injured by sleeping in the moon's rays.

MOOR. An upland swamp, boggy, with fresh water. Also, an open common.[484]

MOOR, To. To secure a ship with anchors, or to confine her in a particular station by two chains or cables, either fastened to the mooring chains or to the bottom; a ship is moored when she rides by two anchors.

MOOR A CABLE EACH WAY, To. Is dropping one anchor, veering out two cables' lengths, and letting go another anchor from the opposite bow; the first is then hove in to one cable, or less according to circumstances, while the latter is veered out as much, whereby the ship rides between the two anchors, equally distant from both. This is usually practised in a tide-way, in such manner that the ship rides by one during the flood, and by the other during the ebb.

MOOR ACROSS, To. To lay out one of the anchors across stream.

MOOR ALONG, To. To anchor in a river with a hawser on shore to steady her.

MOOR-GALLOP. A west-country term for a sudden squall coming across the moors.

MOORING-BRIDLE. The fasts attached to moorings, one taken into each hawse-hole, or bridle-port.

MOORING-CHOCKS. Large pieces of hard wood with a hole in the centre, shod with iron collars, and fastened between two stanchions in large ships, for the moorings to pass through.

MOORING POSTS OR PALLS. Strong upright posts fixed into the ground, for securing vessels to the landing-place by hawsers or chains. Also, strong pieces of oak inserted into the deck of a large ship for fastening the moorings to when alongside a quay.

MOORING-RINGS. Iron swivel rings fixed on piers or buoys, &c., for securing vessels to.

MOORINGS. Indicated by buoys to which ships are fastened; they are attached by bridles to heavy anchors and cables laid down in the most convenient parts of rivers and harbours. They are termed "swinging," or "all fours," depending on whether the ship is secured by the bow only, or by bow and stern. By their means many more ships are secured in a certain space than would be possible if they used their own anchors.

MOOR QUARTER-SHOT, To. To moor quartering, between the two ways of across and along.

MOOR THE BOAT, To. To fasten her with two ropes, so that the one shall counteract the other, and keep her in a steady position.


MOOTER. A spike, bolt, tree-nail.

MOOTING. In ship-building, making a tree-nail exactly cylindrical to a given size or diameter, called the moot.

MOP. A young whiting.

MOPPAT. An early name for the sponge of a cannon.

MOPUSSES. A cant term for money in general.

MORASS. Nearly the same thing as a marsh or swamp. In tropical regions they are often overflowed with salt water, yet covered with mangrove and many aquatic plants.[485]

MORGLAY. A great sword, alluded to formerly.

MORION. An ancient steel casque or helmet, without beaver or visor. According to Chaucer it was of more uses than one:—

"Their beef they often in their morion stewed."
MORNING GUN. The gun fired from the admiral's or senior officer's ship, to announce day-break, which is answered by the muskets of the sentries in the other ships.

MORNING STAR. An offensive weapon of the mediæval times, consisting of a staff, to which was attached an iron ball covered with spikes. Also, the planet which is near the meridian at day-dawn.

MORNING WATCH. Those of the crew on watch from 4 to 8 a.m.

MORRA. An ancient game still played in Italy with extraordinary zest, by two persons raising the right hand, and suddenly and contemporaneously throwing it down with only some of the fingers extended, when the aim is to guess what they unitedly amount to. Also, a term for a headland or promontory on the coasts of Chili and Peru. Also, a round tower or fort, as at Havana [from the Spanish morro, round].

MORRIS-PIKE. A formidable Moorish weapon, the precursor of the boarding-pike.

MORSE. See Walrus.

MORSING POWDER. An old term for priming powder.

MORTAR. A short piece of ordnance used for throwing shells, so that they may fall nearly vertical; they thus acquire force for breaking through roofs, decks, &c. It is fired at a fixed angle of elevation, generally at 45°, the charge of powder varying according to the range required.

MORTAR-BED and Bed-beams. See Bomb-beds, &c.

MORTAR-VESSEL. See Bomb-vessel.

MORTGAGE. A registered ship, or share therein, which has been made a security for a money-loan, or other valuable consideration, is termed a mortgage in the Merchant Shipping Act.

MORTICE. A morticed block is one made out of a single block of wood, chiselled for one or more sheaves; in distinction from a made block. The chisel used for morticing is peculiar to that purpose.

MORUACH. A peculiar seal, which has been frequently mistaken on our northern shores for a mermaid.

MOSES. A flat-bottomed boat used in the West Indies for bringing off hogsheads of sugar; it is termed single or double, according to its size.

MOSES' LAW. The term among pirates for inflicting thirty-nine lashes on the bare back—forty save one.

MOSQUITO. A term applied to a gnat-like species of stinging insects, found chiefly in low marshy places and the neighbourhood of rivers.

MOSQUITO FLEET. An assemblage of small craft.

MOSQUITO NET. A light curtain spread over a cot or bed in warm climates, to protect the sleeper from mosquitoes.

MOSS-BONKER. The name given by American fishermen to the hard-head (which see).[486]

MOTHER CARY'S CHICKEN. The stormy petrel, Procellaria pelagica.

MOTHER CARY'S GOOSE. The name given by Captain Cook's people to an oceanic brown bird, Procellaria gigantea, which Pernety calls Quebranta huesos (bone-breaker).

MOTHER-OF-PEARL. The iridescent nacreous inner layer of several species of shells, especially the "pearl-oyster" (Meleagrina margaritifera).

MOTHERY [probably from the Dutch mœder, mud]. Thick and mouldy; generally applied to decomposing liquors.

MOTION. Change of place; it is termed direct, in the sky, when it is in the direction of the earth's annual revolution; retrograde, when it proceeds contrary to these conditions; by sidereal is meant the motion of a body with respect to the fixed stars.—Tropical motion is the movement of a body in respect to the equinox or tropic, which has itself a slow motion among the stars, as shown under precession. (See Proper Motion.)—Motion, in mechanics, is either simple or compound, as one or more powers are used. The momentum of a moving body, or quantity of motion, arises from its velocity multiplied into the quantity of matter it contains.

MOTION, Centre of. That point of a body which remains at rest whilst all the other parts are in motion about it: as the mathematical centre of a revolving sphere.

MOTOR. The prime mover in machinery.

MOULDED. The size of the timber, the way the mould is laid; cut to the mould.

MOULDED BREADTH. The measure of beam from outside to outside of the timbers, without the thickness of the plank.

MOULDING DIMENSION. In ship-building, implies the depth or thickness of any piece of timber.

MOULDING EDGE. That edge of a timber to which, in shaping it, the mould is applied.

MOULDINGS of a Gun. The several rings and ornaments.

MOULD-LOFT. A long building, on the floor of which the intended vessel is laid off from the several draughts in full dimensions.

MOULDS. In naval architecture, are thin flexible pieces of board used on the mould-loft floors as patterns.

MOUNT, or Mountain. An Anglo-Saxon term still in use, usually held to mean eminences above 1000 feet in height. In a fort it means the cavalier (which see).

MOUNT, To. When said of a ship-of-war, implies the number of guns she carries.—To mount, in a military sense, is also to furnish with horses.

MOUNT A GUN, To. To place it on its carriage.

MOUNT AREEVO! [Sp. montar arriba]. Mount aloft; jump up quickly.

MOUNTEBANK. The Gammarus arcticus, or arctic shrimp.

MOURNING. A ship is in mourning with her, ensign and pennant half-mast, her yards topped awry, or apeek, or alternately topped an-end. If the sides are painted blue instead of white, it denotes deep mourning;[487] this latter, however, is only done on the ship where the admiral or captain was borne, and in the case of merchant ships on the death of the owner.

MOUSE. A kind of ball or knob, wrought on the collars of stays by means of spun-yarn, higher parcelling, &c. The mouse prevents the running eye from slipping. (See Puddening.) Also, a match used in firing a mine. Also, a mark made upon braces and other ropes, to show their squaring or tallying home.—To mouse a hook, to put a turn or two of rope-yarn round the point of a tackle-hook and its neck to prevent its unhooking.—To raise a mouse, to strike a blow which produces a lump.

MOUTH [the Anglo-Saxon muda]. The embouchure opening of a port or outlet of a river, as Yarmouth, Tynemouth, Exmouth, &c.

MOVE OFF, To. To defile.

MOVER. Synonymous with motor.

MOVING SANDS. Synonymous with quicksands.

MOWELL. The old English name for mullet.

MOYAN. A species of early artillery.

MOYLE, To. To defile; an old term.

MUCK. See Amok.

MUD-DRAGS. Implements and machines for clearing rivers and docks.

MUD or BALLAST DREDGER. A vessel of 300 tons or more, fitted with steam-engine beams and metal buckets. By this powerful machine for cutting or scraping, loose gravel banks, &c., are removed from the entrances to docks and rivers.

MUD-FISH. The Lepidosiren, a very remarkable fish of the Gambia and other African rivers.

MUD-HOLE. An orifice with steam-tight doors in a marine engine, through which the deposit is removed from the boilers.

'MUDIAN, 'Mugian, or Bermudian. A boat special to the Bermuda Islands, usually decked, with the exception of a hatch; from two to twenty tons burden; it is short, of good beam, and great draft of water abaft, the stem and keel forming a curved line. It carries an immense quantity of iron, or even lead, ballast. Besides a long main and short jib-boom, it has a long, tapering, raking mast, stepped just over the fore-foot, generally unsupported by shrouds or stays; on it a jib-headed main-sail is hoisted to a height of twice, and sometimes three times, the length of the keel. This sail is triangular, stretched at its foot by a long boom. The only other sail is a small fore-sail or jib. They claim to be the fastest craft in the world for working to windward in smooth water, it being recorded of one that she made five miles dead to windward in the hour during a race; and though they may be laid over until they fill with water, they will not capsize.

MUD-LANDS. The extensive marshes left dry by the retiring tide in estuaries and river mouths.

MUD-LARKS. People who grovel about bays and harbours at low water for anything they can find.[488]

MUD-LIGHTER. Large heavy punts which receive the mud or other matter from a dredging vessel. It is the Marie Salope of the French. (See Hopper-punt.)

MUD-PATTENS. Broad clogs used for crossing mud-lands in the south of England by those who take sea-fowl.

MUD-SHORES. Are not unfrequent on an open coast. The most remarkable instance, perhaps, is that of the Guiana; the mud brought down by the river being thrown up by the current, and silted, with belts of mangroves in patches.

MUFFLED DRUM. The sound is thus damped at funerals: passing the spare cord, which is made of drummer's plait (to carry the drum over the shoulder), twice through the snares or cords which cross the lower diameter of the drum.

MUFFLE THE OARS, To. To put some matting or canvas round the loom when rowing, to prevent its making a noise against the tholes, or in the rowlocks. For this service thole-pins are best. In war time, rowing guard near the ships or batteries of the enemy, or cutting out, many a pea-jacket has been sacrificed for this purpose. Whale-boats have their oars muffled to prevent frightening the whales.

MUFTI. Plain clothes. The civilian dress of a naval or military officer when off duty. This, though not quite commendable, is better than the half and half system, for a good officer should be either in uniform or out of it.

MUGGY. Half intoxicated. A sheet in the wind. Also used to express damp, oppressive weather.

MULCT. A fine in money for some fault or misdemeanour. Also, fines formerly laid on ships by a trading company, to raise money for the maintenance of consuls, &c.

MULET. A Portuguese craft, with three lateen sails.

MULL. Derived from the Gaelic mullach, a promontory or island; as Mull of Galloway, Mull of Cantyre, Isle of Mull. Also, when things are mismanaged; "we have made a mull of it."

MULLET. A well-known fish, of which there are several species. The gray mullet, Mugil capito, and the red mullet, Mullus surmuletus, are the most common on the British coast.

MULLS. The nickname of the English in Madras, from mulligatawney having been a standard dish amongst them.

MULREIN. A name in the Firth of Forth for the frog-fish, Lophius piscatorius.

MULTIPLE STARS. When several stars appear in close proximity to each other, they are spoken of, collectively, as a multiple star.

MUMBO JUMBO. A strange minister of so-called justice on the Gold Coast, who is usually dressed up for the purpose of frightening women and children. He is the arbiter of domestic strife.

MUNDUC. A sailor employed at the pearl-fishery, to haul up the diver and oysters.[489]

MUNDUNGUS [from the Spanish mondongo, refuse, offal]. Bad, rank, and dirty tobacco.

MUN-FISH. Rotten fish, used in Cornwall for manure.

MUNITION BREAD. Contract or commissariat bread; Brown George.

MUNITIONS. Provisions; naval and military stores.

MUNITION SHIPS. Those which carry the naval stores for a fleet, as distinguished from the victuallers.

MUNJAK. A kind of pitch used in the Bay of Honduras for vessels' bottoms.

MUNNIONS, or Muntins. The divisional pieces of the stern-lights; the pieces that separate the lights in the galleries.

MURÆNA. An eel-like fish, very highly esteemed by the ancient Romans.

MURDERER. The name formerly used for large blunderbusses, as well as for those small pieces of ordnance which were loaded by shifting metal chambers placed in the breech.

MURLOCH. The young pickled dog-fish.

MURRE. The Cornish name for the razor-bill, Alca torda.

MURROCH. A term for shell-fish in general on the west coast of Scotland.

MUSKET. The regulation fire-arm for infantry and small-arm men. That of the English service, when a smooth bore, threw its bullet of about an ounce 250 yards with good effect; now, rifling has trebled its range, whilst breech-loading has done at least as much by its rapidity of fire.

MUSKET-ARROWS. Used in our early fleets, and for conveying notices in 1815.

MUSKETEERS. An early name for those soldiers who were armed with muskets.

MUSKETOON. A short kind of blunderbuss with a large bore, to carry several musket or pistol bullets; it was much used on boat service. They were mounted on swivel crutches, and termed top-pieces; quarter pieces in barges and pinnaces, where timbers were especially fitted for them.

MUSKET-PROOF. Any bulk-head, parapet, or substance which effectually resists the force of a musket-ball.

MUSKET-SHOT. Was the computed distance of 400 yards, now undergoing change.

MUSLIN, or Dimity. The flying kites of a ship. "Give her the muslin," or "Spare not the dimity," frequently used in tropical chase of slavers.

MUSTER, To. To assemble in order that the state and condition of the men may be seen, and also at times to inspect their arms and clothing.

MUSTER-BOOK. A copy of a ship of war's open list, drawn up for the use of the clerk of the check, in calling over the crew. A copy of the muster-book is to be transmitted every two months to the admiralty.

MUSTER-PAPER. A description of paper supplied from the dockyards, ruled and headed, for making ships' books.

MUSTER-ROLL. A document kept by the master of every British vessel, specifying the name, age, quality, and country of every person of the ship's company; even neutrals are compelled to produce such a paper in time of war.[490]

MUSTER THE WATCH. A duty performed nightly at 8 p.m., and repeated when the watch is relieved up to 4 a.m.

MUTCHKIN. A pint measure.

MUTILATION. The crime of self-maiming to avoid serving.

MUTINOUS. Showing symptoms of sedition.

MUTINY. Revolt or determined disobedience of regular authority by soldiers or sailors, and punishable with death. Shakspeare makes Hamlet sleep

"Worse than the mutines in the bilboes."
MUTINY-ACT. On this document the Articles of War are founded.

MUTTON-SNAPPER. A large fish of the Mesoprion genus, frequenting tropical seas, and prized in the Jamaica markets. (See Snapper.)

MUZZLE of a Piece of Ordnance. The forward extremity of the cylinder, and the metal which surrounds it, extending back to the neck, where it meets the chase, marked by a moulded ring in old guns.

MUZZLE-LASHINGS. The ropes which confine the muzzles of lower-deck guns to the housing bolts.

MUZZLE-RING. That which encompassed and strengthened the muzzle or mouth of a cannon; now disused.

MUZZLE TO THE RIGHT, or Muzzle to the Left! The order given to trim the gun to the object.

MUZZY. Half-drunk.

MYLKERE. The old English name for the milt of a fish.

MYOPARA. An ancient corsair's vessel.

MYRMIDON [from mur-medon, a sea-captain]. The Myrmidons were a people of Thessaly, said to have first constructed ships.

MYSERECORD. A thin-bladed dagger with which a grievously wounded warrior was despatched as an act of mercy.

MYTH. Obelisk, tower, land, or anything for directing the course by sight.


NAB. The bolt-toe, or cock of a gun-lock.

NABB. A cant term for the head. Also, a protuberance on the rocky summit of a hill; a rocky ledge below water.

NACA, or Nacelle. A French boat without mast or sail, used as early as the twelfth century.

NACRE. The mother-of-pearl which lines some shells, both univalve and bivalve.

NACTA. A small transport vessel of early times.

NADIR. The lower pole of the rational horizon, the other being the zenith.[491]

NAID. A northern term for a lamprey, or large eel.

NAIL, To. Is colloquially used for binding a person to a bargain. In weighing articles of food, a nail is 8 lbs.

NAILING A GUN. Synonymous with cloying or spiking. When necessary to abandon cannon, or when the enemy's artillery, though seized, cannot be taken away, it is proper to spike it, which is done by driving a steel or other spike into the vent. The best method sometimes to render a gun serviceable again is to drill a new vent. (See Spiking.)

NAILS OF SORTS. Nails used in carpentry under the denominations of 4, 6, 8, 10, 24, 30, and 40 penny-nails, all of different lengths.

NAKE! The old word to unsheath swords, or make them naked.

NAKED. State of a ship's bottom without sheathing. Also, a place without means of defence.

NAKHADAH, or Nacodah. An Arab sea-captain.

NAME. The name of a merchant ship, as well as the port to which she belongs, must be painted in a conspicuous manner on her stern. If changed, she must be registered de novo, and the old certificate cancelled.

NAME-BOARD. The arch-board, or part whereon the ship's name and port are painted.

NAME-BOOK. The Anglo-Saxon nom-bóc, a mustering list.

NANCY. An east-country term for a small lobster.

NANCY DAWSON. A popular air by which seamen were summoned to grog.

NANKIN. A light fawn-coloured or white cotton cloth, almost exclusively worn at one time in our ships on the India station. It was supplied from China, but is now manufactured in England, Malta, and the United States.

NANT. A brook, or small river, on the coasts of Wales.

NAPHTHA. A very inflammable, fiercely burning fluid, which oozes from the ground or rock in many different localities, and may be obtained by the distillation of coal, cannel, and other substances. It is nearly related to petroleum (which see), and is used for lighting, combustible, and various other purposes.

NAPIER'S BONES. Small rods, arranged by Lord Napier to expedite arithmetical calculations. In Hudibras:

"A moon-dial, with Napier's bones,
And several constellation stones."
NARKE. A ray of very wonderful electric powers.

NARROWING of the Floor-sweep. For this peculiar curve, see Half-breadth of the Rising.

NARROWS. The most confined part of a channel between two lands, or any contracted part of a navigable river.

NARWHAL. The Monodon monoceros, an animal of the cetacean order, found in the Arctic seas, and distinguished by the single long pointed tusk projecting straight forward from its upper jaw, whence it is also termed sea-unicorn.[492]

NATURAL FORTIFICATION. Those obstacles, in the form or nature of the country, which impede the approaches of an enemy.

NATURAL MOTION. A term applied to the descending parabolic curve of a shot or shell in falling.

NAUFRAGIATE, To. An old expression, meaning to suffer shipwreck. It occurs in Lithgow's Pilgrime's Farewell, 1618.

NAULAGE. A freight or fare.

NAUMACHIA. An artificial piece of water whereon the ancient Romans represented a sea-fight, supposed to have originated in the first Punic war.

NAUROPOMETER. An instrument for measuring the amount of a ship's heel or inclination at sea.

NAUSCOPY. The tact of discovering ships or land at considerable distances.

NAUTICAL. Relating to navigation, sailors, or maritime affairs in general.

NAUTICAL ALMANAC. A book of the first necessity to navigators. (See Ephemeris.)

NAUTICAL ASSESSORS. Persons of nautical experience appointed to assist the judge of the admiralty and other courts in technical difficulties.

NAUTICAL ASTRONOMY. That part of the celestial science which treats of the planets and stars so far as relates to the purposes of navigation.

NAUTICAL DAY. This day commences at noon, twelve hours before the civil day, and ends at noon of the day following. (See Day.)

NAUTICAL MILE (Mean) = 6075·6 feet.

NAUTICAL STARS. About 72 of the brightest, which have been selected for determining the latitude or the longitude, by lunar distances, and inserted, corrected to the year, in the Nautical Ephemeris.

NAUTICAL TABLES. Those especially computed for resolution of matters dependent on nautical astronomy, and navigation generally.

NAUTICUM FŒNUS. Marine usury; bottomry.

NAUTILUS. The pearly nautilus, N. pompilius, is a marine animal, belonging to the same class (Cephalopoda) as the cuttle-fish, but protected by a beautiful, chambered, discoid shell. The paper-nautilus (Argonauta argo) belongs to a different family of the same class, and has a simple, delicate, boat-like shell.

NAVAL. Of or belonging to a ship, or, as now commonly adopted, to the royal navy; hence, naval stores, naval officers, &c.

NAVAL ARCHITECTURE. The construction, or art and science, of building ships.

NAVAL ARMAMENT. A fleet or squadron of ships of war, fitted out for a particular service.


NAVAL HOSPITALS. Greenwich is styled by eminence the Royal Hospital, yet the naval medical establishments in England and the colonies[493] are all royal. At home they are Haslar, Plymouth, Yarmouth, Haulbowline, Chatham, and Woolwich; abroad, Malta, Jamaica, Halifax, Bermuda, Cape of Good Hope, and Hong Kong. Besides these useful hospitals, there are other stations of relief around the coasts.

NAVAL OFFICER. One belonging to the royal navy. Also, the person in charge of the stores in a royal dockyard abroad.

NAVAL RESERVE. A body of volunteers, consisting of coasters and able merchant seamen, who are drilled for serving on board our ships of war in case of need. They receive a fixed rate of compensation, become entitled to a pension, and enjoy other privileges. They are largely officered from their own body.

NAVAL SCIENCE. A knowledge of the theory of ship-building, seamanship, navigation, nautical astronomy, and tactics.

NAVAL STORES. All those particulars which are made use of, not only in the royal navy, but in every other kind of navigation. There are various statutes against stealing or embezzling them.

NAVAL STORE-SHIP. A government vessel, appropriated to carrying stores and munitions of war to different stations.

NAVAL TACTICS. The warlike evolutions of fleets, including such manœuvres as may be judged most suitable for attack, defence, or retreat, with precision. The science of tactics happens never to have proceeded from naval men. Thus Père la Hoste among the French, and a lawyer among the English, are the prime authorities. Moreover, it is a fact well known to those who served half a century back, when Lord Keith, Sir P. Durham, Sir P. Malcolm, and B. Hallowell practised their squadrons, that questions remained in dispute and undecided for at least sixteen years.

NAVE-HOLE. The hole in the centre of a gun-truck for receiving the end of the axle-tree.

NAVEL HOODS. Those hoods wrought above and below the hawse-holes, outside a ship, where there are no cheeks to support a bolster.

NAVEL LAVER. The sea-weed Ulva umbilicus.


NAVIGABLE. Any channel capable of being passed by ships or boats.

NAVIGANT. An old word for sailor.

NAVIGATION. The art of conducting vessels on the sea, not only by the peculiar knowledge of seamanship in all its intricate details, but also by such a knowledge of the higher branches of nautical astronomy as enables the commander to hit his port, after a long succession of bad weather, and an absence of three or four months from all land. Any man without science may navigate the entire canals of Great Britain, but may be unable to pass from Plymouth to Guernsey.

NAVIGATION ACTS. Various statutes by which the legislature of Great Britain has in a certain degree restricted the intercourse of foreign vessels with her own ports, or those of her dependent possessions; the object being to promote the increase of British shipping.[494]

NAVIGATOR. A person skilled in the art of navigation. In old times, the ship's artist. Also, one who plies merely on canals. Also, the navvy who works on embankments, cuttings, &c.

NAVITHALAMUS. A word in Law-Latin signifying a yacht.

NAVVIES. The vigorous labourers employed in cutting canals, railroads, or river works in temporary gangs.

NAVY. Any assembly of ships, whether for commerce or war. More particularly the vessels of war which, belonging to the government of any state, constitute its maritime force. The Royal Navy of Great Britain is conducted under the direction of the lords-commissioners for executing the office of lord high-admiral, and by the following principal officers under them:—the controller of the navy, controlling dockyards, building, &c., with his staff; the accountant-general, store-keeper general, and controller of victualling. These several lords meet as a board at Somerset House on special days to give the affairs the force of the board of admiralty.

NAVY AGENTS. Selected mercantile houses, about fourteen, who manage the affairs of officers' pay, prizes, &c., for which the law authorizes a certain percentage. They hold powers of attorney to watch the interests of their clients.

NAVY BILLS. Bills of removal, transfer, &c., are not negotiable, nor can they be made other use of.

NAVY BOARD. The commissioners of the navy collectively considered, but long since abolished.

NAVY TRANSPORT. See Transport.

NAVY-YARD. A royal arsenal for the navy.

NAY-WORD. The old term for the watch-word, parole, or countersign.

NAZE. See Ness.

NEALED. See Arming.

NEALED-TO. A shore, with deep soundings close in.

NEAPED. The situation of a ship which, within a bar-harbour, is left aground on the spring-tides so that she cannot go to sea or be floated off till the return of the next spring-tides.

NEAP-TIDES. A term from the Ang.-Sax. nepflods. They are but medium tides, in respect to their opposites, the springs, being neither so high, so low, nor so rapid. The phenomenon is owing to the attractions of the sun and moon then partly counteracting each other.

NEAR, and NO NEAR. Synonymous terms used as a warning to the helmsman when too near the wind, not to come closer to it, but to keep the weather-helm in hand.

NEAT. See Net, as commercial weight.

NEB. This word, the Ang.-Sax. nebb, face as well as nose, is sometimes used for ness (which see). Also, a bird's beak.

NEBULA. An old term for a cluster of stars looking like a cloudy spot till separated by telescopic power; but the term is also now correctly applied to masses of nebulous matter only.[495]

NECESSARIES. Minor articles of clothing or equipment, prescribed by regulation, but provided by the men out of their own pay.

NECESSARY MONEY. An extra allowance formerly allowed to pursers for the coals, wood, turnery-ware, candles, and other necessaries provided by them.

NECESSITY. If a ship be compelled by necessity to change the order of the places to which she is insured, this is not deemed deviation, and the underwriters are still liable.

NECK. The elbow or part connecting the blade and socket of a bayonet. Goose-neck, at the ends of booms, to connect them with the sides, or at the yard-arm for the studding-sail boom-iron.

NECK of a Gun. The narrow part where the chase meets the swell of the muzzle.

NECKED. Tree-nails are said to be necked where they are cracked, bent, or nipped between the outside skin and the timbers of a vessel, whether from bad driving or severe straining.

NECKING. A small neat moulding at the foot of the taffrail over the light.

NECKLACE. A ring of wads placed round a gun, as sometimes practised, for readiness and stowage. Also, a strop round a lower mast carrying leading-blocks. Also, the chain necklace, to which the futtock-shrouds are secured in some vessels.

NECK OF LAND. Dividing two portions of water, or it may be the neck of a peninsula.

NECK OF THE CASCABLE. The part between the swell of the breech of a gun and the button. Its narrowest part within the button.

NECKUR. A Scandinavian sea-sprite, whence some derive our "Old Nick" in preference to St. Nicholas, the modern patron of sailors.

NEEDLE. The Ang.-Sax. nædl. (See also Magnetic Needle.)

NEEDLE-FISH. The shorter pipe-fish, stang, or sting, Sygnathus acus.

NEEDLE-GUN. One wherein the ignition for the cartridge is produced by the penetration of the detonating priming by a steel spike working in the lock. It is the Prussian musket.

NEEDLES. Used by sail-makers, are seaming, bolt-rope, or roping needles, all three-sided, and of very fine steel.—The Needles of the Isle of Wight are the result of cracks in the rocks, through which the sea has worn its way, as also at Old Harry, Swanage Bay. As the chalk formation stretches westward, the structure changes in hardness until at Portland we meet with Portland stone. In California many of the needle rocks are of volcanic origin; others again are basaltic columns.

NEGLECT. A charge not exceeding £3, from the wages of a seaman, in the Complete Book, for any part of the ship's stores lost overboard, or damaged, from his gross carelessness.

NEGLIGENCE. If agent or broker engages to do an act for another, and he either wholly neglects it, or does it unskilfully, an action on the case will lie against him.[496]

NEGOTIATE, To. The duty of a diplomatist; the last resource and best argument being now 12-ton guns.

NEGRO-BOAT. See Almadia.

NEGROHEAD. Hard-rolled tobacco.

NEGRO-HEADS. The brown loaves issued to ships in ordinary.

NELLY. Diomedea spadicea, a sea-bird of the family Procellaridæ, which follows in the wake of a ship when rounding the Cape of Good Hope: it is very voracious of fat blubber.

NEPTUNE. A superior planet, recently discovered; it is the most distant member of the solar system yet known, and was revealed by the effect which its attraction had produced upon the movements of Uranus; this was one of the most admirable solutions in modern mathematical science. Neptune, so far as is yet known, has no satellites.

NEPTUNES. Large brass pans used in the Bight of Biafra for obtaining salt.

NEPTUNE'S GOBLETS. The large cup-shaped sponges found in the eastern seas; Raphyrus patera.

NEPTUNE'S SHEEP. Waves breaking into foam, called white horses.

NESS [Ang.-Sax. næs]. A projection of land, as Dungeness, Sheerness, &c. It is common in other European languages, as the French nez, Italian naso, Russian noss, Norwegian naze, &c. Our Dunnose is an example.

NEST. See Crow's Nest.

NET. In commerce, is the weight of a commodity alone, without the package.

NET AND COBLE. The means by which sasses or flood-gates are allowed in fishings on navigable rivers.

NETTING. Network of rope or small line for the purpose of securing hammocks, sails, &c.—Boarding netting. A stout netting formerly extended fore and aft from the gunwale to a proper height up the rigging. Its use was to prevent an enemy from jumping on board.—Splinter netting. Is stretched from the main-mast aft to the mizen-mast, in a horizontal position, about 12 feet above the quarter-deck. It secures those engaged there from injury by the fall of any objects from the mast-heads during an action:

"And has saved the lives of many men
Who have fallen from aloft."
NETTLES. Small line used for seizings, and for hammock-clues. (See Knittle.)—To nettle, is to provoke.

NEUTRALS. Those who do not by treaty owe anything to either party in war; for if they do they are confederates. They are not to interfere between contending powers; and the right of security justifies a belligerent in enforcing the conditions. They are not allowed to trade from one port of the enemy to another, nor to be habitually employed in his coasting trade. Indeed the simple conveyance of any article to the opponent of the blockading squadron, at once settles the non-admission, or even hovering.[497]

NEVER SAY DIE! An expressive phrase, meaning do not despair, there is hope yet.—Nil desperandum! As Cowper says,

"Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
Wait till to-morrow, will have passed away."
NEW ACT. The going on shore without leave, and which though thus termed new, is an old trick.

NEWCOME. An officer commencing his career. Any stranger or fresh hand newly arrived.

NEWELL. An upright piece of timber to receive the tenon of the rails that lead from the breast-hook to the gangway.

NEWGATE BIRDS. The men sent on board ship from prisons; but the term has also been immemorially used, as applied to some of the Dragon's men in the voyage of Sir Thomas Roe to Surat, 1615.

NEW MOON. The moon is said to be new when she is in conjunction with the sun, or between that luminary and the earth.

NEWS. "Do you hear the news?" A formula used in turning up the relief watch.

NICE STEERAGE. That which is required in tide-ways and intricate channels, chasing or chased.

NIDGET. A coward. A term used in old times for those who refused to join the royal standard.

NIGHT-CAP. Warm grog taken just before turning in.

NIGHTINGALES. See Spithead Nightingales.

NIGHT ORDER-BOOK. A document of some moment, as it contains the captain's behests about change of course, &c., and ought to be legibly written.

NIGHT-WALKER. A fish of a reddish colour, about the size of a haddock, so named by Cook's people from the greatest number being caught in the night; probably red-snapper.

NIGHT WARD. The night-watch.

NILL. Scales of hot iron at the armourer's forge. Also, the stars of rockets.

NIMBUS. Ragged and hanging clouds resolving into rain. (See Cumulo-cirro-stratus.)

NINE-PIN BLOCK. A block in that form, mostly used for a fair-leader under the cross-pieces of the forecastle and quarter-deck bitts.

NINES, To the. An expression to denote complete.

NINGIM. A corruption of ginseng (which see).

NIP. A short turn in a rope. Also, a fishing term for a bite. In Arctic parlance, a nip is when two floes in motion crush by their opposite edges a vessel unhappily entrapped. Also, the parts of a rope at the place bound by the seizing, or caught by jambing. Also, Nip in the hawse; hence "freshen the nip," by veering a few feet of the service into the hawse.

NIPCHEESE. The sailor's name for a purser's steward.

NIPPER. The armourer's pincers or tongs. Also, a hammock with so little bedding as to be unfit for stowing in the nettings.[498]

NIPPERING. Fastening nippers by taking turns crosswise between the parts to jam them; and sometimes with a round turn before each cross. These are called racking-turns.

NIPPER-MEN. Foretop-men employed to bind the nippers about the cables and messenger, and to whom the boys return them when they are taken off.

NIPPERS. Are formed of clean, unchafed yarns, drawn from condemned rope, unlaid. The yarns are stretched either over two bolts, or cleats, and a fair strain brought on each part. They are then "marled" from end to end, and used in various ways, viz. to bind the messenger to the cable, and to form slings for wet spars, &c. The nipper is passed at the manger-board, the fore-end pressing itself against the cable; after passing it round cable and messenger spirally, the end is passed twice round the messenger, and a foretop-man holds the end until it reaches the fore-hatchway, when a maintop-man takes it up, and at the main-hatchway it is taken off, a boy carrying it forward ready coiled for further use.—Selvagee nippers are used when from a very great strain the common nippers are not found sufficiently secure; selvagees are then put on, and held fast by means of tree-nails. (See Selvagee and Tree-nails.)—Buoy and nipper. Burt's patent for sounding. By this contrivance any amount of line is loosely veered. So long as the lead descends, the line runs through the nipper attached to a canvas inflated buoy. The instant it is checked or the lead touches bottom, the back strain nips the line, and indicates the vertical depth that the lead has descended.

NIPPLE. In ship-building. Another name for knuckle (which see). Also, the nipple of a gun or musket lock; the perforated projection which receives the percussion-cap.

NISSAK. The Shetland name for a small porpoise.

NITRE. Potassæ nitras, a salt formed by the union of nitric acid with potash; the main agent in gunpowder.

NITTY. A troublesome noise; a squabble.

NOAH'S ARK. Certain clouds elliptically parted, considered a sign of fine weather after rain.

NOB. The head; therefore applied to a person in a high station of life. (See Knob.)

NOCK. The forward upper end of a sail that sets with a boom. Also, a term used for notch.

NOCTURNAL, Nocturlabium. An instrument chiefly used at sea, to take the altitude or depression of some of the stars about the pole, in order to find the latitude and the hour of the night.

NOCTURNAL ARC. That part of a circle, parallel to the equator, which is described by a celestial object, between its setting and rising.

NODDY. The Sterna solida, a dark web-footed sea-bird, common about the West Indies. Also, a simpleton; so used by Shakspeare in the Two Gentlemen of Verona.

NODES. Those points in the orbit of a planet or comet where it intersects[499] the ecliptic. The ascending node is the point where it passes from the south to the north side of the ecliptic; the descending node is the opposite point, where the latitude changes from north to south. (See Line of Nodes.)

NOG. A tree-nail driven through the heels of the shores, to secure them.

NOGGIN. A small cup or spirit-measure, holding about 1⁄4 of a pint.

NOGGING. The act of securing the shores by tree-nails. Also, warming beer at the galley-fire.

NO HIGHER! See Near.

NO-HOWISH. Qualmy; feeling an approaching ailment without being able to describe the symptoms.

NO-MAN'S LAND. A space in midships between the after-part of the belfry and the fore-part of a boat when it is stowed upon the booms, as is often done in a deep-waisted vessel; this space is used to contain any blocks, ropes, tackles, &c., which may be necessary on the forecastle, and probably derives its name from being neither on the starboard nor port side, neither in the waist, nor on the forecastle.

NONAGESIMAL DEGREE. The point of the ecliptic which is at the greatest altitude above the horizon.

NON-COMBATANTS. A term applied erroneously to the purser, master surgeon, &c., of a man-of-war, for all men on board may be called on, more or less, to fight.

NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS. In familiar parlance, non-coms. are the sergeants, corporals, and others, appointed under special regulations, by the orders of the commanding officer.

NON-CONDENSING ENGINE. A high-pressure steam-engine.

NONIUS SCALE, or Vernier. That fixed to the oblong opening near the lower end of the index-bar of a sextant or quadrant; it divides degrees into minutes, and these again into parts of seconds.

NO! NO! The answer to the night-hail by which it is known that a midshipman or warrant officer is in the boat hailed.

NON-RECOIL. This was effected by securing the breeching while the gun was run out: often practised in small vessels.

NOOK. A small indentation of the land; a little cove in the inner parts of bays and harbours.

NOOK-SHOTTEN. A Shakspearian expression for a coast indented with bays; as in Henry V. Bourbon speaks contemptuously of "that nook-shotten isle of Albion."

NOON. Mid-day.

NOOSE. A slip or running knot.

NORE. The old word for north. Also, a canal or channel.

NORIE'S EPITOME. A treatise on navigation not to be easily cast aside.

NORLAND. Of, or belonging to, the north land.

NORMAL LEVEL of a Barometer. A term reckoned synonymous with par-line (which see).

NORMAN. A short wooden bar thrust into one of the holes of the windlass[500] or capstan in a merchantman, whereon to veer a rope or fasten the cable, if there be little strain upon it. Also fixed through the head of the rudder, in some ships, to prevent the loss of the rudder. Also, a pin placed in the bitt-cross-piece to confine the cable from falling off.

NORRIE, and TAMMIE NORRIE. The Scotch name for the puffin.

NORTH. From the Anglo-Saxon nord.

NORTH-AWAY YAWL. The old term for Norway yawl (which see).

NORTH-EAST PASSAGE. To the Pacific, or round the north of Europe, has been divided into three parts, thus: 1. From Archangel to the river Lena; 2. from the Lena, round Tschukotskoi-ness to Kamtschatka; and 3. from Kamtschatka to Japan. They have been accomplished at various times, but not successively.

NORTHERN DIVER. The Colymbus glacialis, a large diving-bird.

NORTHERN-GLANCE. The old sea-name of the aurora borealis (which see).

NORTHERN LIGHTS. See Northern-glance.

NORTHERS. Those winds so well known to all seamen who have frequented the West Indies, and which are preceded by the appearance of a vast quantity of fine cobwebs or gossamer in the atmosphere, which clings to all parts of a vessel's rigging, thus serving as a warning of an approaching gale. Northers alternate with the seasons in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Channel, Jamaica, Cuba, &c. Their cold is intense.

NORTH FOLLOWING. For this and north preceding, see Quadrant.

NORTH PASSAGE to the Indies. The grand object of our maritime expeditions at a remote period, prosecuted with a boldness, dexterity, and perseverance which, although since equalled in the same pursuit, have not yet been surpassed:—

"I will undertake
To find the north passage to the Indies sooner,
Than plough with your proud heifer."—Massinger.
NORTH SEA. The Jamaica name for the north swell. (See Ground-sea.)

NORTH-WESTER. This wind in India usually commences or terminates with a violent gust from that quarter, with loud thunder and vivid lightning. Also, gales which blow from the eastern coast of North America in the Atlantic during the autumn and winter.

NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. By Hudson's Bay into the Pacific Ocean has been more than once attempted of late years, but hitherto without success. Some greatly doubted the practicability of such an enterprise; but the north-west passage, as far as relates to the flow of the sea beneath the ice, was satisfactorily solved by H.M.S. Investigator, Sir R. Maclure, reaching the western end of Barrow's Straits. The former question, up to Melville Island, which Sir R. Maclure reached and left his notice at in 1852, having been already thoroughly established by Sir E. Parry in 1820.

NORTH WIND. This wind in the British seas is dry and cold, and[501] generally ushers in fair weather and clear skies. The barometer rises with the wind at north, and is highest at N.N.E.; the air forming this wind comes from colder latitudes, and has therefore lost most of its moisture.

NORWAY SKIFF. A particularly light and buoyant boat, which is both swift and safe in the worst weather.

NORWAY YAWL. This, of all small boats, is said to be the best calculated for a high sea; it is often met with at a distance from land, when a stout ship can hardly carry any sail. The parent of the peter-boat.

NOSE. Often used to denote the stem of a ship. Also, a neck of land: naes, or ness.

NOTARY. The person legally empowered to attest deeds, protests, or other documents, in order to render them binding.

NOTCH. The gaffle of a cross-bow.

NOTCH-BLOCK. See Snatch-block.

NOTCH-SIGHT of a Gun. A sight having a V-shaped notch, wherein the eye easily finds the lowest or central point.

NOTHING OFF! A term used by the man at the conn to the steersman, directing him to keep her close to the wind; or "nothing off, and very well thus!" (See Thus.)

NOTIONS. An American sea-term for a cargo in sorts; thus a notion-vessel on the west coast of America is a perfect bazaar; but one, which sold a mixture—logwood, bad claret, and sugar—to the priests for sacrament wine had to run for it.

NOUD. A term in the north for fishes that are accounted of little value.

NOUP. A round-headed eminence.

NOUS. An old and very general term for intelligent perception, evidently from the Greek.

NOUST. A landing-place or indent into the shore for a boat to be moored in; a term of the Orkney Isles.

NOZZLE-FACES. Square plates of brass raised upon the cylinder; one round each of the steam-ports, for the valve-plates to slide upon.

NOZZLES. In steamers, the same as steam-ports; they are oblong passages from the nozzle-faces to the inside of the cylinder; by them the steam enters and returns above and below the piston. Also pump nozzles.

NUBECULÆ, Major and Minor. The Magellanic clouds (which see).

NUCLEUS of a Comet. The condensed or star-like part of the head.

NUDDEE. A Hindostanee word for a river.

NUGGAR. A term in the East Indies for a fort, and also for an alligator.

NULLAH. A ravine or creek of a stream in India.

NUMBER. The number on the ship's books is marked on the clothing of seamen; that on a man's hammock or bag corresponds with his number on the watch and station bill. The ships of the royal navy are denoted by flags expressing letters, and when passing or nearing each other the names are exchanged by signals.—Losing the number of the mess, is a phrase for dying suddenly; being killed or drowned.[502]

NUMERARY or MARRYAT'S SIGNALS. A useful code used by the mercantile marine, by an arrangement of flags from a cypher to units, and thence to thousands. (See Signals.)

NUN-BUOY. A buoy made of staves, somewhat in the form of a double cone; large in the middle, and tapering rapidly to the ends; the slinging of which is a good specimen of practical rigging tact.

NURAVEE YAWL. A corruption of Norway yawl (which see).

NURSE. An able first lieutenant, who in former times had charge of a young boy-captain of interest, but possessing no knowledge for command. Also, a small kind of shark with a very rough skin; a dog-fish.

NUT. A small piece of iron with a female screw cut through the middle of it, for screwing on to the end of a bolt.

NUTATION. An oscillatory motion of the earth's axis, due chiefly to the action of the moon upon the spheroidal figure of our globe.

NUTS of an Anchor. Two projections either raised or welded on the square part of the shank, for securing the stock to its place.

NYCTALOPIA. See Moon-blink.


O. The fourth class of rating on Lloyd's books for the comparative excellence of merchant ships. But insured vessels are rarely so low. (See A.)

O! or Ho! An interjection commanding attention or possibly the cessation of any action.

OAK. Quercus, the valuable monarch of the woods. "Hearts of oak are our ships," as the old song says.

OAKUM [from the Anglo-Saxon æcumbe]. The state into which old ropes are reduced when they are untwisted and picked to pieces. It is principally used in caulking the seams, for stopping leaks, and for making into twice-laid ropes. Very well known in workhouses.—White Oakum. That which is formed from untarred ropes.

OAKUM-BOY. The caulker's apprentice, who attends to bring oakum, pitch, &c.

OAR. A slender piece of timber used as a lever to propel a boat through the water. The blade is dipped into the water, while the other end within board, termed the loom, is small enough to be grasped by the rower. The silver oar is a badge of office, similar to the staff of a peace-officer, which on presentation, enables a person intrusted with a warrant to serve it on board any ship he may set foot upon.—To boat the oars, is to cease rowing and lay the oars in the boat.—Get your oars to pass! The order to prepare them for rowing, or shipping them.[503]

OAR, To Shove in an. To intermeddle, or give an opinion unasked.

OAR-PROPULSION. The earliest motive power for vessels; it may be by the broadside in rowlocks abeam, by sweeps on the quarters fore and aft, or by sculling with one oar in the notch of the transom amidships. (See Stern-oar.)

OARS! The order to cease rowing, by lifting the oars from the water, and poising them on their looms horizontally in their rowlocks.—Look to your oars! Passing any object or among sea-weed.—Double-banked oars (which see).

OASIS. A fertile spot in the midst of a sandy desert.

OATH. A solemn affirmation or denial of anything, before a person authorized to administer the same, for discovery of truth and right. (See Corporal Oath.) Hesiod ascribes the invention of oaths to discord. The oath of supremacy and of the Protestant faith was formerly taken by an officer before he could hold a commission in the royal navy.

OAZE. Synonymous with the Ang.-Sax. wase when applied to mud. (See Ooze.)

OBEY. A word forming the fulcrum of naval discipline.

OBI. A horrible sorcery practised among the negroes in the West Indies, the infliction of which by a threat from the juggler is sufficient to lead the denounced victim to mental disease, despondency, and death. Still the wretched trash gathered together for the obi-spell is not more ridiculous than the amulets of civilized Europe.

OBLATE. Compressed or flattened.

OBLIGATION. A bond containing a penalty, with a condition annexed for payment of money or performance of covenants.

OBLIMATION. The deposit of mud and silt by water.

OBLIQUE-ANGLED TRIANGLE. Any other than a right-angled triangle.

OBLIQUE ASCENSION. An arc between the first point of Aries and that point of the equator which comes to the horizon with a star, or other heavenly body, reckoned according to the order of signs. It is the sum or difference of the right ascension and ascensional difference.

OBLIQUE BEARINGS. Consist in determining the position of a ship, by observing with a compass the bearings of two or more objects on the shore whose places are given on a chart, and drawing lines from those places, so as to make angles with their meridians equal to the observed bearings; the intersection of the line gives on the chart the position of the ship. This is sometimes called the method of cross-bearings.

OBLIQUE SAILING. Is the reduction of the position of the ship from the various courses made good, oblique to the meridian or parallel of latitude. If a vessel sails north or south, it is simply a distance on the meridian. If east or west, on the parallel, and refers to parallel sailing. If oblique, it is solved by middle latitude, or Mercator sailing.

OBLIQUE STEP. A movement in marching, in which the men, while advancing, gradually take ground to the right or left.

OBLIQUITY OF THE ECLIPTIC. The angle between the planes of the[504] ecliptic and the equator, or the inclination of the earth's equator to the plane of her annual path, upon which the seasons depend: this amounts at present to about 23° 27′.

OBLONG SQUARE. A name improperly given to a parallelogram. (See Three-square.)

OBSERVATION. In nautical astronomy, denotes the taking the sun, moon, or stars' altitude with a quadrant or sextant, in order thereby to find the latitude or time; also, the lunar distances.

OBSERVE, To. To take a bearing or a celestial observation.

OBSIDIONAL CROWN. The highest ancient Roman military honour; the decoration of the chief who raised a siege.

OBSTACLES. Chains, booms, abattis, snags, palisades, or anything placed to impede an enemy's progress. Unforeseen hindrances.

OBTURATOR. A cover or valve in steam machinery.

OBTUSE ANGLE. One measuring above 90°, and therefore beyond a right angle; called by shipwrights standing bevellings.

OBTUSE-ANGLED TRIANGLE. That which has one obtuse angle.

OCCIDENT. The west.

OCCULTATION. One heavenly body eclipsing another; but in nautical astronomy it is particularly used to denote the eclipses of stars and planets by the moon.

OCCUPY, To. To take military possession.

OCEAN. This term, in its largest sense, is the whole body of salt water which encompasses the globe, except the collection of inland seas, lakes, and rivers: in a word, that glorious type of omnipotent power, whether in calm or tempest:—

"Dark, heaving, boundless, endless, and sublime,
The image of Eternity."
In a more limited sense it is divided into—1. The Atlantic Ocean. 2. The Pacific Ocean. 3. The Indian Ocean. 4. The Southern Ocean.

OCEAN-GOING SHIP. In contradistinction to a coaster.

OCHRAS. A Gaelic term for the gills of a fish.

OCTAGON. A geometrical figure which has eight equal sides and angles.

ODHARAG. The name of the young cormorant in our northern isles.

OE. An island [from the Ang.-Sax.] Oes are violent whirlwinds off the Faeroe Islands, said at times to raise the water in syphons.

OFERLANDERS. Small vessels on the Rhine and the Meuse.

OFF. The opposite to near. Also applied to a ship sailing from the shore into the open sea. Also, implies abreast of, or near, as "We were off Cape Finisterre."—Nothing off! The order to the helmsman not to suffer the ship to fall off from the wind.

OFFAL. Slabs, chips, and refuse of timber, sold in fathom lots at the dockyards.

OFF AND ON. When a ship beating to windward approaches the shore by one board, and recedes from it when on the other. Also used to denote an undecided person. Dodging off a port.[505]

OFF AT A TANGENT. Going in a hurry, or in a testy humour.

OFF DUTY. An officer, marine, or seaman in his watch below, &c. An officer is sometimes put "off duty" as a punishment.

OFFENCES. Crimes which are not capital, but by the custom of the service come under the articles of war.

OFFICER. A person having some command. A term applied both in the royal and mercantile navies to any one of a ship's company who ranks above the fore-mast men.

OFFICER OF THE DAY. A military officer whose immediate duty is to attend to the interior economy of the corps to which he belongs, or of those with which he may be doing duty.

OFFICER OF THE WATCH. The lieutenant or other officer who has charge of, and commands, the watch.

OFFICERS' EFFECTS. The effects of officers who die on board are not generally sold; but should they be submitted to auction, the sale is to be confined entirely amongst the officers.

OFFICIAL LETTERS. All official letters which are intended to be laid before the commander-in-chief, must be signed by the officers themselves, specifying their rank under their signatures. All applications from petty officers, seamen, and marines, relative to transfer, discharge, or other subjects of a similar nature, are to be made through the captain or commanding officer. They ought to be written on foolscap paper, leaving a margin, to the left hand, of one-fourth of the breadth, and superscribed on the cover "On H. M. Service."

OFFING. Implies to sea-ward; beyond anchoring ground.—To keep a good offing, is to keep well off the land, while under sail.

OFF-RECKONING. A proportion of the full pay of troops retained from them, in special cases, until the period of final settlement, to cover various expected charges (for ship-rations and the like).

OFF SHE GOES! Means run away with the purchase fall. Move to the tune of the fifer. The first move when a vessel is launched.

OFF THE REEL. At once; without stopping. In allusion to the way in which the log-line flies off the reel when a ship is sailing fast.

OFFWARD. The situation of a ship which lies aground and leans from the shore; "the ship heels offward," and "the ship lies with her stern to the offward," is when her stern is towards the sea.

OGEE. In old-pattern guns, the doubly curved moulding added, by way of finish, to several of the rings.

OGGIDENT. Jack's corruption of aguardiente [Sp.], a fiery and very unwholesome spirit.

OIL-BUTT. A name for the black whale.

OILLETS, or Œillets. Apertures for firing through, in the walls of a fort.

OITER. A Gaelic word still in use for a sand-bank.

OJANCO SNAPPER. A tropical fish of the Mesoprion family, frequenting the deep-water banks of the West Indies.

OKE. A Levant weight of 23⁄4 lbs., common in Mediterranean commerce.[506]

OLD COUNTRY. A very general designation for Great Britain among the Americans. The term is never applied to any part of the continent of Europe.

OLD HAND. A knowing and expert person.

OLD HORSE. Tough salt-beef.

OLD ICE. In polar parlance, that of previous seasons.

OLD-STAGER. One well initiated in anything.

OLD-STAGERISM. An adherence to established customs; sea conservatism.

OLDSTERS. In the old days of cockpit tyranny, mids of four years' standing, and master's-mates, &c., who sadly bullied the youngsters.

OLD WIFE. A fish about 2 feet long, and 9 inches high in the back, having a small mouth, a large eye, a broad dorsal fin, and a blue body. Also, the brown long-tailed duck of Pennant.

OLD WOMAN'S TOOTH. A peculiar chisel for stub morticing.

OLERON CODE. A celebrated collection of maritime laws, compiled and promulgated by Richard Cœur-de-Lion, at the island of Oleron, near the coast of Poitou, the inhabitants of which have been deemed able mariners ever since. It is reckoned the best code of sea-laws in the world, and is recorded in the black book of the admiralty.

OLICK. The torsk or tusk, Gadus callarias.

OLIVER. A west-country term for a young eel.

OLPIS. A classic term for one who, from a shore eminence, watched the course which shoals of fish took, and communicated the result to the fishers. (See Conder.)

OMBRE. A fish, more commonly called grayling, or umber.

ON. The sea is said to be "on" when boisterous; as, there is a high sea on.

ON A BOWLINE. Close to the wind, when the sail will not stand without hauling the bowlines.

ONAGER. An offensive weapon of the middle ages.

ON A WIND. Synonymous with on a bowline.

ON BOARD. Within a ship; the same as aboard.

ONCIA. A gold coin of Sicily; value three ducats, or 10s. 10d. sterling.

ONCIN. An offensive weapon of mediæval times, consisting of a staff with a hooked iron head.

ON DECK THERE! The cry to call attention from aloft or below.

ONE-AND-ALL. A mutinous sea-cry used in the Dutch wars. Also, a rallying call to put the whole collective force on together.

ON EITHER TACK. Any way or every way; a colloquialism.

ON END. The same as an-end (which see). Top-masts and topgallant-masts are on end, when they are in their places, and sail can be set on them.

ONE O'CLOCK. Like one o'clock. With speed; rapidly.

ONERARIÆ. Ancient ships of burden, with both sails and oars.

ONE, TWO, THREE! The song with which the seamen bowse out the bowlines; the last haul being completed by belay O![507]

ONION-FISH. The Cepola rubescens, whose body peels into flakes like that vegetable. It is of a pale red colour.

ON SERVICE. On duty.

ON-SHORE WINDS. Those which blow from the offing, and render bays uncomfortable and insecure.

ON THE BEAM. Implies any distance from a ship on a line with her beams, or at right angles with the keel.

ON THE BOW. At any angle on either side of the stem up to 45°; then it is either four points on the bow, or four points before the beam.

ON THE QUARTER. Being in that position with regard to a ship, as to be included in the angles which diverge from right astern, to four points towards either quarter.

OOMIAK. A light seal-skin Greenland boat, generally worked in fine weather by the women, but in bad weather by the men.

OPEN. The situation of a place which is exposed to the wind and sea. Also, applied in meteorology, to mild weather. Also, open to attack, not protected. Also, said of any distant visible object.

OPEN HAWSE. When a vessel rides by two anchors, without any cross in her cables.

OPEN ICE. Fragments of ice sufficiently separate to admit of a ship forcing or boring through them under sail.

OPENING TRENCHES. The first breaking of ground by besiegers, in order to carry on their approaches towards a besieged place.

OPEN LIST. One of a ship's books, which contains the whole of the names of the actual officers and crew, in order to regulate their victualling. The crew are mustered by the open list.

OPEN LOWER DECKERS, To. To fire the lower tier of guns. Also said of a person using violent language.

OPEN ORDER. Any distance ordered to be preserved among ships, exceeding a cable's length.

OPEN PACK. A body of drift ice, the pieces of which, though very near each other, do not generally touch. It is opposed to close pack.

OPEN POLICY. Where the amount of the interest of the insured is not fixed by the policy, but is left to be ascertained by the insured, in case a loss shall happen.

OPEN ROADSTEAD. A place of hazard, as affording no protection either from sea or wind.

OPERATIONS. Field movements, whether offensive or defensive.

OPHIUCHUS. One of the ancient constellations, of which the lucida is Ras-al-ague, one of the selected nautical objects at Greenwich. This asterism is sometimes called Serpentarius, its Latin name, instead of its Greek.

OPINION. An experienced witness, who never saw the ship, yet may legally prove that from the description of her by another witness she was not sea-worthy.

OPOSSUM-SHRIMP. A crustacean, so named from its young being[508] carried about in a sort of pouch for some little time after being hatched; the Mysis flexuosus of naturalists.

OPPIGNORATION. The pawning of part of the cargo to get money for the payment of the duty on the remainder.

OPPOSITE TACKS. Making contrary boards. Also, a colloquialism for cross purposes.

OPPOSITION. A celestial body is said to be in opposition to the sun when their longitudes differ 180°, or half the circumference of the heavens.

OPTICK. An old term for a magnifying-glass.

ORAGIOUS. An old term for stormy or tempestuous weather:—

"The storme was so outrageous,
And with rumlings oragious,
That I did feare."
ORAMBY. A sort of state-barge used in the Moluccas; some of them are rowed by 40, 80, or even, it is said, 100 paddles each.

ORARIÆ. Ancient coasting vessels.

ORB. The circular figure made by a body of troops.

ORBIT. The path described by a planet or comet round the sun.

ORBITAL. Relating to the orbit of a heavenly body.

ORC. Wrack or sea-weed, used as manure on some of the coasts of England.

ORCA. A classical name for a large voracious sea-animal, probably a grampus. Anglicized as ork or orc; thus in the second song of Drayton's strange Polyolbion—

"The ugly orks, that for their lord the ocean woo."
And Milton afterwards introduces them—

"An island salt and bare,
The haunt of seals and orcs, and sea-mews clang."
ORDER ARMS! The word of command, with muskets or carbines, to bring the butt to the ground, the piece vertical against the right side, trigger-guard to the front.—Open order and close order, are terms for keeping the fleet prepared for any particular manœuvre.

ORDER-BOOK. A book kept for the purpose of copying such occasional successive orders as the admiral, or senior officer, may find it necessary to give.

ORDERLY. The bearer of official messages, and appointed to wait upon superior officers with communications.

ORDERLY OFFICER. In the army. See Officer of the Day.

ORDER OF BATTLE. The arranging of ships or troops so as to engage the enemy to the best advantage.

ORDER OF SAILING. See Sailing, Order of.

ORDERS. Societies of knights. (See Knighthood.)

ORDERS IN COUNCIL. Decrees given by the privy council, signed by the sovereign, for important state necessities, independently of any act of parliament; but covered by an act of indemnity when it is assembled.

ORDINARY. The establishment of the persons formerly employed to take charge of the ships of war which are laid up in ordinary at several[509] harbours adjacent to the royal dockyards. These duties are now under the superintendent of the dockyard. Also, the state of such men-of-war and vessels as are out of commission and laid up.

ORDINARY SEAMAN. The rating for one who can make himself useful on board, even to going aloft, and taking his part on a top-sail or topgallant-yard, but is not a complete sailor, the latter being termed an able seaman. It would be well if our merchant seamen consisted of apprentices and A.B.'s.

ORDINARY STEP. The common march of 110 paces in a minute.

ORDNANCE. A general name for all sorts of great guns which are used in war. Also, all that relates to the artillery and engineer service.

ORDNANCE-HOY. A sloop expressly fitted for transporting ordnance stores to ships, and from port to port.

OREILLET. The ear-piece of a helmet.

OREMBI. A small korocora (which see).

ORGUES. Long-pointed beams shod with iron, hanging vertically over a gateway, to answer as a portcullis in emergency.

ORIENT. The east point of the compass.

ORIFLAMME. The banner of St. Dennis; but the term is often applied to the flags of any French commander-in-chief.

ORIGIN. Merchant ships claiming benefit for importation, must obtain and produce certificates of origin, in respect to the goods they claim for. (See Production.)

ORIGINAL ENTRY. The date at which men enter for the navy, and repair on board a guard-ship, or tender, where bedding or slops may be supplied to them, and are forwarded with them to their proper ships.

ORILLON. In fortification, a curved projection formed by the face of a bastion overlapping the end of the flank; intended to protect the latter from oblique fire; modern ricochet fire renders it of little consequence.

ORION. One of the ancient constellations, of which the lucida is the well-known nautical star Betelgeuze.

ORISONT. The horizon; thus spelled by our early navigators.

ORLOP. The lowest deck, formerly called "over-lop," consisting of a platform laid over the beams in the hold of ships of war, whereon the cables were usually coiled, and containing some cabins as well as the chief store-rooms. In trading vessels it is often a temporary deck.

ORLOP-BEAMS, or Hold-beams. Those which support the orlop-deck, but are chiefly intended to fortify the hold.

ORNAMENTS. The carvings of the head, stern, and quarters of the old ships.

ORNITHÆ. An ancient term for the periodical winds by which migratory birds were transported.

ORTHODROMIC. The course which lies on a meridian or parallel.

ORTHOGRAPHIC PROJECTION. The profile, or representation of a vertical section, of a work in fortification.

ORTIVE AMPLITUDE. The eastern one.[510]

OSCILLATING MARINE-ENGINE. A steam-engine where the top of the piston-rod is coupled with the crank, and the piston-rod moves backward and forward in the direction of the axis of the cylinder, while its extremity revolves in a circle with the crank.

OSCILLATING PUMP-SPEAR. A contrivance by which the pumps of a large vessel are worked, connected with a crank-shaft and fly-wheel, driven by handles in the same way as a winch.

OSMOND. The old term for pig-iron; a great article of lading.

OSNABURG. In commerce, a coarse linen cloth manufactured in Scotland, but resembling that made at Osnaburg in Germany.

OSPREY. The fish-hawk, Pandion haliætus; Shakspeare, in Coriolanus, says—

"I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish."
OS SEPIÆ. The commercial term for the sepia, or cuttle-fish bones.

OSTMEN. A corrupted form of Hoastmen.

OTSEGO BASS. Coregonus otsego, a fish of the American lakes.

OTTER-PIKE. The lesser weever, Trachinus draco; also called sea-stranger.

OTTOMITES. An old term for Turks. See Shakspeare in Othello.

OUNDING. Resembling or imitating waves; used by Chaucer and others.

OUSTER LE MER. The legal term for excuse, when a man did not appear in court on summons, for that he was then beyond the seas.

OUT-AND-OUTER. An old phrase signifying thorough excellence; a man up to his duty, and able to perform it in style.

OUT-BOARD. The outside of the ship: the reverse of in-board.

OUT-BOATS. The order to hoist out the boats.

OUT-EARING CLEAT. This is placed on the upper side of the gaff, to pass the outer earing round from the cringle.

OUTER-JIB. In sloops, where the head-sails are termed foresail-jib and outer-jib, if set from the foremast-head. It is now very common for ships to set two standing jibs, the stay and tack of the inner one being secured at the middle of the jib-boom.

OUTER TURNS and Inner Turns. The outer turns of the earing serve to extend the sail outwards along its yard. The inner turns are employed to bind the sail close to the yard.

OUTFIT. The stores with which a merchant vessel is fitted out for any voyage. Also, the providing an individual with clothes, &c.

OUT-FLANK, To. By a longer front, to overlap the enemy's opposite line, and thus gain a chance to turn his flank.

OUT-HAUL, or Out-hauler. A rope used for hauling out the tack of a jib lower studding-sail, or the clue of a boom-sail. The reverse of in-haul.

OUT-HOLLING. Clearing tide-ports, canals, and channels of mud.

OUTLANDISH. Foreign; but means with Jack a place where he does not feel at home, or a language which he does not understand.[511]

OUTLET. The effluent or stream by which a lake discharges its water. Also applied to the spot where the efflux commences.

OUT-LICKER. A corruption of out-rigger (which see).

OUT-LIER. A word which has been often used for out-rigger, but applies to outlying rocks, visible above water.

OUT-OARS. The order to take to rowing when the sails give but little way on a boat.

OUT OF COMMISSION. A ship where officers and men are paid off, and pennant hauled down.

OUT OF TRIM. A ship not properly balanced for fast sailing, which may be by a defect in the rigging or in the stowage of the hold.

OUT OF WINDING. Said of a plank or piece of timber which has a fair and even surface without any twists: the opposite of winding.

OUT OR DOWN. An exclamation of the boatswain, &c., in ordering men out of their hammocks, i.e. turn out, or your laniard will be cut.

OUT-PENSIONERS. Those entitled to pensions from Greenwich Hospital, but not admitted to "the house."

OUT-PORTS. Those commercial harbours which lie on the coasts; all ports in the United Kingdom out of London. (See Close-ports.)

OUTREGANS. Canals or ditches navigable by boats.

OUT-RIGGER. A strong beam, of which there are several, passed through the ports of a ship, and firmly lashed at the gunwale, also assisted by guys from bolts at the water-line, to secure the masts in the act of careening, by counteracting the strain they suffer from the tackles on the opposite side. Also, any boom rigged out from a vessel to hang boats by, clear of the ship, when at anchor. Also, any spar, as the boomkin, for the fore-tack, or the jigger abaft to haul out the mizen-sheet, or extend the leading blocks of the main braces. Also, a small spar used in the tops and cross-trees, to thrust out and spread the breast backstays to windward. Also, a counterpoising log of wood, rigged out from the side of a narrow boat or canoe, to prevent it from being upset.

OUT-SAIL, To. To sail faster than another ship, or to make a particular voyage with greater despatch.

OUTSIDE MUSTER-PAPER. A paper with the outer part blank, but the inner portion ruled and headed; supplied from the dock yards to form the cover of ships' books.

OUTSIDE PLANKING. Such are the wales, the plank-sheer, the garboard-strakes, and the like.

OUTWARD. A vessel is said to be entered outwards or inwards according as she is entered at the custom-house to depart for, or as having arrived from, foreign parts.

OUTWARD CHARGES. Pilotage and other dues incurred from any port: the reverse of inward charges.

OUTWORKS. Works included in the scheme of defence of a place, but outside the main rampart; if "detached," they are moreover outside the glacis.[512]

OUVRE L'ŒIL. A mark on French charts over supposed dangers.

OVER and UNDER TURNS. Terms applied to the passing of an earing, besides its inner and outer turns.

OVER-ANENT. Opposite to.

OVER-BEAR. One ship overbears another if she can carry more sail in a fresh wind.

OVERBOARD. The state of any person or thing in the sea which had been in a ship.—Thrown overboard also means cast adrift by the captain; withdrawal of countenance and support.

OVER-BOYED. Said of a ship when the captain and majority of the quarter-deck officers are very young.

OVERFALL. A rippling or race in the sea, where, by the peculiarities of bottom, the water is propelled with immense force, especially when the wind and tide, or current, set strongly together. (See Ripps.)

OVER-GUNNED. Where the weight of metal is disproportioned to the ship, and the quarters insufficient for the guns being duly worked.

OVERHAND KNOT. Is made by passing the end of a rope over its standing part, and through the bight.

OVERHAUL. Has many applications. A tackle when released is overhauled. To get a fresh purchase, ropes are overhauled. To reach an object, or take off strain, weather-braces are overhauled. A ship overhauls another in chase when she evidently gains upon her. Also, overhauls a stranger and examines her papers. Also, is overhauled, or examined, to determine the refit demanded.

OVER-INSURANCE. See Re-insurance, and Double Insurance.

OVERLAP. A designation of the hatches of a ship; planks in clinch-built boats. Points of land overlap a harbour's mouth at a particular bearing.—To overlap, to fay upon.

OVERLAY DAYS. Days for which demurrage can be charged.

OVER-LOFT. An old term for the upper deck of a ship.

OVER-LOOKER. Generally an old master appointed by owners of ships to look after everything connected with the fitting out of their vessels when in harbour in England.

OVER-MASTED. The state of a ship whose masts are too high or too heavy for her weight to counter-balance.

OVER-PRESS, To. To carry too much sail on a ship.

OVER-RAKE. When a ship rides at anchor in a head-sea, the waves of which frequently break in upon her, they are said to over-rake her.

OVER-RIGGED. A ship with more and heavier gear than necessary, so as to be top-hampered.

OVER-RISEN. When a ship is too high out of the water for her length and breadth, so as to make a trouble of lee-lurches and weather-rolls. Such were our 80-gun three-deckers and 44's on two decks, happily now no more.

OVER-RUNNING. (See Under-run.) Applied to ice, when the young ice overlaps, and is driven over.[513]

OVER-SEA VESSELS. Ships from foreign parts, as distinguished from coasters.

OVER-SETTING. The state of a ship turning upside down, either by carrying too much sail or by grounding, so that she falls on one side. (See Upset.)

OVERSHOOT, To. To give a ship too much way.

OVERSLAUGH. From the Dutch overslag, meaning the bar of a river or port. Also, in military parlance, the being passed over in the roster for some recurring duty without being assigned to it in turn.

OVER-SWACK. An old word, signifying the reflux of the waves by the force of the wind.

OVERWHELM. A comprehensive word derived from the Ang.-Saxon wylm, a wave. Thus the old song—

"Lash'd to the helm, should seas o'erwhelm."
OWLER. An old term on our southern coast for smuggler. Particularly persons who carried wool by night, in order to ship it contrary to law.

OWN, To. To be a proprietor in a ship.

OWNERS. The proprietors of ships. They are bound to perform contracts made by their masters, who are legally their agents.

OXBOWS. Bends or reaches of a river.

OX-EYE. A small cloud, or weather-gall, seen on the coast of Africa, which presages a severe storm. It appears at first in the form of an ox-eye, but soon overspreads the whole hemisphere, accompanied by a violent wind which scatters ships in all directions, and many are sunk downright. Also, a water-fowl. Also, the smaller glass bull's eyes.

OXYGON. A triangle which has three sharp or acute angles.

OXYRINCHUS. A large species of the skate family.

OYSE. An inlet of the sea, among the Shetlands and Orkneys.

OYSTER-BED. A "laying" of culch, that is, stones, old shells, or other hard substances, so as to form a bed for oysters, which would be choked in soft mud.

OYSTER-CATCHER, or Sea-pye. The black and white coast-bird, Hæmatopus ostralegus.

OZELLA. A Venetian coin both in gold and silver; the former being £1, 17s. 4d., and the latter 1s. 7d., in sterling value.


PACE. A measure, often used for reconnoitring objects. The common pace is 21⁄2 feet, or half the geometrical pace. The pace is also often roughly assumed as a yard.

PACIFIC OCEAN. A name given by the Spaniards to the "Great Ocean,"[514] from the fine weather they experienced on the coast of Peru. Other parts, however, prove this a misnomer.

PACK-ICE. A large collection of broken floe huddled together, but constantly varying its position; said to be open when the fragments do not touch, and close when the pieces are in contact.

PACKING-BOXES. Recesses in the casing of a steamer, directly facing the steam-ports, filled with hemp-packing and tallow, in order to form steam-tight partitions.

PACKS. Heavy thunder clouds.

PAD, or Pad-piece. In ship-building, a piece of timber placed on the top of a beam at its middle part, in order to make up the curve or round of the deck.

PADDLE. A kind of oar, used by the natives of India, Africa, America, and by most savages; it is shorter and broader in the blade than the common oar.—To paddle, is to propel a boat more purely by hand, that is, without a fulcrum or rowlock.

PADDLE-BEAMS. Two large beams projecting over the sides of a steamer, between which the paddle-wheels revolve. (See Sponson.)

PADDLE-BOX. The frame of wood which encircles the upper part of the paddle-wheel.

PADDLE-BOX BOATS. Boats made to fit the paddle-box rim, stowed bottom upwards on each box.

PADDLE-SHAFT. The stout iron axis carrying the paddle-wheels, which revolves with them when keyed.

PADDLE-STEAMER. A steam-ship propelled through the water by paddle-wheels.

PADDLE-WHEELS. The wheels on each side of a steamer, suspended externally by a shaft, and driven by steam, to propel her by the action of the floats.

PADDY, or Padi. Rice in the husk, so called by the Malays, from whose language the word has found its way to all the coasts of India.

PADDY-BOATS. A peculiar Ceylon boat, for the conveyance of rice and other necessaries.

PADDY'S HURRICANE. Not wind enough to float the pennant.

PADRONE. (See Patron or Master.) This word is not used in larger vessels than coasters.

PADUAN. A small Malay vessel, armed with two guns, one aft and the other forward, for piratical purposes.

PAGODA. Tall tapering buildings erected by the Chinese and other eastern nations, to note certain events, or as places for worship, of which the great pagoda of Pekin may be taken as an example. They are rather numerous on the banks of the Canton River. (See Star-pagoda.)

PAH. A New Zealand stronghold. (See Hep-pah.)

PAHI. The large war-canoe of the Society Islands.

PAID OFF. See Paying Off.

PAINTER. A rope attached to the bows of a boat, used for making her[515] fast: it is spliced with a thimble to a ring-bolt inside the stem. "Cut your painter," make off.

PAIR-OAR. A name of the London wherry of a larger size than the scull.

PAIXHAN GUN. Introduced by the French General Paixhan about 1830, for the horizontal firing of heavy shells; having much greater calibre, but proportionally less metal, than the then current solid-shot guns.

PALABRAS. Sp. words; hence palaver amongst natives of new countries where the Spaniards have landed.

PALADIN. A knight-errant.

PALANQUIN. The covered litter of India.

PALAVER. See Palabras.

PALES and Cross-pales. The interior shores by which the timbers of a ship are kept to the proper breadth while in frame.

PALISADES. [Sp.] Palings for defensive purposes, formed of timber or stout stakes fixed vertically and sharpened at the head.

PALLET. A ballast-locker formerly used, to give room in the hold for other stowage.

PALLETTING. A slight platform made above the bottom of the magazines, to keep the powder from moisture.

PALM. The triangular face of the fluke of an anchor. Also, a shield-thimble used in sewing canvas, rope, &c. It consists of a flat thimble to receive the head of the needle, and is fixed upon a piece of canvas or leather, across the palm of the hand, hence the name.

PALMAIR. An old northern word for rudder. Also, a pilot.

PALMETTO. One of the palm tribe, from the sheath of which sennit is worked for seamen's (straw) hats.

PALM-WINE. A sub-acid and pleasant fermented tropical drink. (See Toddy.)

PAMBAN MANCHE, or Snake-boat of Cochin. A canoe used on the numerous rivers and back-waters, from 30 to 60 feet long, and cut out of the solid tree. The largest are paddled by about twenty men, double-banked, and, when pressed, they will go as much as 12 miles an hour.

PAMPAS. The Savannah plains of South America, so extensive that, as Humboldt observes, whilst their northern extremity is bounded by palm-trees, their southern limits are the eternal snows of the Magellanic straits.

PAMPERO. A violent squall of wind from the S.W., attended with rain, thunder, and lightning, over the immense plains or pampas of the Rio de la Plata, where it rages like a hurricane.

PAN. In fire-arms, is a small iron cavity of the old flint lock, adjacent to the touch-hole of the barrel, to contain the priming powder.

PANCAKES. Thin floating rounded spots of snow ice, in the Arctic seas, and reckoned the first indication of the approach of winter, in August.

PANDEL. A Kentish name for the shrimp.[516]

PANDOOR. A northern name for a large oyster, usually taken at the entrance of the pans.

PANGAIA. A country vessel of East Africa, like a barge, with one mat-sail of cocoa-nut leaves, the planks being pinned with wooden pins, and sewed with twine.

PANNIKIN. A small tin pot.

PANNYAR. Kidnapping negroes on the coast of Africa.

PANSHWAY. A fast-pulling passenger-boat used on the Hooghly.

PANTOGRAPH. An instrument to copy or reduce drawings.

PANTOMETER. An instrument for taking angles and elevations, and measuring distances.

PAOLO. A Papal silver coin, value 51⁄4d.; ten paoli make a crown.

PAPS. Coast hills, with rounded or conical summits; the lofty paps of Jura are three in number.

PAR, or Parr. In ichthyology, the samlet, brannock, or branling. Also, a commercial term of exchange, where the moneys are equalized.

PARA. A small Turkish coin of 3 aspers, 11⁄2 farthing.

PARABOLA. A geometrical figure formed by the section of a cone when cut by a plane parallel to its side.

PARADE. An assembling of troops in due military order. Also, the open space where they parade or are paraded. The quarter-deck of a man-of-war is often termed the sovereign's parade.

PARALLACTIC ANGLE. The angle made at a star by arcs passing through the zenith and pole respectively.

PARALLAX. An apparent change in the position of an object, arising from a change of the observer's station, and which diminishes with the altitude of an object in the vertical circle. Its effect is greatest in the horizon, where it is termed the horizontal parallax, and vanishes entirely in the zenith. The positions of the planets and comets, as viewed from the surface of the earth, differ from those they would occupy if observed from its centre by the amount of parallax, the due application of which is an important element. The stars are so distant that their positions are the same from whatever part of the earth they are seen; but attempts have been made to detect the amount of variation in their places, when observed from opposite points of the earth's orbit, the minute result of which is termed the annual parallax; and the former effect, due to the observer's station on our globe, is called the diurnal parallax.

PARALLEL. A term for those lines that preserve an equal distance from each other. It is sometimes used instead of latitude, as, "Our orders were to cruise in the parallel of Madeira." More definitely, they are imaginary circles parallel with the equator, ninety in the northern, and ninety in the southern hemispheres.

PARALLEL-BAR. In the marine steam-engine, forms a connection with the pump-rods and studs along the centre line of the levers.

PARALLEL OF LATITUDE. Is a circle parallel to the equator passing through any place. Almucantar is the Arabic name.[517]

PARALLELOGRAM. A right-lined quadrilateral figure, the opposite sides of which are parallel and equal.

PARALLELOPIPED. A prism or solid figure contained under six parallelograms, the opposite sides of which are equal and parallel.

PARALLELS. The trenches or lines made by a besieger parallel to the general defence of a place, for the purpose of connecting and supporting his several approaches.

PARALLEL SAILING. Sailing nearly on a given parallel of latitude.

PARALLELS OF DECLINATION. Secondary circles parallel to the celestial equator.

PARANZELLO. A small Mediterranean vessel, pink-sterned, with a lateen main-sail and mizen, and a large jib.

PARAPET. A breast-high defence against missiles; its top is usually sloped away to the front, that the defenders may conveniently fire over it; and it is preferred of earth, of a thickness proportionate to the kind of fire it is intended to resist; its height also is often much increased.

PARASANG. A Persian military measure, sometimes assumed as a league, but equal to about 4 English miles.

PARBUCKLE. A method of hauling up or lowering down a cask, or any cylindrical object, where there is no crane or tackle; the middle of a rope is passed round a post, the two ends are then passed under the two quarters of the cask, bringing the ends back again over it, and they being both hauled or slackened together, either raise or lower the cask, &c., as may be required. The parbuckle is frequently used in public-house vaults. Guns are parbuckled up steep cliffs without their carriages, and spars in timber-yards are so dealt with.

PARCEL, To. To wind tarred canvas round a rope.

PARCELLING. Narrow strips of old canvas daubed with tar and frequently wound about a rope like bandages, previous to its being served.

PARCLOSE. A name of the limber-hole.

PARDON. The gazetted amnesty or remission of penalty for deserters who return to their duty; the same as act of grace.

PARGOS. A fish resembling a large bream, from which the crews of Quiros and Cook suffered violent pains and bad effects. The porgy of Africa and the West Indies.

PARHELION. A mock or false sun; sometimes more than one.

PARIAH. The low-caste people of Hindustan; outcasts.—Pariah-dogs; also outcasts of no known breed.

PARK. A piece of ground (other than a battery) appointed for the ranging of guns or of ordnance stores.

PARLEY. That beat of drum by which a conference with the enemy is desired. Synonymous with chamade.—To parley. To bandy words.

PARLIAMENT-HEEL. The situation of a ship when careened by shift of ballast, &c.; or the causing her to incline a little on one side, so as to clean the side turned out of water, and cover it with fresh composition, termed boot-topping (which see).[518]

PAR-LINE. A term signifying the normal level of a barometer for a given station, or the mean pressure between 32° and the sea-level, to which last the observations are all to be corrected and reduced.

PAROLE. The word of honour given by a prisoner of war until exchanged. Also, synonymous with word (which see).

PAROLE-EVIDENCE. In insurance cases it is a general rule, that the policy alone shall be conclusive evidence of the contract, and that no parole-evidence shall be received to vary the terms of it.

PARRALS, or Parrels. Those bands of rope, or sometimes iron collars, by which the centres of yards are fastened at the slings to the masts, so as to slide up and down freely when requisite.

PARREL-ROPE. Is formed of a single rope well served, and fitted with an eye at each end; this being passed round the yard is seized fast on, the two ends are then passed round the after-part of the mast, and one of them being brought under, and the other over the yard, the two eyes are lashed together; this is seldom used but for the top-gallant and smaller yards.

PARREL WITH RIBS AND TRUCKS, or Jaw parrels. This is formed by passing the two parts of the parrel-rope through the two holes in the ribs, observing that between every two ribs is strung a truck on each part of the rope. (See Ribs and Trucks.) The ends of the parrel-rope are made fast with seizings; these were chiefly used on the topsail-yards.

PARREL WITH TRUCKS. Is composed of a single rope passing through a number of bull's-eye trucks, sufficient to embrace the mast; these are principally used for the cheeks of a gaff.

PARSEES. The great native merchants of Bombay, &c., and a very useful class as merchants and shopkeepers all along the Malabar coast. They are the remains of the ancient Persians, and are Guebres, or fire-worshippers.

PART, To. To break a rope. To part from an anchor is in consequence of the cable parting.

PARTAN. A name on our northern coasts for the common sea-crab.

PARTING. The state of being driven from the anchors by breaking the cables. The rupture or stranding of any tackle-fall or hawser.

PARTIZAN, or Pertuisan. A halbert formerly much used. Thus in Shakspeare (Antony and Cleopatra), "I had as lief have a reed that will do me no service, as a partizan I could not heave." Also, a useful stirring man, fit for all sorts of desultory duties.

PARTIZAN WARFARE. Insurrectionary, factional, and irregular hostilities.

PARTNERS. A framework of thick plank, fitted round the several scuttles or holes in a ship's decks, through which the masts, capstans, &c., pass; but particularly to support it when the mast leans against it.

PARTNERSHIP with a neutral cannot legalize commerce with a belligerent.[519]

PART OWNERS. Unlike any other partnership, they may be imposed upon each other without mutual consent, whence arises a frequent appeal to both civil and common law. (See Ship-owner.)

PARTRIDGES. Grenades thrown from a mortar.

PARTY. The detachment of marines serving on board a man-of-war. Also, a gang of hands sent away on particular duties.

PASHA. Viceroy. A Turkish title of honour and command.

PASS. A geographical term abbreviated from passage, and applied to any defile for crossing a mountain chain. Also, any difficult strait which commands the entrance into a country. Also, a certificate of leave of absence for a short period only. Also, a thrust with a sword.

PASS, or Passport. A permission granted by any state to a vessel, to navigate in some particular sea without molestation; it contains all particulars concerning her, and is binding on all persons at peace with that state. It is also a letter of licence given by authority, granting permission to enter, travel in, and quit certain territories.

PASS, To. To give from one to another, and also to take certain turns of a rope round a yard, &c., as "Pass the line along;" "pass the gasket;" "pass a seizing;" "pass the word there," &c.

PASSAGE. A voyage is generally supposed to comprise the outward and homeward passages. Also, a west-country term for ferry. (See Voyage.)

PASSAGE-BOAT. A small vessel employed in carrying persons or luggage from one port to another. Also, a ferry-boat.

PASSAGE-BROKER. One who is licensed to act in the procuring of passages by ships from one port to another.

PASSAGE-MONEY. The allowance made for carrying official personages in a royal ship. Also, the charge made for the conveyance of passengers in a packet or merchant-vessel.

PASSAGES. Cuts in the parapet of the covered way to continue the communication throughout.

PASSANDEAU. An ancient 8-pounder gun of 15 feet.

PASSAREE, or Passarado. A rope in use when before the wind with lower studding-sail booms out, to haul out the clues of the fore-sail to tail-blocks on the booms, so as to full-spread the foot of that sail.

PASSED. The having undergone a regular examination for preferment.

PASSED BOYS. Those who have gone through the round of instruction given in a training-ship.

PASSE-VOLANT. A name applied by the French to a Quaker or wooden gun on board ship; but it was adopted by our early voyagers as also expressing a movable piece of ordnance.


PASS-WORD. The countersign for answering the sentinels.

PATACHE. A Portuguese tender, from 200 to 300 tons, for carrying treasure: well armed and swift.

PATACOON. A Spanish piece of eight, worth 4s. 6d.

PATALLAH. A large and clumsy Indian boat, for baggage, cattle, [520]&c.

PATAMAR. An excellent old class of advice-boats in India, especially on the Bombay coast, both swift and roomy. They are grab-built, that is, with a prow-stern, about 76 feet long, 21 feet broad, 11 feet deep, and 200 tons burden. They are navigated with much skill by men of the Mopila caste and other Mussulmans.

PATAMOMETER. An instrument for measuring the force of currents.

PATAXOS. A small vessel formerly used by the Spaniards as an advice-boat.

PATCH. The envelope used with the bullet in old rifles.—Muzzle-patch is a projection on the top of the muzzle of some guns, doing away with the effect of dispart in laying.

PATELLA. The limpet, of which there are 250 known species.

PATERERO. A kind of small mortar sometimes fired for salutes or rejoicing, especially in Roman Catholic countries on holidays.

PATERNOSTER-WORK. The framing of a chain-pump.

PATH. The trajectory of a shell.

PATOO-PATOO. A formidable weapon with sharp edges, used by the Polynesian Islanders and New Zealanders as a sort of battle-axe to cleave the skulls of their enemies.

PATROL. The night-rounds, to see that all is right, and to insure regularity and order.

PATRON, or Padrone. The master of a merchant vessel or coaster in the Mediterranean. Also, a cartridge-box, temp. Elizabeth.

PAUL BITT. A strong timber fixed perpendicularly at the back of the windlass in the middle, serving to support the system of pauls which are pinned into it, as well as to add security to the machine.

PAULER, That is a. A closer or stopper; an unanswerable or puzzling decision.

PAUL RIM. A notched cast-iron capstan-ring let into the ship's deck for the pauls to act on.

PAULS, or Pawls. A stout but short set of bars of iron fixed close to the capstan-whelps, or windlass of a ship, to prevent them from recoiling and overpowering the men. Iron or wood brackets suspended to the paul-bitts of a windlass, and dropping into appropriate scores, act as a security to the purchase. To the windlass it is vertical; for capstans, horizontal, bolted to the whelps, and butting to the deck-rim.

PAUL THERE, MY HEARTY. Tell us no more of that. Discontinue your discourse.

PAUNCH-MAT. A thick and strong mat formed by interweaving sinnet or strands of rope as close as possible; it is fastened on the outside of the yards or rigging, to prevent their chafing.

PAVILION. A state tent.

PAVILLON [Fr.] Colours; flag; standard.

PAVISER. Formerly a soldier who was armed with a pavise or buckler.

PAWK. A young lobster.

PAWL. See Pauls.[521]

PAY. A buccaneering principle of hire, under the notion of plunder and sharing in prizes, was, no purchase no pay.

PAY, To [from Fr. poix, pitch]. To pay a seam is to pour hot pitch and tar into it after caulking, to defend the oakum from the wet. Also, to beat or drub a person, a sense known to Shakspeare as well as to seamen.

PAY A MAST OR YARD, To. To anoint it with tar, turpentine, rosin, tallow, or varnish; tallow is particularly useful for those masts upon which the sails are frequently hoisted and lowered, such as top-masts and the lower masts of sloops, schooners, &c.

PAY A VESSEL'S BOTTOM, To. To cover it with tallow, sulphur, rosin, &c. (See Breaming.)

PAY AWAY. The same as paying out (which see). To pass out the slack of a cable or rope.—Pay down. Send chests or heavy articles below.

PAYING OFF. The movement by which a ship's head falls off from the wind, and drops to leeward. Also, the paying off the ship's officers and crew, and the removal of the ship from active service to ordinary.

PAYING OUT. The act of slackening a cable or rope, so as to let it run freely. When a man talks grandiloquently, he is said to be "paying it out."

PAYMASTER. The present designation of the station formerly held by the purser; the officer superintending the provisioning and making payments to the crew.

PAY ROUND, To. To turn the ship's head.

PAY-SERJEANT, in the Army. A steady non-commissioned officer, selected by the captain of each company, to pay the subsistence daily to the men, after the proper deductions.

PEA-BALLAST. A coarse fresh-water sand used by ships in the China trade for stowing tea-chests upon.

PEA or P.-JACKET. A skirtless loose rough coat, made of Flushing or pilot cloth.

PEAK. The more or less conical summit of a mountain whether isolated or forming part of a chain. Also, the upper outer corner of those sails which are extended by a gaff.

PEAK, To. To raise a gaff or lateen yard more obliquely to the mast. To stay peak, or ride a short stay peak, is when the cable and fore-stay form a line: a long peak is when the cable is in line with the main-stay.

PEAK DOWN-HAUL. A rope rove through a block at the outer end of the gaff to haul it down by.

PEAK HALLIARDS. The ropes or tackles by which the outer end of a gaff is hoisted, as opposed to the throat-halliards (which see).

PEAK OF AN ANCHOR. The bill or extremity of the palm, which, as seamen by custom drop the k, is pronounced pea; it is tapered nearly to a point in order to penetrate the bottom.

PEAK PURCHASE. A purchase fitted in cutters to the standing peak-halliards to sway it up taut.

PEARL. A beautiful concretion found in the interior of the shells of[522] many species of mollusca, resulting from the deposit of nacreous substance round some nucleus, mostly of foreign origin. The Meleagrina margaritifera, or pearl oyster of the Indian seas, yields the most numerous and finest specimens.

PECTORAL FINS. The pair situated behind the gills of fishes, corresponding homologically to the fore limbs of quadrupeds and the wings of birds.

PEDESTAL-BLOCKS. Synonymous with plumber-blocks (which see).

PEDESTAL-RAIL. A rail about two inches thick, wrought over the foot-space rail, and in which there is a groove to steady the heel of the balusters of the galleries.

PEDRO. An early gun of large calibre for throwing stone-balls.

PEDRO-A-PIED [Pedro-pee]. The balance on one leg in walking a plank as a proof of sobriety. A man placed one foot on a seam and flourished the other before and behind, singing, "How can a man be drunk when he can dance Pedro-pee," at which word he placed the foot precisely before the other on the seam, till he proved at least he had not lost his equilibrium. This was an old custom.

PEECE. An old term for a fortified position.

PEEGAGH. The Manx or Erse term for a large skate.

PEEK. See Peak.

PEEL. A stronghold of earth and timber for defence. Also, the wash of an oar.

PEGASUS. One of the ancient northern constellations, of which the lucida is Markab.

PEKUL. A Chinese commercial weight of about 130 or 132 lbs.

PELAGIANS. Fishes of the open sea.

PELICAN. A well-known water-bird. Also, the old six-pounder culverin.

PELL [from the British pwll]. A deep hole of water, generally beneath a cataract or any abrupt waterfall. Also, a large pond.

PELLET. An old word for shot or bullet.

PELLET-POWDER. Has its grains much larger and smoother, and is intended to act more gradually than service gunpowder, but by the English it is at present considered rather weak.

PELTA. An ancient shield or buckler, formed of scales sewed on skins.

PEMBLICO. A small bird whose cry was deemed ominous at sea as presaging wind.

PEMMICAN. Condensed venison, or beef, used by the hunters around Hudson's Bay, and largely provided for the Arctic voyages, as containing much nutriment in a small compass. Thin slices of lean meat are dried over the smoke of wood fires; they are then pounded and mixed with an equal weight of their own fat. It is generally boiled and eaten hot where fire is available.

PEN. A cape or conical summit. Also, the Creole name for houses and plantations in the country. Also, an inclosure for fishing on the coast.[523]

PENA, or PENON. High rocks on the Spanish coasts.

PENANG LAWYER. A cane, with the administration of which debts were wont to be settled at Pulo-Penang.

PENCEL. A small streamer or pennon.

PENDANT. See Pennant.

PENDANT. A strop or short piece of rope fixed on each side, under the shrouds, upon the heads of the main and fore masts, from which it hangs as low as the cat-harpings, having an iron thimble spliced into an eye at the lower end to receive the hooks of the main and fore tackles. There are besides many other pendants, single or double ropes, to the lower extremity of which is attached a block or tackle; such are the fish-pendant, stay-tackle-pendant, brace-pendant, yard-tackle-pendant, reef-tackle-pendant, &c., all of which are employed to transmit the efforts of their respective tackles to some distant object.—Rudder-pendants. Strong ropes made fast to a rudder by means of chains. Their use is to prevent the loss of the rudder if by any accident it should get unshipped.

PENDULUM. A gravitating instrument for measuring the motion of a ship and thereby assisting the accuracy of her gunnery in regulating horizontal fire.

PENGUIN. A web-footed bird, of the genus Aptenodytes, unable to fly on account of the small size of its wings, but with great powers of swimming and diving: generally met with in high southern latitudes.

PENINSULA. A tract of land joined to a continent by a comparatively narrow neck termed an isthmus.

PENINSULAR WAR. A designation assigned to the Duke of Wellington's campaigns in Portugal and Spain.

PENKNIFE ICE. A name given by Parry to ice, the surface of which is composed of numberless irregular vertical crystals, nearly close together, from five to ten inches long, about half an inch broad, and pointed at both ends. Supposed to be produced by heavy drops of rain piercing their way through the ice rather than by any peculiar crystallization while freezing.

PENNANT. A long narrow banner with St. George's cross in the head, and hoisted at the main. It is the badge of a ship-of-war. Signal pennants are 9 feet long, tapering from 2 feet at the mast to 1 foot. They denote the vessels of a fleet; there are ten pennants, which can be varied beyond any number of ships present. When the pennant is half mast, it denotes the death of the captain. When hauled down the ship is out of commission. Broad pennant denotes a commodore, and is a swallow-tailed flag, the tails tapering, and would meet, if the exterior lines were prolonged; those of a cornet could not.

PENNANT-SHIP. Generally means the commodore, and vessels in the employ of government. It is also an authority delegated by the commander of convoy to some smart merchant ship to assist in the charge, and collect stragglers.

PENNOCK. A little bridge thrown over a water-course.[524]

PENNY-WIDDIE. A haddock dried without being split.

PENSIONERS. Disabled soldiers or sailors received into the superb institutions of Chelsea and Greenwich, or, "recently if they choose," receiving out-pensions.

PENSTOCK. A flood-gate to a mill-pond. Also used in fortification, for the purpose of inundating certain works.

PENTAGON. A right-lined figure of five equal sides and angles.

PENUMBRA. The lighter shade which surrounds the dark shadow of the earth in an eclipse of the moon. Also, the light shade which usually encircles the black spots upon the sun's disc.

PEON-WOOD. See Poon-wood.

PEOTTA. A craft of the Adriatic, of light burden, propelled by oars and canvas.

PEPPER-DULSE. Halymenia edulis; a pungent sea-weed, which, as well as H. palmata, common dulse, is eaten in Scotland.

PER-CENTAGE. A proportional sum by which insurance, brokerage, freight, del credere, &c., are paid.

PERCER. A rapier; a short sword.

PERCH. A pole stuck up on a shoal as a beacon; or a spar erected on or projected from a cliff whence to watch fish.

PERCUSSION. The striking of one body by another.

PERDEWS. A corruption from enfans perdus, to designate those soldiers who are selected for the forlorn hope (which see).

PERIGEE. That point in the moon's orbit where she is nearest to the earth; or the point in the earth's orbit where we are nearest to the sun.

PERIHELION. That point in the orbit of a planet or comet which is nearest to the sun.

PERIKO. An undecked boat of burden in Bengal.

PERIL, or Peril of the Sea. Does not mean danger or hazard, but comprises such accidents as arise from the elements, and which could not be prevented by any care or skill of the master and crew. (See Act of God.)

PERIMETER. The sum of all the sides of a geometrical figure taken together.

PERIODICAL WINDS. See Monsoon and Trade-winds.

PERIODIC INEQUALITIES. Those disturbances in the planetary motions, caused by their reciprocal attraction in definite periods.

PERIODIC TIME. The interval of time which elapses from the moment when a planet or comet leaves any point in its orbit, until it returns to it again.

PERIPHERY. The circumference of any curved figure.

PERISHABLE MONITION. The public notice by the court of admiralty for the sale of a ship in a perishable condition, whose owners have proved contumacious.

PERIWINKLE. The win-wincle of the Ang.-Sax., a favourite little shell-fish, the pin-patch, or Turbo littoreus.

PERMANENT MAGNETISM. The property of attraction and repulsion belonging to magnetized iron. (See Induced Magnetism.)[525]

PERMANENT RANK. That given by commission, and which does not cease with any particular service.

PERMIT. A license to sell goods that have paid the duties or excise.

PERPENDICLE. The plumb-line of the old quadrant.

PERPENDICULAR. A right line falling from or standing upon another vertically, and making the angle of 90° on both sides.

PERRY. An old term for a sudden squall.

PERSONNEL. A word adopted from the French, and expressive of all the officers and men, civil and military, composing an army or a naval force.

PERSPECTIVE. The old term for a hand telescope. Also, the science by which objects are delineated according to their natural appearance and situation.

PERSUADER. A rattan, colt, or rope's end in the hands of a boatswain's mate. Also, a revolver.

PERTURBATIONS. The effects of the attractions of the heavenly bodies upon each other, whereby they are sometimes drawn out of their elliptic paths about the central body, as instanced by the wondrous discovery of Neptune.

PESAGE. A custom or duty paid for weighing merchandise, or other goods.

PESETA, or Pistoreen. A Spanish silver coin: one-fifth of a piastre.

PESSURABLE, or Pestarable, of our old statutes, implied such merchandise as take up much room in a ship.

PETARD. A hat-shaped metal machine, holding from 6 to 9 lbs. of gunpowder; it is firmly fixed to a stout plank, and being applied to a gate or barricade, is fired by a fuse, to break or blow it open. (See Powder-bags.)

PETARDIER. The man who fixes and fires a petard, a service of great danger.

PET-COCK. A tap, or valve on a pump.

PETER. See Blue Peter.

PETER-BOAT. A fishing-boat of the Thames and Medway, so named after St. Peter, as the patron of fishermen, whose cross-keys form part of the armorial bearings of the Fishmongers' Company of London. These boats were first brought from Norway and the Baltic; they are generally short, shallow, and sharp at both ends, with a well for fish in the centre, 25 feet over all, and 6 feet beam, yet in such craft boys were wont to serve out seven years' apprenticeship, scarcely ever going on shore.

PETER-MAN, or Peterer. A fisherman. Also, the Dutch fishing vessels that frequented our eastern coast.

PETITORY SUITS. Causes of property, formerly cognizable in the admiralty court.

PETREL. The Cypselli of the ancients, and Mother Cary's chickens of sailors; of the genus Procellaria. They collect in numbers at the approach[526] of a gale, running along the waves in the wake of a ship; whence the name peterel, in reference to St. Peter's attempt to walk on the water. They are seen in all parts of the ocean. The largest of the petrels, Procellaria fuliginosa, is known by seamen as Mother Cary's goose.

PETROLEUM. Called also rock, mineral, or coal, oil. A natural oil widely distributed over the globe, consisting of carbon and hydrogen, in the proportion of about 88 and 12 per cent. It burns fiercely with a thick black smoke; and attempts, not yet successful, have been made to adapt it as a fuel for steamers.

PETRONEL. An old term for a horse-pistol; also for a kind of carbine.

PETTAH. A town adjoining the esplanade of a fort.

PETTICOAT TROWSERS. A kind of kilt formerly worn by seamen in general, but latterly principally by fishermen. (See Galligaskins.)

PETTY AVERAGE. Small charges borne partly by a ship, and partly by a cargo, such as expenses of towing, &c.

PETTY OFFICER. A divisional seaman of the first class, ranking with a sergeant or corporal.

PHALANX. An ancient Macedonian legion of varying numbers, formed into a square compact body of pikemen with their shields joined.

PHARONOLOGY. Denotes the study of, and acquaintance with, lighthouses.

PHAROS. A lighthouse; a watch-tower.

PHASELUS. An ancient small vessel, equipped with sails and oars.

PHASES. The varying appearances of the moon's disc during a lunation; also those of the inferior planets Venus and Mercury, as they revolve round the sun.

PHILADELPHIA LAWYER. "Enough to puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer" is a common nautical phrase for an inconsistent story.

PHINAK. A species of trout. (See Finnock.)

PHYSICAL ASTRONOMY. That department of the science which treats of the causes of the motions of the heavenly bodies.

PHYSICAL DOUBLE-STAR. See Double-star and Binary System.

PIASTRE. A Spanish silver coin, value 4s. 3d. sterling. Also, a Turkish coin of 40 paras, or 1s. 7d.

PICARD. A boat of burden on the Severn, mentioned in our old statutes.

PICCANINNY. A negro or mulatto infant.

PICCAROON. A swindler or thief. Also, a piratical vessel.

PICCARY. Piratical theft on a small scale.

PICKERIE. An old word for stealing; under which name the crime was punishable by severe duckings.

PICKET. A pointed staff or stake driven into the ground for various military purposes, as the marking out plans of works, the securing horses to, &c. (See also Piquet, an outguard.)

PICKETS. Two pointers for a mortar, showing the direction of the object to be fired at, though it be invisible from the piece.[527]

PICKLE-HARIN. A sea-sprite, borrowed from the Teutonic.

PICKLING. A mode of salting naval timber in our dockyards, to insure its durability. (See Burnettize.)

PICK UP A WIND, To. Traverses made by oceanic voyagers; to run from one trade or prevalent wind to another, with as little intervening calm as possible.

PICTARNIE. A name on our northern coasts for the Sterna hirundo, the tern, or sea-swallow.

PICUL. See Pekul.

PIE. The beam or pole that is erected to support the gun for loading and unloading timber. Also called pie-tree.

PIECE OF EIGHT. The early name for the coin of the value of 8 reals, the well-known Spanish dollar.

PIER. A quay; also a strong mound projecting into the sea, to break the violence of the waves.

PIERCER. Used by sail-makers to form eyelet-holes.

PIGGIN. A little pail having a long stave for a handle; used to bale water out of a boat.

PIG-IRON. (See Sow.) An oblong mass of cast-iron used for ballast; there are also pigs of lead.

"A nodding beam or pig of lead
May hurt the very ablest head."
PIG-TAIL. The common twisted tobacco for chewing.

PIG-YOKE. The name given to the old Davis quadrant.

PIKE. (See Half-pike.) A long, slender, round staff, armed at the end with iron. (See Boarding-pike and Pyke.) Formerly in general use, but which gave way to the bayonet. Also, the peak of a hill. Also, a fish, the Esox lucius, nicknamed the fresh-water shark.

PIKE-TURN. See Chevaux de Frise.

PIL, or Pyll. A creek subject to the tide.

PILCHARD. The Clupea pilchardus, a fish allied to the herring, which appears in vast shoals off the Cornish coast about July.

PILE. A pyramid of shot or shell.—To pile arms, is to plant three fire-locks together, and unite the ramrods, to steady the outspread butt-ends of the pieces resting on the ground. A pile is also a beam of wood driven into the ground to form by a number a solid foundation for building upon. A sheeting-pile has more breadth than thickness, and is much used in constructing coffer-dams.

PILE-DRIVER. A machine adapted for driving piles. Also, applied to a ship given to pitch heavily in a sea-way.

PILGER. An east-country term for a fish-spear.

PILING ICE. In Arctic parlance, where from pressure the ice is raised, slab over slab, into a high mass, which consolidates, and is often mistaken for a berg.

PILL. (See Pil.) A term on the western coast for a draining rivulet, as well as the creek into which it falls.[528]

PILLAGE. Wanton and mostly iniquitous plunder. But an allowed ancient practice, both in this and other countries, as shown by the sea ordinances of France, and our black book of the admiralty.

PILLAN. A northern coast name for the shear-crab.

PILLAR OF THE HOLD. A main stanchion with notches for descent.

PILLAW. A dish composed at sea of junk, rice, onions, and fowls; it figured at the marriage feast of Commodore Trunnion. It is derived from the Levantine pillaf.

PILLOW. A block of timber whereon the inner end of the bowsprit is supported.

PILMER. The fine small rain so frequent on our western coasts.

PILOT. An experienced person charged with the ship's course near the coasts, into roads, rivers, &c., and through all intricate channels, in his own particular district.—Branch pilot. One who is duly authorized by the Trinity board to pilot ships of the largest draft.

PILOTAGE. The money paid to a pilot for taking a ship in or out of port, &c.

PILOT CUTTER. A very handy sharp-built sea-boat used by pilots.

PILOT-FISH. Naucrates ductor, a member of the Scomber family, the attendant on the shark.

PILOT'S-ANCHOR. A kedge used for dropping a vessel in a stream or tide-way.

PILOT'S FAIR-WAY, or Pilot's Water. A channel wherein, according to usage, a pilot must be employed.

PINCH-GUT. A miserly purser.

PINCH-GUT PAY. The short allowance money.

PINE. A genus of lofty coniferous trees, abounding in temperate climates, and valuable for its timber and resin. The masts and yards of ships are generally of pine. (See Pitch-pine.)—Pine is also a northern term for drying fish by exposure to the weather.

PING. The whistle of a shot, especially the rifle-bullets in their flight.

PINGLE. A small north-country coaster.

PINK. A ship with a very narrow stern, having a small square part above. The shape is of old date, but continued, especially by the Danes, for the advantage of the quarter-guns, by the ship's being contracted abaft. Also, one of the many names for the minnow.—To pink, to stab, as, between casks, to detect men stowed away.

PINKSTERN. A very narrow boat on the Severn.

PIN-MAUL. See Maul.

PINNACE. A small vessel propelled with oars and sails, of two, and even three masts, schooner-rigged. In size, as a ship's boat, smaller than the barge, and, like it, carvel-built. The armed pinnace of the French coasts was of 60 or 80 tons burden, carrying one long 24-pounder and 100 men. In Henry VI. Shakspeare makes the pinnace an independent vessel, though Falstaff uses it as a small vessel attending on a larger. Also, metaphorically, an indifferent character.[529]

PINNOLD. A term on our southern shores for a small bridge.

PINS.—Belaying pins. Short cylindrical pieces of wood or iron fixed into the fife-rail and other parts of a vessel, for making fast the running-rigging.

PINTADOS. Coloured or printed chintzes, formerly in great demand from India, and among the fine goods of a cargo.

PIN-TAIL. The Anas acuta, a species of duck with a long pointed tail. Also, in artillery, the iron pin on the axle-tree of the limber, to which the trail-eye of the gun-carriage is attached for travel.

PINTLES. The rudder is hung on to a ship by pintles and braces. The braces are secured firmly to the stern-post by jaws, which spread and are bolted on each side. The pintles are hooks which enter the braces, and the rudder is then wood-locked; a dumb pintle on the heel finally takes the strain off the hinging portions.

PIONEERS. A proportion of troops specially assigned to the clearing (from natural impediments) the way for the main body; hence, used generally in the works of an army, its scavenging, &c. Labourers of the country also are sometimes so used.

PIPE. A measure of wine containing two hogsheads, or 125 gallons, equal to half a tun. Also, a peculiar whistle for summoning the men to duty, and directing their attention by its varied sounds. (See Call.)

PIPE-CLAY. Known to the ancients under the name of paretonium; formerly indispensable to soldiers as well as the jolly marines.

PIPE DOWN! The order to dismiss the men from the deck when a duty has been performed on board ship.

PIPE-FISH. A fish of the genus Syngnathus, with an elongated slender body and long tubular mouth.

PIPER. A half-dried haddock. Also, the shell Echinus cidaris. Also, the fish Trigla lyra.

PIQUET. A proportion of a force set apart and kept on the alert for the security of the whole.—The outlying piquet, some distance from the main body, watches all hostile approach.—The inlying piquet is ready to act in case of internal disorder, or of alarm.

PIRACY. Depredation without authority, or transgression of authority given, by despoiling beyond its warrant. Fixed domain, public revenue, and a certain form of government, are exempt from that character, therefore the Barbary States were not treated by Europe as such. The Court of Admiralty is empowered to grant warrants to commit any person for piracy, only on regular information upon oath. By common law, piracy consists in committing those acts of robbery and depredation upon the high seas, which, if committed on land, would have amounted to felony, and the pirate is deemed hostis humani generis.

PIRAGUA [Sp. per agua]. See Pirogue.

PIRATE. A sea-robber, yet the word pirata has been formerly taken for a sea-captain. Also, an armed ship that roams the seas without any legal commission, and seizes or plunders every vessel she meets; their colours[530] are said to be a black field with a skull, a battle-axe, and an hour-glass. (See Prahu.)

PIRIE. An old term for a sudden gust of wind.

PIRLE. An archaic word signifying a brook or stream.

PIROGUE, or Piragua. A canoe formed from the trunk of a large tree, generally cedar or balsa wood. It was the native vessel which the Spaniards found in the Gulf of Mexico, and on the west coasts of South America; called also a dug-boat in North America.

PISCARY. A legal term for a fishery. Also, a right of fishing in the waters belonging to another person.

PISCES. The twelfth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of February.

PISCIS AUSTRALIS. One of the ancient southern constellations, the lucida of which is Fomalhaut.

PISTOL. An old word for a swaggering rogue; hence Shakspeare's character in Henry V.

PISTOLA. A Papal gold coin of the sterling value of 13s. 11d.

PISTOLE. A Spanish gold coin, value 16s. 6d. sterling.

PISTOLET. This name was applied both to a small pistol and a Spanish pistole.

PISTOLIERS. A name for the heavy cavalry, temp. Jac. I.

PISTOL-PROOF. A term for the point of courage for which a man was elected captain by pirates.

PISTON. In the marine steam-engine, a metal disc fitting the bore of the cylinder, and made to slide up and down within it easily, in order, by its reciprocating movement, to communicate motion to the engine.

PISTON-ROD. A rod which is firmly fixed in the piston by a key driven through both.

PIT. In the dockyards. See Saw-pit.

PITCH. Tar and coarse resin boiled to a fluid yet tenacious consistence. It is used in a hot state with oakum in caulking the ship to fill the chinks or intervals between her planks. Also, in steam navigation, the distance between two contiguous threads of the screw-propeller, is termed the pitch. Also, in gunnery, the throw of the shot.—To pitch, to plant or set, as tents, pavements, pitched battles, &c.

PITCH-BOAT. A vessel fitted for boiling pitch in, which should be veered astern of the one being caulked.

PITCHED. A word formerly used for stepped, as of a mast, and also for thrown.

PITCH-HOUSE. A place set apart for the boiling of pitch for the seams and bottoms of vessels.

PITCH IN, To. To set to work earnestly; to beat a person violently. (A colloquialism.)

PITCHING. The plunging of a ship's head in a sea-way; the vertical vibration which her length makes about her centre of gravity; a very straining motion.[531]

PITCH-KETTLE. That in which the pitch is heated, or in which it is carried from the pitch-pot.

PITCH-LADLE. Is used for paying decks and horizontal work.

PITCH-MOP. The implement with which the hot pitch is laid on to ships' sides and perpendicular work.

PITCH-PINE. Pinus resinosa, commonly called Norway or red pine. (See Pine.)

PITH. Well known as the medullary part of the stem of a plant; but figuratively, it is used to express strength and courage.

PIT-PAN. A flat-bottomed, trough-like canoe, used in the Spanish Main and in the West Indies.

PIT-POWDER. That made with charcoal which has been burned in pits, not in cylinders.

PIVOT. A cylinder of iron or other metal, that may turn easily in a socket. Also, in a column of troops, that flank by which the dressing and distance are regulated; in a line, that on which it wheels.

PIVOT-GUN. Mounted on a frame carriage which can be turned radially, so as to point the piece in any direction.

PIVOT-SHIP. In certain fleet evolutions, the sternmost ship remains stationary, as a pivot upon which the other vessels are to form the line anew.

PLACE. A fortress, especially its main body.

PLACE for Everything, and Everything in its Place. One of the golden maxims of propriety on board ship.

PLACE OF ARMS. In fortification, a space contrived for the convenient assembling of troops for ulterior purposes; the most usual are those at the salient and re-entering angles of the covered-way.

PLACER. A Spanish nautical term for shoal or deposit. Also, for deposits of precious minerals.

PLACES OF CALL. Merchantmen must here attend to two general rules:—If these places of call are enumerated in the charter-party, then such must be taken in the order laid down; but if leave be given to call at all, or any, then they must be taken in their geographical sequence.

PLAGES [Lat.] An old word for the divisions of the globe; as, plages of the north, the northern regions.

PLAIN. A term used in contradistinction to mountain, though far from implying a level surface, and it may be either elevated or low.

PLAN. The area or imaginary surface defined by, or within any described lines. In ship-building, the plan of elevation, commonly called the sheer-draught, is a side-plan of the ship. (See Horizontal Plan and Body-plan, or plan of projection.)

PLANE. In a general sense, a perfectly level surface; but it is a term used by shipwrights, implying the area or imaginary surface contained within any particular outlines, as the plane of elevation, or sheer-draught, &c.

PLANE-CHART. One constructed on the supposition of the earth's being an extended plane, and therefore but little in request.

PLANE OF THE MERIDIAN. See Meridian.[532]

PLANE-SAILING. That part of navigation which treats a ship's course as an angle, and the distance, difference of latitude, and easting or westing, as the sides of a right-angled triangle. The easting or westing is called departure. To convert this into difference of longitude, parallel, middle latitude, or Mercator's sailing is needed, depending on circumstances. Plane-sailing is so simple that it is colloquially used to express anything so easy that it is impossible to make a mistake.

PLANE TRIANGLE. One contained by three right lines.

PLANETS, Primary. Those beautiful opaque bodies which revolve about the sun as a centre, in nearly circular orbits. (See Inferior, Minor, and Superior.)

PLANETS, Secondary. The satellites, or moons, revolving about some of the primary planets—the moon being our satellite.

PLANIMETRY. The mensuration of plane surfaces.

PLANK. Thick boards, 18 feet long at least, from 11⁄2 to 4 inches thick, and 9 or 10 inches broad; of less dimensions, it is called board or deal (which see), the latter being 8 or 9 inches wide, by 14 feet long.

PLANKING. The outside and inside casing of the vessel.

PLANK IT, To. To sleep on the bare decks, choosing, as the galley saying has it, the softest plank.

PLANK-SHEER. Pieces of plank covering the timber-heads round the ship; also, the gunwale or covering-board. The space between this and the line of flotation has latterly been termed the free-board.

PLAN OF THE TRANSOMS. The horizontal appearance of them, to which the moulds are made, and the bevellings taken.

PLANT. A stock of tools, &c. Also, the fixtures, machinery, &c., required to carry on a business.

PLANTER. In Newfoundland it means a person engaged in the fishery; and in the United States the naked trunk of a tree, which, imbedded in a river, becomes one of the very dangerous snag tribe.

PLASH, To. To wattle or interweave branches.

PLASTRON. A pad used by fencers. Also, the shield on the under surface of a turtle.

PLATE. In marine law, refers to jewels, plate, or treasure, for which freight is due. Thus, plate-ship is a galleon so laden.

PLATE. Backstay-plate. A piece of iron used instead of a chain to confine the dead-eye of the backstay to the after-channel.—Foot-hook or futtock plates. Iron bands fitted to the lower dead-eyes of the topmast-shrouds, which, passing through holes in the rim of the top, are attached to the upper ends of the futtock-shrouds.

PLATE-ARMOUR. Thick coverings or coatings for ships on the new principle, to render them impervious to shot and shell, if kept just outside of breaking-plate distance.

PLATEAU. An upland flat-topped elevation.

PLATFORM. A kind of deck for any temporary or particular purpose: the orlop-deck, having store-rooms and cabins forward and aft, and the[533] middle part allotted to the stowage of cables. Also, the flooring elevation of stone or timber on which the carriage of a gun is placed for action. Hence, in early voyages, a fort or battery, with well-mounted ordnance, is called "the platform."

PLATOON. Originally a small square body or subdivision of musketeers; hence, platoon exercise, that which relates to the loading and firing of muskets in the ranks; and platoon firing, i.e. by subdivisions.

PLAY. Motion in the frame, masts, &c. Also said of the marine steam-engine when it is in action or in play. Also, in long voyages or tedious blockades, play-acting may be encouraged with benefit; for the excitement and employment thus afforded are not only good anti-scorbutics, but also promoters of content and good fellowship: in such—

"Jack is not bound by critics' crabbed laws,
But gives to all his unreserved applause:
He laughs aloud when jokes his fancy please—
Such are the honest manners of the seas.
And never—never may he ape those fools
Who, lost to reason, laugh or cry by rules."
PLAYTE. An old term for a river-boat.

PLEDGET. The string of oakum used in caulking. Also, in surgery, a small plug of lint.

PLEIADES. The celebrated cluster of stars in Taurus, of which seven or eight are visible to the naked eye; the assisted vision numbers over 200.

PLENY TIDES. Full tides.

PLICATILES. Ancient vessels built of wood and leather, which could be taken to pieces and carried by land.

PLONKETS. Coarse woollen cloths of former commerce. (See statute 1 R. III. c. 8.)

PLOT, or Plott. A plan or chart. (See Ichnography.)

PLOTTING. The making of the plan after an actual survey of the place has been obtained.

PLOUGH. An instrument formerly used for taking the sun's altitude, and possessed of large graduations. When a ship cuts briskly through the sea she is said to plough it.

PLUCKER. The fishing frog, Lophius piscatorius.

PLUG. A conical piece of wood to let in or keep out water, when fitted to a hole in the bottom of a boat.—Hawse-plugs. To stop the hawse-holes when the cables are unbent, and the ship plunges in a head-sea.—Shot-plugs. Covered with oakum and tallow, to stop shot-holes in the sides of a ship near the water-line; being conical, they adapt themselves to any sized shot-holes.

PLUMB. Right up and down, opposed to parallel.—To plumb. To form the vertical line. Also, to sound the depth of water.

PLUMBER-BLOCKS. These, in a marine steam-engine, are Y's, wherein are fixed the bushes, in which the shafts or pinions revolve.

PLUMMET. A name sometimes given to the hand-lead, or any lead or iron weight suspended by a string, as used by carpenters, [534]&c.

PLUNDER. A name given to the effects of the officers and crew of a prize, when pillaged by the captors, though the act directs that "nothing shall be taken out of a prize-ship till condemned." (See Pillage.)

PLUNGING FIRE. A pitching discharge of shot from a higher level, at such an angle that the shot do not ricochet.

PLUNGING SPLASH. The descent of the anchor into the water when let go.

PLUSH [evidently from plus]. The overplus of the grog, arising from being distributed in a smaller measure than the true one, and assigned to the cook of each mess, becomes a cause of irregularity. (See Tot.)

PLUVIOMETER, or Rain-gauge. A measurer of the quantity of rain which falls on a square foot. There are various kinds.

PLY, To. To carry cargoes or passengers for short trips. Also, to work to windward, to beat. Also, to ply an oar, to use it in pulling.


"The west wind always brings wet weather,
The east wind wet and cold together;
The south wind surely brings us rain,
The north wind blows it back again."
PLYMOUTH CLOAK. An old term for a cane or walking stick.

P.M. [Lat. post meridiem.] Post meridian, or after mid-day.

P.O. Mark for a petty officer.

POCHARD. A kind of wild duck.

POCKET. A commercial quantity of wool, containing half a sack. Also, the frog of a belt.

POD. A company of seals or sea-elephants.

POGGE. The miller's thumb, Cottus cataphractus.

POHAGEN. A fish of the herring kind, called also hard-head (which see).

POINT. A low spit of land projecting from the main into the sea, almost synonymous with promontory or head. Also, the rhumb the winds blow from.

POINT A GUN, To. To direct it on a given object.

POINT A SAIL, To. To affix points through the eyelet-holes of the reefs. (See Points.)

POINT-BEACHER. A low woman of Portsmouth.

POINT-BLANK. Direct on the object; "blank" being the old word for the mark on the practice-butt.

POINT-BLANK FIRING. That wherein no elevation is given to the gun, its axis being pointed for the object.

POINT-BLANK RANGE. The distance to which a shot was reckoned to range straight, without appreciable drooping from the force of gravity. It varied from 300 to 400 yards, according to the nature of gun; and was measured by the first graze of the shot fired horizontally from a gun on its carriage on a horizontal plane. The finer practice of rifled guns is much abating the use of the term, minute elevations being added to the point-blank direction for even the very smallest ranges.

POINT BRASS or IRON. A large sort of plumb for the nice adjustment of perpendicularity for a given line.[535]

POINT-DE-GALLE CANOE. Consists of a single stem of Dúp wood, 18 to 30 feet long, from 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 feet broad, and from 2 to 3 feet deep. It is fitted with a balance log at the ends of two bamboo out-riggers, having the mast, yard, and sail secured together; and, when sailing, is managed in a similar way to the catamaran. They sail very well in strong winds, and are also used by the natives of the Eastern Archipelago, especially at the Feejee group, where they are very large.

POINTER. The index or indicator of an instrument.—Station pointer. A brass graduated circle with one fixed and two radial legs; by placing them at two adjoining angles taken by a sextant between three known objects, the position of the observer is fixed on the chart.

POINTER-BOARD. A simple contrivance for duly training a ship's guns.

POINTERS. Stout props, placed obliquely to the timbers of whalers, to sustain the shock of icebergs. All braces placed diagonally across the hold of any vessel, to support the bilge and prevent loose-working, are called pointers. Also, the general designation for the stars α and β in the Great Bear, a line through which points nearly upon the pole-star.

POINT-HOLES. The eyelet-holes for the points.

POINTING. The operation of unlaying and tapering the end of a rope, and weaving some of its yarns about the diminished part, which is very neat to the eye, prevents it from being fagged out, and makes it handy for reeving in a block, &c.

POINT OF THE COMPASS. The 32d part of the circumference, or 11° 15′.

POINTS. See Reef-points.—Armed at all points, is when a man is defended by armour cap-à-pie.

POINTS OF SERVICE. The principal details of duty, which ought to be executed with zeal and alacrity.

POLACRE. A ship or brig of the Mediterranean; the masts are commonly formed of one spar from truck to heel, so that they have neither tops nor cross-trees, neither have they any foot-ropes to their upper yards, because the men stand upon the topsail-yards to loose and furl the top-gallant sails, and upon the lower yards to loose, reef, or furl the top-sails, all the yards being lowered sufficiently for that purpose.

POLANS. Knee-pieces in armour.

POLAR CIRCLES. The Arctic and the Antarctic; 23° 28′ from either pole.

POLAR COMPRESSION. See Compression of the Poles.

POLAR DISTANCE. The complement of the declination. The angular distance of a heavenly body from one of the poles, counted on from 0° to 180°.

POLARIS. See Pole-star.

POLAR REGIONS. Those parts of the world which lie within the Arctic and Antarctic circles.

POLDAVIS, or Poldavy. A canvas from Dantzic, formerly much used in our navy. A kind of sail-cloth thus named was also manufactured in[536] Lancashire from about the year 1500, and regulated by statute 1 Jac. cap. 24.

POLE. The upper end of the highest masts, when they rise above the rigging.

POLEAXE, or Pollax. A sort of hatchet, resembling a battle-axe, which was used on board ship to cut away the rigging of an adversary. Also in boarding an enemy whose hull was more lofty than that of the boarders, by driving the points of several into her side, one above another, and thus forming a kind of scaling-ladder; hence were called boarding-axes.

POLEMARCH. The commander-in-chief of an ancient Greek army.

POLE-MASTS. Single spar masts, also applied where the top-gallant and royal masts are in one. (See Mast.)

POLES. Two points on the surface of the earth, each 90° distant from all parts of the equator, forming the extremities of the imaginary line called the earth's axis. The term applies also to those points in the heavens towards which the terrestrial axis is always directed.—Under bare poles. The situation of a ship at sea when all her sails are furled. (See Scud and Try.)

POLE-STAR. α Ursæ minoris. This most useful star is the lucida of the Little Bear, round which the other components of the constellation and the rest of the heavens appear to revolve in the course of the astronomical day.

POLICY. A written contract, by which the insurers oblige themselves to indemnify sea-risks under various conditions. An interest policy, is where the insurer has a real assignable interest in the thing insured; a wager policy, is where the insurer has no substantial interest in the thing insured; an open policy, is where the amount of interest is not fixed, but left to be ascertained in case of loss; a valued policy, is where an actual value has been set on the ship or goods.

POLLACK. The Merlangus pollachius, a well-known member of the cod family.

POLLUX. β Geminorum. A bright and well-known star in the ancient constellation Gemini, of which it is the second in brightness.

POLRON. That part of the armour which covered the neck and shoulders.

POLTROON. Not known in the navy.

POLYGON. A geometrical figure of any number of sides more than four; regular or irregular. In fortification the term is applied to the plan of a piece of ground fortified or about to be fortified; and hence, in some countries, to a fort appropriated as an artillery and engineering school.

POLYMETER. An instrument for measuring angles.

POLYNESIA. A group of islands: a name generally applied to the islands of the Pacific Ocean collectively, whether in clusters or straggling.

POMELO, or Pumelo. Citrus decumana. A large fruit known by this name in the East Indies, but in the West by that of shaddock, after Captain Shaddock, who introduced it there.

POMFRET. A delicate sea-fish, taken in great quantities in Bombay and Madras.[537]

POMMELION. A name given by seamen to the cascable or hindmost knob on the breech of a cannon.

PONCHES. Small bulk-heads made in the hold to stow corn, goods, &c.

PONCHO. A blanket with a hole in the centre, large enough for the head to pass through, worn by natives of South and Western America.

POND. A word often used for a small lagoon, but improperly, for ponds are formed exclusively from springs and surface-drainage, and have no affluent. Also, a cant name for the Mediterranean. Also, the summit-level of a canal.

PONENT. Western.

PONIARD. A short dagger with a sharp edge.

PONTAGE. A duty or toll collected for the repair and keeping of bridges.

PONTONES. Ancient square-built ferry-boats for passing rivers, as described by Cæsar and Aulus Gellius.

PONTOON. A large low flat vessel resembling a barge of burden, and furnished with cranes, capstans, tackles, and other machinery necessary for careening ships; they are principally used in the Mediterranean. Also, a kind of portable boat specially adapted for the formation of the floating bridges required by armies: they are constructed of various figures, and of wood, metal, or prepared canvas (the latter being most in favour at present), and have the necessary superstructure and gear packed with them for transport.

POO. A small crab on the Scottish coast.

POOD. A Russian commercial weight, equal to 36 lbs. English.

POODLE. An old Cornish name for the English Channel. Also, a slang term for the aide-de-camp of a garrison general.

POOL. Is distinguished from a pond, in being filled by springs or running water. Also, a pwll or port.

POOP. [From the Latin puppis.] The aftermost and highest part of a large ship's hull. Also, a deck raised over the after-part of a spar-deck, sometimes called the round-house. A frigate has no poop, but is said to be pooped when a wave strikes the stern and washes on board.

POOPING, or being Pooped. The breaking of a heavy sea over the stern or quarter of a boat or vessel when she scuds before the wind in a gale, which is extremely dangerous, especially if deeply laden.

POOP-LANTERN. A light carried by admirals to denote the flag-ship by night.

POOP-NETTING. See Hammock-nettings.

POOP-RAILS. The stanchions and rail-work in front of the poop. (See Breast-work and Fife-rails.)

POOP-ROYAL. A short deck or platform placed over the aftmost part of the poop in the largest of the French and Spanish men-of-war, and serving as a cabin for their masters and pilots. This is the topgallant-poop of our shipwrights, and the former round-house cabin of our merchant vessels.

POOR JOHN. Hake-fish salted and dried, as well as dried stock-fish, and[538] bad bacalao, or cod, equally cheap and coarse. Shakspeare mentions it in Romeo and Juliet.

POPLAR. The tree which furnishes charcoal for the manufacture of gunpowder.

POPLER. An old name for a sea-gull.

POPPETS. Upright pieces of stout square timber, mostly fir, between the bottom and bilge-ways, at the run and entrance of a ship about to be launched, for giving her further support. Also, poppets on the gunwale of a boat support the wash-strake, and form the rowlocks.

POPPLING SEA. Waves in irregular agitation.

PORBEAGLE. A kind of shark.

PORPESSE, Porpoise, or Porpuss. The Phocœna communis. One of the smallest of the cetacean or whale order, common in the British seas.

PORT. An old Anglo-Saxon word still in full use. It strictly means a place of resort for vessels, adjacent to an emporium of commerce, where cargoes are bought and sold, or laid up in warehouses, and where there are docks for shipping. It is not quite a synonym of harbour, since the latter does not imply traffic. Vessels hail from the port they have quitted, but they are compelled to have the name of the vessel and of the port to which they belong painted on the bow or stern.—Port is also in a legal sense a refuge more or less protected by points and headlands, marked out by limits, and may be resorted to as a place of safety, though there are many ports but rarely entered. The left side of the ship is called port, by admiralty order, in preference to larboard, as less mistakeable in sound for starboard.—To port the helm. So to move the tiller as to carry the rudder to the starboard side of the stern-post.—Bar-port. One which can only be entered when the tide rises sufficiently to afford depth over a bar; this in many cases only occurs at spring-tides.—Close-port. One within the body of a city, as that of Rhodes, Venice, Amsterdam, &c.—Free-port. One open and free of all duties for merchants of all nations to load and unload their vessels, as the ports of Genoa and Leghorn. Also, a term used for a total exemption of duties which any set of merchants enjoy, for goods imported into a state, or those exported of the growth of the country. Such was the privilege the English enjoyed for several years after their discovery of the port of Archangel, and which was taken from them on account of the regicide in 1648.

PORTABLE SOUP, and other preparations of meat. Of late years a very valuable part of naval provision.

PORTAGE. Tonnage. Also, the land carriage between two harbours, often high and difficult for transport. Also, in Canadian river navigation means the carrying canoes or boats and their cargo across the land, where the stream is interrupted by rocks or rapids.

PORT ARMS! The military word of command to bring the fire-lock across the front of the body, muzzle slanting upwards; a motion preparatory for the "charge bayonets!" or for inspecting the condition of the locks.

PORT-BARS. Strong pieces of oak, furnished with two laniards, by[539] which the ports are secured from flying open in a gale of wind, the bars resting against the inside of the ship; the port is first tightly closed by its hooks and ring-bolts.

PORT-CHARGES, or Harbour-dues. Charges levied on vessels resorting to a port.

PORTCULLIS. A heavy frame of wooden or iron bars, sliding in vertical grooves within the masonry over the gateway of a fortified town, to be lowered for barring the passage. When hastily made, it was termed a sarrazine.

PORTE. See Sublime Porte.

PORT-FIRE. A stick of composition, generally burning an inch a minute, used to convey fire from the slow-match or the like to the priming of ordnance, though superseded with most guns by locks or friction-tubes. With a slightly altered composition it is used for signals; also for firing charges of mines.

PORT-FLANGE. In ship-carpentry, is a batten of wood fixed on the ship's side over a port, to prevent water or dirt going into the port.

PORT-GLAIVE. A sword-bearer.

PORT-LAST, or Portoise. Synonymous with gunwale.

PORT-MEN. A name in old times for the inhabitants of the Cinque Ports; the burgesses of Ipswich are also so called.

PORT-MOTE. A court held in haven towns or ports.

PORT-NAILS. These are classed double and single: they are similar to clamp-nails, and like them are used for fastening iron work.

PORT-PENDANTS. Ropes spliced into rings on the outside of the port-lids, and rove through leaden pipes in the ship's sides, to work the port-lids up or down by the tackles.

PORT-PIECE. An ancient piece of ordnance used in our early fleets.

PORT-PIECE CHAMBER. A paterero for loading a port-piece at the breech.

PORT-REEVE. A magistrate of certain sea-port towns in olden times.

PORT-ROPES. Those by which the ports are hauled up and suspended.

PORTS, or Port-holes. The square apertures in the sides of a ship through which to point and fire the ordnance. Also, aft and forward, as the bridle-port in the bows, the quarter-port in round-stern vessels, and stern-ports between the stern-timbers. Also, square holes cut in the sides, bow, or stem of a merchant ship, for taking in and discharging timber cargoes, and for other purposes.—Gunroom-ports. Are situated in the ship's counter, and are used for stern-chasers, and also for passing a small cable or a hawser out, either to moor head and stern, or to spring upon the cable, &c. (See Moor and Spring.)—Half-port. A kind of shutter which hinges on the lower side of a port, and falls down outside when clear for action; when closed it half covers the port to the line of metal of the gun, and is firmly secured by iron hooks. The upper half-port is temporary and loose, will not stand a heavy sea, and is merely secured by two light inch-rope laniards.[540]

PORT-SALE. A public sale of fish on its arrival in the harbour.

PORT-SASHES. Half-ports fitted with glass for the admission of light into cabins.

PORT-SHACKLES. The rings to the ports.

PORT-SILLS. In ship-building, pieces of timber put horizontally between the framing to form the top and bottom of a port.

PORT-TACKLES. Those falls which haul up and suspend the lower-deck ports, so that since the admiralty order for using the word port instead of larboard, we have port port-tackle falls.

PORTUGUESE. A gold coin, value £1, 16s., called also moiadobras.

PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR. A beautiful floating acalephan of the tropical seas; the Physalia pelagica.

POSITION. Ground (or water) occupied, or that may be advantageously occupied, in fighting order.

POSITION, GEOGRAPHICAL, of any place on the surface of the earth, is the determination of its latitude and longitude, and its height above the level of the sea.

POSSESSORY. A suit entered in the admiralty court by owners for the seizing of their ship.

POST. Any ground, fortified or not, where a body of men can be in a condition for defence, or fighting an enemy. Also, the limits of a sentinel's charge.

POST-CAPTAIN. Formerly a captain of three years' standing, now simply captain, but equal to colonel in the army, by date of commission.

POSTED. Promoted from commander to captain in the navy; a word no longer officially used.

POSTERN. A small passage constructed through some retired part of a bastion, or other portion of a work, for the garrison's minor communications with the town, unperceived by the enemy.

POSTING. Placing people for special duty. Also, publicly handing out a bad character.

POST OF HONOUR. The advance, and the right of the lines of any army.

POUCH. A case of strong leather for carrying ammunition, used by soldiers, marines, and small-arm men. Also, the crop of a shark.

POUCHES. Wooden bulk-heads across the hold of cargo vessels, to prevent grain or light shingle from shifting.

POULDRON. A shoulder-piece in armour. Corrupted from epauldron.

POULTERER. Called "Jemmy Ducks" on board ship; he assists the butcher in the feeding and care of the live stock, &c.

POUND. A lagoon, or space of water, surrounded by reefs and shoals, wherein fish are kept, as at Bermuda.

POUND-AND-PINT-IDLER. A sobriquet applied to the purser.

POUNDER. A denomination applied to guns according to the weight of the shot they carry; at present everything larger than the 100-pounder is described by the diameter of its bore, coupled with its total weight.

POW. A name on the Scotch shores for a small creek. Also, a mole.[541]

POWDER. See Gunpowder.

POWDER, To. To salt meat slightly; as Falstaff says, "If thou embowel me to-day, I'll give you leave to powder me, and eat me too, to-morrow."—Powdering-tub. A vessel used for pickling beef, pork, &c.

POWDER-BAGS. Leathern bags containing from 20 to 40 lbs. of powder; substituted for petards at the instance of Lord Cochrane, as being more easily placed. They have lately been called Ghuznee bags.

POWDER-HOY. An ordnance vessel expressly fitted to convey powder from the land magazine to a ship; it invariably carries a red distinguishing flag, and warns the ship for which the powder is intended, to put out all fires before she comes alongside.

POWDER-MAGAZINE. The prepared space allotted for the powder on board ship.

POWDER-MONKEY. Formerly the boy of the gun, who had charge of the cartridge; now powder-man.

POWDER-VESSEL. A ship used as a floating magazine.

POWER. Mechanical force; in the steam-engine it is esteemed effective, expansive, or full. (See Horse-power.)

POZZOLANA. Volcanic ashes, used in cement, especially if required under water.

PRACTICABLE. Said of a breach in a rampart when its slope offers a fair means of ascent to an assaulting column.

PRACTICAL ASTRONOMY. A branch of science which includes the determination of the magnitude, distance, and phenomena of the heavenly bodies; the ready reduction of observations for tangible use in navigation and geography; and the expert manipulation of astronomical instruments.

PRÆCURSORIÆ. Ancient vessels which led or preceded the fleets.

PRÆDATORIÆ, or Prædaticæ. Long, swift, light ancient pirates.

PRAHU. [Malay for boat.] The larger war-vessels among the Malays, range from 55 to 156 feet in length, and carry 76 to 96 rowers, with about 40 to 60 fighting men. The guns range from 2 inches to 6 inches bore, are of brass, and mounted on stock-pieces, four to ten being the average. These boats are remarkable for their swiftness.

PRAIA [Sp. playa]. The beach or strand on Portuguese coasts.

PRAIRIE. The natural meadows or tracts of gently undulating, wonderfully fertile land, occupying so vast an extent of the great river-basins of North America.

PRAM, or Praam. A lighter used in Holland, and the ports of the Baltic, for loading and unloading merchant ships. Some were fitted by the French with heavy guns, for defending the smaller ports.

PRANKLE. A Channel term for the prawn.

PRATIQUE. A Mediterranean term, implying the license to trade and communicate with any place after having performed the required quarantine, or upon the production of a clean bill of health.

PRAWN. A marine crustacean larger than a shrimp, much esteemed as an article of food.[542]

PRAYER-BOOK. A smaller hand-stone than that which sailors call "bible;" it is used to scrub in narrow crevices where a large holy-stone cannot be used. (See Holy-stone.)

PRECEDENCE. The order and degree of rank among officers of the two services. (See Rank.)

PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOXES. A slow motion of the equinoctial points in the heavens, whereby the longitudes of the fixed stars are increased at the present rate of about 501⁄4″ annually, the equinox having a retrograde motion to this amount. This effect is produced by the attraction of the sun, moon, and planets upon the spheroidal figure of the earth; the luni-solar precession is the joint effect of the sun and moon only.

PREDY, or Priddy. A word formerly used in our ships for "get ready;" as, "Predy the main-deck," or get it clear.

PRE-EMPTION. A right of purchasing necessary cargoes upon reasonable compensation to the individual whose property is thus diverted. This claim is usually restricted to neutrals avowedly bound to the enemy's ports, and is a mitigation of the former practice of seizing them. (See Commeatus.)

PREMIUM. Simply a reward; but in commerce it implies the sum of money paid to the underwriters on ship or cargo, or parts thereof, as the price of the insurance risk.

PREROGATIVE. A word of large extent. By the constitution of England the sovereign alone has the power of declaring war and peace. The crown is not precluded by the Prize Act from superseding prize proceedings by directing restitution of property seized, before adjudication, and against the will of the captors.

PRESENT! The military word of command to raise the musket, take aim, and fire.

PRESENT ARMS! The military word of command to salute with the musket.

PRESENT USE. Stores to be immediately applied in the fitting of a ship, as distinguished from the supply for future sea use.

PRESERVED MEAT AND VEGETABLES. The occasional use of such food and lime-juice at sea, is not only a great luxury, but in many cases essential to the health of the crew, as especially instanced by the increase of scurvy in ships where this precaution is neglected.

PRESIDENT. At a general court-martial it is usual for the authority ordering it to name the president, and the office usually falls upon the second in command.

PRESS, To. To reduce an enemy to straits. (See Impressment.)

PRESS-GANG. A party of seamen who (under the command of a lieutenant) were formerly empowered, in time of war, to take any seafaring men—on shore or afloat—and compel them to serve on board men-of-war. Those who were thus taken were called pressed men.

PRESS OF SAIL. As much sail as the state of the wind, &c., will permit a ship to carry.[543]

PRESSURE-GAUGE. The manometer of a steam-engine.

PREST. Formerly signified quick or ready, and a prest man was one willing to enlist for a stipulated sum—the very reverse of the pressed man of later times. (See Press-gang.)

PRESTER. An old name for a meteor.

PRESUMPTIVE EVIDENCE. Is such as by a fair and reasonable interpretation is deducible from the facts of a case.

PREVENTER. Applied to ropes, &c., when used as additional securities to aid other ropes in supporting spars, &c., during a strong gale; as preventer-backstays, braces, shrouds, stays, &c.

PREVENTER-PLATES. Stout plates of iron for securing the chains to the ship's side; one end is on the chain-plate bolt, the other is bolted to the ship's side below it.

PREVENTER-STOPPERS. Short pieces of rope, knotted at each end, for securing the clues of sails or rigging during action, or when strained.

PREVENTIVE SERVICE. The establishment of coast-guards at numerous stations along the shores of the United Kingdom for the prevention of smuggling.

PRICKER. A small marline-spike for making and stretching the holes for points and rope-bands in sails. Also, the priming-wire of a gun. Also, a northern name for the basking-shark.

PRICKING A SAIL. The running a middle seam between the two seams which unite every cloth of a sail to the next adjoining. This is rarely done till the sails have been worn some time, or in the case of heavy canvas, storm-sails, &c. It is also called middle-stitching.

PRICKING FOR A SOFT PLANK. Selecting a place on the deck for sleeping upon.

PRICKING HER OFF. Marking a ship's position upon a chart by the help of a scale and compasses, so as to show her situation as to latitude, longitude, and bearings of the place bound to.

PRIDE OF THE MORNING. A misty dew at sunrise; a light shower; the end of the land breeze followed by a dead calm in the tropics.

PRIEST'S-CAP. An outwork which has three salient angles at the head and two inwards.

PRIMAGE. Premium of insurance. Also, a small allowance at the water side to master and mariner for each pack or bale of cargo landed by them: otherwise called hat-money.

PRIMARY PLANET. (See Planets, Primary.)

PRIME. The fore part of the artificial day; that is, the first quarter after sunrise.

PRIME, To. To make ready a gun, mine, &c., for instantaneous firing. Also, to pierce the cartridge with the priming-wire, and apply the quill-tube in readiness for firing the cannon.—To prime a fire-ship. To lay the train for being set on fire.—To prime a match. Put a little wet bruised powder made into the paste called devil, upon the end of the rope slow-match, with a piece of paper wrapped round it.[544]

PRIME VERTICAL. That great circle which passes through the zenith and the east and west points of the horizon.

PRIMING-IRONS. Consist of a pointed wire used through the vent to prick the cartridge when it is "home," and of a flat-headed one similarly inserted after discharge to insure its not retaining any ignited particles.

PRIMING-VALVES. The same with escape-valves.

PRINTED INSTRUCTIONS. The name of the volume formerly issued by the admiralty to all commanders of ships and vessels for their guidance; now superseded by Queen's Regulations.

PRISE, To. To raise, or slue, weighty bodies by means of a lever purchase or power. (See Prizing.)

PRISE-BOLTS. Knobs of iron on the cheeks of a gun-carriage to keep the handspike from slipping when prising up the breech.

PRISM. In dioptrics, is a geometrical solid bounded by three parallelograms, whose bases are equal triangles.

PRISMATIC COMPASS. One so fitted with a glass prism for reading by reflection, that the eye can simultaneously observe an object and read its compass bearing.

PRISONER AT LARGE. Free to take exercise within bounds.

PRISONERS OF WAR. Men who are captured after an engagement, who are deprived of their liberty until regularly exchanged, or dismissed on their parole.

PRISONER UNDER RESTRAINT. Suspended from duty; deprived of command.

PRISON-SHIP. One fitted up for receiving and detaining prisoners of war.

PRITCH. A dentated weapon for striking and holding eels.

PRIVATE. The proper designation of a soldier serving in the ranks of the army, holding no special position.

PRIVATEER PRACTICE, or Privateerism. Disorderly conduct, or anything out of man-of-war rules.

PRIVATEERS, or men-of-war equipped by individuals for cruising against the enemy; their commission (see Letters of Marque) is given by the admiralty, and revocable by the same authority. They have no property in any prize until it is legally condemned by a competent court. The admiral on the station is entitled to a tenth of their booty. This infamous species of warfare is unhappily not yet abolished among civilized nations.

PRIVATE PROPERTY. Commissions of privateers do not extend to the capture of private property on land; a right not even granted to men-of-war. Private armed ships are not within the terms of a capitulation protecting private property generally.

PRIVATE SIGNAL. Understood by captains having the key, but totally incomprehensible to other persons.

PRIVY-COAT. A light coat or defence of mail, concealed under the ordinary dress.

PRIZE. A vessel captured at sea from the enemies of a state, or from[545] pirates, either by a man-of-war or privateer. Vessels are also looked upon as prize, if they fight under any other standard than that of the state from which they have their commission, if they have no charter-party, and if loaded with effects belonging to the enemy, or with contraband goods. In ships of war, the prizes are to be divided among the officers, seamen, &c., according to the act; but in privateers, according to the agreement between the owners. By statute 13 Geo. II. c. 4, judges and officers failing in their duty in respect to the condemnation of prizes, forfeit £500, with full costs of suit, one moiety to the crown, and the other to the informer. Prize, according to jurists, is altogether a creature of the crown; and no man can have any interest but what he takes as the mere gift of the crown. Partial interest has been granted away at different times, but the statute of Queen Anne (a.d. 1708) is the first which gave to the captors the whole of the benefit.

PRIZE ACT of 1793. Ordained that the officers and sailors on board every ship and vessel of war shall have the sole property in all captures, being first adjudged lawful prize, to be divided in such proportions and manner as His Majesty should order by proclamation. In 1746 a man, though involuntarily kept abroad above three years in the service of his country, was deemed to have forfeited his share to Greenwich.

PRIZE-ACTS. Though expiring with each war, are usually revived nearly in the same form.

PRIZEAGE. The tenth share belonging to the crown out of a lawful prize taken at sea.

PRIZE-COURT. A department of the admiralty court; (oyer et terminer) to hear and determine according to the law of nations.

PRIZE-GOODS. Those taken upon the high seas, jure belli, from the enemy.

PRIZE-LIST. A return of all the persons on board, whether belonging to the ship, or supernumeraries, at the time a capture is made; those who may be absent on duty are included.

PRIZE-MASTER. The officer to whom a prize is given in charge to carry her into port.

PRIZE-MONEY. The profits arising from the sale of prizes. It was divided equally by chart. 5 Hen. IV.

PRIZING. The application of a lever to lift or move any weighty body. Also, the act of pressing or squeezing an article into its package, so that its size may be reduced in stowage.

PROA, or Flying Prow. See Prahu.

PROBATION. The noviciate period of cadets, midshipmen, apprentices, &c.

PROBE. A surgical sounder.—To probe. To inquire thoroughly into a matter.

PROCEEDS. The product or produce of prizes, &c.

PROCESSION. A march in official order. At a naval or military funeral, the officers are classed according to seniority, the chiefs last.[546]

PROCURATION, LETTERS OF. Are required to be exhibited in the purchase of ships by agents in the enemy's country.

PROCYON. α Canis minoris, the principal star of the Lesser Dog.

PROD. A poke or slight thrust; as in persuading with a bayonet.

PRODD. A cross-bow for throwing bullets, temp. Hen. VII.

PRODUCTION. For obtaining the benefits of trading with our colonies, it is necessary that the goods be accompanied by a "certificate of production" in the manner required by marine law. (See Origin.)

PROFILE DRAUGHTS. In naval architecture, a name applied to two drawings from the sheer draught: one represents the entire construction and disposition of the ship; the other, her whole interior work and fittings.

PROFILE OF A FORT. See Orthographic Projection.

PROG. A quaint word for victuals. Swift says, "In town you may find better prog." It is also a spike.

PROGRESSION. See Arc of Direction.

PROJECTILES. Bodies which are driven by any one effort of force from the spot where it was applied.

PROJECTION. A method of representing geometrically on a plane surface varied points, lines, and surfaces not lying in any one plane: used in charts and maps, where it is of various kinds, as globular, orthographic, Mercator's, &c. In ship-building, an elevation taken amidship. (See Body-plan.)

PROKING-SPIT. A long Spanish rapier.

PROMISCUI USUS. A law term for those articles which are equally applicable to peace or war.

PROMONTORY. A high point of land or rock projecting into a sea or lake, tapering into a neck inland, and the extremity of which, towards the water, is called a cape, or headland, as Gibraltar, Ceuta, Actium, &c.

PROMOVENT. The plaintiff in the instance-court of the admiralty.

PRONG. Synonymous with beam-arm or crow-foot (which see).

PROOF. The trial of the quality of arms, ammunition, &c., before their reception for service. Guns are proved by various examinations, and by the firing of prescribed charges; powder by examinations, and by carefully measured firings from each batch.

PROOFS OF PROPERTY. Attestations, letters of advice, invoices, to show that a ship really belongs to the subjects of a neutral state.

PROOF TIMBER. In naval architecture, an imaginary timber, expressed by vertical lines in the sheer-draught, to prove the fairness of the body.

PROPELLER. This term generally alludes to the Archimedean screw, or screw-propeller.

PROPER MOTION OF THE STARS. A movement which some stars are found to possess, independent of the apparent change of place due to the precession of the equinoxes, the accounting for which is as yet only ingenious conjecture.

PROPORTION. In naval architecture, the length, breadth, and height of[547] a vessel, having a due consideration to her rate, and the object she is intended for.

PROPPETS. Those shores that stand nearly vertical.

PROSPECTIVE, or Prospect Glass. An old term for a deck or hand telescope, with a terrestrial eye-piece. (See Spy-glass.)

PROTECTIONS, on Paper, against impressment, were but little regarded. Yet seafaring men above 55, and under 18, were by statute exempted, as were all for the first two years of their going to sea, foreigners serving in merchant ships or privateers, and all apprentices for three years.

PROTEST. A formal declaration drawn up in writing, and attested before a notary-public, a justice of the peace, or a consul in foreign parts, by the master of a merchant-ship, his mate, and a part of the ship's crew, after the expiration of a voyage in which the ship has suffered in her hull, rigging, or cargo, to show that such damage did not happen through neglect or misconduct on their part.

PROTRACTOR. An instrument for laying off angles on paper, having an open mark at the centre of the circle, with a radial leg, and vernier, which is divided into degrees (generally 90).

PROVE, To. To test the soundness of fire-arms, by trying them with greater charges than those used on service.

PROVEDORE [Sp.] One who provided victuals for ships.

PROVENDER. Though strictly forage, is often applied to provisions in general.

PROVISIONS. All sorts of food necessary for the subsistence of the army and navy. Those shipped on board for the officers and crew of any vessel, including merchant-ships, are held in a policy of insurance, as part of her outfit.

PROVISO. A stern-fast or hawser carried to the shore to steady by. A ship with one anchor down and a shore-fast is moored a proviso. Also, a saving clause in a contract.

PROVOST-MARSHAL. The head of the military police. An officer appointed to take charge of prisoners at a court-martial, and to carry the sentences into execution. The executive and summary police in war.

PROW. Generally means the foremost end of a vessel. Also, a name for the beak of a xebec or felucca.

PUCKA. A word in frequent use amongst the English in the East Indies, signifying sterling, of good quality.

PUCKER. A wrinkled seam in sail-making. Also, anything in a state of confusion.

PUDDENING, or Pudding. A thick wreath of yarns, matting, or oakum (called a dolphin), tapering from the middle towards the ends, grafted all over, and fastened about the main or fore masts of a ship, directly below the trusses, to prevent the yards from falling down, in case of the ropes by which they are suspended being shot away. Puddings are also placed on a boat's stem as a kind of fender; and also laid round the rings of anchors to prevent hempen cables or hawsers from chafing.[548]

PUDDING AND DOLPHIN. A larger and lesser pad, made of ropes, and put round the masts under the lower yards.

PUDDLE-DOCK. An ancient pool of the Thames, the dirtiness of which afforded Jack some pointed sarcasms.

PUDDLING. A technical term for working clay to a plastic state in an inclosed space, until it is of the requisite consistence for arresting the flow of water. A term in iron furnace work.

PUFF. A sudden gust of wind. A whistle of steam.

PUFFIN. The Fratercula arctica, a sea-bird with a singular bill, formerly supposed to be a bird in show, but a fish in substance, in consequence of which notion the pope permitted its being eaten in Lent.

PULAS. An excellent twine, made by the Malays from the kaluwi, a species of nettle.

PULL-AWAY-BOYS. A name given on the West Coast of Africa to the native Kroo-men, who are engaged by the shipping to row boats and do other work not suited to Europeans in that climate.

PULL FOOT, To. To hasten along; to run.

PULLING. The act of rowing with oars; as, "Pull the starboard oars," "Pull together."

PULL-OVER. An east-country term for a carriage-way.

PULO. The Malay word for island, and frequently met with in the islands of the Eastern seas.

PULWAR. A commodious kind of passage-boat on the Ganges.

PUMMEL. The hilt of a sword, the end of a gun, &c.—To pummel. To drub or beat.

PUMP. A well-known machine used for drawing water from the sea, or discharging it from the ship's pump-well.—Chain-pump, consists of a long chain, equipped with a sufficient number of metal discs armed with leather, fitting the cylinders closely, and placed at proper distances, which, working upon two wheels, one above deck and the other below, in the bottom of the hold, passes downward through a copper or wooden tube, and returning upward through another, continuously lifts portions of water. It is worked by a long winch-handle, at which several men may be employed at once; and it thus discharges more water in a given time than the common pump, and with less labour.—Main pumps. The largest pumps in a ship, close to the main-mast, in contradistinction to bilge pumps, which are smaller, and intended to raise the water from the bilges when a ship is laying over so that it cannot run to the main pump-well. Hand-pump, is the distinctive appellation of the common small pump. Superseded by Downton and others.

PUMP-BARREL. The wooden tube which forms the body of the machine, and wherein the piston moves.

PUMP-BOLTS. Saucer-headed bolts to attach the brake to the pump-standard and pump-spear.

PUMP-BRAKE. The handle or lever of the old and simplest form of pump.[549]

PUMP-CARLINES. The framing or partners on the upper deck, between which the pumps pass into the wells.

PUMP-CHAINS. The chains to which the discs, &c., are attached in the chain-pump.

PUMP-CISTERNS. Are used to prevent chips and other matters getting to, and fouling the action of, the chain-pumps.

PUMP-COAT. A piece of stout canvas nailed to the pump-partners where it enters the upper deck, and lashed to the pump, to prevent the water from running down when washing decks, &c.

PUMP-DALES. Pipes or long wooden spouts extending from the chain-pumps across the ship, and through each side, serving to discharge the water without wetting the decks.

PUMP-FOOT. The lower part, or well-end, of a pump.

PUMP-GEAR. A term implying any materials requisite for fitting or repairing the pumps, as boxes, leather, &c.

PUMP-HOOK. An iron rod with an eye and a hook, used for drawing out the lower pump-box when requisite.

PUMPKIN, or Pompion. Cucurbita pepo, a useful vegetable for sea use.

PUMP SHIP! The order to the crew to work the pumps to clear the hold of water.

PUMP-SPEAR. The rod of iron to which the upper box is attached—and to the upper end of which the brake is pinned—whereby the pump is put in motion.

PUMP SUCKS. The pump sucks is said when, all the water being drawn out of the well, and air admitted, there comes up nothing but froth and wind, with a whistling noise, which is music to the fagged seaman.

PUMP-TACKS. Small iron or copper tacks, used for nailing the leather on the pump-boxes.

PUNCH. An iron implement for starting bolts in a little, or for driving them out, called a starting or teeming punch. Also, a well-known sea-drink, now adopted in all countries. It was introduced from the East Indies, and is said to derive its name from panch, the Hindostanee word for five, in allusion to the number of its ingredients. (See Bouleponges.)

PUNISHMENT. The execution of the sentence against an offender, as awarded by a court-martial, or adjudged by a superior officer.

PUNISHMENT DRILL. Fatiguing exercise or extra drill for petty delinquencies.

PUNK. The interior of an excrescence on the oak-tree; used as tinder, and better known as touch-wood. (See Spunk.)

PUNT. An Anglo-Saxon term still in use for a flat-bottomed boat, used by fishermen, or for ballast lumps, &c.

PUOYS. Spiked poles used in propelling barges or keels.

PURCHASE. Any mechanical power which increases the force applied. It is of large importance to nautical men in the combinations of pulleys, as whip, gun-tackle, luff-tackle, jeer, viol, luff upon luff, runner, double-runner, capstan, windlass, [550]&c.

PURCHASE A COMMISSION, To. A practice in our army, which has been aptly termed the "buying of fetters;" it is the obtaining preferment at regulated prices. At present the total value of a commission in a regiment of infantry of the line ranges from £450 for an ensigncy, up to £4540 for a lieutenant-colonelcy, and higher in the other branches of the service.

PURCHASE-BLOCKS. All blocks virtually deserve this name, but it is distinctively given to those used in moving heavy weights.

PURCHASE-FALLS. The rope rove through purchase-blocks.

PURRE. A name for the dunlin, Tringa alpina, a species of sand-piper frequenting our shores and the banks of rivers in winter.

PURSE-NET. A peculiar landing-net in fishing. It is used in the seine and trawl to bewilder the fish, and prevent their swimming out when fairly inside; like a wire mouse-trap.

PURSER. An officer appointed by the lords of the admiralty to take charge of the provisions and slops of a ship of war, and to see that they were carefully distributed to the officers and crew, according to the printed naval instruction. He had very little to do with money matters beyond paying for short allowance. He was allowed one-eighth for waste on all provisions embarked, and additional on all provisions saved; for which he paid the crew. The designation is now discarded for that of paymaster.

PURSER'S DIP. The smallest dip-candle.


PURSER'S NAME. An assumed one. During the war, when pressed men caught at every opportunity to desert, they adopted aliases to avoid discovery if retaken, which alias was handed to the purser for entry upon the ship's books.

PURSER'S POUND. The weight formerly used in the navy, by which the purser retained an eighth for waste, and the men received only seven-eighths of what was supplied by government. One of the complaints of the mutiny was, having the purser's instead of an honest pound. This allowance was reduced to one-tenth.

PURSER'S SHIRT. "Like a purser's shirt on a handspike;" a comparison for clothes fitting loosely.

PURSER'S STEWARD. The official who superintended and noted down the exact quantity and species of provisions issued to the respective messes both of officers and men.

PURSER'S STOCKING. A slop article, which stretched to any amount put into it. (See Show a Leg.)

PURSUE, To. To make all sail in chase.

PUSH, To. To move a vessel by poles.

PUSHING FOR A PORT. Carrying all sail to arrive quickly.

PUT ABOUT. Go on the other tack.

PUT BACK, To. To return to port—generally the last left.

PUTHAG. A name on the Scottish shores for the porpoise; it is a Gaelic word signifying the blower.[551]

PUT INTO PORT, To. To enter an intermediate or any port in the course of a voyage, usually from stress of weather.

PUT OFF! or Push off. The order to boats to quit the ship or the shore.

PUTTING A SHIP IN COMMISSION. The formal ceremony of hoisting the pennant on the ship to be fitted. This act brought the crew under martial law.

PUTTING A STEAM-ENGINE IN GEAR. This is said when the gab of the eccentric rod is allowed to fall upon its stud on the gab-lever.

PUTTOCK. A cormorant; a ravenous fellow.

PUTTOCK-SHROUDS. Synonymous with futtock; a word in use, but not warranted.

PUT TO SEA, To. To quit a port or roadstead, and proceed to the destination.

PYKAR. A herring-boat, or small vessel, treated of in statute 31 Edward III. c. 2.

PYKE, To. A old word signifying to haul on a wind.

PYKE-MAW. The great tern, Larus ridibundus; a species of sea-gull.

PYKE OFF, To. To go away silently.

PYPERI. A sort of vessel made of several pieces of wood merely lashed together; hardly superior to a raft, but sharp forward to cut the water.

PYRAMID. A solid, the base of which is any right-lined plane figure, and its sides are triangles, having their vertices meeting in one point, named its vertex.

PYROTECHNY. The science of artificial fire-works, including not only such as are used in war, but also those intended for amusement.


QUADE. An old word for unsteady.—Quade wind, a veering one.

QUADRANT. A reflecting instrument used to take the altitude above the horizon of the sun, moon, or stars at sea, and thereby to determine the latitude and longitude of the place, &c. &c. It was invented by Hadley. Also, in speaking of double stars, or of two objects near each other, the position of one component in reference to the other is indicated by the terms, north following, north preceding, south following, or south preceding, the word quadrant being understood.—A gunner's quadrant, for determining the gun's angle of elevation. The long arm is inserted into the bore, while the short one remains outside, with a graduated arc and plummet, showing the inclination. For depression, on the contrary, the long arm must be applied to the face of the piece. Also, a graduated arc on the carriage showing, by an index on the trunnion, the gun's[552] elevation above the plane of its platform; first applied by the gallant Captain Broke.—The mural quadrant, was framed and fitted with telescope, divisions, and plumb-line, firmly attached to the side of a wall built in the plane of the meridian; only used in large observatories.—Senical quadrant, consists of several concentric quadratic arcs, divided into eight equal parts by radii, with parallel right lines crossing each other at right angles. It was made of brass, or wood, with lines drawn from each side intersecting one another, and an index divided by sines also, with 90° on the limb, and two sights on the edge, to take the altitude of the sun. Sometimes, instead of sines, they were divided into equal parts. It was in great use among the French navigators, from its solving the problems of plane sailing.

QUADRATE, To. To trim a gun on its carriage and its trucks; to adjust it for firing on a level range.

QUADRATURE. The moon is said to be in quadrature at the first and last quarter, when her longitude differs 90° from that of the sun.

QUADROON [from L. quatuor, four]. The offspring of a mulatto woman and a white man.

QUAGMIRE. A marsh in which, from its concave and impermeable bottom, the waters remain stagnant, rendering the surface a quaking bog.

QUAKER. A false or wooden gun; so called in allusion to the "Friends" not fighting.

QUALIFIED PROPERTY. Not only those who have an absolute property in ships and goods, but those also who have but a qualified property therein, may insure them. (See Equitable Title.)

QUALITIES. The register of the ship's trim, sailing, stowage, &c., all of which are necessary to her behaviour.

QUAMINO. A negro.

QUANT. An old term for a long pole used by the barge-men on our east coast; it is capped to prevent the immerged end from sticking in the mud.

QUARANTINE. Is, at most, a seclusion of forty days, from a free communication with the inhabitants of any country, in order to prevent the importation of the plague, or any other infectious disorder, either by persons or goods. The quarantine laws originated in the Council of Health at Venice in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. (See Lazaretto.)

QUARRIL. The short dart or arrow shot from a cross-bow; or the bricolle of the middle ages.

QUARRY. The prey taken by whalers; a term borrowed from falconers.

QUARTE. In sword defence was one of the four guards, and also a position in fencing.

QUARTER. This term literally implies one quarter of the ship, but in common parlance applies to 45° abaft the beam. Thus the log is hove over the lee-quarter; quarter boats hang abaft the mizen-mast, &c. Again, the quarters apply to the divisional batteries, as forward, main, middle, or lower-decks, forecastle, and quarter-deck, and yet these comprise both sides. Close-quarters may be on any point, and the seaman[553] rather delights in the bow attack, using the bowsprit as his bridge.—Giving quarter. The custom of asking and giving quarter in warfare originated, it is said, between the Dutch and Spaniards, that the ransom of an officer or soldier should be a quarter of his year's pay. No quarter is given to pirates, but it is always given to a vanquished honourable opponent.—On the quarter, 45° abaft the beam.

QUARTER, First. When the moon appears exactly as a half-moon, 90° from the sun towards the east, she is in the first quarter, with her western half illuminated.

QUARTER, Last. When the moon appears exactly as a half-moon, and her angular distance from the sun 90°, but towards the west, she is said to be in the last quarter, with her eastern half illuminated.

QUARTER-BADGE. Artificial galleries; a carved ornament near the stern of those vessels which have no quarter-galleries.

QUARTER-BILL. A list containing the different stations to which the officers and crew are quartered in time of action, with their names.

QUARTER-BLOCKS. Blocks fitted under the quarters of a yard, on each side the slings, for the topsail-sheets, topsail-cluelines, and topgallant-sheets to reeve through.

QUARTER-BOAT. Any boat is thus designated which is hung to davits over the ship's quarter.

QUARTER-CASK. One-half of a hogshead, or 28 imperial gallons.

QUARTER-CLOTHS. Long pieces of painted canvas, extended on the outside of the quarter-netting, from the upper part of the gallery to the gangway.

QUARTER-DAVITS. Pieces of iron or timber with sheaves or blocks at their outer ends, projecting from a vessel's quarters, to hoist boats up to.

QUARTER-DECK. That part of the upper deck which is abaft the main-mast. (See Decks, and Jack's Quarter-deck.)

QUARTER-DECKERS. Those officers more remarkable for etiquette than for a knowledge of seamanship.

QUARTER-DECKISH. Punctilious, severe.


QUARTER-DECK OFFICERS. A term implying the executive in general; officers whose places in action are there, in command.



QUARTER-GALLERY. A sort of balcony with windows on the quarters of large ships. (See Gallery.)

QUARTER-GALLEY. A Barbary cruiser.

QUARTER-GUARD. A small guard posted in front of each battalion in camp.


QUARTER-LADDER. From the quarter-deck to the poop.

QUARTERLY ACCOUNT OF PROVISIONS. A return sent to the Admiral and Victualling Board, at the expiration of every three months.[554]

QUARTERLY BILL. The document by which officers draw three months' personal pay.

QUARTERLY RETURNS. Those made every three months to the admiral, or senior officer, of the offences and punishments, the officers serving on board, &c.

QUARTER-MAN. A dockyard officer employed to superintend a certain number of workmen.

QUARTER-MASTER. A petty officer, appointed to assist the master and mates in their several duties, as stowing the hold, coiling the cables, attending the binnacle and steerage, keeping time by the watch-glasses, assisting in hoisting the signals, and keeping his eye on general quarter-deck movements. In the army, a commissioned officer, ranking with subalterns, charged with the more immediate supervision of quarters, camps, and the issue of arms, ammunition, rations, stores, &c., for his own regiment.

QUARTER-MASTER GENERAL. Is the head of that department of the army which has charge of the quartering, encamping, embarking, and moving of troops, and of the supply of stores connected therewith.

QUARTER-NETTINGS. The places allotted on the quarters for the stowage of hammocks, which, in action, serve to arrest musket-balls.

QUARTER-PIECES. Projections at the after-part of the quarter, forming the boundaries of the galleries.

QUARTER-POINT. A subdivision of the compass-card, equal to 2° 48′ 45″ of the circle.

QUARTER-PORTS. Those made in the after side-timbers, and especially in round-stern vessels. They are inconvenient for warping, and generally fitted with rollers.

QUARTER-RAILS. Narrow moulded planks, reaching from the stern to the gangway, and serving as a fence to the quarter-deck, where there are no ports or bulwarks.

QUARTERS. The several stations where the officers and crew of a ship of war are posted in time of action. (See Battle, Engagement, &c.) But this term differs in the army, for the soldier's quarters are his place of rest. (See Head-quarters, Winter-quarters, &c.)

QUARTER-SIGHTS. The engraved index on the base-rings of cannon in quarter degrees from point-blank to two or three degrees of elevation.

QUARTER-SLINGS. Are supports attached to a yard or other spar at one or both sides of (but not in) its centre.

QUARTERS OF THE YARDS. The space comprehended between the slings, or middle and half-way out on the yard-arms.

QUARTER-STANCHIONS. Strong iron stanchions in a square-sterned vessel, connecting the main-rail with the taffrail; used for ridge-ropes to extend the awnings.

QUARTER-TACKLE. A strong tackle fixed occasionally upon the quarter of the main-yard, to hoist heavy bodies in or out of the ship.

QUARTER-TIMBERS. The framing timbers in a vessel's quarter.[555]

QUARTER-WATCH. A division of one-fourth of the crew into watches, which in light winds and well-conducted ships is enough; but the officers are in three, and they must not be found nodding.

QUARTER-WIND. Blowing upon a vessel's quarter, abaft the main-shrouds.

QUASHEE. The familiar designation of a West India negro.

QUATUOR MARIA, or British Seas, are those four which surround Great Britain.

QUAY. See Key.

QUEBRADA. From the Spanish for ravine, or broken ground.

QUEBRANTA HUESOS [Sp.] Literally, bone-breaker. The great petrel, Procellaria gigantea.

QUECHE. A small Portuguese smack.

QUEEN ANNE'S FREE GIFT. A sum of money formerly granted to surgeons annually, in addition to their monthly twopences from each man, or as often as they passed their accounts.

QUEEN'S COCKPIT. A mess of dissolute mates and midshipmen of the old Queen, 98, who held a sort of examination of ribaldry for a rank below that of gentleman.

QUEEN'S OWN. Sea provision (when a queen reigns); similar to king's own.

QUEEN'S PARADE. The quarter-deck.

QUERCITRON. Quercus tinctoria, the name of a North American oak, which affords a valuable yellow dye.

QUERIMAN. A mullet of Guiana, found in turbid waters, where it lives by suction.

QUERPO [Sp. cuerpo, body]. A close short jacket:

"Long-quartered pumps, with trowsers blue,
And querpo jacket, which last was new."
QUICKEN, To. In ship-building, to give anything a greater curve; as, to quicken the sheer, opposed to straightening it.

QUICKLIME. That which is unslacked, good for cleaning and white-washing ships' holds.

QUICK-MARCH, or Quick-step. The ordinary pace is 31⁄4 miles to the hour, or 110 paces (275) feet to the minute.

QUICK MATCH. Used as a train to any charge to be fired rapidly, is made of cotton threads treated with a composition of gunpowder, gum, and water; and burns nearly as would a train of loose powder.

QUICK RELIEF. One who turns out speedily to relieve the watch before the sound is out of the bell.

QUICK-SAND. A fine-grained loose sand, into which a ship sinks by her own weight as soon as the water retreats from her bottom.

QUICK SAVER. A span formerly used to prevent the courses from bellying too much when off the wind.

QUICK-STEP. See Quick-march.[556]

QUICK-WORK. Generally signifies all that part of a ship which is under water when she is laden; it is also applied to that part of the inner upper-works of a ship above the covering board. Also, the short planks worked inside between the ports. In ship-building the term strictly applies to that part of a vessel's side which is above the chain-wales and decks, as well as to the strakes which shut in between the spirkettings and clamps. In general parlance quick-work is synonymous with spirketting.

QUID. The chaw or dose of tobacco put into the mouth at a time. Quid est hoc? asked one, tapping the swelled cheek of his messmate; Hoc est quid, promptly replied the other.

QUIETUS. A severe blow, a settler.

QUIHI. The sobriquet of the English stationed or resident in Bengal, the literal meaning being, "Who is there?" It is the customary call for a servant; one always being in attendance, though not in the room.

QUILKIN. A west-country term for a frog.

QUILL-DRIVER. Captain's clerk, purser's secretary, et hoc genus omne.

QUILL-TUBES. Those in use with port-fires for firing guns before the introduction of detonating and friction-tubes. (See Tubes.)

QUILTING. A kind of coating formed of sinnet, strands of rope, &c., outside any vessel containing water. Also, the giving a man a beating with a rope's end.

QUINCUNX. Forming a body of men chequerwise. A method of surveying a coast by five vessels in quincunx was proposed by A. Dalrymple to the admiralty, when that board would not have allowed of the employment of one.

QUINK. A name in the Orkneys for the golden-eyed duck, Anas clangula.

QUINTAL. A commercial weight of a hundred pounds.

QUINTANE. An early military sport, to try the agility of our country youth.

QUINTE. The fifth guard in fencing.

QUISCHENS. The old term for cuisses, the pieces of armour which protected the thighs.

QUITTANCE. A release or discharge in writing for a sum of money or other duty, which ought to be paid or done on the ship's account.

QUOD. Durance, prison.

QUOIN. A wooden wedge adjusted to support the breech of a gun, so as to give the muzzle the required elevation or depression. Also, one of the mechanical powers.

QUOINS. Are employed to wedge off casks of liquids from each other, and steady them, in order that their bilges may not rub at sea, and occasion leaks.

QUOST. The old spelling of coast. See Eliot's Dictionarie, 1559.

QUOTA-MEN. Those raised for the navy at enormous expense by Pitt's quota-bill, in 1795, under bounties of from £20 to £60.


R. In the muster-book means run, and is placed against those who have deserted, or missed three musters.

R.A. See Right Ascension.

RABANET, or Rabinet. A small slender piece of ordnance, formerly used for ships' barricadoes. It had a one-inch bore, which carried about a half-pound ball.

RABBET, or Rebate. An angular incision cut longitudinally in a piece of timber, to receive the ends of a number of planks, to be securely fastened therein. Thus the ends of the lower planks of a ship's bottom terminate upon the stem afore, and on the stern-post abaft. The surface of the garboard streak, whose edge is let into the keel, is in the same manner level with the side of the keel at the extremities of the vessel. They are therefore termed stem, stern, or keel rabbets.

RACE. Strong currents producing overfalls, dangerous to small craft. They may be produced by narrow channels, crossing of tides, or uneven bottoms. Such are the races of Portland, Alderney, &c. Also, a mill-race, or tail-course.

RACE, To. Applies to marking timber with the race-tool.

RACE-HORSE. (Alca?) A duck of the South Seas; thus named, says Cook, for "the great swiftness with which they run on the water." Now called a steamer.

RACK. The superior stratum of clouds, or that moving rapidly above the scud. The line in which the clouds are driven by the wind, is called the rack of the weather. In Shakspeare's beautiful thirty-third sonnet the sun rises in splendour, but—

"Anon permits the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace."
Also, a frame of timber containing several sheaves, as a fair leader. Also, various rails for belaying pins.—To rack. To seize two ropes together, with racking or cross-turns.

RACK-BAR. A billet of wood used for twisting the bight of a swifter round, in order to bind a raft firmly together.

RACK-BLOCK. A range of sheaves cut in one piece of wood, for running ropes to lead through.

RACK-HURRY. The tram-way on which coal-waggons run to a hurry.

RACKING. Spun-yarn or other stuff used to rack two parts of a rope together.

RACKING A TACKLE or LANIARD. The fastening two running parts together with a seizing, so as to prevent it from rendering through the blocks.[558]

RACKING-TURNS. See Nippering.

RACK-RIDER. The name of the samlet in northern fisheries, so called because it generally appears in bad weather.

RADDLE, To. To interlace; as in making boats' gripes and flat gaskets.

RADE [Fr.] An old spelling of the sea-term road. (See Road.)

RADIUS. The semi-diameter of a circle, limb of a sextant, &c.

RADIUS-BAR of Parallel Motion. An intervening lever for guiding the side-rods of a steam-engine.

RADIUS-VECTOR. An imaginary line joining the centres of the sun and a planet or comet in any point of its orbit.

RADUS. A term used for the constellation Eridanus.

RAFT. A sort of float formed by an assemblage of casks, planks, or pieces of timber, fastened together with swifters and raft-dogs side by side, as well as tier upon tier. The timber and plank with which merchant ships are laden in the different ports of the Baltic, are attached together in this manner, in order to float them off to the shipping; but the rafts of North America are the most gigantic in the world. Also, a kind of floating bridge of easy construction for the passage of rivers by troops, &c.

RAFT-DOG. A broad flat piece of iron, having a sharp point at each end, with the extremities bent at right angles. There are also dog-hooks, having the shoulder bent into a hook, by which the raft-chains are secured, or suddenly thrown off and released.

RAFTING. Conveying goods by floating, as by raft-chains, lashings, &c.

RAFT-PORT. A large square hole, framed and cut through the buttocks of some ships, immediately under the counter—or forward between the breast-hooks of the bow—to load or unload timber.

RAG-BOLTS. Those which are jagged or barbed, to prevent working in their holes, and to make them hold more securely. The same as barb-bolts.

RAILS. Narrow pieces of wood, with mouldings as ornaments, mortised into the heads of stanchions, or nailed for ornament on several parts of a ship's upper works.

RAILS OF THE HEAD. Curved pieces of timber extending from the bows on each side to the continuation of the ship's stem, to support the knee of the head, &c.

RAILS OF THE STERN. (See Stern-rails.)


"A rainbow towards night,
Fair weather in sight.
Rainbow at night,
Sailor's delight;
Rainbow in morning,
Sailors, take warning."
RAIN-CLOUD. See Nimbus.

RAINS. Belts or zones of calms, where heavy rain prevails; they exist between the north-east and south-east trade-winds, changing their latitude several degrees, depending on the sun's declination. In India "the rains" come in with the S.W. monsoon.[559]

RAISE, To. To make an object subtend a larger angle by approaching it, which is the foundation of perspective, and an effect increased by the sphericity of our globe: the opposite of laying (which see).

RAISE A SIEGE, To. To abandon or cause the abandonment of a siege.

RAISED UPON. When a vessel is heightened in her upper works.

RAISE-NET. A kind of staked net on our northern shores, so called from rising and falling with the tide.

RAISE or RISE TACKS AND SHEETS. The lifting the clues of the courses, previously to bracing round the yards in tacking or wearing.

RAISE THE METAL To. To elevate the breech, and depress thereby the muzzle of a gun.

RAISE THE WIND, To. To make an exertion; to cast about for funds.

RAISING A MOUSE. The process of making a lump on a stay. (See Mouse.)

RAISING A PURCHASE. The act of disposing certain machines, so that, by their mutual effects, they may produce sufficient force to overcome the weight or resistance of the object to which this machinery is applied.

RAKE. The projection of the upper parts of a ship, at both ends, beyond the extremities of the keel. Also, the deviation of te masts from the vertical line of position, reckoned from the keel forward or aft.

RAKING. Cannonading a ship, so that the shot shall range in the direction of her whole length between decks, called a raking fire; and is similar to military enfilading.

RAKISH. Said of a ship when she has the appearance of force and fast sailing.

RALLYING SQUARE. That formed by skirmishers or dispersed troops when suddenly menaced by cavalry, each man as he runs in successively placing himself with his back close against those already formed.

RAM. A long spar, iron-hooped at the ends, used for driving out blocks from beneath a vessel's keel, and for driving planks an end while only wedged to the ship's side. Also, a new rating in the navy. (See Steam-ram.)

RAMBADE. The elevated platform built across the prow of a galley, for boarding, &c.

RAMED. The state of a ship on the stocks, when all the frames are set upon the keel, the stem and stern-post put up, and the whole adjusted by the ram-line.

RAM-HEAD. An old word for halliard-block.

RAM HOME, To. To drive home the ammunition in a gun.

RAMMER. A cylindrical block of wood nearly fitting the bore of a cannon, and fastened on a wooden staff; used in loading to drive home the charge of a cannon.

RAMP. An oblique or sloping interior road to mount the terreplein of the rampart.[560]

RAMPART. An artificial embankment surrounding a fortified place, capable of covering the buildings from view, and of resisting the cannon of an enemy. Generally having a parapet on its top, and a wall for its front.

RAMPER-EEL. A name of the lamprey, Petromyzon marinus.

RAM-REEL. Synonymous with bull-dance.

RAMROD. In muzzle-loading, is the implement used in charging a piece, to drive home the powder and shot.

RAMSHACKLE. Out of repair and ungainly; disorderly.

RAN. Yarns coiled on a spun-yarn winch.

RANCE. The strut or support of a Congreve rocket.

RANDAN. A mode of rowing with alternate long and short oars.

RANDOM SHOT. A shot, or coup perdu, made when the muzzle is highly elevated; the utmost range may be at an angle of 45°, which is supposed to carry about ten times as far as the point blank; but improved gunnery has now put the term out of use.

RANGE. Placed in a line or row; a term hydrographically applied to hills, as "the coast-range." Also, galley-range, or fire-grate.

RANGE, To. To sail in a parallel direction, and near to; as "we ranged the coast;" "the enemy came ranging up alongside of us."

RANGE-HEADS. The windlass-bitts (which see).

RANGE OF A GUN. The horizontal distance which it will send a shot, at a stated elevation, to the point of its first graze. Also, a place where gun-practice is carried on. Also, a level range implies the gun lying horizontal. The various positions between this and 45° are called intermediate ranges.

RANGE OF CABLE. A sufficient quantity of cable left slack to allow the anchor to reach the ground before the cable is checked by the double turns round the bitts, the object being to let the anchor hook the bottom quickly, and to prevent the heavy shock which would be caused if its weight were suddenly brought upon the bitts.

RANGES, Horned. Pieces of timber containing belaying pins, inside a ship. Also, pieces of oak placed round the hatchways to contain shot.

RANK. Degree of dignity; officers of the navy rank with those of the army according to the following table:—

1. The Admirals of the Fleet rank with Field-marshals.
2. Admirals " Generals.
3. Vice-admirals " Lieutenant-generals.
4. Rear-admirals " Major-generals.
6. }Captains of the Fleet
Commodores " Brigadier-generals.
7. Captains of 3 years " Colonels.
8. Captains under 3 years " Lieutenant-colonels.
9. Commanders next to Do.
10. Lieutenants, 8 years rank with Majors.
11. Lieutenants, under 8 years " Captains.
12. Sub-lieutenants " Lieutenants.
13. Midshipmen " Ensigns.
Also, the order or straight line made by men drawn up side by side.[561]

RANK AND FILE. This word includes corporals as well as privates, all below sergeants. (See File.)

RANSACK, To. To pillage; but to ransack the hold is merely to overhaul its contents.

RANSOM. Money paid for the liberty of a war-prisoner, a city, or for the restoration of a captured vessel: formerly much practised at sea. It then fell into disuse, but was revived for a time in the seventeenth century. At length the greater maritime powers prohibited the offering or accepting such ransoms. By English law, all such securities shall be absolutely void; and he who enters into any such contract shall forfeit £500 on conviction. A privateer taking ransom forfeits her letters of marque, and her commander is punishable with a heavy penalty and imprisonment.

RAPER. An old term for a rope-maker.

RAP-FULL. Applies to a ship on a wind, when "keep her rap-full!" means, do not come too close to the wind, or lift a wrinkle of the sail.

RAPID. A slope, down which water runs with more than ordinary rapidity, but not enough to be called a "fall;" and sometimes navigable by boats.

RAPPAREE. A smuggler, or one who lives on forced hospitality.

RASE. An archaism for a channel of the sea, and not a mispronunciation of race (which see).

RASEE. A line-of-battle ship with her upper works taken off, or reduced a deck, to lighten her; some of the old contract-built ships of the line, yclept "Forty Thieves," were thus converted into heavy frigates, as the Duncan, America, Warspite, &c.

RASH. A disease which attacks trees that have ceased to grow.

RASING. Marking timber by the rasing-knife, which has a peculiar blade hooked at its point, as well as a centre-pin to describe circles.

RASING-IRON. A tool for clearing the pitch and oakum out of the seams, previous to their being caulked afresh.

RAT. A term for one who changes his party for interest: from rats deserting vessels about to sink. These mischievous vermin are said to have increased after the economical expulsion of cats from our dockyards. Thus, in the petition from the ships-in-ordinary, to be allowed to go to sea, even to carry passengers, we read:—

"Tho' it was hemigrants or sodgers—
Anything afore them rats,
Which now they is our only lodgers;
For well they knows, the artful dodgers,
The Board won't stand th' expense of cats."
Injury done by rats is not included in a policy of insurance. Also, a rapid stream or race, derived from sharp rocks beneath, which injure the cable.

RATCHER. An old term for a rock.

RATCHET. A saw-toothed wheel in machinery, as the winch, windlass, &c., in which the paul catches.

RATE. A tariff or customs roll. Also, the six orders into which the ships of war were divided in the navy, according to their force and magnitude.[562] Thus the first rate comprehended all ships of 110 guns and upwards, having 42-pounders on the lower deck, diminishing to 6-pounders on the quarter-deck and forecastle. They were manned with 850 to 875 men, including officers, seamen, marines, servants, &c.—Second rate. Ships carrying from 90 to 100 guns.—Third rate. Ships from 80 to 84 guns.—Fourth rate. Ships from 60 to 74 guns; these were comprehended under the general names of frigates, and never appeared in the line of battle.—Fifth rate. Mounting from 32 to 40, or even 60 guns.—And Sixth rate. Mounting from any number, or no guns, if commanded by captains; those commanded by commanders were deemed sloops. Since the late introduction of massive iron, a captain may command but one gun.

RATE A CHRONOMETER, To. To determine its daily gaining or losing rate on mean time.

RATED SHIP. Synonymous with post-ship in former times; the term ship alone now infers that it is a captain's command, whilst sloop means a commander's.

RATH. A Gaelic term in use for raft—a timber raft; it is also an ancient earthen fort.

RATING. The station a person holds on the ship's books.

RATION. Each man's daily allowance of provisions; including, in the army, fuel and forage to man and horse.


RATLINES, or Ratlings. Small lines which traverse the shrouds of a ship (at distances of 15 or 16 inches) horizontally from the deck upwards, and are made firm by jamming clove-hitches; they form a series of steps, like the rounds of a ladder.

RAT'S-TAIL. The tapering end of a rope. Also, the round tapered file for enlarging holes in metal.

RATTAN [Malay, rotan]. One of the genus Calamus, used for wicker-work, seats of chairs, &c. In the eastern seas they constitute the chief cables, even to 42 inches circumference, infinitely stronger than hemp, light, and not easily chafed by rocks; very useful also to seamen for brooms, hoops, hanks for sails, &c.

RATTLE DOWN RIGGING, To; or, To Rattle the Shrouds. To fix the ratlines in a line parallel to the vessel's set on the water.

RAUN. An old Manx term for a seal. In the north it implies the roe of salmon, used as a bait.

RAUNER. A northern term for the female salmon, as having the raun or roe.

RAVE-HOOK. In ship carpentry, a hooked iron tool used when enlarging the butts for receiving a sufficient quantity of oakum.

RAVELIN. In fortification, an outwork consisting of two long faces meeting in a salient angle, covering the curtain, and, generally, the shoulders of the bastions; it affords a powerful defence to the ground in front of the latter, which may rarely be approached till after the fall of the ravelin.[563]

RAVINE. A deep chasm through which the rains are carried off elevated lands.

RAY. A line of sight. Also, a flat rhomboidal fish with a rough skin; genus, Raia.

RAZE, To. To level or demolish (applicable to works or buildings).

RAZED. Fortifications are said to be razed when totally demolished.

RAZOR-BACK. The fin-whale (Balænoptera), so called from its prominent dorsal fin. It usually attains the length of 70 feet.

RAZOR-BILL. A sea-fowl allied to the auks, Alca torda.

REACH, or Ratch. A straight part of a navigable river; the distance between any two elbows on the banks, wherein the current flows in uninterrupted course.

REACHING. Sometimes used for standing off and on: a vessel is also said to be on a reach, when she is sailing by the wind upon any tack. A vessel also reaches ahead of her adversary.

READY ABOUT! or Ready Oh! The order to prepare for tacking, each man to his station. (See About.)

READY WITH THE LEAD! A caution when the vessel is luffed up to deaden her way, followed by "heave."

REAL. A silver coin of Spain, value 5d. sterling. One-eighth of a dollar.

REALILLO. A small Spanish silver coin, value half a real.

REAM or Reem Out, To. To enlarge the bore of a cannon with a special tool, so that it may take a larger projectile.

REAMING. Fishing vessels shifting their quarters while fishing. This word is often used for reeming (which see).

REAR. An epithet for anything situated behind another, as the hindmost portion of a fleet or army. (See Division.) To rear an object in view, is to rise or approach it.

REAR-ADMIRAL. The officer in command of the third division of a fleet, whose flag is at the mizen.

REAR-GUARD. That part of the army which brings up and protects the rear.

REARING. The upper-works tumbling home, or being wall-sided.

REAR-RANK. The last rank of a body of men drawn up in simple line.

REAR-SHIP. The sternmost ship of a fleet.

RE-ASSEMBLE. To gather together a fleet, or convoy, after having been scattered.

REASTY. Rancid or rusty pork or butter, &c.

REAVEL, or Raffle. To entangle; to knot confusedly together.

REBALLING. The catching of eels with earth-worms attached to a ball of lead suspended by a string from a pole.

REBATE. See Discount.

REBATES. The grooves formed on each side of the keel, stem, or stern-post, to receive the planks. (See Rabbet.)

REBELS. Revolters and mutineers; in admiralty law the same as enemies.[564]

RECEIVERS of Droits of Admiralty. Now termed receivers of wreck (which see).

RECEIVERS OF WRECK. Persons specially charged with wrecked property for the benefit of the shipping interests.

RECEIVING-SHIP. At any port, to receive supernumerary seamen, or entered or impressed men for the royal navy.

RECIPROCATE. The alternate motion balancing a steam-engine.

RECIPROCITY. The enlarging or contracting particular admiralty statutes, to meet the usages of foreign powers.

RECKONING, Ship's. The ship's position resulting from the courses steered, and distances run by log, brought up from the last astronomical observations. If unaccompanied by corrections for longitude by chronometer, and for latitude, it is termed only the dead-reckoning.

RECOIL. The running in of a gun when discharged, which backward motion is caused by the force of the fire.

RECONNAISSANCE. A word adopted from the French, as meaning a military or nautical examination of a place.

RECONNOITRING. Sailing within gun-shot of an enemy's port to ascertain his strength and capabilities for offence and defence. Also, a rapid examination of coasts and countries, for correcting the defects of many previous maps and charts.

RECREANT. This term was for him who had yielded in single combat.

RECTA PRISA REGIS. In law, the sovereign's right to prisage, or one pipe of wine before, and another behind the masts, as customary in every cargo of wine.

RECTIFIER. An instrument used for determining the variation of the compass, in order to rectify the ship's course, &c. It consists of two circles, either laid upon or let into one another, and so fastened together in their centres that they represent two compasses, the one fixed, the other movable; each is divided into 32 points of the compass, and 360°, and numbered both ways from the north and the south, ending at the east and west in 90°. The fixed compass represents the horizon, in which the north and all the other points are liable to variation.

REDAN. The simplest form of regular fortification, consisting of two faces meeting in a salient angle; generally applied in connection with other works.

REDD. The spawn of fish. Also, the burrow scooped out by salmon in which to deposit their ova.

REDD-FISH. A northern general term for fishes in the spawning state, but particularly applied to salmon.

REDEMPTIONER. One who purchases his release from obligation to the master of a ship, by his services; or one whose services are sold to pay the expenses of his passage to America or elsewhere.

REDHIBITION. An action to annul or set aside a contract of sale.

RED-HOT BALLS. Shot made red-hot in a furnace, and in that state discharged at the enemy. The loading is managed with wet wads.[565]

REDOUBT. An inclosed work, differing from a fort, in that its parts do not flank one another.

RED PINE. Pinus rubra, the red spruce; the timber of which is preferred throughout the United States for yards, and imported for that purpose into Liverpool from Nova Scotia.

REDUCE, To. To degrade to a lower rank; or to shorten the allowance of water or provisions.

REDUCE A CHARGE, To. To diminish the contents of a cartridge, sometimes requisite during heavy firing.

REDUCE A PLACE, To. To compel its commander to surrender, or vacate it by capitulation.

REDUCTION of Celestial Observations. The process of calculation, by which observations are rendered subservient to utility.

REEF. A certain portion of a sail comprehended between the head of a sail and any of the reef-bands. The intention of each reef is to reduce the sail in proportion to the increase of the wind; there are also reefs parallel to the foot or bottom of large sails, extended upon booms.—Close-reefed is when all the reefs of the top-sails are taken in.—Reef is also a group or continuous chain of rocks, sufficiently near the surface of the water to occasion its breaking over them. (See Fringing Reefs and Barrier Reefs.)

REEF-BAND. A narrow band of canvas sewed on the reef-line to support the strain of the reef-points. It is pierced with eyelet-holes, through which the points are passed each way with a running eye.


REEF-EARINGS. See Earings.

REEFED TOP-MAST. When a top-mast is sprung in or near the cap, the lower piece is cut off, and a new fid-hole cut, by which the mast is reefed or shortened.

REEFERS. A familiar term for midshipmen, because they have to attend in the tops during the operation of taking in reefs.

REEF-KNOT. Is one in which the ends fall always in a line with the outer parts; in fact, two loops, easy to untie, never jamming. That with the second tie across, is termed a granny's knot.

REEF-LINE. Casual aids in bad weather to help the men at the earings. When the vessel was going free, and the sail could not be "spilled," the men were, if blowing hard, often aided by passing the studding-sail halyards loosely round the sail, clewed up spirally from yard-arm to bunt.

REEF-PENDANT. A rope going through a cringle in the after-leech of a boom main-sail, and through a check sheave-hole in the boom, with a tackle attached to its end to bowse the after-leech down to the boom by which the sail is held reefed. On the lower yards it is a pendant for a similar purpose as the reef-tackle.

REEF-POINTS. Small flat pieces of plaited cordage or soft rope, tapering from the middle towards each end, whose length is nearly double the circumference of the yard, and used for the purpose of tying up the sail[566] in the act of reefing; they are made fast by their eyes on each side of the eyelet-holes.

REEF-TACKLES, are indeed pendants and tackles. The pendant is rove through the sister-block, then a sheave in the yard-arm, and secured to a strong cringle beneath the close reef, sometimes through a block, and the end secured to the yard-arm. Within the sister-block it becomes a gun-tackle purchase, with the fall leading on deck. The reef-tackles are hauled out, and the other aids complete, before the men are sent aloft.

REEF-TACKLE SPAN. Two cringles in the bolt-rope, about a couple of feet apart, when a block is used.

REELS. Well-known wheels moving round an axis, and serving to wind various lines upon, as the log-reel for the log-line, deep-sea reel (which contains the deep-sea line, amounting to 150 or 200 fathoms), spun-yarn reel, &c. "She went 10 knots off the reel"—i.e. by the log-line.

REEMING. A term used by caulkers for opening the seams of the plank with reeming-irons, that the oakum may be more readily admitted. This may be a corruption of rimer, for opening circular holes in metal.

REEMING-BEETLE. A caulker's largest mallet.

REEMING-IRON. The larger iron used by caulkers in opening the seams.

RE-ENTERING ANGLE. In fortification, is an angle whose vertex points inward, or towards the place.

REEVE, To. To pass the end of a rope through any cavity or aperture, as the channel of a block; to unreeve is the opposite.

REEVING. In polar voyaging, following up serpentine channels in the ice, till the vessel reaches open water, or reeves the pack.

REFITTING. Repairing any damages which a ship may have sustained.

REFLECTING CIRCLE. An instrument used instead of a sextant, quintant, or quadrant; but the quintant embraces as much—viz. 152 degrees. The instrument reflects a celestial or any distant object so as to bring the image into contact with any object seen direct, by which their angular distance is measured, as in lunar distances.

REFLECTION, Angle of. Whether the instance be a ray of light or a cannon-ball, the angle of reflection will always be found equal to the angle of incidence.

REFLUX. The ebbing of the tide, or reflow of the waters, which have been pressed back.

REFORMADES. The sons of the nobility and gentry who served in the navy under letters from Charles II., and were allowed table-money and other encouragements to raise the character of the service.

REFRACTING TELESCOPE. That through which objects are seen directly through its double object-glass.

REFRACTION. An inflection of the rays of light: that property of the atmosphere which bends the rays of light in their passage to the eye from a different density, and causes the altitude of heavenly bodies to appear greater than it really is, especially near the horizon. (See Terrestrial Refraction.)[567]

REFUSAL OF A PILE. Its stoppage or obstruction, when it cannot be driven further in.

REGAL FISHES. In statute law, these are whales and sturgeons.

REGARDERS. Inspectors of the felling of timber.

REGATTA. A rowing-match formerly peculiar to the republic of Venice; but now the term is applied to yacht and boat races in general.

REGIMENT. A body of men commanded by a colonel, complete in its own organization, and divided into companies of infantry or troops of cavalry.

REGIMENTAL ORDERS. Such as the commanding officer may deem it necessary to issue for the discipline of the regiment.

REGIMENTALS. The regulation dress for the individuals of a regiment.

REGIMENTAL STAFF-OFFICERS. The surgeon, adjutant, paymaster, assistant-surgeon, and quarter-master of each regiment.

REGION. Any large tract of land or water on the earth's surface, having some feature common to every part of itself, and different from what exists elsewhere; as northern, southern, or intertropical region; mountainous region; region of perpetual congelation, &c.

REGISTER. A purchaser has no title to a ship, either at law or in equity, unless he be mentioned in the register. If a vessel, not duly registered, exercise any of the privileges of a British ship, she is liable to forfeiture.

REGISTER ANEW. When any registered ship is so altered as not to correspond with the "particulars" relating to the description in her register-book, either a new certificate of registry, or an official indorsement of the old one, is necessary.

REGISTER OF VICE-ADMIRALTY COURT. Not responsible for money transmitted under proper precautions, and in the usual course of business, but afterwards lost by the failure of the consignee.

REGISTER SHIP. A Spanish plate-ship or galleon.

REGISTRY OF SEAMEN. A record of merchant seamen kept by the registrar-general of seamen.

REGNI POPULI. An old law-term given to the people of Surrey and Sussex, and on the sea-coasts of Hampshire.

REGULATOR. A name for the governor of a steam-engine. Also, a valve-cock. The regulator of a clock is the shortening or lengthening pendulum or escapement.

REGULUS. α Leonis; the principal star in the old constellation Leo.

REIGNING WINDS. The prevalent winds on any particular coast or region. (See Wind.)

REIN. A crack or vein in a musket-barrel.

REINFORCE, To. To strengthen a fleet, squadron, army, or detachment, by additional means and munitions.

REINFORCE. In artillery, that increase, beyond its general conical outline, of the metal towards the breech, which was marked on old pattern guns by rings. They are generally in cast guns omitted now, though the principle of the reinforce remains, yet less defined in nature and number, in the recent wrought and built-up guns.[568]

RE-INSURANCE. To insure the same property a second time by other underwriters. If an underwriter find that he has incautiously bound himself to a greater amount than he can discharge, he may shift it, or part of it, from himself to others, by a re-insurance policy made on the same risk.

REIS. Small coins of Portugal, of which 4800 go to the moidore.

RELIEF. The change of watches. Also, the person relieving a particular station. Also, a fresh detachment of troops, ordered to replace those already on duty. In fortification, the total height of the crest of the parapet above the bottom of the ditch.

RELIEVE, To. To put fresh men or ships upon a stipulated duty.

RELIEVING TACKLES. Those which are occasionally hooked to the tiller, in order to steer by in bad weather or in action, when any accident has happened to the wheel or tiller-rope.

REMA, or Reume. The tide.

REMAIN. The quantity of stores left on charge for survey, after a voyage.

REMARK-BOOK. This contains hydrographical observations of every port visited, and is sent annually to the admiralty, together with any charts, plans, or views which have been taken. Often a very dull miscellany, though kept by intelligent masters.

REMBERGE. A long narrow rowing vessel of war, formerly used by the English. Its name is derived from remo and barca, and it seems to have been the precursor of the Deal luggers.

REMBLAI. The mass of earth requisite for the construction of the rampart. An embankment.

REMORA. The sucker-fish. It has a long oval plate on the top of the head, by which, having exhausted the air in it, it clings to a ship's bottom, to the sides of a shark, or to turtle.

REMOVAL FROM THE LIST. Dismission, or dropping an officer out of the service.

RENDERING. The act of yielding to any force applied. For instance, the rope of a laniard or tackle is said to render when, by pulling upon one part, each other part takes its share of the strain. Any rope, hawser, or cable is "rendered" by easing it round the bitts, particularly in riding with a strain to freshen the nip.

RENDEZVOUS. The port or place of destination where the several ships of a fleet are appointed to join company.

REPEATING FIRE-ARM. One by which a number of charges, previously inserted, may be fired off in rapid succession, or after various pauses. The principle is very old, but the effective working of it is new.

REPEAT SIGNALS, To. Is to make the same signal exhibited by the admiral, in order to its being more readily distinguished at a distance, or through smoke, &c. Frigates and small vessels out of the line were deemed repeating ships, and enforced signals by guns. The repeat from a superior intended to convey rebuke for inattention, is usually accompanied by one gun, or several.[569]

REPLENISH, To. To obtain supplies of water and provisions up to the original amount.

REPORT OF GUARD. The document rendered in by the guard-boat, of every vessel boarded during her hours of duty, with their arrivals, sailings, and other occurrences.

REPORT OF SURVEY. The opinion of surveys officially signed by surveying officers.

REPORT ONE'S SELF, To. When an officer returns on board from duty, or from leave of absence.

REPRESENTATION. A collateral statement of such facts not inserted on the policy of insurance, as may give the underwriters a just estimate of the risk of the adventure. (See Warranty.)

REPRIMAND. A formal reproof for error or misconduct, conveyed sometimes publicly, sometimes confidentially, sometimes by sentence of court-martial, or on the judgment, mature or otherwise, of a superior.

REPRISAL. The taking one thing in satisfaction for another, as the seizing of ships and goods for injury inflicted; a right exerted, though no actual war be commenced. It is authorized by the law of nations if justice has been solemnly called for and denied. The word is synonymous with marque in our admiralty courts.

REPRISE, or Reprisal. Is the retaking a vessel from the enemy before she has arrived in any neutral or hostile port. If a vessel thus retaken has been 24 hours in the possession of an enemy, she is deemed a lawful recapture; but if within that time, she is merely detenu, and must be wholly restored to the owner. An amount of salvage is sometimes awarded to the re-captors. Also, if a vessel has from any cause been abandoned by the enemy, before he has taken her into any port, she is to be restored to the original proprietor. (See Salvage.)

REQUISITION. An official demand for stores, &c.

RESCUE. Any vessel recovered by the insurrection of prisoners on board of her, or by her being forced by stress of weather into our ports, she is restored on salvage. There is no rule prescribed by the law of England in the case of foreign property rescued; with British subjects the court usually adopts the proportion of recapture. In respect to foreigners the only guide is that of "quantum meruit."

RESERVE. A portion drawn out from the main body, and stationed in the rear for a special object.

RE-SHIP. To ship again, or ship goods that have been imported or conveyed by water.

RESIDENT. A British subject residing in an enemy's country may trade generally with the natives, but not in contraband.

RESISTING MEDIUM. An assumed thin ethereal fluid, which, from the retardation of Encke's comet, may be supposed to pervade the planetary space—perhaps the spiritus subtilissimus of Newton—in virtue of which periodical comets seem to have their velocity diminished, and their orbits contracted at every revolution.[570]

RESOLVE, To. To reduce a traverse, or day's work, to its exact limits.

RESOURCE. Expedient. A good seaman is ever a man of resources.

RESPONDENTIA. A loan made upon goods laden in a ship, for which the borrower is personally responsible; differing therein from bottomry, where the ship and tackle are liable. In bottomry the lender runs no risk, though the goods should be lost; and upon respondentia the lender must be paid his principal and interest, though the ship perish, provided the goods be safe.

RESPONSIBILITY. Often a wholesome restraint; but the bugbear of an inefficient officer.

REST. A pole with an iron fork at the top for the support of the old heavy musket.

RET, To. To soak in water, as in seasoning timber, hemp, &c.

RETINUE. Applied strictly to the admiral's suite or followers, though it means an accompanying train in general.

RETIRE. The old war-term for retreat. Thus Shakspeare makes Richard Plantagenet exclaim—

"Ne'er may he live to see a sunshine day,
That cries Retire, if Warwick bid him stay."
RETIRED LIST. A roll whereon deserving officers are placed whose health, age, or want of interest justifies their retirement from active service.

RETIRED PAY. A graduated pension for retired officers; but the term is nearly synonymous with half pay.

RETRACTUS AQUÆ. An old law-term for the ebb or return of tide.

RETREAT. The order in which a fleet or squadron declines engagement. Or the retrograde movement of any body of men who retire from a hostile force. Also, that beat of drum about sunset which orders the guards and piquets to take up their night duties.

RETRENCHMENT. A defence with a ditch and breast-work behind another post or defence, whereby the besieger, on forcing the original work, is confronted by a fresh one.

RETROGRADATION. An apparent motion of the planets contrary to the order of the signs, and to their orbital march. The arc of retrogradation is the angular distance thus apparently traversed. Mars may be watched as an instance.


RETURN. A ship on a return voyage is not generally liable; but if she sailed on the outward voyage under false papers, the liability to confiscation continues.

RETURN A SALUTE, To. Admirals are saluted, but return two guns less for each rank that the saluting officer is below the admiral.

RETURNS. All the various reports and statements required by officers in command to be made periodically. (See Supplies and Returns.)

REVEILLE. The beat of drum at break of day, when night duties cease.

REVENUE. In cases of revenue proceedings, the law harshly provides that the onus probandi is to be on the claimant, however injured.[571]

REVENUE-CUTTERS. Sharp-built single-masted vessels armed, for the purpose of preventing smuggling, and enforcing the custom-house regulations. They are usually styled revenue-cruisers.

REVERSE. A change; a vicissitude. Also, the flank at the other extremity from the pivot of a division is termed the reverse flank.

REVETMENT. A sloping wall of brick-work, or any other attainable material, supporting the outer face of the rampart, and lining the side of the ditch.

REVIEW. The inspection of a fleet or army, or of any body of men under arms.

REVOLUTION, Time of. In relation to a planet or comet, this is the time occupied in completing a circuit round the sun, and is synonymous with periodic time.

RHE. A very old word signifying an overflow of water.

RHILAND-ROD. A Dutch measure of 12 English feet, formerly in use with us: it is more properly Rhine-land rod.

RHODIAN LAWS. A maritime code, asserted, but without sufficient proof, to be the basis of the Roman sea-laws. The code published by Leunclavius and others, as a body of Rhodian laws, is a mere forgery of modern times.

RHODINGS. The brass cleats on which the axles of the pumps work.

RHOMBOID. An oblique parallelogram, having its opposite sides equal and parallel, but its angles not right angles.

RHOMBUS. A lozenge-shaped figure, having four equal sides, but its angles not right angles.

RHUMB, or Rhomb. A vertical circle of any given place, or the intersection of a part of such a circle with the horizon. Rhumbs, therefore, coincide with points of the world, or of the horizon; and hence seamen distinguish the rhumbs by the same names as the points and winds, as marked on the fly or card of the compass. The rhumb-line, therefore, is a line prolonged from any point of the compass in a nautical chart, except the four cardinal points; or it is a line which a ship, keeping in the same collateral point or rhumb, describes throughout its whole course.

RHYDAL [from the Celtic rhydle]. A ford or channel joining lakes or broad waters.

RIBADOQUIN. A powerful cross-bow for throwing long darts. Also, an old piece of ordnance throwing a ball of one or two pounds.

RIBBANDS. In naval architecture, long narrow flexible pieces of fir nailed upon the outside of the ribs, from the stem to the stern-post of a ship, so as to encompass the body lengthways, and hold the timbers together while in frame.

RIBBING-NAILS. Similar to deck-nails, but not so fine; they have large round heads with rings, so as to prevent their heads from splitting the timbers, or being drawn through.

RIBBONS. The painted mouldings along a ship's side. Also, the tatters of a sail in blowing away.[572]

RIBS. The frame timbers which rise from the bottom to the top of a ship's hull: the hull being as the body, the keel as the backbone, and the planking as the skin.

RIBS AND TRUCKS. Used figuratively for fragments.

RIBS OF A PARREL. An old species of parrel having alternate ribs and bull's-eyes; the ribs were pieces of wood, each about one foot in length, having two holes in them through which the two parts of the parrel-rope are reeved with a bull's-eye between; the inner smooth edge of the rib rests against, and slides readily up and down, the mast.

RICKERS. Lengths of stout poles cut up for the purpose of stowing flax, hemp, and the like. Spars supplied for boats' masts and yards, boat-hook staves, &c.

RICOCHET. The bound of a shot. Ricochet fire, that whereby, a less charge and a greater elevation being used, the shot or shell is made to just clear a parapet, and bound along the interior of a work.

RIDDLE. A sort of weir in rivers.—To riddle. To fire through and through a vessel, and reduce her to a sieve-like condition.

RIDE, To. To ride at anchor. A vessel rides easily, apeak, athwart, head to wind, out a gale, open hawse, to the tide, to the wind, &c. A rope rides, as when round the capstan or windlass the strain part overlies and jams the preceding turn.—To ride between wind and tide. Said of a ship at anchor when she is acted upon by wind and tide from different directions, and takes up a position which is the result of both forces.

RIDEAU. A rising ground running along a plain, nearly parallel to the works of a place, and therefore prejudicial.

RIDERS. Timbers laid as required, reaching from the keelson to the orlop-beams, to bind a ship and give additional strength. They are variously termed, as lower futtock-riders and middle futtock-riders. When a vessel is weak, or has broken her floors or timbers, riders are introduced to secure the ship, and enable her to reach a port where she can be properly repaired. Stringers are also used, but these run horizontally.—Riders are also upper tiers of casks, or any stowed above the ground tier in the hold.

RIDING A PORT-LAST. With lower yards on the gunwales.

RIDING-BITTS. Those to which the cable is made fast.

RIDING-DOWN. The act of the men who throw their weight on the head of a sail to stretch it. Also, of the man who comes down a stay, &c., to tar it; or foots the bunt in.

RIDGE. Hydrographically means a long narrow stretch of shingle or rocks, near the surface of the sea, (See Reef and Shallows.) Geographically, the intersection of two opposite slopes, or a range of hills, or the highest line of mountains.

RIDGE-ROPES, are of various kinds. Thus the centre-rope of an awning, and those along the rigging to which it is stretched, the man-ropes to the bowsprit, safety lines from gun to gun in bad weather—all obtain this name.[573]

RIFE. An old provincial term for a salt-water pond.

RIFLED ORDNANCE. That which is provided with spiral grooves in the interior of the bore, to give rotatory motion to the projectile, thereby much increasing its accuracy of flight, and permitting the use of elongated shot and shell.

RIFLE-PIT. Cover hastily thrown up by one or two skirmishers, but contributing, when a line of them is joined together, to form works sometimes of much importance.

RIG. Colloquially, mischievous frolic not carried to excess.

RIG, To. To fit the shrouds, stays, braces, and running-rigging to their respective masts, yards, and sails. Colloquially, it means to dress.—To rig in a boom, is to draw it in.—To rig out a boom, is to run it out from a yard, in order to extend the foot of a sail upon it, as with studding-sail booms, &c.

RIGEL. β Orionis, one of the bright stars in Orion.

RIGGED. Completely equipped.

RIGGERS. Men employed on board ships to fit the standing and running rigging, or to dismantle them. The riggers in the naval yards, who rig ships previous to their being commissioned, are under the master-attendant, and perform all anchor, mooring, and harbour duties also.

RIGGING. A general name given to all the ropes or chains employed to support the masts, and arrange the sails according to the direction of the wind. Those are termed "standing" which are comparative fixtures, and support the masts, &c.; and those "running," which are in constant use, to trim the yards, and make or shorten sail, &c.

RIGGING-LOFT. A long room or gallery in a dockyard, where rigging is fitted by stretching, serving, splicing, seizing, &c., to be in readiness for the ship.

RIGGING-MATS. Those which are seized upon a vessel's standing rigging, to prevent its being chafed.

RIGGING OUT. A term for outfitting. Also, a word used familiarly to express clothing of ship or tar.

RIGGING-STOPPER. See Stopper of the Cable.

RIGHT. As to direction, fully or directly; thus, right ahead, or right away, &c.

RIGHT ANGLE. An angle formed by a line rising or falling perpendicularly upon another, and measuring 90°, or the quadrant of a circle.

RIGHT-ANGLED TRIANGLE. That which has one right angle.

RIGHT ASCENSION. An arc of the equator between the first point of Aries, and the hour circle which passes through any planet or star; or that point of the equinoctial, which comes to the meridian with any heavenly object, and is therefore similar to terrestrial longitude.

RIGHT ATHWART. Square, or at right angles with the keel.

RIGHT AWAY! It is a habit of seamen answering when a sail is discovered from the mast-head; "Right away on the beam, sir," or "on the bow," [574]&c.

RIGHT-HAND ROPE. That which is laid up and twisted with the sun, that is to the right hand; the term is opposed to water-laid rope, which is left-handed.

RIGHTING. The act of a ship recovering her upright position after she has been laid upon a careen, which is effected by casting loose the careening tackles, and, if necessary, heaving upon the relieving tackles. A ship is also said to right at sea, when she rises with her masts erect, after having been listed over on one side by grounding, or force of wind.

RIGHT THE HELM! The order to put it amidships, that is, in a line with the keel.

RIGHT ON END. In a continuous line; as the masts should be.

RIGHT SAILING. Running a course on one of the four cardinal points, so as to alter only a ship's latitude, or longitude.

RIGHT UP AND DOWN. Said in a dead calm, when the wind is no way at all. Or, in anchor work, when the cable is in that condition, the boatswain calls, "Up and down, sir," whereupon "Thick and dry (nippers) for weighing" are ordered.

RIGHT WAY. When the ship's head casts in the desired direction. Also, when she swings clear at single anchor.

RIGHT WHALE. A name applied to the whale with a very large head and no dorsal fin, which yields the whalebone and train-oil of commerce, in opposition to the fin-backs or rorquals, which are scarcely worth catching. There are several species found both in the Arctic and Southern seas, but never within the tropics.

RIG OF A SHIP. The disposition of the masts, cut of sails, &c., whether square or fore-and-aft rigs. In fact, the rig denotes the character of the vessel.

RIG THE CAPSTAN, To. To fix the bars in the drumhead in readiness for heaving; not forgetting to pin and swift. (See Capstan.)

RIG THE GRATINGS. Prepare them for punishment.

RILE. An old corruption of rail. To ruffle the temper; to vex.

RILL. A very small run of fresh water, less than a rivulet.

RIM, or Brim. A name given to the circular edge of a top. (See Top.)

RIM-BASE. The shoulder on the stock of a musket.

RIME. Hoar-frost; condensed vapour.

RIMER. A palisade in fortification; but for its naval application, see Reeming. Also, a tool for enlarging holes in metal plates, &c.

RIMS. Those pieces which form the quarter-galleries between the stools. Also, the cast-iron frame in which the dropping pauls of a capstan traverse, and bring up the capstan.

RING. A commercial measure of staves, or wood prepared for casks, and containing four shocks. Also, the iron ring to which the cable is bent to the anchor in the summit of the shank.

RING-BOLT. An iron bolt with an eye at one end, wherein is fitted a circular ring. They are more particularly used for managing cannon, and are for this purpose fixed on each side of the port-holes. They are[575] driven through the plank and the corresponding timber, and retained in this position by a clinching ring.

RING-DOGS. Iron implements for hauling timber along: made by connecting two common dogs by a ring through the eyes. When united with cordage they form a sling-dog (which see).

RING-ROPES. Ropes rove through the ring of the anchor, to haul the cable through it, in order to bend or make it fast in bad weather; they are first rove through the ring, and then through the hawse-holes, when the end of the cable is secured to them.

RINGS. The annual circular layers in timber. Also, grommets, or circles of metal for lifting things by hand, or securing the points of bolts, &c., as hatch or port rings.

RING-STOPPER. A long piece of rope secured to an after ring-bolt, and the loop embracing the cable through the next, and others in succession nip the cable home to each ring-bolt in succession. It is a precaution in veering cable in bad weather.

RING-TAIL. A kind of studding-sail hoisted beyond the after edge of those sails which are extended by a gaff and a boom over the stern. The two lower corners of this sail are stretched to a boom, called a ring-tail boom, which rigs in and out upon the main or driver boom.

RINK. A space of ice devoted to certain recreations, as a skating or a curling rink: generally roofed in from the snow in Canada.

RIONNACK. A name of the horse-mackerel among the Scottish islands.

RIP. A pannier or basket used for carrying fish.—To rip, to strip off a ship's planks.

RIPARIA. A law-term for the water running between the banks of a river.

RIPARY. Inhabiting the sea-shore.

RIPE [from the Latin, ripa]. The banks of a tide-river, and the sea-shore: a term in use on our southern coasts.

RIPPERS, or Ripiers. Men from the sea-shores, who sell fish to the inland towns and villages.

RIPPING-IRON. A caulker's tool for tearing oakum out of a seam, or stripping copper or sheathing from a ship's bottom. (See Reeming.)

RIPPLE. The small waves raised on the surface of the water by the passage of a slight breeze, or current, caused by foul bottom.

RIPPLE-MARKS. The ripply appearance left at low water on the flat part of a sandy beach.

RIPPS. See Tide-rip. Also, strange overfalls, the waves of which, even in calm weather, will throw their crests over the bulwarks.

RISBERM. Fascines placed to oppose the violence of the surf.

RISING-FLOORS. The floor-timbers, which rise gradually from the plane of the midship floor, so as to sharpen the form of a vessel towards the bow and stern.

RISINGS OF BOATS. A narrow strake of board fastened withinside to support the thwarts.[576]

RISING-SQUARE. In ship-carpentry, a square used in the whole moulding, upon which is marked the height of the rising line above the keel.

RISK A RUN, To. To take chance without convoy.

RISKS. The casualties against which insurances are made on ships and cargoes.

RITTOCH. An Orkney name for the tern, Sterna hirundo.

RIVAGE. An old term, from the French, for a coast or shore of the sea, or a river.

RIVAGIUM. A law-term for a duty paid to the sovereign on some rivers for the passage of boats or vessels.

RIVAILE. An Anglo-Norman term for a harbour.

RIVE. The sea-shore. Also, as a verb, to split wood.

RIVER-BOATS. Wherries, and the like, which ply in harbours and rivers for the conveyance of passengers.

RIVER-HARBOUR. That which is situated in the channel of a river, especially such as are at the embouchure with a bar in front.

RIVER-LAKES. Large pools of water occupying a portion of the valleys or hollows through which the courses of rivers lie.

RIVER-RISK. A policy of insurance from the docks to the sea, at any port.

RIVET. The roe of a fish. Also, a hinge-pin, or any piece of riveted work. The soft iron pin by which the ends of a cask hoop, or the plates of a boiler, &c., are secured by clinching.

RIVIERA. An Italian term for a coast, as the Riviera di Genoa.

RIX-DOLLAR. A silver coin common in northern Europe, of the average value of 4s. 6d.

ROACH. The hollow curvature of the lower parts of upper square-sails, to clear the stays when the yards are braced up.

ROAD, or Roadstead. An off-shore well-known anchorage, where ships may await orders, as St. Helen's at Portsmouth, Cowes, Leith, Basque Roads, Saugor, and others, where a well-found vessel may ride out a gale.

ROADSTER, or Roader. Applied chiefly to those vessels which work by tides, and seek some known road to await turn of tide or change of wind. If a vessel under sail strike against any roader and damage her, the former is obliged by law to make good the damages.

ROAST-BEEF DRESS. Full uniform; probably from its resemblance to that of the royal beef-eaters.

ROAST BEEF OF OLD ENGLAND. A popular air, by which officers are summoned to the dinner-table.

ROBANDS, or Robbens. (See Rope-bands.)

ROBINET. An ancient military machine for throwing darts and stones; now the name of some useful cocks in the steam-engine, as for gauge, brine, trial, and steam-regulator.

ROCK. An extensive geological term, but limited in hydrographical parlance to hard and solid masses of the earth's surface; when these rise in insulated masses nearly to the surface of the sea, they render navigation[577] especially dangerous.—Half-tide rock. A rock which appears above water at half-ebb.

ROCK-COD. A species of cod found on a rocky bottom.

ROCKET. The well-known pyrotechnical preparation, but modified to suit various purposes. A cylindrical case charged with a fiercely burning composition, the gases of which, rushing out from the after-end against the resisting atmosphere, propel the whole forward at a rate continually increasing, until the composition be expended. It is generally kept in balance by a long light stick or tail attached. The case is made of metal or paper, and variously headed to the amount of 32 lbs. if its purpose be war (see Congreve-rocket); life-saving (by conveying a line over a stranded vessel); even the killing of whales, when reduced to 1, 2, or 3 lbs.; or, lastly, signals, for which it is fired straight upwards.

ROCKET-BOAT. Flat-bottomed boats, fitted with rocket-frames to fire Congreve rockets from, in naval bombardment.

ROCKET-BRIGADE. A body of horse-artillery assigned to rocket service.

ROCKET-FRAME. The stand from which Congreve rockets are fired.

ROCK-HIND. A large fish of tropical regions, Serranus catus.

ROCK-SCORPION. A name applied to persons born at Gibraltar.

ROD. The connecting and coupling bars of the steam-engine. (See Sounding-rod.)

RODD. A sort of cross-bow formerly in use in our navy.

RODDEN-FLEUK. A northern name for the turbot.

RODDING TIME. The season for fish-spawning.

RODE OF ALL. Improperly so written for rowed of all (which see). The order to throw in and boat the oars.

RODGERS' ANCHOR. The excellent small-palmed, very strong and good-holding anchor. It is the result of many years' study and experiment by Lieutenant Rodgers, R.N.

RODMAN GUN. One cast on the excellent method of Captain Rodman, formerly of the United States Ordnance—viz. on a core artificially kept cool; whereby the outer metal, cooling last, shrinks on to and compresses the inner, instead of drawing outwards and weakening it, as it must do when cooled first in a solid casting.

ROGER. The black flag hoisted by pirates. (See Jolly Roger.)

ROGER'S BLAST. A provincialism denoting a sudden and local motion of the air, resembling a miniature whirlwind.

ROGUE'S MARCH. The tune appropriated to drumming a bad character out of a ship or out of a regiment.

ROGUE'S YARN. A yarn twisted the contrary way to the rest of a rope, for detecting theft or embezzlement. Being tarred if in a white rope, but white in a tarred rope, it is easily discovered. It is placed in the middle of each strand in all the cordage made for the royal navy. Lately the rogue's yarn has been superseded by a thread of worsted: a different coloured worsted being used in each dockyard, so that any defective rope may be traced to the place where it was made.[578]

ROLE D'EQUIPAGE. An important document in admiralty law. (See Muster-roll.)

ROLL. A uniform beat of the drum, without variation, for a considerable time. The divisions are summoned by roll of drum, one roll for each. (See Muster-roll.)

ROLLER. A mighty oceanic swell said to precurse the northers of the Atlantic, and felt in great violence at Tristan d'Acunha, where H.M.S. Lily foundered with all hands in consequence, and several vessels at St. Helena have been driven from their anchors and wrecked. These waves roll in from the north, and do not break till they reach soundings, when they evince terrific power, rising from 5 to 15 feet above the usual level of the waters. A connection with volcanoes has been suggested as a cause.

ROLLERS. Cylindrical pieces of timber, fixed either horizontally or vertically in different parts of a ship above the deck, so as to revolve on an axis, and prevent the cables, hawsers, and running rigging from being chafed, by lessening their friction. The same as friction-roller. Also, movable pieces of wood of the same figure, which are occasionally placed under boats, pieces of heavy timber, &c.

ROLLING. That oscillatory motion by which the waves rock a ship from side to side. The larger part of this disturbance is owing to the depth of the centre of gravity below the centre of figure, the former exercising a violent reaction when disturbed from its rest by passing seas; therefore it is diminished by raising the weights, and must by no means be confounded with heeling.

ROLLING-CHOCK, or Jaw-piece. Similar to that of a gaff, fastened to the middle of an upper yard, to steady it.

ROLLING-CLEAT. Synonymous with rolling-chock.

ROLLING DOWN TO ST. HELENA. Running with a flowing sheet by the trade-wind.

ROLLING-HITCH. Pass the end of a rope round a spar or rope; take it round a second time, riding the standing part; then carry it across, and up through the bight.

ROLLING-SWELL. That heaving of the sea where the waves are very distant, forming deep troughs between.

ROLLING-TACKLES. Used to prevent the yards from swaying to and fro under heavy rolling motion.

ROLLSTER, or Roster. A rotation list of officers.

ROLL UP A SAIL, To. To hand it quickly.

ROMAN CEMENT. A cement which hardens under water; used for piers, docks, &c., as pozzolana, Aberthaw limestone, &c.

ROMBOWLINE, or Rumbowline. Condemned canvas, rope, and the like. Also the coarse rope used to secure new coils.

RONDEL. An old term for a light, round shield.

RONE. A northern term for the roe of a fish.

RONNAL. A northern term for a female fish, as kipper is for the male.

ROOBLE. A Russian coin. (See Ruble.)[579]

ROOD-GOOSE. A name for the brent-goose.

ROOF-TREE. See Rough-tree.

ROOKE, or Rouke. A mist, dampness, or fog.

ROOM. A name given to some reserved apartment in a ship, as—The bread-room. In the aftermost part of the hold: properly lined to receive the bread, and keep it dry.—The cook-room. (See Galley.)—The gun-room. On the after gun-deck of ships of the line, or steerage of frigates; devoted to the gun-room officers.—Light-room. Attached to the magazine.—Sail-rooms, devoted to the sails, are on the orlop deck, and are inclosed for the reception of the spare sails.—Slop-room. Devoted to slop-clothing.—Spirit-room. A secure space in the after-part of a ship's hold, for the stores of wine, brandy, &c.—Steward's-room. The office devoted to the purser's steward of former times, now paymaster's steward, whence he issues most of the light provisions to the ship's company.—Ward-room. A room over the gun-room in ships of the line, where the lieutenants and other principal officers sleep and mess. The term sea-room is applied when a ship obtains a good offing, is clear of the coast dangers, and is free to stand on a long course without nearing danger.

ROOM, Roomer, or Going room. The old term for going large, or from, the wind. (See Lask and Large.) It is mentioned by Bourne in 1578.

ROOMING. An old word to signify running to leeward.—To go room. To bear down.

ROOST. A phrase applied to races of strong and furious tides, which set in between the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as those of Sumburgh and the Start.

ROPE. Is composed of hemp, hide, wire, or other stuff, spun into yarns and strands, which twisted together forms the desired cordage. The word is very old, being the actual representative of the Anglo-Saxon ráp.—To rope a sail. To sew the bolt-rope round its edges, to strengthen it and prevent it from rending.

ROPE-BANDS. Small plaited lines rove through the eyelet holes with a running eye, by which the head of a sail, after the earings are secured, is brought to the yard or jack-stay.

ROPE-HOUSE. A long building in a dockyard, where ropes are made.

ROPE-LADDER. Such as hangs over the stern, to enable men to go into boats, &c.

ROPE-MAKER. A first-class petty officer in the navy.

ROPE OF SAND. A term borrowed from a Greek proverb signifying attempting impossibilities; without cohesion. Said of people who ought, but will not combine to effect a necessary object.

ROPES. A general name given to all the cordage above one inch in circumference used in rigging a ship; but the name is severally applied to the awning, bell, boat, bolt, breast, bucket, buoy, davit, entering, grapnel, guest or guist, guy, heel, keel, man, parral, passing, ring, rudder, slip, swab, tiller, top, and yard: all which see under their respective heads. Ropes are of several descriptions, viz.:—Cable-laid, consists of three[580] strands of already formed hawser-laid or twisted left-hand, laid up into one opposite making nine strands.—Hawser-laid, is merely three strands of simple yarns twisted right, but laid up left.—Four-strand is similarly laid with four strands, and a core scarcely twisted.—Sash-line is plaited and used for signal halliards.—Rope-yarn is understood to be the selected serviceable yarns from condemned rope, and is worked into twice-laid. The refuse, again, into rumbowline for temporary purposes, not demanding strength.

ROPES, High. On the high ropes. To be ceremonious, upstart, invested with brief authority.

ROPE'S END. The termination of a fall, and should be pointed or whipped. Formerly much used for illegal punishment.

ROPE-YARN. The smallest and simplest part of any rope, being one of the large threads of hemp or other stuff, several of which being twisted together form a strand.

ROPING-NEEDLES. Those used for roping, being strong accordingly.

RORQUAL, or Furrowed Whale. A name of Scandinavian origin applied to the fin-back whales, distinguished from the right whales by the small size of their heads, shortness of their whalebone, the presence of a dorsal fin, and of a series of conspicuous longitudinal folds or furrows in the skin of the throat and chest.

ROSE, or Strainer. A plate of copper or lead perforated with small holes, placed on the heel of a pump to prevent choking substances from being sucked in. Roses are also nailed, for the like purpose, upon the holes which are made on a steamer's bottom for the admission of water to the boilers and condensers.

ROSE-LASHING. This lashing is middled, and passed opposite ways; when finished, the ends appear as if coiled round the crossings.

ROSINA. A Tuscan gold coin, value 17s. 1d. sterling.

ROSS. A term from the Celtic, signifying a promontory.

ROSTER, or Rollster. A list for routine on any particular duty. (See Rollster.)

ROSTRAL-CROWN. The naval crown anciently awarded to the individual who first boarded an enemy's ship.

ROSTRUM. A prow; also a stand for a public speaker.

ROTATION. The motion of a body about its axis.

ROTHER. This lineal descendant of the Anglo-Saxon róter is still in use for rudder (which see).

ROTTEN ROW. A line of old ships-in-ordinary in routine order.

ROUBLE. See Ruble.

ROUGH BOOKS. Those in which the warrant officers make their immediate entries of expenditure.

ROUGH-KNOTS, or Rough Nauts. Unsophisticated seamen.

ROUGH MUSIC. Rolling shot about on the lower deck, and other discordant noises, when seamen are discontented, but without being mutinous.[581]

ROUGH-SPARS. Cut timber before being worked into masts, &c.

ROUGH-TREE. An unfinished spar: also a name given in merchant ships to any mast, or other spar above the ship's side; it is, however, with more propriety applied to any, mast, &c., which, remaining rough and unfinished, is placed in that situation.

ROUGH-TREE TIMBER. Upright pieces of timber placed at intervals along the side of a vessel, to support the rough-tree. They are also called stanchions.

ROUND. To bear round up. To go before the wind.—To round a point, is to steer clear of and go round it.

ROUND-AFT. The outward curve or segment of a circle, that the stern partakes of from the wing transom upwards.

ROUND AND GRAPE. A phrase used when a gun is charged at close quarters with round shot, grape, and canister; termed a belly-full.

ROUND DOZEN. A punishment term for thirteen lashes.

ROUND-HOUSE. A name given in East Indiamen and other large merchant ships, to square cabins built on the after-part of the quarter-deck, and having the poop for its roof; such an apartment is frequently called the coach in ships of war. Round, because one can walk round it. In some trading vessels the round-house is built on the deck, generally abaft the main-mast.

ROUND-IN, To. To haul in on a fall; the act of pulling upon any slack rope which passes through one or more blocks in a direction nearly horizontal, and is particularly applied to the braces, as "Round-in the weather-braces." It is apparently derived from the circular motion of the rope about the sheave or pulley, through which it passes.

ROUNDING. A service wrapped round a spar or hawser. Also, old ropes wound firmly and closely about the layers of that part of a cable which lies in the hawse, or athwart the stem, &c. It is used to prevent the cable from being chafed. (See Keckling and Service.)

ROUNDING-UP. Is to haul through the slack of a tackle which hangs in a perpendicular direction, without sustaining or hoisting any weighty body.

ROUNDLY. Quickly.

ROUND-RIBBED. A vessel of burden with very little run, and a flattish bottom, the ribs sometimes almost joining the keel horizontally.

ROUND ROBBIN [from the French ruban rond]. A mode of signing names in a circular form, after a complaint or remonstrance, so that no one can tell who signed first.

ROUNDS. General discharges of the guns. Cartridges are usually reckoned by rounds, including all the artillery to be used; as, fifty rounds of ammunition. Also, going round to inspect sentinels. The general visiting of the decks made by officers, to see that all is going on right. Also, the steps of a ladder.

ROUND SEAM. The edges or selvedges sewed together, without lapping.

ROUND SEIZING. This is made by a series of turns, with the end passed through the riders, and made fast snugly.[582] In applying this the rope does not cross, but both parts are brought close together, and the seizing crossed.

ROUND SHOT. The cast-iron balls fitting the bores of their respective guns, as distinguished from grape or other shot.

ROUNDS OF THE GALLEY. The opposite of what is termed Coventry; for it is figurative of a man incurring the expressed scorn of his shipmates.

ROUND SPLICE. One which hardly shows itself, from the neatness of the rope and the skill of the splicer. Properly a long splice.

ROUND STERN. The segmental stern, the bottom and wales of which are wrought quite aft, and unite in the stern-post: it is now used in our navy, thus securing an after battery for the ship. It had long obtained in the Danish marine.

ROUND THE FLEET. A diabolical punishment, by which a man, lashed to a frame on a long-boat, was towed alongside of every ship in a fleet, to receive a certain number of lashes by sentence of court-martial.

ROUND-TO, To. To bring to, or haul to the wind by means of the helm. To go round, is to tack or wear.

ROUND-TOP. A name which has obtained for modern tops, from the shape of the ancient ones. (See Top.)

ROUND-TURN in the Hawse. A term implying the situation of the two cables of a ship, which, when moored, has swung the wrong way three times successively; if after this she come round till her head is directed the same way as at first, this makes a round turn and elbow. A round turn is also the passing a rope completely round a timber-head, or any proper thing, in order to hold on. (See Holding-on.) Also, to pass a rope over a belaying pin. Also, the bending of any timber or plank upwards, but especially the beams which support the deck, and curve upwards towards the middle of the deck. This is for the purpose of strength, and for the convenience of the run of water to the scuppers.—To round up a fall or tackle, is to gather in the slack; the reverse of overhaul.

ROUND UP OF THE TRANSOMS. That segment of a circle to which they are sided, or of beams to which they are moulded.

ROUNDURE. An old English word for circle.

ROUSE, To. To man-handle. "Rouse in the cable," haul it in, and make it taut.

ROUSE AND BIT. The order to turn out of the hammocks.

ROUST. A word used in the north of Scotland to signify a tumultuous current or tide, occasioned by the meeting of rapid waters. (See Roost.)

ROUT. The confusion and disorder created in any body of men when defeated and dispersed.

ROUTE. The order for the movement of a body of men, specifying its various stages and dates of march.

ROUTINE. Unchanging adherence to official system, which, if carried too far in matters of service, often bars celerity, spirit, and consequently success.[583]

ROVE. A rope when passed through a block or sheave-hole.

ROVENS. A corruption of rope-bands (which see). Also, the ravellings of canvas or buntin.

ROVER. A pirate or freebooter. (See Pirate.) Also, a kind of piratical galley of the Barbary States.

ROVING COMMISSION. An authority granted by the Admiralty to a select officer in command of a vessel, to cruise wherever he may see fit. [From the Anglo-Saxon ròwen.]

ROW, To. To propel a boat or vessel by oars or sweeps, which are managed in a direction nearly horizontal. (See Oar.)

ROW DRY! The order to those who row, not to splash water into the boat.

ROWED OF ALL! The orders for the rowers to cease, and toss their oars into the boat simultaneously, in naval style.

ROW IN THE SAME BOAT, To. To be of similar principles.

ROWL. The iron or wooden shiver, or wheel, for a whip-tackle.

ROWLE. A light crane, formerly much used in clearing boats and holds.

ROWLOCKS. Those spaces in the gunwale, or upper edge of a boat's side, wherein the oars work in the act of rowing.

ROW-PORTS. Certain scuttles or square holes, formerly cut through the sides of the smaller vessels of war, near the surface of the water, for the purpose of rowing them along in a calm or light wind, by heavy sweeps, each worked by several men. (See Sweeps.)

ROYAL. The name of a light sail spread immediately next above the top-gallant sail, to whose yard-arms the lower corners of it are attached; it used to be termed top-gallant royal, and is never used but in fine weather. Also, the name of a small mortar.

ROYAL FISH. Whales, porpoises, sturgeons, &c., which, when driven on shore, become droits of admiralty.

ROYAL MARINE ARTILLERY. Originally selected from the royal marines, now specially enlisted. (See Artillery, Royal Marine.)


ROYAL MERCHANT. A title of the Mediterranean, traders of the thirteenth century, when the Venetians were masters of the sea.

ROYAL MORTAR. A brass one of 51⁄2 inches diameter of bore, and 150 lbs. weight, throwing a 24-pounder shell up to 600 yards; most convenient for advanced trenches and boat work.


ROYALS. A familiar appellation for the marines since the mutiny of 1797, when they were so distinguished for the loyalty and steadiness they displayed. Also called royal jollys. (See Jolly.)


ROYAL YACHT. A vessel built and equipped expressly for the use of the sovereign.

ROYAL YACHT CLUB. A very useful and honourable association. (See Yacht Club.)[584]

ROYAL YARD. The fourth yard from the deck, on which the royal is set.

ROYNES. An archaic term for streams, currents, or other usual passages of rivers and running waters.

RUBBER. A small instrument used to rub or flatten down the seams of a sail, in sail-making.

RUBBLE-WORK. A mass of masonry, formed of irregular stones and pebbles imbedded in mortar. It is used in the interior of docks, piers, and other erections, and is opposed to ashlar-work.

RUBLE. A Russian silver coin of 100 kopeks, in value about 3s. 2d. sterling, so called from rubli, a notch; derived from the time when bars of silver, marked with notches at different distances to represent different values, were used in Russia instead of coin, portions of the bar being cut off as required.

RUDDER. The appendage attached by pintles and braces to the stern-post of a vessel, by which its course through the water is governed. It is formed of several pieces of timber, of which the main one is generally of oak, extending the whole length. Tiphys is said to have been its inventor. The Anglo-Saxon name was steor-roper.

RUDDER BANDS or BRACES. The iron or composition hinges on which a rudder turns.

RUDDER-CASE. The same as rudder-trunk (which see).

RUDDER-CHAINS. Strong copper chains connected with the aft side of the rudder by a span clamp and shackles. They are about 6 feet in length; a hempen pendant is then spliced into the outer link, and allowing for slack to permit the rudder free motion, they are stopped to eye-bolts along the stern-moulding, terminating on the fore-side of the stools of the quarter galleries. They are, when the rudder or tiller is damaged, worked by tackles hooked to the after-channel bolts. But their principal use in later times is to save the rudder if unshipped by striking on a reef or shoal.

RUDDER-CHALDER. The same as gudgeon (which see) and chalder.


RUDDER-COAT. A canvas coat affixed to the rudder, encasing the opening in the counter, to prevent the sea from rushing in through the tiller-hole.

RUDDER-GUDGEON. Those secured to a ship are termed braces; gudgeon is more applicable to boats or small vessels.

RUDDER-HEAD. The upper end of the rudder-stock. Also, the flat surface of the trunk, which in cabins and ward-rooms forms a very convenient table.

RUDDER-HORN. A kind of iron crutch bolted to the back of the rudder, for attaching the rudder chains to in case of necessity.

RUDDER-HOUSE. Synonymous with wheel-house.

RUDDER-IRONS. The pintles, gudgeons, and braces of the rudder are frequently so called, though they were usually of copper.[585]

RUDDER-PENDANTS. (See Rudder-chains.) Hempen pendants fastened to the rudder-chains, for steering in cases of accident, and towing the rudder to prevent its being lost if it gets unshipped.

RUDDER-PINTLES. The hooks attached to the rudder, which enter the braces, and hang it.

RUDDER-RAKE. The aftermost part of the rudder.

RUDDER-STOCK. The main piece of a rudder.

RUDDER-TACKLES. Attached to the rudder-pendants.

RUDDER-TRUNK. A casing of wood fitted or boxed firmly into a cavity in the vessel's counter, called the helm port, through which the rudder-stock is introduced.

RUFFLE. A low vibrating sound of the drum, continuous like the roll, but not so loud: it is used in complimenting officers of rank.

RUFFLERS. Certain fellows who begged about formerly, under pretext of having served in the wars.

RULE OF THUMB. That rule suggested by a practical rather than a scientific knowledge. In common matters it means to estimate by guess, not by weight or measure.

RULES OF THE SEA. Certain practices and regulations as to steerage, which are recognized by seamen as well as by law, in order to prevent the collision of ships, or to determine who has contravened them; precedents in one sense, custom in another.

RULE-STAFF. A lath about 4 inches in breadth, used for curves in ship-building.

RUMBELOW. A very favourite burden to an old sea-song, of which vestiges still remain.

RUMBO. Rope stolen from a royal dockyard.

RUM-GAGGER. A cheat who tells wonderful stories of his sufferings at sea to obtain money.

RUMMAGE. The search by custom-house officers for smuggled goods.

RUN. The distance sailed by a ship. Also, used among sailors to imply the agreement to work a single passage from one place to another, as from Jamaica to England, and so forth.—To make a run. To sway with alacrity.

RUN, Clean. When the after part of a ship's form exhibits a long clean curvature approaching to a wedge.—Full run. When it is otherwise.

RUN of the Ice. In Arctic parlance, implies that the ice is suddenly impelled by a rushing motion, arising from currents at a distance.

RUN, To Lower by the. To let go altogether, instead of lowering with a turn on a cleat or bitt-head.

RUN ATHWART A SHIP'S COURSE, To. To cross her path.

RUN AWAY WITH HER ANCHOR. Said of a ship when she drags or "shoulders" her anchor; drifting away owing to the anchor not holding, for want, perhaps, of sufficient range of cable.

RUN AWAY WITH IT! The order to men on a tackle fall, when light goods are being hoisted in, or in hoisting top-sails, jib, or studding-sails.[586]

RUNDLE. That part of a capstan round which the messenger is wound, including the drumhead. (See Whelps.)

RUN DOWN A COAST, To. To sail along it, keeping parallel to or skirting its dangers.

RUN DOWN A VESSEL, To. To pass over, into, or foul her by running against her end-on, so as to jeopardize her.

RUNE [from the Teutonic rennen, to flow]. A water-course.

RUNGS. The same as the floor or ground timbers, and whose ends are the rung-heads. Also, a spoke, and the step or round of a ladder.

RUNLET. A measure of wine, oil, &c., containing eighteen gallons and a half.

RUN-MONEY. The money paid for apprehending a deserter, and charged against his wages. Also, the sum given to seamen for bringing a ship home from the West Indies, or other places, in time of war. Coasters are sometimes paid by the run instead of by the month.

RUNNER-PURCHASE. The addition of a tackle to a single rope, then termed a pendant, passing through a block applied to the object to be moved; as it might be the laniard of a shroud, the end of the runner pendant being fast to some secure fixed object; as in backstays, &c.

RUNNERS. Ships which risk every impediment as to privateers or blockade, to get a profitable market.

RUNNERS of Foreign Goods. Organized smugglers.

RUNNING AGREEMENT. In the case of foreign-going ships making voyages averaging less than six months in duration, running agreements can legally be made with the crew to extend over two or more voyages.

RUNNING-BLOCKS. Those which are made fast to the running rigging or tackles.

RUNNING BOWLINE-KNOT. Is made by taking the end round the standing part, and making a bowline upon its own part.

RUNNING BOWSPRIT. One which is used in revenue cutters and smacks; it can be reefed by sliding in, and has fid holes for that purpose. (See Sloop.)

RUNNING-DOWN CLAUSE. A special admission into policies of marine insurance, to include the risk of loss or damage in consequence of the collision of the ship insured with other vessels.

RUNNING-DOWN THE PORT. A method practised in the ruder state of navigation, when the longitude was very doubtful, by sailing into its parallel of latitude, and then working for it on its parallel.

RUNNING FOUL. A vessel, by accident or bad steerage, falling in contact with another under sail. (See Athwart Hawse.) The law and custom of the sea requires that the ship on the port tack shall bear up and give way to that on the starboard tack. Foreigners observe this general custom. Steamers however are always bound to give way to vessels under canvas, having the power to alter course without altering sails, or endangering the vessel.

RUNNING GOODS. Landing a cargo of contraband articles.[587]

RUNNING OUT, and Running in, the Lower Deck Guns. The old practice of morning and evening evolutions in a line-of-battle ship, wind and weather permitting.

RUNNING PART OF A TACKLE. Synonymous with the fall, or that part on which the man power is applied to produce the intended effect.

RUNNING THE GANTLET. See Gant-lope (pronounced gantlet).

RUN OUT A WARP, To. To carry a hawser out from the ship by a boat, and fasten it to some distant place to remove the ship towards that place, or to keep her steady whilst her anchors are lifted, &c.

RUPEE. The well-known coin of the East Indies. There are gold rupees of nearly 30 shillings in value; but the current rupee is of silver, varying a little from 2 shillings, according to its being named Bombay, Arcot, or Sicca.

RUSPONE. A gold Tuscan coin of the value of £1, 8s. 7d. sterling.

RUT OF THE SEA. The point of impact where it dashes against anything.

RUT OF THE SHORE. The sea breaking along the coast.

RUTTER, or Routier. The old word for an outline chart for ships' tracks [from route]. It was also applied to a journal or log-book; or to a set of sailing instructions, as a directory.

RYDE. A small stream.

RYNE. An Anglo-Saxon word still in use for a water-course, or streamlet which rises high with floods.


S. A bent iron, called a crooked catch, or pot-hook, in anchors, &c.

SABANDER. The familiar of shah-bander, an eastern title for captain or governor of a port.

SABATINES. Steel coverings for the feet; sometimes slippers or clogs.

SABRE. A sword with a broad and rather heavy blade, thick at the back, and curved towards the point, intended for cutting more than for thrusting.

SABRETACHE. A flat leathern case or pocket suspended at the left side of a cavalry officer's sword-belt.

SACCADE. The sudden jerk of the sails in light winds and a heavy swell.

SACCOLEVA, or Sacolege. A Levantine small craft of great sheer, carrying a sail with an enormous sprit, so called.

SACK, To [from the Anglo-Saxon sæc]. To pillage a place which has been taken by storm.

SACKS OF COALS. The seaman's name for the black Magellanic clouds, or patches of deep blue sky in the milky-way near the south pole.[588]

SADDLE HILL. A high land visible from the coast, having a centre less elevated than its ends, somewhat like a riding-saddle.

SADDLES. Chocks of notched wood embracing spars, to support others attached to them; thus we have a saddle-crutch for the main or driver boom on the taffarel; another on the bowsprit to support the heel of the jib-boom.

SAFE-CONDUCT. A security passport granted to an enemy for his safe entry and passage through the realm.

SAFEGUARD. Protection given to secure a people from oppression in time of trouble.

SAFETY-KEEL. A construction of keel for further security, by Oliver Lang.

SAFETY-PIN. To secure the head of the capstan-bar.

SAFETY-VALVE. A conical valve on the top of the steam-chest, communicating with the boiler of a steam-engine, and opening outwardly; it is so adapted and loaded, that when the steam in the boiler exceeds its proper pressure, it raises the valve, and escapes by a pipe called the waste steam-pipe.

SAGG, To. To bend or give way from heavy weight; to press down towards the middle; the opposite of hogging. In Macbeth the word is figuratively applied—

"The mind I sway by, and the heart I bear,
Shall never sagg with doubt, nor shake with fear."
SAGGING TO LEEWARD. To drift off bodily to leeward. The movement by which a ship makes a considerable lee-way.

SAGITTA. One of the ancient northern constellations.

SAGITTARII. The name in our records for some small vessels with oars and sails, used in the twelfth century.

SAGITTARIUS. The ninth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of November.

SAGUM. An ancient military cloak.

SAIC. A sort of Greek ketch, which has no top-gallant nor mizen sails, but still spreads much canvas.

SAIL. The terms applicable to the parts of a sail comprise:—Seaming the cloths together; cutting the gores; tabling and sewing on the reef, belly, lining, and buntline bands, roping, and marling on the clues and foot-rope. The square sails comprise courses, top-sails, topgallant-sails, royals, skysails on each mast. The fore and aft, are jibs, staysails, trysails, boom main-sails and fore-sails, gaff top-sails, to which may be added the studding-sails and the flying kites. Also, a distant ship is called a sail.

SAIL BURTON. A purchase extending from topmast-head to deck, for sending sails aloft ready for bending; it usually consists of two single blocks, having thimbles and a hook; a leading block on the slings through which the fall leads to bear the top-sail clear of the top-rim.

SAIL HO! The exclamation used when a strange ship is first discerned at sea—either from the deck or from the mast-head.[589]

SAIL-HOOK. A small hook used for holding the seams of a sail while in the act of sewing.

SAILING. The movement of a vessel by means of her sails along the surface of the water. Sailing, or the sailings, is a term applied to the different ways in which the path of a ship at sea, and the variations of its geographical position, are represented on paper, all which are explained under the various heads of great circle sailing, Mercator's sailing, middle latitude sailing, oblique sailing, parallel sailing, plane sailing.

SAILING, Order of. The general disposition of a fleet of ships when proceeding on a voyage or an expedition. It is generally found most convenient for fleets of ships of war to be formed in three parallel lines or columns. But squadrons of less than ten sail of the line are placed in two lines.

SAILING CAPTAIN. An officer in some navies, whose duties are similar to those of our masters in the royal navy.

SAILING DIRECTIONS. Works supplied by the admiralty to Her Majesty's ships, which advise the navigator as to the pilotage of coasts and islands throughout the world.

SAILING ICE. A number of loose pieces floating at a sufficient distance from each other, for a ship to be able to pick her way among them. Otherwise termed open ice; when she forces her way, pushing the ice aside, it is termed boring.

SAILING LARGE. With a quartering wind. (See Large.)

SAILING ORDERS. Written instructions for the performance of any proposed duty.

SAIL-LOFT. A large apartment in dockyards where the sails are cut out and made.

SAIL-LOOSERS. Men specially appointed to loose the sails when getting under weigh, or loosing them to dry.

SAIL-MAKER. A qualified person who (with his mates) is employed on board ship in making, repairing, or altering the sails; whence he usually derives the familiar sobriquet of sails.

SAIL-NETTING. The fore-topmast staysail, main-topmast staysail, and main staysail are generally stowed in the nettings.

SAILOR. A man trained in managing a ship, either at sea or in harbour. A thorough sailor is the same with mariner and seaman, but as every one of the crew is dubbed a sailor, there is much difference in the absolute meaning of the term. (See Mariner and Seaman.)

SAILORS' HOME. A house built by subscription, for the accommodation of seamen on moderate terms, and to rescue them from swindlers, crimps, &c. Sailors' homes are a great boon also to shipwrecked mariners. Homes for married seamen and their families are now contemplated, and it is hoped that the admiralty will set the example, by building them for the royal navy, and letting them at moderate rents.

SAILOR'S PLEASURE. A rather hyperbolic phrase for a sailor's overhauling his ditty-bag at a leisure moment, and restowing his little hoard.[590]

SAILS, To Loose. To unfurl them, and let them hang loose to dry; or the movement preparatory to "making sail."—To make sail, to spread the sails to the wind in order to begin the action of sailing, or to increase a ship's speed.—To shorten sail, to take in part of or all the sails, either by reefing or furling, or both.—To strike sail, to lower the upper sails. A gracious mode of salute on passing a foreigner at sea, especially a superior.

SAINT CUTHBERT'S DUCK. The Anas mollissima; the eider, or great black and white duck of the Farne Islands.

SAINT ELMO'S LIGHT. See Compasant.

SAINT SWITHIN. The old notion is, that if it should rain on this bishop's day, the 15th of July, not one of forty days following will be without a shower.

SAKER. A very old gun, 8 or 9 feet long, and of about 5 lbs. calibre: immortalized in Hudibras:—

"The cannon, blunderbuss, and saker,
He was th' inventer of, and maker."
The name is thought to have been derived from the French oath sacre.

SALADE. An Anglo-Norman term for a light helmet or head-piece.

SALADIN. The first coat-of-arms; so called because the crusaders assumed it in imitation of the Saracens, whose chief at that time was the redoubtable Saladin.

SALAM, To. To salute a superior; a very common term, borrowed from India. Overdoing it does not please Jack, for he dislikes to see his commander "salamming like a captured Frenchman."

SALAMANDER. The heated iron formerly used for firing guns, especially in salutes, as it ensures regularity.

SALE OF COMMISSIONS. The regulated disposal of full-pay, unattached, retired, and half-pay commissions in the army.

SALE OF EFFECTS. See Effects, of dead men sold by auction "at the mast."

SALIENT ANGLE. In fortification, one of which the point projects outwards.

SALINAS, or Salines. Salt-ponds, natural or artificial, near the sea-coast.

SALINOMETER. A brine-gauge for indicating the density of brine in the boilers of marine steam-engines, to show when it is necessary to blow off.

SALLY. A sudden expedition out of a besieged place against the besiegers or some part of their works; also called a sortie.—To sally. To move a body by jerks or rushes; a sudden heave or set. Thus, when a vessel grounds by the bow or stern, and the hawsers are severely taut, the sally is practised. This is done by collecting all hands at the point aground, and then by a simultaneous rush reaching the part afloat.

SALLY-PORT. An opening cut in the glacis of a place to afford free egress to the troops in case of a sortie. Also, a large port on each quarter[591] of a fire-ship, out of which the officers and crew make their escape into the boats as soon as the train is fired. Also, a place at Portsmouth exclusively set apart for the use of men-of-war's boats. Also, the entering port of a three-decker.

SALMAGUNDI. A savoury sea dish, made of slices of cured fish and onions.

SALMON. The well-known fish, Salmo salar. It is partly oceanic and partly fluviatile, ascending rivers in the breeding season.

SALMON-LADDER. A short trough placed suitably in any fall where the water is tolerably deep, leaving a narrow trough at intervals for the fish to pass through, with barriers to break the force of the water.

SALOON. A name for the main cabin of a steamer or passenger ship.

SALT, or Old Salt. A weather-beaten sailor. One of the old seamen who not only have known but have felt what war was.

SALT-BOX. A case for keeping a temporary supply of cartridges for the immediate use of the great guns; it is under the charge of the cabin-door sentry.

SALT-EEL. A rope's-end cut from the piece for starting the homo delinquens.

SALT-JUNK. Navy salt beef. (See Junk.)

SALTPETRE. The neutral salt; also called nitre (which see).

SALT-PITS. Reservoirs to contain sea-water for the purpose of making salt.

SALUTE. A discharge of cannon or small arms, display of flags, or cheering of men, in deference, by the ships of one nation to those of another, or by ships of the same nation to a superior or an equal. Also, the proper compliment paid by troops, on similar occasions, whether with the sword, musket, or hand.

SALVAGE. Originally meant the thing or goods saved from wreck, fire, or enemies. It now signifies an allowance made to those by whose means the ship or goods have been saved. These cases, when fairly made out, are received with the most liberal encouragement. Goods of British subjects, retaken from the enemy, are restored to the owners, paying for salvage one eighth of the value to ships-of-war; one-sixth to privateers. When a ship is in danger of being stranded, justices of the peace are to command the constables to assemble as many persons as are necessary to preserve it; and on its being thus preserved, the persons assisting therein shall, in thirty days after, be paid a reasonable reward for the salvage; otherwise the ship or goods shall remain in the custody of the officers of the customs as a security for the same.

SALVAGE LOSS. A term in marine insurance implying that the underwriters are liable to pay the amount insured on the property lost in the ship, but taking credit for what is saved.

SALVAGER. One employed on the sea-coast to look to the rights of salvage, wreck, or waif.

SALVO. A discharge from several pieces simultaneously, as a salute.

SALVOR. The person claiming and receiving salvage for having saved a[592] ship and cargo, or any part thereof, from impending peril, or recovered after actual loss.

SAMAKEEN. A Turkish coasting trader.

SAMBUCCO. A pinnace common among the Arabs on the east coast of Africa, as at Mombaze, Melinda, &c. The name is remarkable, as Athenæus describes the musical instrument sambuca as resembling a ship with a ladder placed over it.

SAMPAAN, or Sampan. A neatly-adjusted kind of hatch-boat, used by the Chinese for passengers, and also as a dwelling for Tartar families, with a comfortable cabin.

SAMPHIRE. Crithmum maritimum, a plant found on sea-shores and salt marshes, which forms an excellent anti-scorbutic pickle.

SAMS-CHOO. A Chinese spirit distilled from rice; it is fiery, fetid, and very injurious to European health.

SAMSON'S POST. A movable pillar which rests on its upper shoulder against a beam, with the lower tenons into the deck, and standing at an angle of 15° forward. To this post, at 4 feet above the deck, a leading or snatch-block is hooked, and any fore-and-aft purchase is led by it across the deck to one similar, so that, from the starboard bow to the starboard aft Samson-post, across to the port-post and forward, the whole crew can apply their force for catting and fishing the anchor, or hoisting in or out boats; top-tackle falls, &c., are usually so treated.

SANDAL. A long narrow Barbary boat, of from 15 to 50 tons; open, and fitted with two masts.

SAND-BAGS. Small square cushions made of canvas and painted, for boats' ballast. Also, bags containing about a cubical foot of earth or sand, used for raising a parapet in haste, and making temporary loop-holes for musketry; also, to repair any part beaten down or damaged by the enemy's fire.

SAND and CORAL BANK. An accumulation of sand and fragments of coral above the surface of the sea, without any vegetation; when it becomes verdant it is called a key (which see).

SAND-DRIFTS. Hillocks of shifting sands, as on the deserts of Sahara, &c.

SANDERLING. A small wading bird, Calidris arenaria.

SAND-HILLS. Mounds of sand thrown up on the sea-shore by winds and eddies. They are mostly destitute of verdure.

SAND-HOPPER. A small creature (Talitra), resembling a shrimp, which abounds on some beaches.

SAND-LAUNCE. Ammodytes tobianus, a small eel-like fish, which buries itself in the sand.

SAND-PIPER. A name applied to many species of small wading birds found on the sea-shore and banks of lakes and rivers, feeding on insects, crustaceans, and worms.

SAND-SHOT. Those cast in moulds of sand, when economy is of more importance than form or hardness; the small balls used in case, grape, &c., are thus produced.[593]

SAND-STRAKE. A name sometimes given to the garboard-strake.

SAND-WARPT. Left by the tide on a shoal. Also, striking on a shoal at half-flood.

SANGAREE. A well known beverage in both the Indies, composed of port or madeira, water, lime-juice, sugar, and nutmeg, with an occasional corrective of spirits. The name is derived from its being blood-red. Also, arrack-punch.

SANGIAC. A Turkish governor; the name is also applied to the banner which he is authorized to display, and has been mistaken for St. Jacques.

SAP. That peculiar method by which a besieger's zig-zag approaches are continuously advanced in spite of the musketry of the defenders; gabions are successively placed in position, filled, and covered with earth, by men working from behind the last completed portion of the trench, the head of which is protected by a moving defence called a sap-roller. Its progress is necessarily slow and arduous. There is also the flying sap, used at greater distances, and by night, when a line of gabions is planted and filled by a line of men working simultaneously; and the double sap, used when zig-zags are no longer efficient, consisting of two contiguous single saps, back to back, carried direct towards the place, with frequent returns, which form traverses against enfilade; the half-double sap has its reverse side less complete than the last.

SARABAND. A forecastle dance, borrowed from the Moors of Africa.

SARACEN. A term applied in the middle ages indiscriminately to all Pagans and Mahometans.

SARDINE. Engraulis meletta, a fish closely allied to the anchovy; found in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

SARGASSO. Fucus natans, or gulf-weed, the sea-weed always to be found floating in large quantities in that part of the Atlantic south of the Azores, which is not subject to currents, and which is called the Sargasso Sea.

SARKELLUS. An unlawful net or engine for destroying fish. (Inquisit. Justic. anno 1254.)

SAROS. See Cycle of Eclipses.

SARRAZINE. A rough portcullis.

SARRE. An early name for a long gun, but of smaller dimensions than a bombard.

SASH. A useful mark of distinction worn by infantry and marine officers; it is made of crimson silk, and intended as a waist-band, but latterly thrown over the left shoulder and across the body. Also, now worn by the naval equerries to the queen. Serjeants of infantry wear it of the same colour in cotton.

SASSE. A kind of weir with flood-gate, or a navigable sluice.

SATELLITES. Secondary planets or moons, which revolve about some of the primary planets. The moon is a satellite to the earth.

SATURN. One of the ancient superior planets remarkable for the luminous rings with which his globe is surrounded, and for his being accompanied by no fewer than eight moons.[594]

SAUCER, or Spindle of the Capstan. A socket of iron let into a wooden stock or standard, called the step, resting upon, and bolted to, the beams. Its use is to receive the spindle or foot on which the capstan rests and turns round.

SAUCER-HEADED BOLTS. Those with very flat heads.

SAUCISSON, or Saucisse. A word formerly used for the powder-hose, a linen tube containing the train of powder to a mine or fire-ship, the slow match being attached to the extremity to afford time for the parties to reach positions of safety.

SAUCISSONS. Faggots, differing from fascines only in that they are longer, and made of stouter branches of trees or underwood.

SAUVE-TETE. See Splinter-netting.

SAVANNAH [Sp. Sabana]. A name given to the wonderfully fertile natural meadows of tropical America; the vast plains clear of wood, and covered in general with waving herbage, in the interior of North America, are called prairies (which see).

SAVE-ALL, or Water-sail. A small sail sometimes set under the foot of a lower studding-sail.

SAW-BILL. A name for the goosander, Mergus merganser.

SAW-BONES. A sobriquet for the surgeon and his assistants.

SAW-FISH. A species of shark (Pristis antiquorum) with the bones of the face produced into a long flat rostrum, with a row of pointed teeth placed along each edge.

SAY-NAY. A Lancashire name for a lamprey.

SAYTH. A coal-fish in its third year.

SCAFFLING. A northern term for an eel.

SCALA. Ports and landing-places in the Levant, so named from the old custom of placing a ladder to a boat to land from. Gang-boards are now used for that purpose.

SCALDINGS! Notice to get out of the way; it is used when a man with a load wishes to pass, and would lead those in his way to think that he was carrying hot water.

SCALE. An old word for commercial emporium, derived from scala. Also, the graduated divisions by which the proportions of a chart or plan are regulated. Also, the common measures of the sheer-draught, &c. (See Gunter's Line.)

SCALENE TRIANGLE. That which has all three sides unequal.

SCALING. The act of cleaning the inside of a ship's cannon by the explosion of a reduced quantity of powder. Also, attacking a place by getting over its defences.

SCALING-LADDERS. Those made in lengths which may be carried easily, and quickly fitted together to any length required.

SCAMPAVIA. A fast rowing war boat of Naples and Sicily; in 1814-15 they ranged to 150 feet, pulled by forty sweeps or oars, each man having his bunk under his sweep. They were rigged with one huge lateen at one-third from the stem; no forward bulwark or stem above deck; a long[595] brass 6-pounder gun worked before the mast, only two feet above water; the jib, set on a gaff-like boom, veered abeam when firing the gun. Abaft a lateen mizen with top-sail, &c.

SCANT. A term applied to the wind when it heads a ship off, so that she will barely lay her course when the yards are very sharp up.

SCANTLING. The dimensions of a timber when reduced to its standard size.

SCAR. In hydrography applies to a cliff; whence are derived the names Scarborough, Scarnose, &c. Also, to rocks bare only at low water, as on the coasts of Lancashire. Also, beds of gravel or stone in estuaries.

SCARBRO' WARNING. Letting anything go by the run, without due notice. Heywood in his account of Stafford's surprise of Scarborough castle, in 1557, says:—

"This term Scarborow warning grew (some say),
By hasty hanging for rank robbery theare,
Who that was met, but suspected in that way,
Straight he was truss't, whatever he were."
SCARFED. An old word for "decorated with flags."

SCARP. A precipitous steep; as either the escarp or counterscarp of a fort: but a bank or the face of a hill may also be scarped.

SCARPH, or Scarfing. Is the junction of wood or metal by sloping off the edges, and maintaining the same thickness throughout the joint. The stem and stern posts are scarfed to the keel.

SCARPHS OF THE KEEL. The joints, when a keel is made of several pieces. (See Scarph.)

SCARRAG. Manx or Erse for a skate or ray-fish.

SCAT. A west of England term for a passing shower.

SCAUR. See Scar.

SCAW. A promontory or isthmus.

SCAWBERK. An archaism for scabbard.

SCEITHMAN. An old statute term signifying pirate.

'SCENDING [from ascend]. The contrary motion to pitching. (See Send.)

SCENOGRAPHY. Representation of ships or forts in some kind of perspective.

SCHEDAR. The lucida of the ancient constellation Cassiopeia, and one of the nautical stars.

SCHEMER. One who has charge of the hold of a North Sea ship.

SCHNAPS. An ardent spirit, like Schiedam hollands, impregnated with narcotic ingredients; a destructive drink in common use along the shores of the northern seas.

SCHOCK. A commercial measure of 60 cask staves. (See Ring.)

SCHOOL. A term applied to a shoal of any of the cetacean animals.

SCHOONER. Strictly, a small craft with two masts and no tops, but the name is also applied to fore-and-aft vessels of various classes. There are two-topsail schooners both fore and aft, main-topsail schooners, with two square top-sails; fore-topsail schooners with one square top-sail. Ballahou[596] schooners, whose fore-mast rakes forward; and we also have three-masted vessels called schooners.

SCHOUT. A water-bailiff in many northern European ports, who superintends the police for seamen.

SCHRIVAN. An old term for a ship's clerk.

SCHULL. See School.

SCHUYT. A Dutch vessel, galliot rigged, used in the river trade of Holland.

SCIMETAR. An eastern sabre, with a broad, very re-curved blade.

SCOBS. The scoria made at the armourer's forge.

SCONCE. A petty fort. Also, the head; whence Shakspeare's pun in making Dromio talk of having his sconce ensconced. Also, the Anglo-Saxon for a dangerous candle-holder, made to let into the sides or posts in a ship's hold. Also, sconce of the magazine, a close safe lantern.

SCOODYN. An old word to express the burring which forms on vessels' bottoms, when foul.

SCOOP. A long spoon-shaped piece of wood to throw water, when washing a ship's sides in the morning. Scooping is the same as baling a boat.

SCOPE. The riding scope of a vessel's cable should be at least three times the depth of water under her, but it must vary with the amount of wind and nature of the bottom.

SCORE. Twenty; commercially, in the case of certain articles, six score went to the hundred—a usage thus regulated:

"Five score's a hundred of men, money, and pins:
Six score's a hundred of all other things."
Also an angular piece cut out of a solid. Also, an account or reckoning.

SCORE OF A BLOCK, or of a Dead Eye. The groove round which the rope passes.

SCORPIO. The eighth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 22d of October. α Scorpii, Antares; a nautical star.

SCOT, or Shot. Anglo-Saxon sceat. A share of anything; a contribution in fair proportion.

SCOTCHMAN. A piece of stiff hide, or batten of wood, placed over the backstays fore-swifter of the shrouds, &c., so as to secure the standing rigging from being chafed. Perhaps so called from the scotch or notch where the seizing is passed.

SCOTCH MIST. Mizzle, or small soaking rain.

SCOTCH PRIZE. A mistake; worse than no prize, or one liable to hamper the captors with heavy law expenses.

SCOTIA. Carved mouldings and grooves.

SCOUR A BEACH, To. To pour a quick flanking fire along it, in order to dislodge an enemy.

SCOURER, or Scouring-stick. Spring-searcher. An implement to clean the interior of musket barrels.

SCOURGE. A name of the boatswain's cat.

SCOUR THE SEAS, To. To infest the ocean as a pirate.[597]

SCOUSE. A dish made of pounded biscuit and salt beef cut into small pieces, boiled up with seasoning. (See Lobscouse.)

SCOUTS. Small vessels of war for especial service. (See Skouts.) Also, intelligent men sent in advance to discover the enemy, and give an account of his force.

SCOW. A large flat-bottomed boat, used either as a lighter, or for ferrying.

SCOW-BANKER. A manager of a scow. Also, a contemptuous term for a lubberly fellow.

SCOWRING. The cleansing and clearing a harbour by back-water, or otherwise. Also an old term for tropical flux or dysentery.

SCRABBLE. A badly written log. This term is used by the translators of the Bible at David's feigned madness, when he "scrabbled on the doors of the gate."

SCRABER. The puffinet, Colymbus grille. (See Greenland Dove.)

SCRAPER [from the Anglo-Saxon screope]. A small triangular iron instrument, having two or three sharp edges. It is used to scrape the ship's side or decks after caulking, or to clean the top-masts, &c. This is usually followed by a varnish of turpentine, or a mixture of tar and oil, to protect the wood from the weather. Also, metaphorically, a cocked hat, whether shipped fore-and-aft or worn athwart-ships.

SCRATCH-RACE. A boat-race where the crews are drawn by lot.

SCRAWL. The young of the dog-crab, or a poor sort of crab itself.

SCREEN-BERTH. Pieces of canvas temporarily hung round a berth, for warmth and privacy. (See Berth.)

SCREW-DOCK. See Gridiron.

SCREW-GAMMONING for the Bowsprit. A chain or plate fastened by a screw, to secure a vessel's bowsprit to the stem-head, allowing for the tricing up of the bowsprit when required.

SCREW-PROPELLER. A valuable substitute for the cumbersome paddle-wheels as a motive-power for steam-vessels: the Archimedean screw plying under water, and hidden by the counter, communicates motion in the direction of its axis to a vessel, by working against the resisting medium of water. (See Twin-screw.)

SCREWS. Powerful machines for lifting large bodies. (See Bed, Barrel, and Jack Screws.)

SCREW-WELL. A hollow trunk over the screw of a steamer, for allowing the propeller to be disconnected and lifted when required.

SCRIMP. Scant. A word used in the north; as, a scrimp wind, a very light breeze.

SCRIVANO. A clerk or writer; a name adopted in our early ships from the Portuguese or Spanish.

SCROLL-HEAD. A slightly curved piece of timber bolted to the knees of the head, in place of a figure: finished off by a volute turning outwards, contrary to the fiddle-head.

SCROVIES. An old name given to the worthless men picked up by crimps, and sent on board as A.B.'s.[598]

SCRUFF. The matter adhering to the bottoms of foul vessels.

SCUD. The low misty cloud. It appears to fly faster than others because it is very near the earth's surface. When scud is abundant, showers may be expected.—To scud. To run before a gale under canvas enough to keep the vessel ahead of the sea: as, for instance, a close-reefed main top-sail and fore-sail; without canvas she is said to scud under bare poles, and is very likely to be pooped. When a vessel makes a sudden and precipitate flight, she is said to scud away.—Scud like a 'Mudian. Be off in a hurry.

SCUDO. A coin of Italy, varying in value in the different provinces.

SCUFFLE. A confused and disorderly contention—

"Then friends and foes to battle they goes;
But what they all fights about—nobody knows."
SCULL. A short oar of such length that a pair of them, one on each side, are conveniently managed by a single rower sitting in the middle of the boat. Also, a light metal-helmet worn in our early fleet.—To scull. To row a boat with a pair of sculls. Also, to propel a boat by a particular method of managing a single oar over the boat's stern, and reversing the blade each time. It is in fact the half-stroke of the screw rapidly reversed, and closely resembles the propelling power of the horizontal tail of the whale.

SCULPTURES. The carved decorations of the head, stern, and quarter of an old ship-of-war. Also, the copper plates which "adorned" the former books of voyages and travels.

SCUM of the Sea. The refuse seen on the line of tidal change; the drift sent off by the ebbing tide. Or (in the neighbourhood of the rains), the fresh water running on the surface of the salt and carrying with it a line of foam bearing numerous sickly gelatinous marine animals, and physaliæ, commonly called Portuguese men-of-war, affected by the fresh water and other small things often met with on the surface sea.

SCUM-O'-THE-SKY. Thin atmospheric vapours.

SCUPPER-HOSE. A canvas leathern pipe or tube nailed round the outside of the scuppers of the lower decks, which prevents the water from discolouring the ship's sides.

SCUPPER-LEATHER. A flap-valve nailed over a scupper-hole, serving to keep water from getting in, yet letting it out.

SCUPPER-NAILS. Short nails with very broad flat heads, used to nail the flaps of the scuppers, so as to retain the hose under them: they are also used for battening tarpaulins and other general purposes.

SCUPPER-PLUGS. Are used to close the scuppers in-board.

SCUPPERS. Round apertures cut through the water ways and sides of a ship at proper distances, and lined with metal, in order to carry the water off the deck into the sea.

SCUPPER-SHOOTS. Metal or wooden tubes which carry the water from the decks of frigates to the sea-level.[599]

SCURRY. Perhaps from the Anglo-Saxon scur, a heavy shower, a sudden squall. It now means a hurried movement; it is more especially applied to seals or penguins taking to the water in fright.

SCUTTLE. A small hole or port cut either in the deck or side of a ship, generally for ventilation. That in the deck is a small hatchway.

SCUTTLE, To. To cut or bore holes through part of a ship when she is stranded or over-set, and continues to float, in order to save any part of her contents. Also, a trick too often practised by boring holes below water, to sink a ship, where fictitious cargo is embarked and the vessel insured beyond her value. (See Barratry.)

SCUTTLE or SCUTTLED BUTT. A cask having a square piece sawn out of its bilge and lashed in a convenient place to hold water for present use.

SCUTTLE-HATCH. A lid or hatch for covering and closing the scuttles when necessary.

SEA. Strictly speaking, sea is the next large division of water after ocean, but in its special sense signifies only any large portion of the great mass of waters almost surrounded by land, as the Black, the White, the Baltic, the China, and the Mediterranean seas, and in a general sense in contradistinction to land. By sailors the word is also variously applied. Thus they say—"We shipped a heavy sea." "There is a great sea on in the offing." "The sea sets to the southward," &c. Hence a ship is said to head the sea when her course is opposed to the direction of the waves.—A long sea implies a uniform motion of long waves, the result of a steady continuance of the wind from nearly the same quarter.—A short sea is a confused motion of the waves when they run irregularly so as frequently to break over a vessel, caused by sudden changes of wind. The law claims for the crown wherever the sea flows to, and there the admiralty has jurisdiction; accordingly, no act can be done, no bridge can span a river so circumstanced without the sanction of the admiralty. It claims the fore-shore unless specially granted by charter otherwise, and the court of vice-admiralty has jurisdiction as to flotsam and jetsam on the fore-shore. But all crimes are subject to the laws, and are tried by the ordinary courts as within the body of a county, comprehended by the chord between two headlands where the distance does not exceed three miles from the shore. Beyond that limit is "the sea, where high court of admiralty has jurisdiction, but where civil process cannot follow."

SEA-ADDER. The west-country term for the pipe-fish Syngnathus. The name is also given to the nest-making stickleback.

SEA-ANCHOR. That which lies towards the offing when a ship is moored.

SEA-ATTORNEY. The ordinary brown and rapacious shark.

SEA-BANK. A work so important that our statutes make it felony, without benefit of clergy, maliciously to cut down any sea-bank whereby lands may be overflowed.

SEA-BEANS. Pods of the acacia tribe shed into the rivers about the[600] Gulf of Mexico, and borne by the stream to the coasts of Great Britain, and even further north.

SEA-BEAR. A name applied to several species of large seals of the genus Otaria, found both in the northern and southern hemispheres. They differ from the true seals, especially in the mode in which they use their hind limbs in walking on land.

SEA-BOARD. The line along which the land and water meet, indicating the limit common to both.

SEA-BOAT. A good sea-boat implies any vessel adapted to bear the sea firmly and lively without labouring heavily or straining her masts or rigging. The contrary is called a bad sea-boat.

SEA-BORNE. Arrived from a voyage: said of freighted ships also afloat.

SEA-BOTTLE. The pod or vesicle of some species of sea-wrack or Fucus gigantea of Cape Horn and the Straits of Magellan.

SEA-BREEZE. A wind from the sea towards the land. In tropical climates (and sometimes during summer in the temperate zone) as the day advances the land becomes extremely heated by the sun, which causes an ascending current of air, and a wind from the sea rushes in to restore equilibrium. Above the sea-breeze is a counter current, which was clearly shown in Madras, where an æronaut waited until the sea-breeze had set in to make his ascent, expecting to be blown inland, but after rising to a certain height found himself going out to sea, and in his haste to descend he disordered the machinery, and could not close the valve which allowed the gas to escape, so fell into the sea about three miles from the land, but clung to his balloon and was saved. Also, a cool sea drink.

SEA-BRIEF. A specification of the nature and quantity of the cargo of a ship, the place whence it comes, and its destination. (See Passport.)

SEA-CALF. A seal, Phoca vitulina.

SEA-CAP. The white drift or breaks of a wave. White horses of trades.

SEA-CARDS. The old name for charts.

SEA-CAT. A name of the wolf-fish, Anarrhicas lupus.

SEA-CATGUT. The Fucus filum, or sea-thread.

SEA-COAST, or Sea-bord. The shore of any country, or that part which is washed by the sea.

SEA COCOA-NUT, or Double Cocoa-nut. The fruit of the Lodoicea seychellarum, a handsome palm growing in the Seychelles Islands. It was once supposed to be produced by a sea-weed, because so often found floating on the sea around.

SEA-COULTER. The puffin or coulter-neb, Fratercula arctica.

SEA-COW. One of the names given to the manatee (which see).

SEA-CRAFTS. In ship-building, a term for the scarphed strakes otherwise called clamps. For boats, see Thwart-clamps.

SEA-CROW. A name on our southern coast for the cormorant.

SEA-CUCKOO. The Trigla cuculus, or red gurnard, so called from the unmusical grunt which it emits.[601]

SEA-CUNNY. A steersman in vessels manned with lascars in the East India country trade.

SEA-DEVIL. A name for the Lophius piscatorius, or angler, a fish with a large head and thick short body.

SEA-DOG. A name of the common seal.

SEA-DOGG. The meteor called also stubb (which see).

SEA-DRAGON. An early designation of the stinging-weever.

SEA-EAGLE. A large ray-fish with a pair of enormous fins stretching out from either side of the body, and a long switch tail, armed with a barbed bone, which forms a dangerous weapon. Manta of the Spaniards.

SEA-EDGE. The boundary between the icy regions of the "north water" and the unfrozen portion of the Arctic Sea.

SEA-EEL. The conger (which see).

SEA-EGG. A general name for the echinus, better known to seamen as the sea-urchin (which see).

SEA-FARDINGER. An archaic expression for a seafaring man.

SEA-FISHER. An officer in the household of Edward III.

SEA-FRET. A word used on our northern coasts for the thick heavy mist generated on the ocean, and rolled by the wind upon the land.

SEA-FROG. A name for the Lophius piscatorius, or angler.

SEA GATE or GAIT. A long rolling swell: when two ships are thrown aboard one another by its means, they are said to be in a sea-gate.

SEA-GAUGE. An instrument used by Drs. Hale and Desaguliers to investigate the depth of the sea, by the pressure of air into a tube prepared for the purpose, showing by a mark left by a thin surface of treacle carried on mercury forced up it during the descent into what space the whole air is compressed, and, consequently, the depth of water by which its weight produced that compression. It is, however, an uncertain and difficult instrument, and superseded by Ericson's patent, working on the same principle, but passing over into another tube the volume of water thus forced in. (See Water-bottle.)

SEA-GOING. Fit for sea-service abroad.

SEA-GREEN. The colour which in ancient chivalry denoted inconstancy.

SEA-GROCER. A sobriquet for the purser.

SEA-GULL. A well-known bird. When they come in numbers to shore, and make a noise about the coast, or when at sea they alight on ships, sailors consider it a prognostic of a storm. This is an old idea; see Virg. Georg. lib. i., and Plin. lib. xviii. c. 35.

SEA-HARE. Aplysia, a molluscous animal.

SEA-HEN. A name of the fish Trigla lyra, or crooner (which see).

SEA-HOG. A common name for the porpoise, Phocœna communis.

SEA-HORSE. A name for the walrus, Trichecus rosmarus. Also, the hippocampus (which see).

SEA-ICE. Ice within which there is a separation from the land.

SEAL [from the Anglo-Saxon seolh]. The well-known marine piscivorous animal.[602]

SEA-LAKE. Synonymous with lagoon (which see).

SEA-LAWS. The codes relating to the sea; as, the laws of Rhodes, Oleron, Wisbuy, &c.

SEA-LAWYER. An idle litigious 'longshorer, more given to question orders than to obey them. One of the pests of the navy as well as of the mercantile marine. Also, a name given to the tiger-shark.

SEALED ORDERS. Secret and sealed until the circumstances arise which authorize their being opened and acted on. Often given to prevent officers from divulging the point to which they are ordered.

SEA-LEGS. Implies the power to walk steadily on a ship's decks, notwithstanding her pitching or rolling.

SEA-LETTER. See Passport.

SEA-LION. A large seal of the genus Otaria, distinguished from the sea-bear, to which it otherwise has a great resemblance, by the shaggy mane on its neck and shoulders.

SEA-LOG. That part of the log-book relating to whatever happens while the ship is at sea.

SEA-LUMP. See Lump.

SEAM. The sewing together of two edges of canvas, which should have about 110 stitches in every yard of length. Also, the identical Anglo-Saxon word for a horse-load of 8 bushels, and much looked to in carrying fresh fish from the coast. Also, the opening between the edges of the planks in the decks and sides of a ship; these are filled with a quantity of oakum and pitch, to prevent the entrance of water. (See Caulking.)

SEA-MALL. A name for a sea-gull.

SEAMAN. This is a term seldom bestowed among seafaring men upon their associates, unless they are known to be pre-eminent in every duty of the thorough-paced tar; one who never issues a command which he is not competent to execute himself, and is deemed an authority on every matter relating to sea-craft.—The able seaman is the seafaring man who knows all the duties of common seamanship, as to rig, steer, reef, furl, take the lead, and implicitly carry out the orders given, in a seamanlike manner. His rating is A.B.; pay in the navy, 24s. to 27s. per month.—The ordinary seaman is less qualified; does not take the weather-helm, the earing, or lead; pay about 21s. to 23s. per month.—The landsman is still less qualified.

SEAMAN'S DISGRACE. A foul anchor.

SEAMANSHIP. The noble practical art of rigging and working a ship, and performing with effect all her various evolutions at sea.

SEAMAN'S WAGES. A proper object of the admiralty jurisdiction.

SEA-MARK. A point or object distinguishable at sea, as promontories, steeples, rivers, trees, &c., forming important beacons, and noted on charts. By keeping two in a line, channels can be entered with safety, and thus the errors of steerage, effect of tide, &c., obviated. These erections are a branch of the royal prerogative, and by statute 8 Eliz. cap. 13, the corporation of the Trinity House are empowered to set up any beacons[603] or sea-marks wherever they shall think them necessary; and, if any person shall destroy them, he shall forfeit £100, or, in case of inability to pay, he shall be, ipso facto, outlawed.

SEAMEN-GUNNERS. Men who have been trained in a gunnery ship, and thereby become qualified to instruct others in that duty.

SEA-MEW. A sea-gull.

SEA-MOUSE. The Aphrodita aculeata, a marine annelid, remarkable for the brilliant iridescence of the long silky hairs with which its sides are covered.

SEA-NETTLE. An immemorial name of several zoophytes and marine creatures of the class Acalephæ, which have the power of stinging, particularly the Medusæ.

SEA-OWL. A name of the lump-fish, Cyclopterus lumpus.

SEA-PAY. That due for actual service in a duly-commissioned ship.

SEA-PERIL. Synonymous with sea-risk.

SEA-PIE. The pied oyster-catcher, Hæmatopus ostralegus. Also, a favourite sea-dish in rough weather, consisting of an olla of fish, meat, and vegetables, in layers between crusts, the number of which denominate it a two or three decker.

SEA-PINCUSHION. The name among northern fishermen for a kind of star-fish of the genus Goniaster.

SEA-POACHER. A name of the pogge, Cottus cataphractus.

SEA-PORCUPINE. Several fish of the genera Diodon and Tetraodon, beset with sharp spines, which they can erect by inflating themselves with air.

SEA-PORK. The flesh of young whales in the western isles of Scotland; the whale-beef of the Bermudas, &c. It is also called sea-beef.

SEA-PORT. A haven near the sea, not situated up a river.

SEA-PURSE. See Mermaid's Purse.

SEA-QUADRANT. The old name of Jacob's cross-staff.

SEA-QUAKE. The tremulous motion and shock of an earthquake felt through the waves.

SEA-RATE. The going of a chronometer as established on board, instead of that supplied from the shore. This may be done by lunars. From motion and other causes their rates after embarkation are frequently useless, and rates for their new ever-changing position are indispensable. This rate is sometimes loosely deduced between two ports; but as the meridian distances are never satisfactorily known, even as to the spots of observation, they cannot be relied on but as comparative.

SEARCH. If the act of submitting to search is to subject neutral vessels to confiscation by the enemy, the parties must look to that enemy whose the injustice is for redress, but they are not to shelter themselves by committing a fraud upon the undoubted rights of the other country.

SEARCH, Right of. See Visitation.

SEARCHER. A custom-house officer employed in taking an account of goods to be exported. Also, see Gun-searcher.[604]

SEA-REACH. The straight course or reach of a winding river which stretches out to sea-ward.

SEA-RISK. Liability to losses by perils of the sea (which see).

SEA-ROKE. A cold fog or mist which suddenly approaches from the sea, and rapidly spreads over the vicinity of our eastern shores, to a distance of 8 or 10 miles inland.

SEA-ROOM. Implies a sufficient distance from land, rocks, or shoals wherein a ship may drive or scud without danger.

SEA-ROVERS. Pirates and robbers at sea.

SEA-SERGEANTS. A society of gentlemen, belonging to the four maritime counties of South Wales, holding their anniversaries at sea-port towns, or one within the reach of tidal influence. It was a secret association of early date, revived in 1726, and dissolved about 1765.

SEA-SLATER. The Ligia oceanica, a small crustacean.

SEA-SLEECH. See Sleech.

SEA-SLEEVE. A name of the flosk or squid, Loligo vulgaris.

SEA-SLUG. The Holothuria. An animal of the class Echinodermata, with elongated body, and flexible outer covering.

SEASONED TIMBER. Such as has been cut down, squared, and stocked for one season at least.

SEASONING. The keeping a vessel standing a certain time after she is completely framed, and dubbed out for planking. A great prince of this maritime country in passing a dockyard, inquired what those basket-ships were for!

SEA-SPOUT. The jetting of sea-water over the adjacent lands, when forced through a perforation in a rocky shore; both its egress and ingress are attended with a rumbling noise, and the spray is often very injurious to the surrounding vegetation.

SEA-STAR. A common rayed or star-like animal, belonging to the class Echinodermata. Also called star-fish (Asteria).

SEA-STREAM. In polar parlance, is when a collection of bay-ice is exposed on one side to the ocean, and affords shelter from the sea to whatever is within it.

SEA-SWABBER. A reproachful term for an idle sailor.

SEA-SWALLOW. The tern, a bird resembling the gull, but more slender and swift.

SEA-SWINE. The porpoise.

SEAT. A term often applied to the peculiar summit of a mountain, as the Queen of Spain's Seat near Gibraltar, the Bibi of Mahratta's Seat near Bombay, Arthur's Seat at Edinburgh, &c.

SEA-TANG. Tangle, a sea-weed.

SEAT-LOCKERS. Accommodations fitted in the cabins of merchantmen for sitting upon, and stowing cabin-stores in.

SEAT OF WATER. Applies to the line on which a vessel sits.

SEA-TRANSOM. That which is bolted to the counter-timbers, above the upper, at the height of the port-sills.[605]

SEA-TURN. A tack into the offing.

SEA-URCHIN. The Echinus, an animal of the class Echinodermata, of globular form, and a hard calcareous outer covering, beset with movable spines, on the ends of which it crawls about.

SEA-WALLS. Elevations of stones, stakes, and other material, to prevent inundations.

SEA-WARD. Towards the sea, or offing.

SEA-WARE. The sea-weed thrown up by surges on a beach.

SEA-WATER. "The quantity of solid matter varies considerably in different seas, but we may assume that the average quantity of saline matter is 31⁄2 per cent., and the density about 1·0274" (Pereira). The composition of the water of the English Channel according to Schweitzer is—

Water 964·74372
Chloride of Sodium 27·05948
" Potassium 0·76552
" Magnesium 3·66658
Bromide of Magnesium 0·02929
Sulphate of Magnesia 2·29578
" Lime 1·40662
Carbonate of Lime 0·03301
SEA-WAY. The progress of a ship through the waves. Also, said when a vessel is in an open place where the sea is rolling heavily.

SEA-WAY MEASURER. A kind of self-registering log invented by Smeaton, the architect of the Eddystone lighthouse.

SEA-WEASEL. An old name of the lamprey.

SEA-WOLF. The wolf-fish, Anarrhicas lupus.

SEA-WOLVES. A name for privateers.

SEA-WORTHY. The state of a ship in everyway fitted for her voyage. It is the first stipulation in every policy of insurance, or other contract, connected with a vessel: "for she shall be tight, staunch, and strong, sufficiently manned, and her commander competent to his duty." (See Opinion.)

SEA-WRACK GRASS. Zostera marina; used in Sweden and Holland for manuring land. At Yarmouth it is thrown on shore in such abundance that mounds are made with it to arrest the encroachments of the sea. It is also used as thatch.

SECANT. A line drawn from the centre of a circle to the extremity of the tangent.

SECCA. A shoal on Italian shores and charts.

SECOND. The sixtieth part of a minute. A division of a degree of a circle. A term applied both to time and to space. Also, second in a duel; a very important part to play, since many a life may be saved without implicating honour.


SECOND-CAPTAIN. Commanders under captains in the navy, of late.[606]


SECOND-FUTTOCKS. The frame-timbers scarphed on the end of the futtock-timbers.

SECOND-HAND. A term in fishing-boats to distinguish the second in charge.

SECOND OFFICER. Second mate in merchantmen.

SECOND-RATE. Vessels of seventy-four guns (on the old scale).

SECTION. A draught or figure representing the internal parts of a ship cut by a plane at any particular place athwart ships or longitudinally.

SECTOR. See Dip-sector.

SECULAR ACCELERATION. See Acceleration of the Moon.


SECURE ARMS! Place them under the left arm, to guard the lock from the weather or rain.

SEDITION. Mutinous commotion against the constituted authorities, especially dangerous at sea.

SEDOW. The old English name for the fish called gilt-head; Sparus auratus.

SEDUCE, To. To inveigle a man to desertion.

SEELING. A sudden heeling over, and quick return.

SEER. The tumbler of a gun-lock.

SEE-SAW. Reciprocating motion.

SEGE. An old law-term for the seat or berth in which a ship lies.

SEGMENT. In geometry, any part of a circle which is bounded by an arc and its chord, or so much of the circle as is cut off by that chord.


SEGMENT-SHELL. For use with rifled guns; an elongated iron shell having very thin sides, and built up internally with segment-shaped pieces of iron, which, offering the resistance of an arch against pressure from without, are easily separated by the very slight bursting charge within; thereby retaining most of their original direction and velocity after explosion.

SEIN, or Seine. The name of a large fishing-net. Also, a flat seam.

SEIN-FISH. By statute (3 Jac. I. c. 12) includes that sort taken with a sein.

SEIZING. Fastening any two ropes, or different parts of one rope together, with turns of small stuff.

SEIZINGS. The cords with which the act of seizing is performed; they vary in size in proportion to the rope on which they are used.

SEIZLING. A young carp.

SEIZURE. The right of naval officers to seize anywhere afloat, is legally established: a ship, therefore, although incapable of cruising, may still make a seizure in port.

SELCHIE. The northern name for the seal, Phoca vitulina.

SELENOCENTRIC. Having relation to the centre of the moon.

SELENOGRAPHY. The delineation of the moon's surface.[607]

SELLING OUT. An officer in the army wishing to retire from the service, may do so by disposing of his commission.

SELLOCK. See Sillock.

SELVAGE. The woven edge of canvas formed by web and woof. See Boke of Curtasye (14th century):—

"The overnape shal doubulle be layde,
To the utter side the selvage brade."
SELVAGEE. A strong and pliant hank, or untwisted skein of rope-yarn marled together, and used as a strap to fasten round a shroud or stay, or slings to which to hook a tackle to hoist in any heavy articles.

SEMAPHORE. An expeditious mode of communication by signal; it consists of upright posts and movable arms, now chiefly used for railway signals, electric telegraphs being found better for great distances.

SEMEBOLE. An old term for a pipe, or half a tun of wine.

SEMI-AXIS MAJOR. See Mean Distance.

SEMICIRCLE. A figure comprehended between the diameter of a circle and half the circumference.

SEMI-DIAMETER. The angle subtended by half the diameter of a heavenly body; in the cases of the sun and moon it is much used in navigation.

SEMI-DIURNAL ARC. Half the arc described by a heavenly body between its rising and setting.

SEMI-ISLET. An old term for bridge-islet (which see).

SEND, To. To rise after pitching heavily and suddenly between two waves, or out of the trough of the sea.

SENDING, or 'Scending. The act of being thrown about violently when adrift.

SENIORITY. The difference of rank, or standing in priority, according to dates of commissions; or if on the same day, the order in which they stand on the official printed lists.

SENIOR OFFICER. The commanding officer for the time being.

SENNIT. A flat cordage formed by plaiting five or seven rope-yarns together. Straw, plaited in the same way for hats, is called plat-sennit; it is made by sailors in India from the leaf of the palm, for that well-known straw-hat, adorned with flowing ribbons, which formerly distinguished the man-of-war's man.


SENTINEL, or Sentry. A soldier, marine, or seaman placed upon any post, to watch and enforce any specific order with which he may be intrusted.

SENTRY GO! The order to the new sentry to proceed to the relief of the previous one.

SEQUIN. A Turkish and Venetian gold coin of the current value of 6s. 11d.

SERANG. A boatswain of Lascars.

SERASKIER. A Turkish general.[608]

SERGEANT. The senior non-commissioned rank in the army and marines.

SERGEANT-MAJOR. The senior sergeant in a regiment, or first non-commissioned officer; usually a zealous and thorough soldier.

SERON. A commercial package of Spanish America, made of green bullock's-hide with the hair on.

SERPENTARIUS. See Ophiuchus.

SERPENTIN. An ancient 24-pounder gun, the dolphins of which represented serpents; it was 13 feet long, and weighed 4360 lbs.

SERPENTINE POWDER. An old term for a peculiar granulated gunpowder.

SERRATED. Notched like the edge of a saw.

SERVE, To. To supply the gun with powder and shot. Also, to handle it through all the changes of station.

SERVE THE VENT, To. To stop it with the thumb.

SERVICE. The profession; as a general term, expresses every kind of duty which a naval or military man can be called upon to perform. Also, implying any bold exploit.—To see service, is a common expression, which implies actual contest with the enemy.—Service, of served rope, is the spun-yarn wound round a rope by means of a serving-board or mallet.

SERVICEABLE. Both as respects men and stores, capable of or fit for duty.

SERVING-BOARD. A flattened piece of hard wood with a handle, for passing service on the smaller ropes.

SERVING-MALLET. The mallet, grooved on the under side, with which spun-yarn, or other small stuff, is wrapped tightly round a rope.

SERVING OUT SLOPS. Distributing clothing, &c. Also, a cant term to denote punishment at the gangway.

SET. The direction in which a current flows, or of the wind. (See Direction.)—To set, is to observe the bearings of any distant object by the compass. (See Bearing.) Also applied to the direction of the tide, as "the tide setting to the south," is opposed to a swelling sea setting to the north-west. Also, when applied to sails, implies the loosing and spreading them, so as to force the ship through the water on weighing. When in chase, or other emergency, the term is sometimes used as synonymous with make sail.

SET-BOLTS. Used in drifting out bolts from their position. Also employed for forcing the planks and other works, bringing them close to one another, as Blake's bringing-to bolts, with wood screws, eyes, and rings.

SET FLYING. Sails that do not remain aloft when taken in, but are hauled on deck or stowed in the tops, as skysails, studding-sails, &c.

SET IN. Said when the sea-breeze or weather appears to be steady.

SET ON! The order to set the engine going on board a steamer.

SETT. A kind of shipwright's power, composed of two ring-bolts and a wrain-staff, with cleats and lashings. Also, the particular spot in a river or frith, where stationary nets are fixed.

SETTEE. A single-decked Mediterranean vessel with a long and sharp[609] prow, without top-masts, and carrying lateen sails. They were mostly used as transports to galleys.

SET THE CHASE, To. To mark well the position of the vessel chased by bearing, so that by standing away from her on one tack, she may be cut off on the other.

SETTING. The operation of moving a boat or raft by means of poles. Also, arranging the sights of a gun, or pointing it.

SETTING POLE. A pole, generally pointed with iron, forced into the mud, by which boats and barges are moored in shallow water.

SETTING THE WATCH. The military night guard or watch at the evening gun-fire. Naval watches are not interfered with by time.

SETTING-UP. Raising a ship from her blocks, shores, &c., by wedges driven between the heels of the shore and the dock foundation.

SETTLE. Now termed the stern-sheets [derived from the Anglo-Saxon settl, a seat].—To settle. To lower; also to sink, as "the deck has settled;" "we settled the land." (See Laying.) "Settle the main top-sail halliards," i.e. ease them off a little, so as to lower the yard, as on shaking out a reef.

SETTLING. Sinking in the water.

SET UP. Soldiers, mariners, and small-arm men, well drilled, and instructed to be upright and soldierlike in their carriage, are "well set up."

SET UP RIGGING, To. To take in the slack of the shrouds, stays, and backstays, to bring the same strain as before, and thus secure the masts.

SEVERALTY. The denomination under which disagreements respecting accounts amongst the part-owners of a ship are referred, either to equity courts, or the common law.

SEVERE. Effectual; as, a severe turn in belaying a rope.

SEW, or Sue. Pronounced sue. (See Sewed.)

SEWANT. A north-country name for the plaice.

SEWARD, or Sea-ward. An early name for the custos maris, or he who guards the sea-coast.

SEWED. A ship resting upon the ground, where the water has fallen, so as to afford no hope of floating until lightened, or the return tide floats her, is said to be sewed, by as much as the difference between the surface of the water, and the ship's floating-mark. If not left quite dry, she sews to such a point; if the water leaves her a couple of feet, she is sewed two feet.

SEWIN. A white kind of salmon taken on the coast of Wales. Sometimes this word is used for the dish called sowens.

SEXAGESIMAL DIVISIONS. The circumference of the circle is divided into 360 degrees, each degree into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds. The Americans afterwards used 60 thirds, but European astronomers prefer decimals.

SEXTANT. A mathematical instrument for taking altitudes of, and measuring the angular distances between, the heavenly bodies. It is constructed on a principle similar to Hadley's quadrant; but the arc contains a sixth part of a circle, and measures angles up to 120°.[610]

SHACKLE [from the Anglo-Saxon sceacul]. A span with two eyes and a bolt, attached to open links in a chain-cable, at every 15 fathoms; they are fitted with a movable bolt, so that the chain can there be separated or coupled, as circumstances require. Also, an iron loop-hooked bolt moving on a pin, used for fastening the lower-deck port-bars.

SHACKLE-BREECHING. Two shackles are turned into the breeching, by which it is instantly disconnected from the port-ringbolts. Also, the lug of the cascable is cut open to admit of the bight of the breeching falling into it, thus obviating the loss of time by unreeving.

SHACKLE-CROW. A bar of iron slightly bent at one end like the common crow, but with a shackle instead of a claw at the bent end. It is used for drawing bolts or deck-nails. (See also Span-shackle.)

SHACKLE-NET. The northern term for flue-net.

SHACKLES. Semicircular clumps of iron sliding upon a round bar, in which the legs of prisoners are occasionally confined to the deck. Manacles when applied to the wrists. (See Bilboes.)

SHAD. The Clupea alosa, a well-known fish, of very disputed culinary merit, owing perhaps to its own dietetic habits.

SHADES. Coloured glasses for quadrants, sextants, and circles. (See Dark Glasses, or Screens.)

SHAFT OF A MINE. The narrow perpendicular pit by which the gallery is entered, and from which the branches of the mine diverge.

SHAG. A small species of cormorant, Phalacrocorax graculus.

SHAG-BUSH. An old term for a harquebus, or hand-gun.

SHAKE, To. To cast off fastenings, as—To shake out a reef. To let out a reef, and enlarge the sail.—To shake off a bonnet of a fore-and-aft sail.—To shake a cask. To take it to pieces, and pack up the parts, then termed "shakes." Thus the term expressing little value, "No great shakes."

SHAKE IN THE WIND, To. To bring a vessel's head so near the wind, when close-hauled, as to shiver the sails.

SHAKES. A name given by shipwrights to the cracks or rents in any piece of timber, occasioned by the sun or weather. The same as rends or shans (which see).

SHAKING A CLOTH IN THE WIND. In galley parlance, expresses the being slightly intoxicated.

SHAKINGS. Refuse of cordage, canvas, &c., used for making oakum, paper, &c.

SHALLOP, Shalloop, or Sloop. A small light fishing vessel, with only a small main-mast and fore-mast for lug-sails. They are commonly good sailers, and are therefore often used as tenders to men-of-war. Also, a large heavy undecked boat, with one mast, fore-and-aft main-sail, and jib-foresail. The gunboats on the French coasts were frequently termed chaloupes, and carried one heavy gun, with a crew of 40 men. Also, a small boat rowed by one or two men.

SHALLOWS. A continuation of shoal water.[611]

SHALLOW-WAISTED. Flush-decked vessels are thus termed, in contradistinction to the deep-waisted.

SHAN. A defect in spars, most commonly from bad collared knots; an injurious compression of fibres in timber: the turning out of the cortical layers when the plank has been sawed obliquely to the central axis of the tree.

SHANK. An arrangement of deep-water fishing lines. Also, a handle or shaft. Also the bar or shaft of an anchor, constituting its main piece, at one end of which the stock is fixed, and at the other the arms.

SHANK-PAINTER. The stopper which confines the shank of the anchor to the ship's side, and prevents the flukes from flying off the bill-board. Where the bill-board is not used, it bears the weight of the fluke end of the anchor.

SHANTY. A small hut on or near a beach.

SHAPE. The lines and form of a vessel.—To shape a course. To assign the route to be steered in order to prosecute a voyage.

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE. The golden rule of all messes at sea.

SHARK. A name applied to many species of large cartilaginous fish of the family Squalidæ. Their ferocity and voracity are proverbial. Also, applied to crimps, sharpers, and low attorneys.

SHARP. Prompt and attentive.—Be sharp! Make haste.—Look sharp! Lose no time. Also, an old term for a sword.

SHARP BOTTOM. Synonymous with a sharp floor; used in contradistinction to a flat floor: the epithet denotes vessels intended for quick sailing.

SHARP LOOK-OUT BEFORE! The hail for the forecastle look-out men to be extremely vigilant.

SHARP UP. Trimmed as near as possible to the wind, with the yards braced up nearly fore and aft.

SHAVE. A close run; a narrow escape from a collision.

SHEAF. A bundle of arrows, as formerly supplied to our royal ships.

SHEAL. A northern term for a fisherman's hut, whence several of them together became sheals or shields.

SHEAR. An iron spear, of three or more points, for catching eels.

SHEAR-HOOKS. A kind of sickle formerly applied to the yard-arms, for cutting the rigging of a vessel running on board.

SHEARS. See Sheers.

SHEAR-WATER. A sea-fowl, Puffinus anglorum.

SHEATHING. Thin boards formerly placed between the ship's body and the sheets of copper, to protect the planks from the pernicious effects of the worm. Tar and hair, or brown paper dipped in tar and oil, is laid between the sheathing and the bottom. In 1613 a junk of 800 or 1000 tons was seen in Japan all sheeted with iron; and yet it was not attempted in Europe till more than a hundred years afterwards. But by 1783 ships of every class were coppered.

SHEATHING-NAILS. These are used to fasten wood-sheathing, and[612] prevent the filling-nails from tearing it too much. Those used for copper-sheathing are of mixed metal, cast in moulds about one inch and a quarter long. The heads are flat on the upper side, and counter-sunk below, with the upper side polished to prevent the adhesion of weeds.

SHEAVE. The wheel on which the rope works in a block; it is generally formed of lignum vitæ, sometimes of brass, and frequently of both; the interior part, or that which sustains the friction against the pin, being of brass, let into the exterior, which is of lignum vitæ, and is then termed a sheave with a brass coak, bouche, or bush. The name also applies to a cylindrical wheel made of hard wood, movable round a stout pin as its axis; it is let through the side and chess-trees for leading the tacks and sheets. Also, the number of tiers in coiling cables and hawsers.

SHEAVE-HOLE. A channel cut in masts, yards, or timber, in which to fix a sheave, and answering the place of a block. It is also the groove cut in a block for the ropes to reeve through.

SHEBEEN. A low public-house, yet a sort of sailor trap.

SHED. A pent-house or cover for the ship's artificers to work under.

SHEDDE. An archaic term for the slope of a hill.

SHEDDERS. Female salmon. (See Foul Fish.)

SHEDELE. A channel of water.

SHEEN-NET. A large drag-net.

SHEEPSHANK. A hitch or bend made on a rope to shorten it temporarily; and particularly used on runners, to prevent the tackle from coming block and block. It consists in making two long bights in a rope, which shall overlay one another; then taking a half hitch over the end of each bight, with the standing part, which is next to it.

SHEER. The longitudinal curve of a ship's decks or sides; the hanging of the vessel's side in a fore-and-aft direction. Also, a fishing-spear in use on the south coast. (See Shear.) Also, the position in which a ship is sometimes kept when at single anchor, in order to keep her clear of it [evidently from the Erse sheebh, to drift].

SHEER, To Break. To deviate from that position, and thereby risk fouling the anchor. Thus a vessel riding with short scope of cable breaks her sheer, and bringing the force of the whole length of the ship at right angles, tears the anchor out of the ground, and drifts into deep water.

SHEER-BATTEN. A batten stretched horizontally along the shrouds, and seized firmly above each of their dead-eyes, serving to prevent the dead-eyes from turning at that part. This is also termed a stretcher.

SHEER-DRAUGHT. In ship-building, a section supposed to be cut by a plane passing through the middle line of the keel, the stem, and the stern-post: it is also called the plan of elevation, and it exhibits the out-board works, as the wales, sheer-rails, ports, drifts, height of water-line, &c.

SHEERED. Built with a curved sheer. (See Moon-sheered.)

SHEER-HULK. An old ship fitted with sheers, &c., and used for taking out and putting in the masts of other vessels.[613]

SHEERING. The act of deviating from the line of the course, so as to form a crooked and irregular path through the water; this may be occasioned by the ship's being difficult to steer, but more frequently arises from the negligence or incapacity of the helmsman. For sheering or shearing in polar seas, see Lapping.

SHEER-LASHING. Middle the rope, and pass a good turn round both legs at the cross. Then take one end up and the other down, around and over the cross, until half of the lashing is thus expended; then ride both ends back again on their own parts, and knot them in the middle. Frap the first and riding turns together on each side with sennit.

SHEER-MAST. The peculiar rig of the rafts on the Guayaquil river; also of the piratical prahus of the eastern seas, and which might be imitated in some of our small craft with advantage: having a pair of sheers (instead of a single mast) within which the fore-and-aft main-sail works, or is hoisted or slung.

SHEER-MOULD. Synonymous with ram-line (which see).

SHEER OFF, To. To move to a greater distance, or to steer so as to keep clear of a vessel or other object.

SHEER-PLAN. The draught of the side of a proposed ship, showing the length, depth, rake, water-lines, &c.

SHEER-RAIL. The wrought-rail generally placed well with the sheer or top-timber line; the narrow ornamental moulding along the top-side, parallel to the sheer.

SHEERS. Two or more spars, raised at angles, lashed together near their upper ends, and supported by guys; used for raising or taking in heavy weights. Also, to hoist in or get out the lower masts of a ship; they are either placed on the side of a quay or wharf, on board of an old ship cut down (see Sheer-hulk), or erected in the vessel wherein the mast is to be planted or displaced, the lower ends of the props resting on the opposite sides of the deck, and the upper parts being fastened together across, from which a tackle depends; this sort of sheers is secured by stages extending to the stem and stern of the vessel.

SHEER-SAIL. A drift-sail.

SHEER TO THE ANCHOR, To. To direct the ship's bows by the helm to the place where the anchor lies, while the cable is being hove in.

SHEER UP ALONGSIDE, To. To approach a ship or other object in an oblique direction.

SHEER-WALES. Strakes of thick stuff in the top-sides of three-decked ships, between the middle and upper deck-ports. Synonymous with middle-wales.

SHEET. A rope or chain fastened to one or both the lower corners of a sail, to extend and retain the clue down to its place. When a ship sails with a side wind, the lower corners of the main and fore sails are fastened by a tack and a sheet, the former being to windward, and the latter to leeward; the tack is, however, only disused with a stern wind, whereas the sail is never spread without the assistance of one or both of the[614] sheets; the staysails and studding-sails have only one tack and one sheet each; the staysail-tacks are fastened forward, and the sheets drawn aft; but the studding-sail tacks draw to the extremity of the boom, while the sheet is employed to extend the inner corner.

SHEET-ANCHOR. One of four bower anchors supplied, two at the bows, and one at either chest-tree abaft the fore-rigging; one is termed the sheet, the other the spare anchor; usually got ready in a gale to let go on the parting of a bower. To a sheet anchor a stout hempen cable is generally bent, as lightening the strain at the bow, and being more elastic.

SHEET-BEND. A sort of double hitch, made by passing the end of one rope through the bight of another, round both parts of the other, and under its own part.

SHEET-CABLE. A hempen cable used when riding in deep water, where the weight of a chain cable would oppress a ship.

SHEET-COPPER. Copper rolled out into sheets, for the sheathing of ships' bottoms, &c.

SHEET-FISH. The Silurus glanis, a large fish found in many European rivers and lakes.

SHEET HOME! The order, after the sails are loosed, to extend the sheets to the outer extremities of the yards, till the clue is close to the sheet-block. Also, when driving anything home, as a blow, &c.

SHEET IN THE WIND. Half intoxicated; as the sail trembles and is unsteady, so is a drunken man.

SHELDRAKE. The Anas tadorna, a large species of wild duck.

SHELF. A dangerous beach bounded by a ledge of flat rocks a-wash. In icy regions, (see Tongue).

SHELF-PIECES. Strakes of plank running internally in a line with the decks, for the purpose of receiving the ends of the beams. They are also called stringers.

SHELKY. A name for the seal in the Shetland Isles.

SHELL. In artillery, a hollow iron shot containing explosive materials, whether spherical, elongated, eccentric, &c., and destined to burst at the required instant by the action of its fuse (which see).—Common shells are filled with powder only, those fired from mortars being spherical, and having a thickness of about one-sixth of their diameter. (See also Segment-shell and Shrapnel Shell.) Also, the hard calcareous external covering of the mollusca, crustacea, and echinoderms.

SHELL-FISH. A general term applied to aquatic animals having a hard external covering or shell, as whelks, oysters, lobsters, &c. These are not, however, properly speaking, fish.

SHELLING. The act of bombarding a fort, town, or position.

SHELL OF A BLOCK. The outer frame or case wherein the sheave or wheel is contained and traverses about its axis.

SHELL-ROOM. An important compartment in ships of war, fitted up with strong shelves to receive the shells when charged.

SHELL, SHRAPNEL. See Shrapnel Shell.[615]

SHELVES. A general name given to any dangerous shallows, sand-banks, or rocks, lying immediately under the surface of the water.

SHELVING. A term expressive of step-like rocks lying in nearly horizontal strata, or inclining very gradually; as a "shelving bottom," or a "shelving land." Applied to the shore, it means that it ascends from the sea, and passes under it at an extremely low angle, so that vessels of draught cannot approach.

SHERE. An archaic sea-term for running aground.

SHEVO. An entertainment, thought by some to be derived from the gaiety of the chevaux, or horse-guards; more probably from chez-vous.

SHIBAH. A small Indian vessel.

SHIELD-SHIP. A vessel fitted with one or more massive iron shields, each protecting a heavy gun or guns. The name was applied to an improvement on the "cupola-ship," before the latter was perfected into the "turret-ship."

SHIELD TOWER or TURRET. A revolving armoured cover for guns.

SHIEVE, To. To have head-way. To row the wrong way, in order to assist the steersman in a narrow channel.

SHIFT. In ship-building, when one butt of a piece of timber or plank overlaunches the butt of another, without either being reduced in length, for the purpose of strength and stability.—To shift [thought to be from the Anglo-Saxon scyftan, to divide]. To change or alter the position of; as, to shift a sail, top-mast, or spar; to shift the helm, &c. Also, to change one's clothes.

SHIFT A BERTH, To. To move from one anchorage to another.

SHIFTED. The state of a ship's ballast or cargo when it is shaken from one side to the other, either by the violence of her rolling, or by her too great inclination to one side under a great press of sail; this accident, however, rarely happens, unless the cargo is stowed in bulk, as corn, salt, &c.

SHIFTER. A person formerly appointed to assist the ship's cook in washing, steeping, and shifting the salt provisions; so called from having to change the water in the steep-tub.

SHIFTING A TACKLE. The act of removing the blocks of a tackle to a greater distance from each other, in order to extend their purchase; this operation is otherwise called fleeting (which see).

SHIFTING BACKSTAYS, also Preventer. Those which can be changed from one side of a ship to the other, as the occasion demands.

SHIFTING BALLAST. Pigs of iron, bags of sand, &c., used for ballast, and capable of being moved to trim the vessel. Also, a term applied to messengers, soldiers, and live-stock.

SHIFTING-BOARDS. One or more wooden bulk-heads in a vessel's hold, put up fore-and-aft, and firmly supported, for preventing a cargo which is stowed in bulk from shifting.

SHIFTING-CENTRE. See Meta-centre.

SHIFTING SAND. A bank, of which the sand, being incoherent, is subject[616] to removal or being driven about by the violence of the sea or the power of under-currents. Very accurate experiments have proved that the sands at the mouths of rivers are differently acted on during every hour of tide (or wind together); hence sands shift, and even stop up or render some channels unsafe.

SHIFTING THE MESSENGER. Changing its position on the capstan from right to left, or vice versâ.

SHIFTING WINDS. Variable breezes, mostly light.

SHIFT OF WIND. Implies that it varies, or has changed in its direction.

SHIFT THE HELM! The order for an alteration of its position, by moving it towards the opposite side of the ship; that is, from port to starboard, or vice versâ.

SHIMAL. A severe gale of wind from the N.W. in the Gulf of Persia and its vicinity; it is accompanied by a cloudless sky, thus differing from the shurgee.

SHINDY. A kind of dance among seamen; but also a row. Apparently modernized from the old Erse sheean, clamour.

SHINE. To take the shine out of. To excel another vessel in a manœuvre. To surpass in any way.

SHINER. The familiar name for a lighthouse. Also, a name for the dace (which see). Also, money; Jack's "shiners in my sack."

SHINGLE. Coarse gravel, or stones rounded by the action of water; it is used as ballast.

SHINGLES. Thin slips of wood, used principally in America, in lieu of slate or tiles in roofing. In very old times a planked vessel was termed a "shyngled or clap-boarded ship."

SHINGLE-TRAMPER. A coast-guard man.

SHIN UP, To. To climb up a rope or spar without the aid of any kind of steps.

SHIP [from the Anglo-Saxon scip]. Any craft intended for the purposes of navigation; but in a nautical sense it is a general term for all large square-rigged vessels carrying three masts and a bowsprit—the masts being composed of a lower-mast, top-mast, and topgallant-mast, each of these being provided with tops and yards.—Flag-ship. The ship in which the admiral hoists his flag; whatever the rank of the commander be; all the lieutenants take rank before their class in other ships.—Line-of-battle ship. Carrying upwards of 74 guns.—Ship of war. One which, being duly commissioned under a commissioned officer by the admiralty, wears a pendant. The authority of a gunboat, no superior being present, is equal to that of an admiral.—Receiving ship. The port, guard, or admiral's flag-ship, stationed at any place to receive volunteers, and bear them pro. tem. in readiness to join any ship of war which may want hands.—Store-ship. A vessel employed to carry stores, artillery, and provisions, for the use of a fleet, fortress, or Garrison.—Troop-ship. One appointed to carry troops, formerly called a transport.—Hospital-ship. A vessel fitted up to attend a fleet, and receive the sick and[617] wounded. Scuttles are cut in the sides for ventilation. The sick are under the charge of an experienced surgeon, aided by a staff of assistant-surgeons, a proportional number of assistants, cook, baker, and nurses.—Merchant ship.—A vessel employed in commerce to carry commodities of various sorts from one port to another. (See Merchantman.)—Private ship of war. (See Privateers, and Letters of Marque.)—Slaver, or slave-ship. A vessel employed in carrying negro slaves.—To ship. To embark men or merchandise. It also implies to fix anything in its place, as "Ship the oars," i.e. place them in their rowlocks; "Ship capstan-bars." Also, to enter on board, or engage to join a ship.—To ship a sea. A wave breaking over all in a gale. Hence the old saying—

"Sometimes we ship a sea,
Sometimes we see a ship."
To ship a swab. A colloquialism for mounting an epaulette, or receiving a commission.

SHIP-BOY. Boys apprenticed to learn their sea-duties, but generally appointed as servants.

SHIP-BREAKER. A person who purchases old vessels to break them to pieces for sale.

SHIP-BROKER. One who manages business matters between ship-owners and merchants, in procuring cargoes, &c., for vessels.

SHIP-BUILDER. Synonymous with naval constructor.

SHIP-BUILDING, or Naval Architecture. The art of constructing a ship so as to answer a particular purpose either for war or commerce. It is now expanding into a science.

SHIP-CHANDLER. A tradesman who supplies ships with their miscellaneous marine stores. (See Material Men.)

SHIP-CONTRACTOR. The charterer or freighter of a vessel.

SHIP-CRAFT. Nearly the same as the Anglo-Saxon scyp-cræft, an early word for navigation.

SHIP CUT DOWN. One which has had a deck cut off from her, whereby a three-decker is converted into a two-decker, and a two-decker becomes a frigate. They are then termed razées.

SHIP-GUNS. Those cast expressly for sea-service.

SHIP-KEEPER. An officer not much given to going on shore. Also, the man who has charge of a ship whilst she is without any part of her crew.

SHIP-LANGUAGE. The shibboleth of nautic diction, as tau'sle, fok'sle, for top-sail, forecastle, and the like.

SHIP-LAST. See Last.

SHIP-LAUNCH. See Launch.

SHIP-LOAD. The estimated lading or cargo of a vessel.

SHIP-LOG. See log-book.

SHIP-LORD. A once recognized term for the owner of a ship.

SHIPMAN [Anglo-Saxon scyp-mann]. The master of a barge, who in[618] the days of Chaucer had but "litel Latin in his mawe," and who, though "of nice conscience toke he no kepe," was certainly a good fellow.

SHIPMAN'S CARD. A chart; thus Shakspeare's first witch in Macbeth had winds—

"And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I' the shipman's card."
SHIPMASTER. The captain, commander, or padrone of a vessel. (See Master.)

SHIPMATE. A term once dearer than brother, but the habit of short cruises is weakening it.

SHIPMENT. The act of shipping goods, or any other thing, on board a ship or vessel.

SHIP-MONEY. An imposition charged throughout this realm in the time of Charles I., but which was declared illegal.

SHIP-OWNER. A person who has a right of property in a ship. The interest of part-owners is quite distinct, so that one cannot dispose of the share of the other, or effect any insurance for him, without special authority.

SHIPPER. He who embarks goods; also mentioned in some of our statutes as the master of a ship. (See Skipper.)

SHIPPING AFFAIRS. All business of a maritime bearing.

SHIPPING GOODS. Receiving and stowing them on board.

SHIPPING GREEN SEAS. When heavy seas tumble over the gunwale either to windward or leeward; sometimes resulting from bad steerage and seamanship, or over-pressing the vessel.


SHIPPING MASTERS. Persons officially appointed and licensed to attend to the entering and discharging of merchant seamen.

SHIP-PROPELLER. See Screw-propeller.

SHIP RAISED UPON. One of which the upper works have been heightened by additional timbers. About the year 1816 several creditable corvettes of 600 tons were constructed; after three had been tried, the mistaken order was issued to make them into frigates. Hence the term donkey and jackass frigates, Athol and Niemen to wit.

SHIP'S BOOKS. The roll of the crew, containing every particular in relation to entry, former ships, &c.

SHIP-SHAPE. In colloquial phrase implies, in a seamanlike manner; as, "That mast is not rigged ship-shape;" "Put her about ship-shape," &c. (See Bristol Fashion.)

SHIP'S HUSBAND. The agent or broker who manages her accounts with regard to work performed, repairs, &c., under refit or loading.

SHIP-SLOOP. Commanders were appointed to 24-gun sloops, but when the same sloops were commanded by captains, they were rated ships.

SHIP'S LUNGS. Dr. Hall's name for the bellows with which he forced the foul air out of ships.[619]

SHIP'S PAPERS. Documents descriptive of a vessel, her owners, cargo, destination, and other particulars necessary for the instance court. Also, those documents required for a neutral ship to prove her such.

SHIP'S REGISTRY AND CERTIFICATE. An official record of a ship's size, the bills of lading, ownership, &c.

SHIP'S STEWARD. The person who manages the victualling or mess departments. In the navy, paymaster's steward.

SHIP-STAR. The Anglo-Saxon scyp-steora, an early name for the pole-star, once of the utmost importance in navigation.

SHIP-TIMBER. Contraband in time of war.

SHIPWRECK. The destruction of a vessel by her beating against rocks, the shore, &c.—too often including loss of life. In early times the seizure of goods, and even the murder of the mariners, was apt to be the consequence.

SHIPWRIGHT. A builder of ships. The art of bending planks by fire is attributed to Pyrrhon, the Lydian, who made boats of several configurations.

SHIPYARD. Synonymous with dockyard.

SHIVER. Synonymous with sheave.

SHIVERING. To trim a ship's yards so that the wind strikes on the edges or leaches of the sails, making them flutter in the wind. The same effect may be intentionally produced by means of the helm.

SHOAL. A danger formed by sunken rocks, on which the sea does not break; but generally applied to every place where the water is shallow, whatever be the ground. (See Flat Shoal, Shole, or Schole.) Also, denotes a great quantity of fishes swimming in company—squamosæ cohortes. Also, a vessel is said to shoalen, or shoal her water, when she comes from a greater into a less depth.

SHOALED-HARBOUR. That which is secured from the violence of the sea, by banks, bars, or shoals to sea-ward.

SHOD, or Shode. An anchor is said to be shod when, in breaking it from its bed, a quantity of clayey or oozy soil adheres to the fluke and shank.

SHOE. The iron arming to a handspike, polar-pile, &c.

SHOE OF THE ANCHOR. A flat block of hard wood, convex on the back, and having a hole sufficiently large to contain the bill of the anchor-fluke on the fore-side; used to prevent the anchor from tearing the planks on the ship's bow when fishing it, for which purpose the shoe slides up and down along the bow. Where vessels ease the anchor down to "a cock-bill," it is also sometimes used.—To shoe or clamp an anchor. To cover the palms with broad triangular pieces of thick plank, secured by iron hoops and nails. Its use is to give the anchor a greater resisting surface when the mud is very soft. Also, for transporting on shore.

SHOE OF THE FORE-FOOT. See Fore-foot, Gripe, Horse.

SHOE-PIECE. A board placed under the heel of a spar, or other weighty mass, to save the deck. In some cases intended to slip with it.

SHOLES. See Sole.[620]

SHOOT, To. To move suddenly; as "the ballast shoots on one side." Also, a ship shoots ahead in stays. Also, to push off in a boat from the shore into a current; to descend a rapid. The term is well used thus amongst the powerful rivers of N. America, of which perhaps the finest example is given by the St. Lawrence at La Chine, there reported to rush in spring-time at the rate of 40 miles an hour. Thus the shooting Old London Bridge was the cause of many deaths, and gave occasion to the admirable description in the Loves of the Triangles (anti-Jacobin), when all were agreed:

"'Shoot we the bridge,' the vent'rous boatmen cry;
'Shoot we the bridge,' th' exulting fare reply."
SHOOT-FINGER. This was a term in use with the Anglo-Saxons from its necessity in archery, and is now called the trigger-finger from its equal importance in modern fire-arms. The mutilation of this member was always a most punishable offence; for which the laws of King Alfred inflicted a penalty of fifteen shillings, which at that time probably was a sum beyond the bowman's means.

SHOOTING-GLOVES. These were furnished to the navy when cross-bows, long-bows, and slur-bows were used.

SHOOTING OF NETS. The running out of nets in the water, as seins, drift-nets, herring-nets, &c.; but it does not apply to trawls.

SHOOTS, or Shuts. A large pipe or channel to lead away water, dirt, ballast, shot, &c., is called a shoot. The overfalls of a river, where the stream is narrowed by its banks, whether naturally or artificially, especially the arches of a bridge, constitute a shoot.

SHOOT THE COMPASS, To. To shoot wide of the mark.

SHOOT THE SUN, To. To take its meridional altitude; literally aiming at the reflected sun through the telescope of the instrument. "Have you obtained a shot?" applied to altitudes of the meridian, as for time, lunar distances, &c.

SHORE. A prop fixed under a ship's sides or bottom, to support her when laid aground or on the stocks. Shores are also termed legs when used by a cutter or yacht, to keep the vessel upright when the water leaves her. (See Legs.) Also, the general name for the littoral of any country against which the waves impinge, while the word coast is applied to that part of the land which only lies contiguous to the sea.—Bold shore. A coast which is steep-to, permitting the near approach of shipping without danger; it is used in contradistinction to a shelving-shore.

SHORE-ANCHOR. That which lies between the shore and the ship when moored.

SHORE-BOATS. Small boats or wherries plying for hire at sea-ports.

SHORE-CLEATS. Heavy cleats bolted on to the sides of vessels to support the shore-head, and sustain the ship upright.

SHORE-FAST. A hawser carried out to secure a vessel to a quay, mole, or anchor buried on shore.

SHORE REEF. The same as fringing reef.[621]

SHORT, Short stay, Short apeek. "Heave short," means to heave in the cable till it is nearly up and down, and would hold the vessel securely until she had set all common sail, and would not drag or upset the anchor. If, however, the wind be free, and the making sail unimportant, short would probably be short apeek, or up and down, the last move of weighing awaiting perhaps signal or permission to part.

SHORT ALLOWANCE. When the provisions will not last the period expected, they may be reduced in part, as two-thirds, half-allowance, &c., and thus short-allowance money becomes due, which is the nominal value of the provisions stopped, and paid in compensation.

SHORT BOARDS. Frequent tacking, where there is not room for long boards, or from some other cause, as weather or tide, it is required to work to windward on short tacks in a narrow space.

SHORTEN, To. Said of a ship's sails when requisite to reduce those that are set. And shorten in, when alluding to the anchor, by heaving in cable.

SHORT-HANDED. A deficient complement of men, or short-handed by many being on the sick-list.

SHORT-LINKED CHAIN. A cable without studs, and therefore with shorter links than those of stud-chains; such are slings and chains generally used in rigging bobstays, anchor-work, &c. Cables only have studs.

SHORT-SEA. A confused cross sea where the waves assume a jerking rippling action, and set home to the bows or sides; especially tiresome to boats, hampering the oars, and tumbling in-board. Also, a race.

SHORT-SERVICE. Chafing geer put on a hemp cable for a short range.

SHORT-SHEETS. Belong to shifting sails, such as studding-sails, &c.

SHORT-TACKS. See Short Boards.

SHORT-TIME or SAND GLASS. One of 14 seconds, used in heaving the log when the ship is going fast.

SHOT. All sorts of missiles to be discharged from fire-arms, those for great guns being mainly of iron; for small-arms, of lead. When used without prefix, the term generally means the solid shot only, as fired for a heavy blow, or for penetration. Also, a synonym of scot, a reckoning at an inn, and has immemorially been thus understood. Ben Jonson's rules are

"As the fund of our pleasure, let each pay his shot."
Also, a lot or quantity. Also, the particular spot where fishermen take a draught with their nets, and also the draught of fishes made by a net. Also, the sternmost division of a fishing-boat. Also, arrows, darts, or anything that was shot. Also, a kind of trout. Also, a foot-soldier who carried a fire-lock.—To be shot of, signifies to get rid of, turned out.—To shot the guns. In active service the guns were generally loaded, but not shotted, as, from corrosion, it was found difficult to draw the shot; and the working and concussion not unfrequently started it, and consequently, if the gun was fired before re-driving it "home," it was in danger of bursting.[622]

SHOT-LOCKER. A compartment built up in the hold to contain the shot.

SHOT-NET. A mackerel-net.

SHOT-PLUGS. Tapered cones to stop any sized shot-hole.

SHOT-RACKS. Wooden frames fixed at convenient distances to contain shot. There are also, of recent introduction, iron rods so fitted as to confine the shot.

SHOTTEN-HERRING. A gutted herring dried for keeping. Metaphorically, a term of contempt for a lean lazy fellow.

SHOULDER of a Bastion. The part of it adjacent to the junction of a face with a flank. The angle of the shoulder is that formed by these two lines.

SHOULDER ARMS! The military word of command to carry the musket vertically at the side of the body, and resting against the hollow of the shoulder; on the left side with the long rifle, on the right with the short.

SHOULDER-OF-MUTTON SAIL. A kind of triangular sail of peculiar form, used mostly in boats. It is very handy and safe, particularly as a mizen. It is the Bermuda or 'Mugian rig.

SHOULDER THE ANCHOR. When a seaman forgets his craft, and gives his ship too little cable to ride by, she may be thrown across tide, lift or shoulder her anchor, and drift off.

SHOUT. A light and nearly flat-bottomed boat used in our eastern fens for shooting wild-duck. (See Gunning-boat.)

SHOUTE-MEN. The old name for the lightermen of the Thames.

SHOVEL. A copper implement for removing a cartridge from a gun without injuring it. Formerly used, and as late as 1816 by the Turks, to convey the powder into the chamber without using cartridges: also used to withdraw shot where windage was large. (See Ladle.)

SHOVELL, or Shoveller. Spatula clypeata, a species of duck with a broad bill. Formerly written schevelard. Also applied to a hoverer or smuggler.

SHOVE OFF! The order to the bowman to put the boat's head off with his boat-hook.

SHOW A LEG! An exclamation from the boatswain's mate, or master-at-arms, for people to show that they are awake on being called. Often "Show a leg, and turn out."

SHRAB. A vile drugged drink prepared for seamen who frequent the filthy purlieus of Calcutta. (See Doasta.)

SHRAPNEL SHELL. Invented by General Shrapnel to produce, at a long range, the effect of common case; whence they have been also called spherical case. They have a thickness of only one-tenth of their diameter; so that, on the action of the fuse, they are opened by a very small bursting charge, and allow the bullets with which they are filled to proceed with much the same direction and velocity that the shell had at the moment of explosion. They require, however, extremely nice management.[623]

SHRIMP. The small crustacean Crangon vulgaris, well known as an article of food.


SHROUD-LAID. The combination in the larger cordage, also known as hawser-laid.

SHROUD-ROPE. A finer quality of hawser-laid rope than is commonly used for other purposes. It is also termed purchase-rope; but four-stranded rope is frequently used for standing rigging. All the strands are finer, of better hemp, and pass the gauge. Thus the patent shroud-laid rope, made from clean Petersburgh hemp, was found to break at a strain between 63⁄4 and 71⁄4 cwt. per inch of girth in inches squared. Thus a patent rope of 5 inches would require 175 cwt. Common rope, 25 threads in each strand, broke with 5 cwt. per inch, and fell off at 130 threads to 4 cwt. per inch. Thus,

cwt. qrs. lbs.
A common 10-inch cable weighed per 100 fathoms, 19 0 21
A superior " 21 0 3
SHROUDS. The lower and upper standing-rigging. They are always divided into pairs or couples; that is to say, one piece of rope is doubled, and the parts fastened together at a small distance from the middle, so as to leave a sort of noose or collar to fix upon the mast-head; the ends have each a dead-eye turned in, by which they are set up by laniards to the channel. (See Chains and Dead-eye.)—Bentinck-shrouds. Strong ropes fixed on the futtock-staves of the lower rigging, and extending to the opposite channels, where they are set-up by means of dead-eyes and laniards, or gun-tackle runner purchases, in the same manner as the other shrouds. Their use is to support the masts when the ship rolls.—Bowsprit shrouds are now generally made of chain. They support the bowsprit in the same way that other shrouds support the masts.—Bumkin or boomkin shrouds. Strong chains fixed as stays to the bumkin ends, to support the strain exerted by the fore-tacks upon them.—Futtock or foot-hook shrouds. Portions of rigging (now sometimes chain) communicating with the futtock-plates above the top, and the cat-harpings below, and forming ladders, whereby the sailors climb over the top-brim. Top-gallant shrouds extend to the cross-trees, where, passing through holes in the ends, they continue over the futtock-staves of the top-mast rigging, and descending almost to the top, are set up by laniards passing through thimbles instead of dead-eyes.—Topmast-shrouds extend from the top-mast head to the edges of the tops, and are set up to the futtock dead-eyes.

SHROUD-STOPPER. A stout rope-stopper made fast above and below a part of the shroud which has been damaged by an enemy's shot, or otherwise.

SHROUD-TRUCKS. Small pieces of wood with holes in them, but no sheaves; they are seized on the standing-rigging as fair leaders for the running-rigging. (See Bull's-eye.)[624]

SHUNT. A term recently introduced among engineers and gunners; but traceable back to the year 931, a "zunte-stone" being placed on a spot where the road deviated.

SHURGEE. A prevailing S.E. wind in the Gulf of Persia; it is usually preceded by a heavy dew, which is quite the reverse with the shimal.

SHUT IN, To. Said of landmarks or points of land, when one is brought to transit and overlap the other, or intercept the view of it.

SHUTTING ON. Joining the arms of an anchor to its shank. Also, welding one piece of iron to another to lengthen it.

SICK-BAY. A portion of the fore-part of the main-deck, reserved for the accommodation of the sick and wounded; any other place set apart for invalids is called the sick-berth.


SICK-BOOK. An account of such officers and men as are on the sick list on board, or are sent to an hospital, hospital-ship, or sick-quarters.

SICK-FLAG. The yellow quarantine flag, hoisted to prevent communication; whence the term of the yellow flag, and yellow admirals. There are two others—one with a black ball, the other with a square in the centre—denoting plague, or actual diseases.

SICK-MESS. A table for those on the doctor's list. When seamen are thus placed, their provisions are turned over to the surgeon, who accounts for their re-purchase by government, if not consumed, and the proceeds are applied to purchase comforts beyond those allowed by the service.

SICK-TICKET. A document given to an officer, seaman, or marine, when sent to an hospital, certified by the signing officer and the surgeon, stating the entry, rank, rating, &c., together with other particulars.

SIDE. All that part of a ship which extends from stem to stern in length, and from the upper edge of the gunwale above, to the lower edge of the main-wale, below which the bottom commences.

SIDE-BOYS, or Side-men. Those appointed to attend the gangways when boats come alongside, and offer the man-ropes to the officer ascending.

SIDE COUNTER-TIMBER. The stern timber which partakes of the shape of the top-side, and heels upon the end of the wing-transom.

SIDE-KEELSONS. A name for sister-keelsons. First used in mortar-vessels to support the bomb-beds; later they have crept in to support the engines in steamers, and furnish a free flow beneath their flooring for the water, as well as for ventilation.

SIDE-LADDER, or Accommodation-ladder. A complete staircase structure used in harbour by most large ships.

SIDE-LEVER. A lever on each side of the cylinder of a marine steam-engine, resembling the beam of the ordinary land-engine. (See Lever.)

SIDE OUT FOR A BEND, To. The old well-known term to draw the bight of a hempen cable towards the opposite side, in order to make room for the bight being twined to coil it in the tier. The most expert and powerful seamen were selected for this duty, now rare.[625]

SIDE-PIECES. Parts of a made mast.

SIDEREAL ASTRONOMY. That branch of the science which relates to the fixed stars.

SIDEREAL DAY. The interval between the departure and return of a star to the meridian; in other words, its two successive transits.

SIDEREAL PERIOD. See Revolution.

SIDEREAL TIME. The time shown by a clock regulated by the fixed stars, and compensated to accelerate upon mean time by the daily amount of 3 minutes 56·56 seconds.

SIDE-RODS. Rods hanging from each of the cross-heads, one on each side of the cylinder of a steam-engine, and connected to the pins of the side-levers below; their duty is to cause a simultaneous movement.

SIDE-SCALE. A simple graduation, adopted by Sir Philip Broke in the Shannon, for the quick elevation or depression of the guns.

SIDE-STEPS. Pieces of wood bolted to the side of a ship for the convenience of ascending; in smaller vessels they have a ladder made of rope with wooden thwarts, which hooks to the gangway.

SIDING or SIDED. The dimensions or size of timber, the contrary way to which the mould side is placed; one side sided smooth, to work from or to fit.

SIDING DIMENSION. The breadth of any piece of timber.

SIEGE. A continued endeavour, by systematic military means, such as batteries, trenches, mines, &c., to overpower the defences of a place and take possession of it.

SIEGE-ARTILLERY. The ordnance (guns, mortars, howitzers, &c.) used for overpowering the fire and destroying the defences of a fortified place; their weight and power, limited mainly by the kind of transport at hand, seldom exceed those of the light 100-pounder rifled gun, and are mostly above those of guns of position, such as the old 18-pounder, or the 40-pounder rifle.

SIEGE-TRAIN. Properly, the whole of the material, with its transport, required for carrying on a siege; but more frequently used for the necessary siege artillery, together with its ammunition, carriages, machines, and appliances of all kinds.

SIESTA. The hour of the afternoon in hot climates, when Spaniards, Italians, &c., retire to repose during the heat of the day.

SIGHTING THE LAND. Running in to catch a view.

SIGHTS. The fixed marks on fire-arms, by which their direction is regulated in aiming: generally, two small fittings of brass or iron, that near the breech having a notched head, and that towards the muzzle a pointed one. (See Dispart.)—Astronomical sights. Observations taken to determine the time or latitude, as well as for chronometer rates.

SIGHT THE ANCHOR, To. To heave it up in sight, in order to prove that it is clear, when, from the ship having gone over it, there is suspicion that it may be fouled by the slack cable.

SIGHT-VANES. See Vanes.[626]

SIGNALIZE, To. To distinguish one's self; a word also degraded to the meaning of communicating intelligence by means of signals or telegraph.

SIGNAL-MAN. The yeoman of the signals; a first-class petty officer in the navy.

SIGNAL OF DISTRESS. When a ship is in imminent danger, she hoists her national flag upside down, and, if she is armed, fires minute guns; also lets fly top-gallant sheets, &c.; indeed does anything to attract observation.

SIGNAL-OFFICER. In a repeating frigate, a signal-midshipman; in a flag-ship, a flag-lieutenant.

SIGNALS. Codes of signals have been used for centuries and changed frequently. Their use is too well known to need explanation. They are conveyed by flags, semaphores, balls, guns, lights, rockets, bells, horns, whistles, &c., and half a century since were carried on with incredible ability. It may be also observed that signal officers of those days became subsequently the élite of the navy; signal-officer being then a proud term of distinction.—Fog-signals, certain operations which emit sound.—Night-signals, either lanterns disposed in certain figures, flashes, or false fires, &c.

SIGNIFER. The zodiac.

SIGNING OFFICERS. The captain, senior lieutenant, master, and purser (now paymaster); but where the document relates to the stores in charge of any stated officer, that officer is to sign it instead of the purser.

SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC. The emblems of the twelve divisions, into which the ancients divided the zodiac.

SILL. A northern term for the young of a herring.

SILLOCK. The podling, or young of the coal-fish, affording food and oil on the Scottish coasts; they are grayish, and are taken when somewhat less than a herring.

SILL OF A DOCK. The timber at the base against which the gates shut; and the depth of water which will float a vessel in or out of it, is measured from it to the surface.

SILLON. An old word for envelope. In fortification, formerly, a counterguard.

SILLS. The upper and lower parts of the framing of the ports. The bottom pieces of any ports, docks, scuttles, or hatches.

SILT. Sediment; ooze in a harbour, or at a lock-gate.

SILT-GROUNDS. Deep-water banks off Jamaica, where silt-snappers are fished for.

SILT-UP, To. To be choked with mud or sand, so as to obstruct vessels.

SILVER-CÆDUA. A statute term for wood under twenty years' growth.

SILVER-OAR. One of the badges of the civil court afloat, conferring the power to arrest for debt if not less than £20.

SILVER-THAW. The term for ice falling in large flakes from the sails and rigging, consequent on a frost followed suddenly by a thaw.

SIMOOM. The Arabian name for the sirocco (which see). The simoom,[627] sirocco, samiel, and kamsin seem to be modifications of the same wind from the desert.

SIMULATION. The vice of counterfeiting illness or defect, for the purpose of being invalided.

SINE. A right sine in geometry, is a right line drawn from one end of an arc perpendicularly upon the radius from the centre to the other end of the arc; or it is half the chord of twice the arc.

SINET. An old Chaucerian term for zenith.

SINGING. The chaunt by which the leadsman in the chains proclaims his soundings at each cast:—

"To heave the lead the seaman sprung,
And to the pilot cheerly sung,
By the deep—nine."
SINGLE, To. To unreeve the running part of top-sail sheets, &c., to let them run freely, or for harbour duty.

SINGLE-ACTION ENGINE. See Atmospheric Steam-engine.

SINGLE ANCHOR. A ship unmoored, having hove up one bower, rides by the other.

SING SMALL. To make a bullying boaster sing small, by lowering his arrogance.


SINNET. See Sennit.

SIR. Once a scholastic title applied to priests and curates; now to knights. "Aye, aye, sir," is the well-known answer from seamen, denoting 'cuteness, combined with good humour and obedience.

SIRIUS. The principal star, α, of the constellation Canis Major, and the brightest in the heavens; the dog-star.

SIROCCO. An oppressively hot parching wind from the deserts of Africa, which in the southern part of Italy and Sicily comes from the south-east; it sometimes commences faintly about the summer solstice.

SISERARA, or Surserara. A tremendous blow; or a violent rebuke.

SISSOO. An Indian timber much used in the construction of country ships.

SISTER or CISTERN BLOCK. A turned cylindrical block having two sheave-holes, one above the other. It fits in between the first pair of top-mast shrouds on each side, and is secured by seizings below the cat-harpings. The topsail-lift reeves through the lower, and the reef-tackle pendant through the upper.

SISTER-KEELSONS. Square timbers extending along the floors, by the main keelson, leaving sufficient space on each side for the limbers. (See Side-keelsons.)

SISTROID ANGLE. One like a sistrum, the Egyptian musical instrument.

SITCH. A little current of water, generally dry in summer.

SIX-UPON-FOUR. Reduced allowance; four rations allotted to six men.

SIX-WATER GROG. Given as a punishment for neglect or drunkenness,[628] instead of the usual four-water, which is one part rum, and four parts water, lime-juice, and sugar.

SIZE, To. To range soldiers, marines, and small-arm men, so that the tallest may be on the flanks of a party.

SIZE-FISH. A whale, of which the whalebone blades are six feet or upwards in length; the harpooner gets a bonus for striking a "size-fish."

SIZES. A corruption for six-upon-four (which see).

SKARKALLA. An old machine for catching fish.

SKART. A name of the cormorant in the Hebrides.

SKATE. A well-known cartilaginous fish of the ray family, Raia batis.

SKATE-LURKER. A cant word for a begging impostor dressed as a sailor.

SKEDADDLE, To. To stray wilfully from a watering or a working party. An archaism retained by the Americans.

SKEDDAN. The Manx or Erse term for herrings.

SKEEL. A cylindrical wooden bucket. A large water-kid.

SKEER, or Scar. A place where cockles are gathered. (See Scar.)

SKEET. A long scoop used to wet the sides of the ship, to prevent their splitting by the heat of the sun. It is also employed in small vessels for wetting the sails, to render them more efficacious in light breezes; this in large ships is done by the fire engine.

SKEE-TACK. A northern name for the cuttle-fish.

SKEGG. A small and slender part of the keel of a ship, cut slanting, and left a little without the stern-post; not much used now, owing to its catching hawsers, and occasioning dead water. The after-part of the keel itself is also called the skegg.

SKEGG-SHORES. Stout pieces of plank put up endways under the skegg of the ship, to steady the after-part when in the act of being launched.

SKELDRYKE. An old term for a small passage-boat in the north.

SKELETON OF A REGIMENT. Its principal officers and staff.

SKELLY. The Leuciscus cephalus, or chub. In the northern lakes it is often called the fresh-water herring.

SKELP, To. To slap with the open hand: an old word, said to have been imported from Iceland:—

"I canno' tell a';
Some gat a skelp, and some gat a claw."
SKENE, or Skain. A crooked sword formerly used by the Irish.

SKENY. A northern term to express an insulated rock.

SKER, or Skerry. A flat insulated rock, but not subject to the overflowing of the sea: thus we have "the Skerries" in Wales, the Channel Islands, &c.

SKEW. Awry, oblique; as a skew bridge, skew angle, &c. Also, in Cornwall, drizzling rain. Also, a rude-fashioned boat.

SKEWER-PIECES. When the salt meat is cut up on board ship by the petty officers, the captain and lieutenants are permitted to select whole[629] pieces of 8 or 16 lbs., for which they are charged 2 or 4 lbs. extra. The meat being then divided into messes, the remnants are cut into small pieces termed skewer-pieces, and being free from bone, are charged ad lib. to those who take them.

SKID-BEAMS. Raised stanchions in men-of-war over the main-deck, parallel to the quarter-deck and forecastle beams, for stowing the boats and booms upon.

SKIDDY-COCK. A west-country term for the water-rail.

SKIDER. A northern term for the skate.

SKIDS. Massive fenders; they consist of long compassing pieces of timber, formed to answer the vertical curve of a ship's side, in order to preserve it when weighty bodies are hoisted in or lowered against it. They are mostly used in whalers. Boats are fitted with permanent fenders, to prevent chafing and fretting. Also, beams resting on blocks, on which small craft are built. Also, pieces of plank put under a vessel's bottom, for launching her off when she has been hauled up or driven ashore.

SKIFF. A familiar term for any small boat; but in particular, one resembling a yawl, which is usually employed for passing rivers. Also, a sailing vessel, with fore-and-aft main-sail, jib fore-sail, and jib: differing from a sloop in setting the jib on a stay, which is eased in by travellers. They have no top-mast, and the main-sail hauls out to the taffrail, and traverses on a traveller iron horse like a cutter's fore-sail.

SKILLET. A small pitch-pot or boiler with feet.

SKILLY. Poor broth, served to prisoners in hulks. Oatmeal and water in which meat has been boiled. Hence, skillygalee, or burgoo, the drink made with oatmeal and sugar, and served to seamen in lieu of cocoa as late as 1814.

SKIN. This term is frequently used for the inside planking of a vessel, the outside being the case.

SKIN OF A SAIL. The outside part when a sail is furled. To furl in a clean skin, is the habit of a good seaman.—To skin up a sail in the bunt. To make that part of the canvas which covers the sail, next the mast when furled, smooth and neat, by turning the sail well up on the yard.

SKIP-JACK. A dandified trifling officer; an upstart. Also, the merry-thought of a fowl. Also, a small fish of the bonito kind, which frequently jumps out of the water. A name applied also to small porpoises.

SKIPPAGE. An archaism for tackle or ship furniture.

SKIPPER. The master of a merchant vessel. Also, a man-of-war's man's constant appellation for his own captain. Also, the gandanock, or saury-pike, Esox saurus.

SKIRLING. A fish taken on the Welsh coasts, and supposed to be the fry of salmon.

SKIRMISH. An engagement of a light and irregular character, generally for the purpose of gaining information or time, or of clearing the way for more serious operations.

SKIRTS. The extreme edges of a plain, forest, shoal, [630]&c.

SKIS-THURSDAY. "The Lady-day in Lent" of the Society of Shipwrights at Newcastle, instituted in 1630.

SKIT. An aspersive inuendo or for fun.

SKIVER. A dirk to stab with.

SKOODRA. A Shetland name for the ling.

SKOOL. The cry along the coast when the herrings appear first for the season: a corruption of school.

SKOORIE. A northern term for a full-grown coal-fish.

SKOTTEFER [Anglo-Sax. scot, an arrow or dart]. Formerly, an archer.

SKOUTHER. A northern name for the stinging jelly-fish.

SKOUTS. Guillemots or auks, so called in our northern islands from their wary habits.

SKOW. A flat-bottomed boat of the northern German rivers.

SKRAE-FISH. Fish dried in the sun without being salted.

SKUA. A kind of sea-gull.

SKUNK-HEAD. An American coast-name for the pied duck.

SKURRIE. The shag, Phalacrocorax graculus. Applied to frightened seals, &c.

SKY-GAZER. The ugly hare-lipped Uranoscopus, whose eyes are on the crown of its head; the Italians call him pesce-prete, or priest-fish. Also, a sail of very light duck, over which un-nameable sails have been set, which defy classification.

SKY-LARKING. In olden times meant mounting to the mast-heads, and sliding down the royal-stays or backstays for amusement; but of late the term has denoted frolicsome mischief, which is not confined to boys, unless three score and ten includes them.—Skying is an old word for shying or throwing.

SKYLIGHT. A framework in the deck to admit light vertically into the cabin and gun-room.

SKYSAIL. A small light sail above the royal.

SKYSAIL-MAST. The pole or upper portion of a royal mast, when long enough to serve for setting a skysail; otherwise a skysail-mast is a separate spar, as sliding gunter (which see).

SKY-SCRAPER. A triangular sail set above the skysail; if square it would be a moonsail, and if set above that, a star-gazer, &c.

SLAB. The outer cut of a tree when sawn up into planks. (Alburnum.)

SLAB-LINES. Small ropes passing up abaft a ship's main-sail or fore-sail, led through blocks attached to the trestle-trees, and thence transmitted, each in two branches, to the foot of the sail, where they are fastened. They are used to truss up the slack sail, after it has been "disarmed" by the leech and buntlines.

SLACK. The part of a rope or sail that hangs loose.—To slack, is to decrease in tension or velocity; as, "Slack the laniard of our main-stay;" or "The tide slackens."

SLACK HELM. If the ship is too much by the stern, she will carry her helm too much a-lee.[631]

SLACK IN STAYS. Slow in going about. Also applied to a lazy man.

SLACK OFF, or Slacken! The order to ease away the rope or tackle by which anything is held fast; as, "Slack up the hawser."

SLACK WATER. The interval between the flux and reflux of the tide, as between the last of the ebb and first of the flood, or vice versâ, during which the water remains apparently quiescent.

SLADE [the Anglo-Saxon slæd]. A valley or open tract of country.

SLAKE. An accumulation of mud or ooze in the bed of a river.

SLANT OF WIND. An air of which advantage may be taken.

SLANT TACK. That which is most favourable to the course when working to windward.

SLAVER. A vessel employed in the odious slave-trade.

SLED. The rough kind of sleigh in North America, used for carrying produce, too heavy for amusement.

SLEE. A sort of cradle placed under a ship's bottom in Holland, for drawing her up for repairs.

SLEECH. A word on our southern coasts for mud or sea-sand used in agriculture.

SLEEP. A sail sleeps when, steadily filled with wind, it bellies to the breeze.

SLEEPERS. Timbers lying fore and aft in the bottom of the ship, now generally applied to the knees which connect the transoms to the after timbers on the ship's quarter. They are particularly used in Greenland ships, to strengthen the bows and stern-frame, to enable them to resist the shocks of the ice. Also, any wooden beams used as supports. Also, ground tier casks.

SLEEVE. The word formerly used to denote the narrows of a channel, and particularly applied to the Strait of Dover, still called La Manche by the French. When Napoleon was threatening to invade England, he was represented trying to get into a coat, but one of the sleeves utterly baffled him, whence the point: "Il ne peut pas passer La Manche."

SLEEVE-FISH. A name for the calamary, Loligo vulgaris, an animal allied to the cuttle-fish.

SLICE. A bar of iron with a flat, sharp, spear-shaped end, used in stripping off sheathing, ceiling, and the like. The whaler's slice is a slender chisel about four inches wide, used to cut into, and flinch the fish.

SLICES. Tapering wedges of plank used to drive under the false keel, and between the bilge-ways, preparatory to launching a vessel.

SLICK. Smooth. This is usually called an Americanism, but is a very old sea-term. In the Book for Boys and Girls, 1686, it is aptly illustrated:

"The mole's a creature very smooth and slick,
She digs i' th' dirt, but 'twill not on her stick."
SLIDE-VALVE CASING. A casing on one side of the cylinder of an engine, which covers the nozzles or steam-ports, and confines the slide-valves.

SLIDE-VALVE ROD. A rod connecting the slide-valves of an engine,[632] to both of which it is joined; it passes through the casing cover, the opening of which is kept steam-tight.

SLIDE-VALVES. The adaptations used in a marine-engine to change the admission of the steam into, and its eduction from, the cylinder, by the upper and lower steam-ports alternately.

SLIDING BAULKS, or Sliding-planks. Those timbers fitted under the bottom of a ship, to descend with her upon the bilge-ways when launched.

SLIDING BILGE-BLOCKS. Those logs made to slide under the bilge of a ship in order to support her.

SLIDING GUNTERS. Masts fitted for getting up and down with facility abaft the mast; generally used for kites, as royals, skysails, and the like.

SLIDING-KEEL. A contrivance to prevent vessels from being driven to leeward by a side-wind; it is composed of planks of various breadths, erected vertically, so as to slide up and down, through the keel.

SLING, To. To pass the top-chains round the yards when going into action. Also, to set any large article, in ropes, so as to put a tackle on, and hoist or lower it. When the clues are attached to a cot or hammock, it is said to be slung; also water-kegs, buoys, &c., are slung.

SLING-DOGS. In timber lifting, a dog is an iron implement with a fang at one end, and an eye at the other, in which a rope may be made fast for hauling anything along. Two of these fastened together by a shackle through the eyes are called sling-dogs. (See Dog.) Also, an ancient piece of ordnance. (See Slyng.)

SLING-HOOP. That which suspends the yard from the mast, by which it is hoisted and lowered.

SLINGS. A rope fitted to encircle any large article, and suspend it while hoisting and lowering. Also, leather straps made fast to both ends of a musket, serving for the men to hang them by on their shoulders, that both hands may be free.—Boat-slings. Strong ropes, furnished with hooks and iron thimbles, whereby to hook the tackles to keel, stem, and stern bolts, in order to hoist the boats in or out of the ship.—Buoy-slings are special fittings adopted in order that a buoy may securely ride on the wave, and mark the position of the anchor, the buoy-rope being attached to an eye in the slings.—Butt-slings are those used in slinging casks; they may be described as a running eye over one end, and a similar one made with two half hitches over the standing part on the other; all of which jam close home when the strain is brought on the bight.—Yard-slings. The rope or chain used to support a yard which does not travel up and down a mast. The slings of a yard also imply that part on which the slings are placed.—Slings is also a term on the American coast for drams, or a drink of spirits and water; the custom of slinging prevails there extensively, even where intoxication is despised.

SLIP. An inclined plane by the water side, on which a ship may be built. There are also slips up which vessels may be drawn for receiving repairs.[633] Also, a short memorandum of the proposed insurance of a ship, which is sometimes offered to the underwriters for subscription, previous to the effecting of a policy. Also, in steam navigation, the difference between the pitch of the propelling screw, and the space through which the screw actually progresses in the water, during one revolution.—To slip, is to let go the cable with a buoy on the end, and quit the position, from any sudden requirement, instead of weighing the anchor.—To slip by the board. To slip down by the ship's side.

SLIP-BEND. When a man makes a false step, and slips down a hatchway, or overboard.

SLIP-KNOT, or Slippery-hitch. One which will not bear any strain, but will either become untied, or will traverse along the other part of the rope.

SLIP-ROPE. A rope passed through anything in such a manner that it will render or may be slipped instantaneously, as in canting to make sail, &c.

SLIP-SHACKLE. A shackle with a lever-bolt, for letting go suddenly; yet, when ringed, is sufficient to secure the ship.

SLIVE, or Sliver. An old term for a sluice. Also, any thin piece of split wood used as a filling. Also, a short slop wrapper, formerly called a sliving.

SLOOP. In general parlance is a vessel similar to a cutter; the bowsprit, however, is not running, and the jib is set on a standing stay with hanks. In North America the sloop proper sets only a main-sail and fore-sail, the latter jib-shaped, on a short standing bowsprit, and has no top-mast. The rig is greatly used for yachts there, and is most effective in moderate weather. Sloop in the royal navy is a term depending on the rank of the officer in command. Thus, the donkey frigate Blossom was one cruise rated a ship, when commanded by a captain—the next, a sloop, because only commanded by a commander.

SLOP-BOOK. A register of the slop clothing, soap, and tobacco, issued to the men; also of the religious books supplied.

SLOPE OF WIND. A breeze favouring a long tack near to the required course, and which may be expected to veer to fair.

SLOP-ROOM. The place appointed to keep the slops in, for the ship's company; generally well aft and dry.

SLOPS. A name given to ready-made clothes, and other furnishings, for seamen, by Maydman, in 1691. In Chaucer's time, sloppe meant a sort of breeches. In a MS. account of the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth, is an order to John Fortescue for the delivery of some Naples fustian for "Sloppe for Jack Greene, our Foole."

SLOP-SHOP. A place where ready-made clothing for seamen is sold, not at all advantageously to Jack.

SLOT. An archaic term for a castle or fort. Also, a groove or hole where a pin traverses.

SLOT-HOOP. The same as truss-hoops.

SLOW HER! In steam navigation, the same as "Ease her!"[634]

SLOW MATCH. See Match.

SLOW TIME. In marching, means 75 paces to a minute.

SLUDGE. A wet deposit formed by streams. Also, a stratum of young ice in rough seas. Also, in polar parlance, comminuted fragments of brash ice.

SLUDGE-HOLES. Adaptations at the ends of the water-passages between the flues of a steamer's boilers, by which the deposits can be raked out.

SLUE, To. To turn anything round or over in situ: especially expressing the movement of a gun, cask, or ship; or when a mast, boom, or spar is turned about in its cap or boom iron.

SLUED. When a man staggers under drink; unable to walk steadily.

SLUE-ROPE. A rope peculiarly applied for turning a spar or other object in a required direction.

SLUR-BOW. A species of cross-bow formerly used for discharging fire arrows.

SLUSH. The fat of the boiled meat in the coppers, formerly the perquisite of the ship's cook. Also applied to anything like plashy ground, but most commonly to snow in a thaw. Any wet dirt.

SLUSH-BUCKET. A bucket kept in the tops, to grease the masts, sheets, &c., to make all run smoothly.

SLUSH-ICE. The first layer which forms when the surface is freezing.

SLY-GOOSE. A northern term for the sheldrake, Tadorna vulpanser.

SLYNG. An ancient piece of sea-ordnance: there were also di-slyngs.

SMACK. A vessel, sometimes like a cutter, used for mercantile purposes, or for carrying passengers; the largest of which, the Leith smacks, attained the size of 200 tons.

SMACK-SMOOTH. Level with the surface; said of a mast which has gone by the board.

SMALL. The narrow part of the tail of a whale, in front of the flukes. Also, that part of the anchor-shank which is immediately under the stock.

SMALL-ARM MEN. Those of the crew selected and trained to the use of small-arms. When they have effected their boarding, they seldom retain more than their pistol and cutlass.

SMALL-ARMS. The muskets, pistols, cutlasses, tomahawks, and boarding-pikes, in charge of the gunner, on board ship.

SMALL-HELM. One of the principal results of sound seamanship is the proper trim of the vessel and the sail carried; by which means the action of the rudder is reduced to a minimum, not requiring the tiller to be moved either hard up or hard down. Also used to denote that a turbulent jaw-me-down bully has been brought to his senses by a more vigorous mind.

SMALL SAILS. Top-gallant-studding-sails and the kites.

SMALL STUFF. The term for spun-yarn, marline, and the smallest kinds of rope, even for yarns.

SMART. Ready, active, and intelligent.[635]

SMART-MONEY. A pension given to a wounded man, according to the extent of the injury and his rank. Thus a lieutenant gets £91, 5s. for the loss of a leg, and a captain £300.

SMART-TICKET. The certificate from a captain and surgeon, by which only the smart-money is obtainable.

SMASHERS. Anything large or powerful. Also, pieces of ordnance of large calibre, in form between the gun and the carronade. Also, a very general epithet for north-country seamen.

SMELT [Anglo-Saxon, smylt]. The fry of salmon, samlet, or Salmo eperlanus.

SMEW. The white-headed goosander, Mergus albellus.

SMITER. An archaism for a scimitar. In the legend of Captain Jones, 1659, we are told:

"His fatal smiter thrice aloft he shakes,
And frowns; the sea, and ship, and canvas quakes."
SMITING-LINE. A line by which a yarn-stoppered sail is loosed, without sending men aloft. If well executed, marks the seaman.

SMOKE-BALLS. A pyrotechnical preparation, thrown to short distances from mortars, to choke men out of mines, to conceal movements, &c. They continue to smoke densely from 25 to 30 minutes.

SMOKE-BOX. A part which crosses the whole front of a marine boiler, over the furnace doors; or that part between the end of tubes furthest from the fire-place and bottom of the funnel.

SMOKES. Dense exhalations, mixed with the finer particles of sand, on the Calabar shores and borders of the Great Zahara desert, which prevail in autumn. Also, the indications of inhabitants when coasting new lands. For its meaning in Arctic voyages, see Vapour.

SMOKE-SAIL. A small sail hoisted against the fore-mast when a ship rides head to wind, to give the smoke of the galley an opportunity of rising, and to prevent its being blown aft on to the quarter-deck.

SMOOTH. A Cornish term applied when the surf abates its fury for a short space. Also, the lee of a ship or of a rock.

SMUG-BOATS. Contraband traders on the coast of China; opium boats.

SMUGGLING. Defrauding the public revenue by importing or exporting goods without paying the customs dues chargeable upon them.

SMURLIN. A bivalve mollusc, Mya truncata, used as food in the Shetland Islands.

SNAGGLE, To. To angle for geese with a hook and line properly baited.

SNAGS. The old word for lopped branches and sharp protuberances, but now chiefly applied to sunken obstructions in the American rivers.

SNAIL-CREEPING. Gouging out the surfaces of timbers in crooked channels, to promote a circulation of air.

SNAKE-PIECES. See Pointers.

SNAKING. The passing of small stuff across a seizing, with marline hitches at the outer turns; or the winding small ropes spirally round a[636] large one, the former lying in the intervals between the strands of the latter. (See Worm.) The stays and backstays, when the Shannon engaged the Chesapeake, were snaked with half-inch rope from fathom to fathom, to prevent their falling if shot away. Also, the finishing touch to neat seizings, to prevent the parts from separating when becoming slack by drying.

SNAPE, To. In ship-carpentry, is to hance or bevel the end of anything, so as to fay upon an inclined plane: it is also designated flinch.

SNAP-HAUNCE. An old word for a fire-lock or musket; a spring-lock for fire-arms.

SNAPING-POLE. An old term for a fishing-rod.

SNAPPER. A well-known fish of the Mesoprion tribe, highly valued as food in the West Indies and tropics generally.

SNAPPING-TURTLE. A well-known fresh-water tortoise of the rivers in the United States; Chelydra serpentina.

SNARES. The cords which pass across the diameter of one hoop at the end of a drum.

SNARLEY-YOW. A discontented, litigious grumbler. An old guard-ship authority who knows when to play the courtier.

SNARL-KNOT. A northern expression for a knot that cannot be drawn loose.

SNATCH. Any open lead for a rope: if not furnished with a sheave, it is termed a dumb snatch, as on the bows and quarters for hawsers.

SNATCH-BLOCK. A single iron-bound block, with an opening in one side above the sheave, in which the bight of a rope may be laid, instead of reeving the end through, which in some circumstances would be very inconvenient, as when warps are led to the capstan, &c. The same as notch-block.

SNEER. To "make all sneer again" is to carry canvas to such an extent as to strain the ropes and spars to the utmost.

SNEEZER. A stiff gale of wind.

SNIFTING-VALVE. In the marine engine (see Tail-valve).

SNIGGLING. A peculiar mode of catching eels in small streams and ponds, described by Izaak Walton.

SNIKKER-SNEE. A combat with knives; also, a large clasp-knife.

SNOGO. A cockpit game at cards, called also blind hookey, apparently affording equal chances, but easily managed to his own advantage by a knavish adept.

SNOOD [Anglo-Saxon, snod]. A short hair-line or wire to which hooks are fastened below the lead in angling. Or the link of hair uniting the hook and fishing-line.

SNOOK. A fish of the family Scombridæ, Thyrsites atun, abundant in Table Bay, whence it is exported, when salted, to the Mauritius.

SNOTTER. The lower support of the sprit (which see).

SNOW. A vessel formerly much in use. It differs slightly from a brig. It has two masts similar to the main and fore masts of a ship, and close[637] abaft the main-mast a trysail-mast. Snows differ only from brigs in that the boom-mainsail is hooped to the main-mast in the brig, and traverses on the trysail-mast in the snow.

SNUBBING HER. Bringing a ship up suddenly with an anchor, and short range of cable, yet without jerking. [Said to be from the Icelandic snubba.]

SNUG. Under proper sail to meet a gale.

SNY. A gentle bend in timber, curving upwards: when it curves downwards, it is said to hang.

SO! An order to desist temporarily from hauling upon a rope, when it has come to its right position.

SOAK AND SEND! The order to pass wet swabs along.

SOAM. The dried air-bladder of herrings.

SOCKETS. The holes in which swivel-pintles, or the capstan or windlass spindles move.

SOD-BANK. A peculiar effect of refraction sometimes seen in calm weather, showing all objects on the water multiplied or magnified. A poor name for a fine phenomenon.

SOFT-LAES. A term on our northern coast for the small coves and bays formed by the waves on the more friable parts of cliffs.

SOFT-PLANK. Picking a soft plank in the deck, is choosing an easy berth. (See Plank It.)

SOFT TOMMY, or Soft Tack. Loaves of bread served out instead of biscuit.

SOLAN-GOOSE. The gannet, Sula bassana, a well-known sea fowl, frequenting the coasts of many countries in the northern hemisphere in the summer to lay its eggs, and then migrating.

SOLANO. An oppressive wind, blowing from Africa into the Mediterranean; synonymous with sirocco.

SOLAR DAY. Is the interval which elapses between two successive meridian transits of the sun, and is the unit of time in common use.

SOLAR SPECTRUM. The coloured image of the sun produced by refraction through