For centuries nautical words have made their way ashore integrating themselves into our everyday language. You can hardly read a daily newspaper today without coming across a reference to a business experiencing “rough seas” or “smooth sailing,” a CEO being “thrown overboard” by directors or an unprofitable product line being “jettisoned.” You may have even felt “under the weather” or been “left high and dry?”
The December 23, 2007 NY Times Buzz Words column kept this tradition alive in an article entitled All We Are Saying. Grant Barrett wrote:
A large part of the delight derives from the re-orientation that new words make possible. They are fantastical transportation — portkeys and improbability starships — into other cultures, workplaces, minds.
According to Barrett, the 2007 nautical addition to our contemporary lexicon was:
Navy shower n.
A very short shower in which you turn off the water while lathering up. This old term is also known as a G.I. bath, but it’s new to many in the drought-stricken Southeast. Its antonym is the Hollywood shower, a long, wasteful one.
In the 2006 edition of Buzz Words, “stay the course” presented a nautical take on the Bush administration’s communications regarding US strategy with respect to Iraq.
Here’s an interesting article on this topic titled Your Talk is Saltier Than You Think.
Do you have any favorite nautical terms that have taken “shore leave?”
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