Sea-Fever Southern California correspondent Mia C. recently sent over a link to an Art of Manliness post about nautical language embedding itself in our modern lexicon like a Somali pirate boarding a Saudi tanker under the cover of darkness. (Three Sheets to the Wind: Nautical Slang in Common Usage November 9, 2010)
What troubled me most about the post was their manly “claim” that C.A.N.O.E., the Committee to Attribute a Nautical Origin to Everything, is a “tongue-in-cheek (and completely fictional) organization.” Next thing you know they’ll “claim” things about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and maybe even the Tooth Fairy.
Well, that’s ok, we’ll be happy to host and sponsor the next C.A.N.O.E. AGM at Sea-Fever blog world headquarters here in Mattapoisett.
Back to the post. My favorite nautical phrase in the Art of Manliness post is “son of a gun” which was new to me.
What’s your favorite?
3 thoughts on “Join the C.A.N.O.E. (Committee to Attribute a Nautical Origin to Everything)”
my favorite was one I didn’t see on the Art of Manliness page: “Pay the Devil,” meaning ‘apply caulk to the seam between planks on the outer hull of the ship (so that water doesn’t get in) https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/devil-to-pay.html
I still think the term is “sailing with free sheets or feed sheets” in or to the wind . Three makes no sense to me at all, discuss.
Perhaps the expression was overheard by a landlubber who mistook free for three,easy enough done!
Perhaps you heard “sailing with three sheets to the wind.” -which meant out of control or drunk to some people. Sheets refer to the ropes that held the sails down and if three of the four are gone- the ship is out of control.