1.Once a captain, always
2.To have a seaman means to have no spouse.
3.To bad sailors all the winds look contrary.
4.You'd better be an owner of boat than a master of ship.
5.Sailing to east or west, at home it is best.
6.Everyone wants to steer in fine weather.
7.Memory is like a fishing-net - it keeps in one thing and lets
8.In a gale, one throws even the most precious thing overboard.
Contemporary expressions evolving from nautical terms
-let the cat out of
the bag - to give away a secret;
Flogging was often done with the cat oÕnine tails which was kept
in a baize bag. When chiefs let the cat out of the bag, sailors
knew that they were about to be whipped.
-chew the fat - grumble,
murmur, talk one and the same over and over again;
The "fat" was a tough salted beef (a main meal aboard)
which needed a long time to be chewed and become edible.
-devil to pay - usu. There
will be the devil to pay Š to get in trouble, or in a difficult
situation; to be in for a danger;
The longest seam in the hull of a wooden ship was called the "devil".
From time to time, it had to be payed (coated with tar). This
task was very unpleasant and disgusting to any sailor.
-between the devil and the deep
blue sea - between the hammer and the anvil, in serious
The "devil" was very close to the scupper - a gutter
which allowed the water from the deck to flow away into the sea.
This way, paying the devil was a most difficult job because one
wrong step and the sailor would find himself between the water
and the deep blue sea.
-to be three sheets in the wind
- to be drunk;
Sails are controlled by rope lines, also called "sheets".
If those sheets are not tightened properly and flutter freely
in the wind, the ship would not be able to rely on her sails and
would lose her stability.
-show one's true colors -
show one's true self
Often warships had many national flags aboard in order to mislead
their enemies. Before attack or fire, they showed their true colors,
that is their real national ensign.
-take the wind out of his sails
- Webster's defines it as "destroying one's self-assurance",
usually in an argument;
Its literal meaning is to sail close to one ship and steal her
-on an even keel - when
everything is smooth and problems-free
The keel is the central girder of the ship and hence, even keel
suggests balanced ship.
-mind your P's and Q's -
behave well; be cautious;
Seamen liked to call at pubs whenever they received their payment.
As most of the seamen were illiterate, pub owners kept a record
of all the pints and quarts of ale sailor had drunk by writing
a mark next to the letters P and Q on a board.
Sea Idioms - phrases with sea words
-swim against the tide
- do the opposite, oppose to a conventional opinion;
e.g. The woman was absolutely convinced that she was right and
acted in her own way no matter that she was swimming against the
-like a fish out of water -
feeling uncomfortable, as if not in the right place;
e.g. John's friends all supported Pete Sampras in the tennis tournament
and he, being Patrick Rafter's fan, was feeling like a fish out
of water in their company.
-fish for compliment - try
to make somebody else say something nice about you;
e.g. No matter what subject we were talking about, he would always
make reference to the commendation he received from his boss.
It was obvious that he was fishing for a compliment.
-have other fish to fry -
have other possibilities;
e.g. Alice was upset about not being accepted at Harvard University
but her mother calmed her down and told her that she had other
fish to fry.
-there are plenty of other fish
in the sea - there are other people to choose from;
e.g. "Why do you think she's the only beautiful girl at the
party? Look around, there are plenty of other fish in the sea!"
-fish or cut bait - either
do the work or have someone else do it;
If you donÕt have time to finish the task by the deadline, don't
postpone it any longer. Simply fish or cut bait!
-packed like sardines -
e.g. Believe me, I couldnÕt take my breath in that elevator! It
was packed like sardines!
-at sea - be confused;
e.g. Erik was at sea about what step he should take next to make
it up with his beloved.